Welcome to the International Club of Canada
"Hands across the net, friendship across the ocean "
To promote friendship and sportsmanship in tennis between Canada and other countries by hosting tennis events with other IC countries and supporting tennis development in Canada by providing mentorship for young tennis players.
The first meeting of Active Members of the International Lawn Tennis Club of Canada was held at the Albany Club in Toronto on Wednesday, August 11, 1965, at 12.30 p.m. Laird Watt, the first president of the Club, was unable to attend and Gilbert Nunns chaired the meeting. In addition to Gilbert those attending the meeting in person or by proxy were familiar names in Canadian tennis history: Peter Barnard, John Bassett, Bob Barnard, François Godbout, Bruce Harrison, Sydney Hermant, Jim Macken, Harry Marpole and Walter Martin. Don Fontana, captain of the Club, agreed to approach the I.C. of the USA for a match in 1966. There were discussions of a black tie dinner, a match against a touring team from England and plans to participate in I.C. matches in Holland. The Canadian I.C. was up and operating. It had officially received “International Club” recognition just six weeks before, at the annual meeting of the Council of I.C.’s held each year during the fortnight of Wimbledon. It joined thirteen other nations with International Clubs, all existing with a common interest in the game of tennis.
The annual match with the USA Club has been the main regular event of the Club since that time, with matches alternating each year between the Donalda Club and various locations in the USA. The Piping Rock Club on Long Island, The Merion Cricket Club in Philadelphia, The West Side Tennis Club on Long Island. In 1971 the matches were divided in an open event competing for the Proctor Cup and a seniors event for the new Lawrence Baker Trophy. Women’s matches were included in the late 90’s and starting in the year 2000 teams will play for the Carole Graebner Trophy.
There is no doubt that tournaments for the Windmill, Christiane Mercelis, and Columbus Trophies represent the highlights of the I.C. Movement. On these occasions many of the now 34 International Clubs meet in team competition. In these tournaments old friendships across the net and across the nations are renewed, and new ones made. Equally enjoyable are the I.C. Tours where teams of I.C. players tour other countries at the invitation of their I.C.’s, or host visiting teams.
This brief review of the Club’s history would not be complete without an expression of gratitude to the spirit behind the creation of the I.C. Club of Canada, the Late Bruce Harrison and those who have served on the Club’s executive, particularly its presidents: Laird Watt, Walter Martin, John Proctor, Jim Skelton, Frank Mott-Trille, Brian Flood and David Dimmer.
The final day "play-offs" once again produced some very close matches including yet another mixed doubles decider. In the top match Italy were successful in a well fought match with Israel eventually winning 4-2 to take The European IC Rod Laver Junior Challenge with Israel in second place. But for a few points different it could have gone to a mixed doubles decider. In the match for third and fourth place Ireland won over Slovenia 4-2 but had to win two 10 point third set deciders to do that. In the match up for fifth and sixth places Great Britain won over Spain 5-1 and again with some close matches. Meanwhile the match up between hosts Germany and Austria for seventh and eighth place proved to be the closest of the day with Austria coming through in a mixed doubles decider after the overall match was tied at three individual matches each. So final placings are:
Italy as the winning team were presented with their trophies by IC Germany President Alex Kurucz and they will be going to the Worldwide Finals in La Jolla, San Diego, California in November next year. This has probably been the most closely contested regional challenge ever. But for a few points, including some lost "match points" a different result could easily have happened. Indeed the organisers felt that if the event was repeated three times it could well be a different winner each time. So it has been a great experience for all the juniors with the round robin format giving them both a singles and doubles each day ..... and quite often a mixed doubles too this year! The unique format including both boys and girls as one team seems to be very successful and an enjoyable one both on and off court in the IC tradition of "Hands across the net, friendship across the ocean".
An enjoyable time was experienced at the final night dinner at a venue of German sponsor Rossbacher ( a manufacturer of water and soft drinks) who were thanked for their great support and were present for the evening. The event is not possible without the help of many volunteers and there were many from IC of Germany who were thanked by IC Council representative Kit Spencer for their hosting of a successful European Challenge. As well as the presentation to winning teams an important award of the IC is the Sportsmanship Awards given for exhibiting both a good attitude and friendship on and off court. These deservedly went to Johanna Halper of Austria and Mat Rutter of Great Britain. By the applause from their fellow juniors it seems they too felt they were worthy recipients. A highlight of the Final Night dinner was a Karaoke Event in which all teams performed at least one song to the amusement of both themselves and the audience. This finished up with a great finale of all teams getting together to sing "We are the world" which showed wonderful friendship between the juniors.
It is a week that the juniors will remember all their life. Many of them and their coaches expressed that it was one of their best ever tennis experiences and quite probably the best.
IC Luxembourg have already offered to host the next European Challenge in 2021 which teams will look forward too and their support is appreciated.
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