Think of elite sports and tennis often comes to mind. But the misconception that tennis is only for the wealthy is something Mark Arndt, executive director of Tennis Manitoba, is trying to break.
“It’s viewed as a white-collar sport; that you must be financially well off to play the sport, and that’s simply not the case,” says Arndt.
Tennis can be very affordable, with a junior tennis racket costing approximately $20 and a can of balls $5. While joining a private club will naturally come with membership fees, there are many public access facilities throughout cities and communities in Manitoba that allow you to play at no cost or for nominal fees. Or you can just play in your backyard.
“It’s so personal. It’s so individual. It’s what you want it to be,” says Arndt. “No matter what your body type is, no matter what your frame of mind is, you make the sport what you want it to be.”
Like any sport, tennis has natural benefits for physical and mental health, and it’s a great way to relieve stress while having fun with family and friends. But it can also be a very accommodating game, unlike some team sports. There’s no need to depend on a full team or book field time, so you can play on your own terms.
“You can make it fun or competitive. You can be serious or not serious about it. Play matches or leagues if you want. You can make it to what your personality is and what your mindset is, and that’s the beauty of the sport. There’s something for everyone. Tennis is what you want to make it, when you want to make it and how you want to make it,” says Arndt.
Because it’s not a contact sport, tennis is relatively injury free with most wounds being “self-inflicted,” such as muscle tears, according to Arndt, who has been playing the sport since he was 10 years old.
Tennis was also deemed a safe sport to abide by physical distancing requirements, as players are naturally distanced and there is no contact.
For beginners of all ages who want to learn more, Tennis Manitoba has recently opened the Tennis Manitoba Hub at Deer Lodge on Ness Avenue in Winnipeg. The club will be the entryway for learning the sport and will operate on a pay-as-you-play model.
Find out more about tennis at the Tennis Manitoba website.