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 42 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.
Three development players from the Vosloorus program, the IC Philanthropy project in South Africa. had the time of their lives at the inter provincial over the weekend.
Due to the pandemic it was decided that this year the event would be region based with the inland provinces meeting in Johannesburg and Pretoria and the coastal regions at the coast to minimize travelling. The three regions of Gauteng plus Kwa Zulu Natal (Free State were invited but did not participate) under 13 teams played at Ellis Park in Johannesburg and the under 19 teams in Pretoria. This put Gauteng East with the three strongest teams in the country and certainly gave our local province some insight as to the quality of play in the other provinces.
In the under 13 team Thando Xolo and Wandile Tshabalala (pictured together) acquitted themselves extremely well under their baptism of inter provincial tennis. Coach Michael Lelosa said, "They left their hearts on the court" and we could not ask for more of the kids seeing as it was their first experience of play at this level.
Likewise, Nkosikhona Ubisi (in the green shirt), although he has represented his province before, came up against stronger opposition than he has faced when playing in tournaments, but again his team manager, Deserie Wilson said "You can be proud of his performances."
The lessons they have learnt will be a valuable stepping stone in their tennis career and they can only become better players for this type of experience and when they play in the next tournament in two weeks there is sure to be a noticeable improvement in their play.
We thank both Gauteng East junior committee for giving these players the opportunity and also commend Tennis SA for staging the event within the confines of Covid 19.
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