Osten & Victor Alberta Tennis Centre launches Everyone Can Play Program to create inclusivity promoting tennis as a sport for everyone

The centre also hosts the Billie Jean King Cup trophy after Team Canada’s triumph in 2023 tournament and prepares for its fifth annual Calgary National Bank Challenger in October

CALGARY, Alberta, May 15, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, The Osten & Victor Alberta Tennis Centre (The ATC) held a press conference to announce the launch of its new Everyone Can Play program, aimed at promoting inclusivity and accessibility in the sport of tennis. The Everyone Can Play program embodies the Centre's commitment to ensuring that tennis is accessible to individuals of all ages, backgrounds, skill level and abilities. Through this initiative, the Centre will provide opportunities for participation, development and fostering a more inclusive tennis community in Calgary and beyond.

"We are proud to introduce the Everyone Can Play program, which reflects our dedication to making tennis accessible to everyone," says Danny Da Costa, CEO, The Osten & Victor Alberta Tennis Centre. "This initiative aligns with our mission of promoting tennis as a sport for all, and we are excited to see the positive impact it will have on our community."

To support the Everyone Can Play program, the Centre will host an Everyone Can Play Gala, in partnership with the Working For More Health Equity (WFMHE), formerly Women For Men’s Health (WFMH) initiative on October 11, 2024, to raise important funds for the program. This group is helping the ATC with equity and inclusion for this program and are providing their event expertise to deliver a one-of-a-kind gala.

This event will bring together supporters, donors and tennis enthusiasts for an evening of celebration and philanthropy. A silent and live auction will take place throughout the evening and the funds raised will directly contribute to the expansion and sustainability of the Everyone Can Play program, ensuring that more individuals will get to experience the joy of tennis.

"We are very excited for this inaugural Everyone Can Play Gala that represents a pivotal moment in our journey toward creating a more inclusive and accessible tennis community,” says Dr. Shelley Spaner, MD FRCPC, Partner, Mayfair Diagnostics and Founder, WFMHE. “This will help the Alberta Tennis Centre ensure that everyone, regardless of background or ability has the opportunity to experience the transformative power of tennis."

In addition to these exciting announcements, the ATC is thrilled to host the Billie Jean King Cup trophy on May 15, 2024, for the public to view and take photos. The Billie Jean King Cup is the world’s largest annual international team competition in women’s sport, with over 120 nations competing in 2023. Team Canada won the cup in 2023 and the trophy is now making its way across the country giving Canadians the opportunity to get up close and personal to the historic trophy.

"Having the Billie Jean King Cup onsite is a huge honour for our tennis centre,” says Da Costa. “It's not just a trophy; it's a symbol of women's resilience and excellence in tennis. We're thrilled to share this historic piece of tennis history with our community, inspiring the next generation of players and celebrating the remarkable achievements of female athletes."

Behind the scenes, the ATC is gearing up to host the 2024 Calgary National Bank Challenger, scheduled to take place from October 13-20, 2024. Sanctioned by the ATP World Tour and the International Tennis Federation, this will be the fifth men’s edition and third women’s edition of the popular tournament.

This tournament has quickly emerged as one of the best international tennis tournaments held in Canada. The event is the largest combined men’s & women’s indoor event in Canada and features many of the best up-and-coming and established male and female players in the world. The 2023 Challenger tournament was the recipient of the Canadian Sport Tourism Sponsorship Initiative award. This award recognizes Canada’s top national and international events. This annual tournament is one of the best challenger events in the world with over 13,000 spectators over the course of the week-long tournament. Past alumni of the event include, current World #7 player Casper Ruud of Norway, Canadian Tennis Star Vasek Pospisil, Former Wimbledon Singles Finalist and top 12 player Sabine Lisicki of Germany, and former World #5 Tommy Robredo of Spain.

“We are thrilled to once again host the Calgary National Bank Challenger this October. Our 2023 event was a week-long sold-out tournament, which attracted some of the best emerging tennis talent throughout the globe,” says Da Costa. “We look forward to delivering another world-class event that showcases our wonderful sport and incredible city.”

Don't miss your chance to support the Everyone Can Play program, view the Billie Jean King Cup trophy, and witness world-class tennis action at the Osten & Victor Alberta Tennis Centre.

For more information about the Everyone Can Play program, visit https://albertatenniscentre.ca/.

For more information about the Billie Jean King Cup, visit https://www.billiejeankingcup.com/en/bjkc-home.

For more information about the Calgary National Bank Challenger, visit www.calgary.nationalbankchallenger.com.

Founded in 2013 and opened in 2016, the Osten & Victor Alberta Tennis Centre is a staple of the Acadia and Calgary community. Recognized as one of Canada’s premier tennis facilities, the Centre was championed by local funders with the support of Tennis Canada. The 13-court, state-of-the-art, family friendly tennis facility is in the heart of Acadia (SE Calgary) and covers over 4.22 acres. The non-profit Centre has quickly established itself as the benchmark for facility design and operation in Canada. The Centre has serviced over 250,000 Albertans since opening its opening and is built to international competition standards. It is a highly sought-after tournament destination and hosts multiple international events each year, including the Calgary National Bank Challenger ATP and ITF event.

For more information visit www.albertatenniscentre.ca.

The Calgary National Bank Challenger is the largest combined men's & women's indoor tennis tournament in Canada. The Calgary National Bank Challenger has quickly emerged as one of the best ATP Challenger events in the world and one of Alberta's premier sporting events. In 2022, the Challenger hosted our inaugural International Tennis Federation (ITF) Women's Pro Circuit $60K Event featuring many of the best up-and-coming and established female players in the world. In 2023, the Calgary National Bank Challenger became the first International Tennis Federation W60 event in Canada to offer paid hospitality to female players.

Past participants of the Calgary National Bank Challenger event include Former World #2 and 3x Grand Slam Singles Finalist Casper Ruud of Norway; Former World #12 and 2013 Wimbledon Singles Finalist and 2023 Calgary National Bank Challenger Singles Champion, Sabine Lisicki of Germany; Canadian tennis star and former Wimbledon Doubles Champion and World #25, Vasek Pospisil; Former World #14 and 2018 Calgary National Bank Challenger Champion Ivo Karlovic; Other star players who have participated include: Maxime Cressey, Arthur Rinderknech, Joao Sousa, Benoit Paire, Tommy Robredo, and Ursuzla Radwanska.

For more information: www.calgary.nationalbankchallenger.com

In 2016, the Working For More Health Equity Initiative, formerly Women for Men’s Health initiative, held its first fundraising event – raising money to help support research and awareness in areas impacting men’s health. Since then the group has raised over 500 thousand dollars through fundraising initiatives, and has secured more than one million donor dollars. With some of these funds a men’s health clinic was opened across the hall from the Prostate Cancer Centre in June 2018.

Dr. Spaner has been raising awareness about men’s health through speaking engagements and fundraising initiatives, and was a recipient of the 2019 Pathfinder’s Award from PROSTAID Calgary for demonstrating leadership and contributing to significant advancements in prostate cancer research and treatment. PROSTAID Calgary is a support network that provides peer-to-peer support for men and their families on their journey with prostate cancer.

The Calgary National Bank Challenger is among several tournaments on the Challenger circuit sponsored by National Bank in Canada. Aiming to support the development of the international elite, the professional tournaments provide Canadian athletes with their first experiences on the Tours and the opportunity to earn valuable points to move up in the world rankings. Over the years, the National Bank Challenger tournaments have served as a springboard for players including Canadian stars Félix Auger-Aliassime, Leylah Annie Fernandez, Denis Shapovalov and Bianca Andreescu, as well as Casper Ruud, Maxime Cressy and John Isner of the US, Daniel Evans of the UK, Angelique Kerber and Sabine Lisicki of Germany and Ons Jabeur of Tunisia.  

Rebecca Hurl
Brookline Public Relations, Inc.