A local tennis player has brought an online app to Victoria that allows players to find opponents of a similar ability.
Dave Koo has lived in Victoria since 2018 and can be spotted playing at Windsor Park up to four or five times a week. The successful software engineer (he co-founded Elastic Path Software, which grew to be a leading company in B.C. in the 2000s) is part of several projects at the moment including Toss Up. It’s a web application he started in 2015 in Vancouver and he continues to run various Vancouver leagues through the app.
When you open the app you enter your location and skill level, and it sends you to the most appropriate channel (which equates to a private Facebook group) with others in your area.
“If you’re a beginner in Langford we’re not going to match you with an expert in Oak Bay,” Koo said.
He posted it to Facebook groups and has more than 40 registrants already.
The individual nature of tennis, especially singles or having a doubles partner who is in your bubble, makes it one of the sports that best adapts to the pandemic.
Koo noticed a spike in popularity once COVID-19 started.
“In Vancouver, you can get your racquet restrung in a day or two. But here, I dropped it off at the store and they said it would be five days,” Koo said. “That tipped me off that we can add channels here and encourage more people to enjoy the sport as well as support those still playing.”
It’s important to note that Toss Up is a matching service and players still need to set their own court times.
For the winter hardcore such as Koo, it’s easy to find open courts. But in the warmer months, it can require booking a court such as Windsor Park through the local rec centre to guarantee enough time to finish a game.
“One of the things I love about living here is that you can generally play all year. In my first January in Victoria I played outdoors four days a week without any rain. It was fantastic,” Koo said.
He said if the temperature is 5 C or above, you’ll find people out at the courts.
“We sometimes bring a broom to sweep the water off the courts before playing – that’s how you recognize the real hardcore players,” Koo said.
Eventually, if the numbers grow enough, Koo will consider starting some leagues here too (Toss Up charges $15 a month for the administration its leagues provide).
In the meantime, finding similar skilled partners remains free. Visit the Toss Up tennis app at tossup.co/clubhouse.