John Yalowica smiles when asked how long he's been playing and teaching tennis around the Lower Mainland.
"Let's just say 35 yearsplus," the veteran instructor said.
A graduate of Dennis Van Der Meer Tennis Academy, based in Hilton Head Island, S.C., Yalowica is
the founder and president of Yalowica's Tennis Academy, based out of Maple Ridge.
Yalowica is certified by the Professional Tennis Registry U.S.A. and holds certification as a professional, according to the guidelines and standards established by the P.T.R./ U.S.A.
Yalowica loves playing but has a particular affection for teaching.
"I love when a light goes on and a player 'gets it,'" Yalowica said.
Over more than three decades, Yalowica has coached many tournament players. A few of his students have achieved national ranking and some played professionally in the U.S. and Europe.
One former student, who also plays professionally, is Paul Torngist, now the tennis director with the North Shore Winter Club.
Another protégé, Roger Balakrishnan, started taking lessons with Yalowica when he was 12 years old.
Balakrishnan went on to play professional tennis in the U.S.
The two have remained good friends and continue to play tennis together.
On Saturday, Aug. 11, Yalowica is hosting a Free For All Tennis event at the Pitt Meadows Athletic Park courts.
There will by prizes given away, games to play, and a chance to try your skill on a tennis ball machine.
"We want to raise awareness that the courts are even here," Yalowica said.
Balakrishnan hopes the upcoming event will shine a spotlight on tennis in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge.
"The idea is to get more people involved and play-ing," Balakrishnan said. "Right now, there's a resurgence. We're starting to see a lot of interest in Vancouver. It's a good time to start wanting to play tennis again."
People can register for this free event at 6042916955 or 778-836-2355.