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.
Download the 2019 Events list
The IC Rod Laver Worldwide Junior Challenge is gaining wonderful support from many “Tennis Legends”. Foremost among these is Rod Laver whose name has been incorporated into the title of the event from 2019 onwards.
However Rod Laver is not alone as many other “Tennis Legends” and former top tour players have become increasingly involved. Among IC members who have been at the very top of the game in their careers one of the most recent to support the event is Evonne Goolagong whose Foundation is helping to send a team of indigenous Australian juniors to the upcoming regional event in Hong Kong. Gabriella Sabatini, a recent recipient of the CQS Jean Borotra IC Sportsmanship award, has made a donation to this year’s South American Regional Event and has also participated in a clinic for disadvantaged kids that is run at the events. In the North American Regional Event former number 1 doubles player Mark Knowles’ charity has helped support travel for the Bahamas Junior team players. All the above are “Major” title winners.
There are many others who have participated in some way including former top 20 tour players Marcello Fillipini of Uruguay and Jergen Fassbender of Germany who have captained their country’s junior teams - a great experience for the juniors. Many other IC members and former top tour players such as the South Americans Jaime Fillol, Jorge Lehman, Nelson Earts, Fernando Gentil and the late Enrique Morea have all been involved with Junior Challenges. Indeed South America has used the Junior Challenges to get together many of the former tour players who have re-united and got on court alongside these events - enjoyable for both them and for the juniors to see their country tennis legends playing and exhibiting the IC motto of “ hands across the net friendship across the ocean”.
The original idea for the Junior Challenge was inspired by Frank Sedgman and Athol Tills(NZ IC) who arranged international practice sessions between their two countries and when Australia staged The Worldwide Finals IC President Frank Sedgman and the then Australian IC President Paul MacNamee supported that event and entertained all the participating juniors to a day at The Australian Open. Paul also played doubles with the juniors on a day at the former Australian Open grass court venue of Kooyong - another great experience for the juniors.
There are many other IC Members who have been top tour players, Davis Cup and Fed Cup players who have supported The IC Junior Challenges and apologies for not mentioning all of them . The IC thanks all these “IC Tennis Greats “ for their support and involvement in what many juniors have described as their “most enjoyable tennis experience”.
For further information on the event “The Story of the IC Junior Challenge” can be downloaded from this website.
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