June 20, 2019

BY SEAN MALINOWSKI

Just in time for winter, a unique indoor recreational option is being offered, and it is located practically in Doon campus’s backyard.

The GSM (Game/Set/Match) Tennis Club opened its new indoor facility in the CORE Lifestyle and Recreation Complex, located at 407 New Dundee Rd., a block away from the student residence. The state-of-the-art facility has three regulation-sized tennis courts, with an ergonomic playing surface designed by orthotic experts, and specialized player-friendly tennis lighting, all under a large winterized dome.

Andrew Sznajder, president and founder of the GSM Tennis Club, is a decorated Canadian tennis player, and also one of the instructors at the club. Sznajder achieved a career high world singles ranking of No. 46 in September 1989, becoming the first-ever Canadian to break the Top 50. He also has a 14-10 singles record at the Davis Cup, competed in the 1992 Summer Olympics, and was a six-time winner of the Canadian National Singles Championship and three-time Tennis Canada singles player of the year.

Now Sznajder, 48, focuses his time on developing the game of tennis in Waterloo Region.

“It’s my way of giving back to the sport, and doing something different,” Sznajder said. “We wanted to bring back varsity tennis to the area, because it disappeared.”

GSM Tennis Club offers a student membership at $200 a season, while regular adult memberships are $330. Benefits of a membership include cheaper hourly court fee rentals, cheaper lesson and program fees, as well as full access to the CORE fitness facility. Sznajder said the club already has a few Condors as members.

“Coming from college and university as well, I know how tight money is for everyone,” Sznajder said. “You become a member you’re paying 20 bucks an hour. So if you have four people, it’s five bucks.”

The club also has a pay-as-you-play option open to the general public, for those who want to come out and try the sport.

“If you’re not a member, you’re paying $35 an hour. We have racquets, so you don’t have to have them. We have the balls, so you don’t have to have them,” he said. “We want to be inclusive, not exclusive.”

The club also offers a wide variety of programs and lessons, from adult group lessons and kid’s programs, to elite training packages for serious players. Sznajder is a Global Professional Tennis Coach Association certified Level-A instructor, one of only two in the country, and he and his team of tennis professionals are passionate about the game.

“It’s one of those sports you can play at any age. I have taught people who are 80 years old, I’ve taught kids who are four and five. Whether it be an adult or a kid, it’s nice to see that kind of joy and improvement in what they are doing,” Sznajder said. “I have so much fun doing it. I really do. You watch us, my team and I out there, we’re having a blast, and everyone’s feeding off that energy.”

With household names like Milos Raonic and Eugenie Bouchard representing Canada on the world stage, the game of tennis has never been more captivating to Canadians. With curiosity comes coverage, something Sznajder said there was not a lot of when he was younger.

“We were lucky to have one tournament to watch every quarter-season. Now every week you can watch it. And it’s fantastic because people are now relating to it, watching it and supporting it,” he said.

Sznajder is driven to continue the development of tennis in Canada.

“For me, it’s not a job,” he said. “I really enjoy being on the court, I enjoy being with people. Most importantly, I love seeing improvement, because when you can go out there, and you take someone who hasn’t played tennis before, then after a certain period of time they can rally with you, they can teach their other friends how to play, and it just grows and grows.”

For more information on how to become a member or to book a court time visit
www.gsmtc.ca.

 

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