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.
On 5 February 2020, the International Club (IC), the tennis world, and the great sporting city of Barcelona, lost one of its great statesmen.
Juan Maria Tintoré was 92. He wanted to live the longest possible life because Juan Maria, President of the IC of Spain, always had things to do. One of those great projects was the IC’s Potter Cup - an annual event where the world’s best veteran players (men over 45 and women over 40) come to Barcelona for a long weekend to play the best veterans’ tennis on clay anywhere in the world. These players, hundreds of them over a period of nearly 50 years, play in Barcelona’s Potter Cup, not for financial reward, nor because they will win points to improve their rankings, but for the love of a game, played hard but in the spirit of friendship, and immersed in a glorious hospitality that is the trademark of the Potter Cup, of Barcelona, and of Juan Maria himself. The 2020 edition of the Potter Cup is already over-subscribed.
If Juan Maria asked you to do something, you did it. There was nothing he liked better than the democracy of a committee that came to the decision he wanted it to! He fought hard for the survival of something he knew was good: the Potter Cup had the prestige it needed to persuade the two great tennis clubs of Barcelona to host: the men’s event at the Real Cub de Polo de Barcelona, and the newer women’s event at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona 1899, the Club where Juan Maria was President for many years, and where the Potter Cup's gala dinner is held. For Juan Maria, the Potter Cup needed to be run as well as Barcelona’s Trofeo Conde de Godó (the ATP 500 Barcelona Open BancSabadell), where every year a press conference is held by the Tournament, the two great Barcelona Clubs, the Catalan Federation and the IC to announce the Potter Cup and to publicise the IC Philanthropy clinic run during the Potter Cup by Sergi Bruguera's wonderful charity.
Juan Maria knew too that the survival of the International Club, and its values, depended on the willingness of the best Clubs in the world to host the IC’s events. It was important to him that these prestigious Clubs were also aware of the significance of the traditions that bound them together; and Juan Maria guided, hands-on as always, the creation of the Centenary Clubs network. That work began in Barcelona where he built a wonderful bridge between the two great Barcelona clubs that are so important to the Potter Cup.
Juan Maria wasn’t stuck in the past. He was at the forefront of making sure that Spanish tennis had depth. He was a great supporter of the ITF and the players organisations, ATP and WTA. More tournaments for juniors and seniors in Spain meant more wild cards for Spanish players, he once told me sagely and with a smile: that’s how you created depth in Spanish tennis.
He was also in the vanguard of shaking the old tennis world by taking it to new frontiers, very much in the travelling spirit of the IC: to Sarajevo immediately after the bitter war in Bosnia-Herzegovina; and to Beijing as relations thawed with the capitalist west. He brought news of these projects, places and peoples to the Executive Committee of the IC at its meetings in Paris.
Juan Maria was a man of great personal charm and kindness. He was devoted (as we all are) to his wife, Berti, and to their large family, to whom we send our condolences. At their giant revolving round table in their family home in Mallorca, crowded with their own children and grandchildren, somehow there was always room for guests - and, of course, for their guests' children. Our children stood amazed as Juan Maria, then already in his late eighties, rowed his boat out to into the Balearic Sea every morning with a determination that marked everything he did.
We, especially those who have played in the Potter Cup, are now the guardians of Juan Maria’s legacy. May he Rest in Peace.
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