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Tennis players hone skills ahead of summer games

Players with the Yellowknife Tennis Club had the opportunity to sharpen their skills over the long weekend as a series of clinics were held with a high-performance instructor July 29 to Aug. 1.
Tennis coach Uros Budimac, left, offered tips to NWT’s Canada High Performance Team comprising Jan Martinek, Rikhilesh Gohil, Madeleine Kapraelian, Luke Dizon, Teresa Martin, Ofira Duru, and Tamara Jovic. Simon Whitehouse/NNSL photo

Players with the Yellowknife Tennis Club had the opportunity to sharpen their skills over the long weekend as a series of clinics were held with a high-performance instructor July 29 to Aug. 1.

Coach Uros Budimac, a Tennis Canada Level 3 coach from Vancouver dropped in to Yellowknife to host sessions for the NWT’s Canada High Performance Team, who are scheduled to play at the Canada Summer Games in Niagara next week.

Budimac also helped adult players build on their skills at the McNiven Beach tennis courts.

“Over the weekend we focused a lot on singles and doubles games and we talked a lot about things like the psychology of performing,” Budimac said. “With NWT players especially going to Ontario to play with the best players in country, in some cases they will be playing stronger opponents.”

Tamara Jovic, one of the Canada Summer Games coaches, said getting Budimac’s guidance made a big difference as the NWT is preparing for competition next week.

“Saturday we worked mostly on singles play with a focus on things like volleys and ground strokes and serves while on Sunday we worked a lot on doubles,” she said. “I thought it was really good to have another coach’s perspective.”

Aside from the six youth heading to the national games, Budimac also oversaw three sessions for adults over the weekend, with 13 participants on Friday and nine each on Saturday and Sunday.

Budimac specializes in doubles tennis play. This past March, he published a book on the subject called Mine.

Skills around this style of play were the main focus with the older players, which he admitted he enjoys. This is largely because he is used to holding adult camps across southern British Columbia, including in Whistler, Vancouver, Kelowna, Vernon and Okanagan.

“I enjoy working with adults and I found Yellowknife players to be extremely keen, even though it is recreational,” he said. “They were attentive and extremely hard working to develop their point game. I love that part and I really believe anyone can improve, and so all of that was very nice to see ”

Slavica Jovic, a director with Tennis NWT, said the club had attempted to have Budimac twice in June, however, due to flight cancellations he was unable to arrive in Yellowknife.

“It didn’t turn out, but this worked even better because it happened right before the summer games,” she said. “The kids really enjoyed him and he really enjoyed playing too.”

Budimac was in Yellowknife training tennis players in 2016 and getting funding through Sport North to host him was important to the club to develop the sport here, she added.

Completion of NWT Open

The NWT open mixed doubles finals were held on Aug. 1 and Tamara Jovic and Cole Clinton won against Alex Godfrey and Anita Ogaa in two sets: 6-4 and 7-5.

Madeleine Kapraelian and Anita Ogaa also won against Maureen McCabe and Hiro Kobayashi in ladies doubles finals.

The next club tournament will be held over the weekend of Aug. 20-21.

Tennis coach Uros Budimac and Madeleine Kapraelian enjoy a Saturday afternoon of training at a tennis clinic held at the McNiven beach courts. Simon Whitehouse/NNSL photo
Shannon Lyman, Shirley Zhang and Teresa Martin take direction from tennis coach Uros Budimac during an adult coaching clinic on July 31 at the McNiven tennis courts. Simon Whitehouse/NNSL photo
The adult camp of tennis players featured Nikola Jovic, Jim Martin, Marissa Martin, Shannon Lyman, Teresa Martin, Jan Martinek, Shirley Zhang, tennis coach Uros Budimac, Tamara Jovic, Sergio Caitlyn and Ayanna Fernandez Caitlyn. Simon Whitehouse/NNSL photo