Top young Canadian tennis talent pit their skills against some of the best juniors in the world the first week of June.
The Panorama International Junior International Tennis Federation (ITF) Championships are back for the 14th and 15th events, over the last seven years, and will host 160 boys and 94 girls, from 14 countries.
The championships take place June 1 to 8 and are one of 15 international junior ITF events in Canada this year where junior tennis players compete for world ranking points.
“In partnership with Tennis Canada, it’s part of a long-term development strategy to enhance the competitiveness of young players and to earn points for world ranking tournaments,” said Eric Knoester, racquet sports co-ordinator for Panorama Recreation. He explains that by earning points, young Canadian talent is allowed to compete on the world stage, travelling to tournaments abroad. It also gives players the opportunity to measure their progress against world-class opposition.
“There used to only be three ITF Juniors in Canada and now there are 15. It helps players take big steps in their development and contributes to the success of tennis in Canada,” he says.
The championships feature girls and boys in both singles and doubles competitions. From the start of the tournament until June 6, space is at a premium, but on that date, spectators are welcomed in and often 50–100 people cheer on the youngsters from courtside.
Knoester says the residents of the Saanich Peninsula have always rallied around the players and the event, offering great support. He says he is glad that the influx of players, and their chaperones and coaches, stimulates the local economy, a reward of sorts for the great support the event enjoys from the community.