Diez looks for boost from Kelowna tourney

Diez looks for boost from Kelowna tourney

The top-ranked Canadian at the Kelowna Futures Tournament was once ranked 162nd in the world.

Toronto’s Steven Diez was once ranked in the top 165 tennis players in the world.

With plenty of hard work, perseverance and a little good fortune, the 27-year-old Canadian hopes to one day regain the status he enjoyed in 2016.

Diez, who has dual Canadian/Spanish citizenship, is seeded second among the 32 players on the singles draw at the Kelowna Futures Tennis Tournament.

Like Diez, most players this week at the Parkinson Recreation Centre are looking to earn valuable points to pave the way onto the ATP Tour and possibly into Grand Slam events.

A former Davis Cup player with Canada, Diez said there is a fine line between the calibre of players ranked between 100 and 400 in the world. He says what separates players at the upper level of the game is related more to psychological dynamics than the physical ones.

“All the players in that range are at pretty much at a similar level, except the top end guys,” said Diez, who is currently ranked No. 327 in the world. “I think when you have some momentum, and you feel that confidence you have to grab it and keep on going with it for as long as you can.

“Once you start moving up, there’s more points, there’s more money up there, it’s easier,” he added. “It’s more mental thing than anything.”

Like most professional sports, Diez says finding success in the ultra-competitive tennis world requires immense focus, commitment and dedication. It means living a life centred almost solely on a single pursuit where other aspects life often take a backseat to tennis.

Still, growing up in a tennis-oriented family Diez developed a passion for the sport early and hasn’t looked back since.

“It’s a dream,” said Diez. “It’s like a job, too, but it’s awesome in that you get to travel, compete and see the world. It’s not easy leaving family and friends behind, you go to bed early, you don’t go out that much, both those are things you have to accept to do this.

“My father played, my brother played, I basically grew up with a racket in my hand,” he added. “It’s what I love to do.”

Diez will take to the court in Kelowna on Wednesday afternoon for his first-round match against Alexander Day.

Play continues throughout the week, with the men’s singles final of the $25,000 tournament set for Sunday, July 1 at 1 p.m.

Storm causes havoc

When tournament director Joachim Nierfeld arrived at the Parkinson Recreation Centre Monday at 7 a.m., his heart skipped a few beats.

The windstorm which blew through Kelowna on Sunday night left the site of the Kelowna Futures Tennis Tournament in a state of disarray. Five of the seven tents on site had been blown down, windscreens had been torn off, while debris was scattered in every direction, rendering the courts unplayable.

With just three hours to go, Nierfeld feared the tournament would have to be delayed well into the day on Monday.

Then, his knights in shining armour arrived at the scene.

“Without me even asking, 10 to 12 volunteers showed up and started getting everything back in place,” said Nierfeld.

“I was very nervous about what we were going to do, I thought there’s no way we’re going to be ready. It wouldn’t have happened without their help, we are grateful to them, they’re the reason the tournament started on time.”

For more information on the Kelowna Futures Tennis Tournament, visit kelownafuturestennis.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Classroom chairs (Pixabay photo)
Kelowna elementary school flagged for COVID-19 exposure

Interior Health confirmed an exposure at Black Mountain Elementary School

Police outside a home on Leathead Road on Monday evening. (Jen Zielinski - Black Press Media)
Police presence at home near Ben Lee Park in Rutland

Several RCMP cruisers are on scene; Leathead closed between Franklyn and Hollywood

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
253 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths in Interior Health over the weekend

More than 1,000 cases in the region remain active

Sunnybank
COVID-19 related deaths at Oliver, West Kelowna and Vernon senior care homes

Sunnybank, Heritage Retirement Residence and Noric House recorded deaths over the weekend

Man arrested at home on Byrne Avenue. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Reports of Kelowna house fire with entrapment unfounded, man arrested

The report prompted a large response by emergency crews

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. turns to second doses of COVID-19 vaccine as supplies slow

Pfizer shipments down until February, to be made up in March

The Penticton Regional Airport saw just under 34,000 total flight movements in 2020. (Black Press file)
Penticton Airport sees 75 per cent drop in use in 2020

The airport saw under 34,000 total aircraft movements

B.C.’s Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training announced funding to train community mental health workers at four B.C. post-secondary institutions. (Stock photo)
B.C. funding training of mental health workers at four post-secondary institutions

Provincial government says pandemic has intensified need for mental health supports

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
No Pfizer vaccines arriving in Canada next week; feds still expect 4M doses by end of March

More cases of U.K. variant, South African variant found in Canada

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP intercepted an impaired driver Sunday afternoon, Jan. 17, 2021. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Impaired driver pulled off Vernon road thanks to public tip

RCMP Drug Recognition Expert called in for assistance in investigation of Coldstream man

Most Read