Tennis was the breakout star in the midst of the heavy portion of the COVID-19 pandemic in Yellowknife.
Could it be again this year? Who’s to say but the Yellowknife Tennis Club is gearing up to start its season with opening night set for this coming Monday, May 31, at the McNiven Tennis Courts, the club’s home base. Clinics will be the first order of business for the club this season with the juniors hitting the courts first.
Slavica Jovic, the club’s communications co-ordinator, said the schedule has been changed from last year to reflect better scheduling.
“Our juniors are playing Mondays and Wednesdays, men on Tuesdays and ladies on Thursdays,” she said. “We’ve changed our league night to Fridays because when we have tournaments, we need the Friday court times to start and almost everyone plays in tournament, anyway.”
The club will be operating this season under the rules it had in place at the end of last season with no more than 50 people within one space at any time, including the patio. Distancing rules are in effect except for youth under the age of 12; they can be at any distance without having to wear a mask.
The club is encouraging people to bring their own balls for play or practice and avoid handling other tennis balls that are not their own, if possible.
The first tournament of the season is the Season Opener, which is scheduled to begin on June 4. There are a total of five tournaments scheduled to happen in town this year, including the NWT Open and Yellowknife Open in July and the Doubles Tournament in August.
Jan Martinek is back from Vancouver for his third consecutive year as the club’s head professional and he exited his 14-day isolation period yesterday, said Jovic.
“Just in time for him to take to the courts and begin teaching,” she said.
The club will host two multisport camps this summer through Tennis NWT but Jovic said they won’t last the entire month.
“They will be in the first two weeks of July and the first two weeks of August,” she said. “We are having a part-time camp in the last part of July and that’s being done through the city.”
In a previous interview with Yellowknifer, Tami Johnson, the club’s general manager, said that she’s hopeful there will be as much interest in the club this year as there was in 2020 with programs filling up fast.
Jovic said there’s no way to know how well people have responded to programs as of yet.
“Ladies Night was popular last year but we won’t know who has signed up until they show up,” she said.