When you think of university varsity sports, tennis is not the first thing that comes to mind – at least not for UFV students. But that could change this year.
Adrian Oziewicz, tennis instructor at Great West Fitness, is working to start a tennis club at UFV.
Oziewicz, in partnership with the university’s athletic program, is currently recruiting athletes for the UFV Cascades tennis team — the first ever at UFV.
“I’ve had a few responses. I need to get a group together and then we can build on that,” he said. “The main thing is that we get some players and go from there.”
Although this will be the first time that UFV has a tennis team, many other universities in Canada (including SFU, UBC, and UVIC) already do. These existing teams compete in the Tennis Canada league, making it easier for a new team to join.
“It’s not like we’re trying to pioneer the league,” Ozeiwicz said. “There’s already a whole league out there.”
Oziewicz explained that the Tennis Canada league functions similarly to other university leagues.
“They basically take a few universities from western Canada, a few from Ontario, and then a few from the East, and then they get together for national championships to see which universities go to nationals,” he explained. “In between, they have friendly matches and stuff like that.”
As the school year is underway, Oziewicz hopes to have a team established by the end of October so that they can start preparing for the season’s first tournament, hosted by SFU.
“We can pick a team and go from there,” he said. “As time goes on it gets harder because of midterms and stuff like that.”
At this time, SFU is the closest university with a tennis program, making it difficult for local tennis players to pursue the sport at a university level.
“It’s a pathway,” Oziewicz said. “And right now the pathway stops at 17. When you finish, you go to university in the States or wherever, but wouldn’t it be cool if the pathway continued just down the road here?”
Joining an athletic club can be a difficult thing to do, especially while in university, and Oziewicz understands that.
“People get into their groove. It takes a bit of time away from the academics, but it makes you focus,” he said. “Those memories I have of playing for my university, they’re good memories. I don’t regret it.”
Seeing that UFV doesn’t have any tennis facilities on campus, the program would be a partnership with Great West fitness and tennis club.
“I think it would be a great partnership,” Oziewicz said. “We have the facility, [UFV] has the people. It just makes sense.”
Like any team that’s starting out, Oziewicz understands that the team may have a rough start.
“Obviously, it wouldn’t be super strong in the beginning,” he said. “I’m not expecting great things, but just to get the ball rolling.”
Anyone interested in joining the tennis club is encouraged to contact Oziewicz at firstname.lastname@example.org.