Growing the sport in Cape Breton
· Posted: a day ago | Updated: a day ago | 6 Min Read
<img srcset="https://saltwire.imgix.net/2021/6/30/tennis-nova-scotia-sees-interest-in-building-new-indoor-tenn_jEgPpIV.jpg?fit=crop&h=568&w=847&dpr=1&auto=enhance 1x,
alt=’Tennis Nova Scotia CEO Kurt Kamperman, right, with Jared Pheifer, president of the New Waterford Tennis Club. Kamperman was in New Waterford last week touring the new tennis facility on Eighth Street. JEREMY FRASER ? CAPE BRETON POST.’
Tennis Nova Scotia CEO Kurt Kamperman, right, with Jared Pheifer, president of the New Waterford Tennis Club. Kamperman was in New Waterford last week touring the new tennis facility on Eighth Street. JEREMY FRASER ? CAPE BRETON POST.
SYDNEY, N.S. — Kurt Kamperman is only a year into his position with Tennis Nova Scotia, but he’s already seeing the potential to grow the sport in Cape Breton.
The chief executive officer for Tennis Nova Scotia told the Cape Breton Post the organization is starting to “think bigger” when it comes to getting new players into the sport, and one of the ideas is a new indoor facility in Sydney.
“We need to start thinking about some indoor tennis in the off-season because we want to create more summer players that have a passion for the sport,” said Kamperman.
“We don’t want to have those players just playing basketball, hockey and soccer in the winter, we want them playing tennis as well and developing their game.”
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Although no funding has been secured for the project, Kamperman, who is originally from Ohio, believes an indoor facility is possible and not just a wild dream.
“I think there’s some opportunities here that I think we can flesh out in the next four-to-six months,” said Kamperman. “Hopefully, we can get an indoor facility in the near future. There’s a lot of money available for certain to make things like this happen.”
An indoor tennis facility isn’t new to Nova Scotia.
The Atlantic Tennis Centre in Bedford was completed last year and officially opened its doors in November. The 18-court facility includes six indoor courts as well as several courts outdoors. The facility allows for tennis players to play the game year-round.
Kamperman believes an indoor facility in Cape Breton is “critically important.”
“At the Atlantic Tennis Centre, we have people from Chester, Lunenburg, Mahone Bay, Windsor and Wolfville, all travelling an hour and 15 minutes to attend and they’ll do that,” said Kamperman.
“Those players can come for a Saturday and Sunday for three hours of tennis and go back home the same day, but when you have four-and-five-hour drives from like Cape Breton, it’s a little more challenging, so we need something here.”
Kamperman made his first official trip to Cape Breton last week and during his time here had meetings with community members about the state of tennis on the island.
“There’s some interest, for sure,” said Kamperman. “I’ve had a couple of meetings that have gone extremely well.”
Along with a new facility, Kamperman believes more programming and instruction are needed on the island to help the sport moving forward.
“We want to get more trained instructors out here because you have the places to play, so we want to make sure that every tennis court has a coach that can work with the kids and adults,” said Kamperman.
“We want to make sure they have programs as well. We’ve been here in the area offering coach workshops and one-day courses to get volunteers and students who are interested in coaching to learn how to teach beginners.”
Kurt Kamperman, the new CEO of Tennis Nova Scotia. – Contributed
Kamperman, the former CEO of the United States Tennis Association’s national campus, said new equipment is essential for the development of players.
“A lot of people don’t realize, there’s equipment that will help them when they start playing tennis and that’s something that’s needed on the island,” he said.
“There’s red balls that are 75 per cent slower through the air and bounce slower, and then there’s orange balls that are 50 per cent, and green balls that are 25 per cent, so it’s a graduated play.”
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Kamperman said the province has seen an increase in participation in the sport over the past year.
“Tennis and golf have had a little COVID-19 boom because both are naturally social distanced,” he said.
“There’s four people on a tennis court, so you have to be six feet apart because of your arm and racquets have to be that far away, there’s no swapping sweat, so it’s a naturally social distanced sport and it’s safe.
“Because we were one of the first sports allowed to play, people are realizing how much fun it is. You can be on a tennis court for an hour and it feels like 10 minutes — but you can be on a treadmill for an hour and it feels like an hour.”
“Tennis and golf have had a little COVID-19 boom because both are naturally social distanced.”? — Kurt Kamperman
Kamperman, who served as president of the Tennis Industry Association and was a player and coach at the NCAA level at Youngstown State University, didn’t say how many members registered in the province over the past year, but said the numbers have gone up from his understanding.
During his time in Cape Breton, Kamperman had the opportunity to tour the new tennis facility in New Waterford, which was built as part of the $4.5-million sports facility relocation project to make way for the new health-care centre and school in the community.
“They haven’t put the paint down yet, but they have three great courts, one of the best backboards for practising, a beautiful shaded area and clubhouse, it’s beautiful,” said Kamperman.
“This would be near the top, for sure, when it comes to outdoor tennis facilities in the province. The nice thing is it’s a public facility and the New Waterford club will get new members and benefits from having this here.”
Jared Pheifer, president of the New Waterford Tennis Club, said the paint has arrived for the courts and he’s hopeful to have it completed in the next two weeks.
The venue’s first event will be the annual Peter Durdle Memorial Open. The tournament was originally scheduled for July 9-11 but has been moved to the end of July.
As for a new indoor tennis facility, Kamperman didn’t provide a timeline as to if or when he hoped to have the venue up and running in Cape Breton.
Jeremy Fraser is the sports reporter for the Cape Breton Post. Follow Jeremy on Twitter @CBPost_Jeremy.
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