Tennis | UBC Recreation

Welcome to UBC Recreation Tennis!

Our Mission: By offering comprehensive tennis programming from a professional staff we will strive to be leaders in the Lower Mainland public tennis community. We will provide the facility, instruction and service required for people of all ages and all levels of playing ability to improve their skills and enjoy their tennis experience.

We invite all Vancouver tennis players to come experience the UBC Tennis Centre – the only public indoor tennis facility in Vancouver





Latest Tennis News

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Courts 5-8 are Closed from June 18-30

Courts 5-8 in our main facility are now closed from June 18th-30th for renovations.

Courts 1-4 in the main facility and the Tennis Bubble will still be available for bookings for the next 2 weeks. We thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.

Closure of University Blvd (June 11 – Mid August)

CONSTRUCTION NOTICE: Visitors to UBC are to be advised of the closure of University Boulevard from Wesbrook Mall to Blanca Street. The work started on June 11th and is anticipated to be completed by mid-August.

The project will see approximately 1.5km of University Blvd rehabilitated and upgraded as part of a multi-year project.

Patrons of the UBC Tennis Centre are encouraged to plan alternate routes to allow extra time to travel to and from the University Blvd area.

  • UBC Road Closures Map can be found online here.
  • Translink has temporarily cancelled all bus stops on University Blvd between Wesbrook Mall and Blanca.
  • BC Ministry of Transportation article.

Josh’s Fresh Take: June 2018 Edition

Mental Practice is Just as Important

Coach and Communications Lead, Josh Martin, weighs in on topics in the world of tennis and shares his two cents.

It is unbelievable what can happen when one has an audience. An athlete playing in a tennis match with one person watching, three people, 50 people, 100 people – it can either make you crack under pressure or, on the contrary, you can rise like a phoenix and embrace it. Usually it is the former for beginners. It takes practice in order to stay calm when others are watching, block the unnecessary out and only focus on what is important.

I remember playing in one of my first tournaments as a kid at the New West Tennis Club in the summer. I was around 12 years old and I was playing someone at least twice my age. My family was watching in the balcony along with a couple of friends, which in turn ended up being a colossal mistake. I was no longer worried about what my opponent was as was not doing, but I was worried about looking good in front of my audience. Rather than playing a smart and methodical game, I was taking risky shots, trying to ace all my serves, and as a result got incredibly frustrated and ultimately lost. It was a downward spiral that I could not dig myself out of. The worst part was that my opponent was not particularly strong and on a good day it is likely I would have been able to defeat him. On this occasion, I was blown out of the water. Mistake after mistake, I was embarrassed.

The next tournament I played I made sure not to invite family or friends. I did not win by any means, but I made it past the first round and played a lot better. Without the pressure of trying to impress an audience, I found that I could focus on my game.

The morale of my story is that it is tough to play in front of others, especially people you know. But if you want to play in tournaments, you have to get used to it. It is part of the game. The best way to get used to it is to practice having an audience.

This past week in our Green and Orange Competitive programs, we held our own in-class tournaments. Athletes competed against one another in several rounds until there was a final match. This match had all participants and parents on the side watching the two finalists battle it out on court. The nervous looks on their faces said it all. For some of them this was their first time playing in front of such a large group of people. Mistakes were made, great points were played and ultimately there was a tournament winner and a runner-up.

One of the biggest things that we want to encourage in our programs is for players and athletes to feel comfortable when they enter a tournament. By simulating what it is like, they can avoid the growing pains like the ones I went through as a young child. Giving them the full experience in a safe environment will only make them more prepared for when they play in an actual tournament. A tennis match is not only a battle against your opponent, it is also a mental battle. Playing in front of an audience, whether it is 50 or 1 person, will only help you train your focus so you can block out the unnecessary and concentrate on what is important – the match itself.

Josh’s Fresh Take, signing off.

Stay tuned next month for Part 2 of my sit-down with the legend himself, Bob Exell. It will be a continuation of the previous month’s blog post.

May Long Weekend Facility Hours

Hours for UBC Recreation facilities on the May long weekend are as follows:

Student Recreation Centre

Saturday, May 19th – 9am – 9pm
Sunday, May 20th – 9am – 9pm
Monday, May 21st – 12pm – 6pm

Birdcoop Fitness Centre

Saturday, May 19th – 10:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday, May 20th – 12:00pm – 5:00pm
Monday, May 21st – 12:00pm – 5:00pm


Saturday, May 19th – CLOSED
Sunday, May 20th – 12:00pm – 5:00pm
Monday, May 21st – 12:00pm – 5:00pm

UBC Aquatic Centre

Saturday, May 19th – 8:00am – 8:00pm
Sunday, May 20th – 8:00am – 8:00pm
Monday, May 21st – 10:00am – 2:00pm

UBC Tennis Centre

Saturday, May 19th – 9am – 6pm
Sunday, May 20th – 8am – 6pm
Monday, May 21st – CLOSED

Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre

Admin Office hours:
Friday, May 18th – 9:00am – 5:00pm
Saturday, May 19th – CLOSED
Sunday, May 21st – CLOSED
Monday, May 21st – CLOSED

Proshop Hours:
Friday, May 18th – 8:00am – 10:00pm
Saturday, May 19th – 8:00am – 10:00pm
Sunday, May 20th – 8:00am – 8:00pm
Monday, May21st – CLOSED

Note: There are no public sessions this weekend due to the Challenge Cup

UBC Camps Office

Saturday, May 19th – CLOSED
Sunday, May 20th – CLOSED
Monday, May 21st – CLOSED

UBC Boathouse

Friday, May 18th – 9:00am – 1:00pm
Saturday, May 19th – CLOSED
Sunday, May 20th- CLOSED
Monday, May 21st – CLOSED

War Memorial Gym

Saturday, May 19th – CLOSED
Sunday, May 20th – CLOSED
Monday, May 21st – CLOSED

Josh’s Fresh Take: May 2018 Edition

The Legend, Bob Exell – Part 1

Coach and Communications Lead, Josh Martin, weighs in on topics in the world of tennis and shares his two cents.

This past week I had the opportunity to sit down with one of the legendary coaches here at the UBC Tennis Centre, Bob Exell. Bob has personally been a tremendous influence on my own coaching development and has provided an incredible wealth of knowledge and support in my three years of working at UBC. Naturally, I was interested in learning about his beginnings to the sport of tennis as well as his approach to playing in matches, both physically and mentally.

To my surprise, Bob began playing tennis at a fairly late age, around 16 years old, at his old stomping ground at Beacon Hill Park in Victoria. “I kind of fell in love with it. I would play after work. I was a student going to University and I got a job at the Ministry of Environment. After work I would head down to beacon Hill Park. I hadn’t really played before but I kind of fell in love with the game and started playing there.”

Two years later, Bob moved to Vancouver and began training at the North Shore Winter Club alongside former No. 1 ATP doubles player, Grant Connell. “Grant was 13 and I was 18 and we would meet after school. I was going to SFU at the time and we would just play for two hours every day except for the weekends. He was my neighbor too, relatively close, a few blocks away.” This training with Grant was where Bob really hones his tennis skills. He referred to himself as a ‘court rat’ as he was constantly hanging around the tennis courts trying to work on his game or play other athletes. This passion for tennis led Bob to coaching summers at the Lonsdale Rec Centre, to becoming an Assistant Pro at the West Vancouver Tennis Club, and at 23 years old he was the Concessionaire and Head Pro at Stanley Park. In the span of seven years, Bob started playing tennis for the first time, trained with Grant Connell, and finally became a head pro tennis player, giving advice and coaching feedback to athletes all over Vancouver.

Over the years, Bob has not been shy of participating in his fair share of tournaments. If you can’t find Bob coaching on court at the UBC Tennis Centre, it is likely that he is on court elsewhere playing in a match. His biggest piece of advice for players preparing for a tournament is to really know your opponent, both their weaknesses and strengths, so you have a better idea of what to expect before the game. “You have to think about what has worked in the past and try to exploit that style if it was working. If you are finding that you are being challenged by that player and you have not done well, then you are going to find some other way to try to win. Try different tactics.” For Bob, he loves to grind down his opponents and is well known as a ‘retriever-style’ player. Someone who loves to run and track down the ball across the court, which in turn can tire out and irritate a lot of players. “I frustrated a lot of people. They used to draw straws to play me in league matches because they did not want to play me. They realized the match was going to be super long. I think I had the longest match in Nationals one year, it went on for five hours and it was only a 3-set match.” Do not try and tire out Bob, he will simply play all day if he has to. Hours, days, nights – the Retriever lives on.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of my sit-down with the legend himself, Bob Exell.

Josh’s Fresh Take, signing off.