Tennis Club has programs for youth to adults

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The Canyon Lake Tennis Club is one of the busiest and most age-diverse groups in Canyon Lake. Eight adult U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) teams compete in league levels 3.0 to 5.0 under the National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP). Recently, the Canyon Lake Women’s 4.0 Team went to the USTA Sectionals Championship at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden January 22 to 24 after winning their local league in the Inland Empire.

According to spokesperson Becky Ness, the team won their flight after beating San Gabriel Valley and San Fernando Valley. They then advanced to the final championship round against Beach Cities Sunday afternoon.

Ultimately, they finished the championship in 2nd place, with team captain Julie Lessley saying, “I am so proud of our team! This is the first time we have made it all the way to the final championship round.”

Becky says the team has been playing together for more than 12 years. The women practice as a team, but there are some permanent doubles. Each season they determine who will play what positions.

“Baba Soysa is our pro and has taught us excellent skills to help us succeed at this high level of play,” says Becky. “There were over 100 4.0 tennis teams throughout Southern California competing to go to Sectionals. Being No. 2 was very exciting!”

Becky adds that Canyon Lake is very competitive in the USTA at all levels and says, “Tennis league is great fun! We play in fall, winter and spring leagues as well as club tournaments (in Canyon Lake) each month.” Tennis Club Vice-President Val Gambina is the club’s USTA team coordinator.

Each division usually plays between six and eight teams from other clubs per season. The clubs are from Claremont, Riverside, Redlands, Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Arrowhead, San Jacinto and Silverlake.

Tennis Club President Marga Kidd says the club has a goal of having Junior teams in place for fall USTA competition. Currently, Coach Bobby Kielty is the Junior manager working with the young players, intermediate to advanced, on Wednesdays, 3 to 4:30 p.m., and on Thursdays, 5 to 6:30 p.m. It’s necessary to contact Marga to participate in the Junior program.

Marga says the club eventually would like to add younger Juniors to the Junior program.

The club recently welcomed a new tennis pro, Anthony Chatfield, to assist Baba with his extremely full schedule of tennis lessons.

Tony serves the Inland Empire as tennis service representative for the Southern California Tennis Association (SCTA). His responsibilities include providing assistance and guidance in all USTA programming as well as overseeing the Junior Team Tennis Program that includes more than 400 youth participants seasonally.

Tony has earned the Elite Professional standing in the U.S. Professional Tennis Association and has worked at various country clubs throughout Southern California. Many of his personal students have earned USTA rankings and gone on to play collegiate tennis at the NCAA Division I level.

Anyone interested in group tennis lessons for $12.50 per hour or in getting involved in the Junior Tennis Program is invited to contact Marga at 951-442-4538 or mikesmarga@yahoo.com. Additional Tennis Club information can be found at canyonlaketennisclub.com or on the Canyon Lake Tennis Club Facebook page.

The Tennis Club’s next tournament is the St. Patrick’s Day Team Mixer on Saturday, March 12, at 8 a.m. The cost for that tournament is $12 per player, and the deadline to sign up is Wednesday, March 9. To sign up for tournaments, contact Peggy Basubas at 951-719-7950.

The Tennis Club invites residents to come out for Social Play on Mondays and Fridays at 9 a.m. It is open to all levels of players and is a way to meet other players without committing to a schedule.

For more information, contact Dave Harrigan at 951-746-3460 or davenjean@canyontennis.net.

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Sharon Rice