I began playing the game at age four here in Las Vegas. My mother was an avid 4.5 player and introduced me to the game. She’s still very involved with junior tennis and is on the NTA scholarship committee. Whether it was hitting on the wall for hours at Bob Baskin Park or hitting serves at the Sands with my mom, tennis was my life. I knew from a young age that all I wanted to do was be around the game I loved. I was blessed to work with the likes of George McCall and Pancho Gonzales through the NTA Future Stars program. People like Sandy Tueller took me under their wing and provided free coaching for me and gave me an opportunity to develop correctly.
My first tournament was at the Desert Inn and Marty Hennessey handed me my first trophy. I was befriended by his son, Mike, and we still are friends today. By 11 I was the No. 1 junior in southern Nevada. During my junior career I was No. 1 in Southern Nevada and reached a high of No. 3 in the Intermountain section and top 50 nationally.
I had impressive wins over top 20 players, but I could not afford to travel, which affecting my ranking. Pros like Jim Prisock, Sam Aparicio, and Pat Dupre played a huge part in my early development. I had the privilege to play in Japan at age 12 and lived in Florida at age 13 for a summer. I went to the Rick Macci Tennis Academy and received some of the best coaching the world had to offer. I trained and roomed with Andy Roddick and we had Venus and Serena training in our camp, too!
In High School, I received a full scholarship to play tennis for the Meadows School and won the high school state championship my senior year. I played shortly for UNLV, then ran the junior Program at Anthem CC from 2002-2005. I then went to live in Spain during the summer of 2006 and trained with the Spanish Tennis Federation. I played some Futures on clay and came away with a lot of knowledge. I trained with current touring pros Fernando Verdasco, Feliciano Lopez, and traveled for a few weeks as a hitting partner with Olympic Gold Medalist Nicholas Massu. When I got back to the States, my coach and friend Sam Aparicio was on tour with Vince Spadea and brought me on as another hitting partner. I still remain friends with all these players and it was an experience of a lifetime. It gave me a lot of confidence to know that I could hang with the big guys. Unfortunately my hopes of playing pro tennis were short lived due to finances and a career threatening ACL injury.
I decided that I would stay in the game I loved and began full time coaching. In 2007, Aparicio and I started running Spanish Oaks Tennis Club. In 2008, we worked with some of the Valley’s finest players including Brandon Parker, Evan Song, and Stan Breland. I’m coaching Breland full time and plan on going to the 18s Nationals with him this summer.
Last year, I went to Wimbledon and the US Open and was around some of the best coaches in the game, including family friend Paul Annacone. He taught me a lot and I came back with so much insight. I’m always striving to learn from the best and bring that knowledge into our community.
After working the year with Evan Song, I took the Head Coaching Job at Green Valley High School. I have deep passion for the community and to promote the game of tennis at the grass roots level, so this year I started a full time program at Green Valley High School.
By the fall of 2009, we will have four elementary and two junior high schools filtering into the Green Valley High School program. I also started up lasvegastennisgetaways.com, a VIP Las Vegas tennis travel experience. I also am the head pro at The Club at Madeira In Henderson.
Over the past few of months, I was able to hang out with my friend Fernando and train with the Agassi camp. I spent a lot of time with him before his run to the semis of the Australian Open and at Indian wells. It was an incredible honor to learn from trainer Gil Reyes and his unconventional approach to fitness and tennis. It was an inside look to what has brought Fernando to top 10 in the world.
I plan on having a great summer of coaching and playing a few pro doubles tournaments with local ATP pros and friends Brian Wilson and Joel Kielbolwitz. I have summer tennis camps running at Oaks and Madeira. I look forward to helping my local community and networking with other great pros to make Las Vegas a force in the tennis world.
Read the article at Inside Tennis Magazine.