Most had racquet bags twice their size and some still had their baby teeth but all the kids enrolled in Mini Rogers Cup had stars in their eyes.
On Saturday, the friendly tournament was presented at IGA Stadium for the first time in six years. Under-10 recreational and elite players were on hand to play tennis, be active and have fun.
The winners in each category were awarded a Mini Rogers Cup medal in a ceremony on Centre Court and then took their seats to watch the evening matches.
Samao Deschênes knows his way around a tennis court. The eight-year-old has been playing tennis since he was three and a half.
Attending his very first Mini Rogers Cup and especially aiming to enjoy himself, he still had no intention of going easy on his rivals.
“I’m here to win,” he declared. “I can’t really talk strategy yet because it will depend on my opponents and their games. I know some of them because I’ve played against them. But they could change their strategy, so we’ll see.”
Samao, who heard about the activity at the tournaments he participated in throughout the year, is proud to say that he loves playing tennis.
“In team sports, winning or losing depends less on you,” he theorized. “It’s sometimes harder to lose because your team members might be responsible for the loss even though you played really well. I also think that tennis is an original sport. Not many people at my school play tennis. It’s a great sport.”
A collaboration between Tennis Montréal, Tennis Québec and Tennis Canada, Mini Rogers Cup has certainly achieved its mission to help kids develop their skills and, better still, develop a new passion for tennis.
Judging by the bright smiles on the shiny sunscreened faces at the 2018 edition of the tournament, it’s mission accomplished!