Fletcher takes the game of tennis to DC

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Chris Fletcher has wanted to play NCAA tennis for as long as he can remember, but he wasn’t going to swing at the first offer.

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Chris Fletcher has wanted to play NCAA tennis for as long as he can remember, but he wasn’t going to swing at the first offer.

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With an academic resume that packs as much punch as his groundstrokes, the 17-year-old senior Massey wants to make sure he has the right mix for a true student/athlete.

“I wanted a school with good academics and good tennis,” he said of a decision that led him to George Washington University where he would study biology and play for the Colonials.

He made three visits to the campus located in the heart of Washington, D.C. before making up his mind and even then he has yet to accept a scholarship offer. He first wants to spend a semester there to see if the daily reality corresponds to his impressions.

“I really liked the coach and the team,” he said. “The atmosphere was cozy and made me feel like I was part of something.”

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Fletcher becomes the Colonials’ first Canadian tennis player on an international roster that attracts talent from Portugal, Lithuania and Macedonia.

He is one of five incoming freshmen on a team that won the Atlantic 10 Conference title earlier this spring for the third time in the past four years.

“Chris will build our doubles momentum,” GW head coach Greg Munoz said in an email. “He is very quick at net and an exceptional doubles player. Momentum in matches is greatly affected at the collegiate level by the winner of the doubles point. “

Fletcher is back with coach Marian Onila at Parkside Tennis Club. Onila worked with Fletcher when he started playing at age 6, but they went on hiatus when Onila returned to Europe and Fletcher began training in Michigan between the ages of 14 and 16.

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“Last year we started again,” Onila said. “We had given him the base since he was young and he has done a good job maintaining it. We worked hard, he was hungry and ready to do it to get better. “

After feeling like he hit a plateau without Onila, Fletcher now sees improvement.

“My game has gone from junior level to another level,” he said.

Sporting a serve of up to 120 miles per hour, he and Toronto’s David Volfson won the Canadian Under-18 Indoor National doubles in 2014 and they reached the ITF final.

Fletcher also finished third at the Provincial Championships in U18 singles and won silver in the tough OFSAA Men’s Singles Open Division for Massey.

He is in Massey’s enriched program where he averaged 87% in Grade 12.

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Typically, he starts his day with two hours of practice at Parkside before school. After class, he trains with Massey track and cross-country coach Dave Scarrow. He was part of the WECSSAA gold medal-winning senior men’s cross country team last fall.

“I felt it was important for me to compete for Massey, to give back for what they did for me,” he said.

After school it’s home for dinner and homework before heading back to Parkside for physical training.

Parkside pro Marius Mag has been supportive of Onila’s work with Fletcher at the club and has been generous with time on the pitch.

Despite the heavy demands of an average school day, Fletcher can still be found spending extra time on the Central Park courts near his home.

He leaves for DC in August knowing he will know at least one other person on campus. Carter Day, his teammate on the Massey cross-country team, is also heading for George Washington.

“It’s comforting to know there’s someone else from Windsor,” Fletcher said.

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