You’ve seen the pros using Wilson tennis rackets and gear, but we’re dedicated to developing coaches and the next generation of young tennis players too. Wilson is helping to grow tennis by supporting and sponsoring key coaches that are making a difference within the industry. A big part of how we do that happens behind the scenes and out of the public eye, but it’s an effort that we really believe in and would love to share with you! We’d like to start by introducing you to some of our coaches and young players who grind it out every day. You’ll get to know some of them over the next few months and hopefully get a little insider insight into the game.
Today, meet accomplished tennis professional and Wilson coach, Angel Lopez. Angel heads up the Angel Lopez Tennis Academy at the beautiful San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club and was nice enough to answer a few questions for us.
Wilson: How old were you when you started playing tennis?
Angel: 17. I started late because I grew up in a poor Hispanic and African American neighborhood. My coach was Pancho Segura who was also Jimmy Connors’ coach. I became pretty good pretty fast and ended up playing for San Diego Junior College which was ranked number 1 in Southern California. I eventually received a full tennis scholarship to University of Arizona
W: When did you begin coaching?
A: I coached pro tour from 1989 until 2000. From 89-90, I coached Zina Garrison from #11 to #4 on WTA. I coached her again in 1994 and ’95. I also coached Kelly Jones who was #1 in the ATP doubles in ’92. He reached #81 in ATP Singles. Others were Angelica Gavaldon, Lupita Novelo, Alexandra Stevenson, Tami Whitlinger-Jones.
W: What award or accomplishment are you most proud of so far in your career?
A: There are four big ones. The USOC Coach of the Year award in 1999, USPTA International Professional of the Year in 1995, PTR International Pro of the Year in 2005 , and World Team Tennis Coach of the Year in 1994.
W: What’s your overall approach to teaching tennis?
A: I get in the students’ world. I like to find out how the student works from the inside out, not the outside in. Everyone is different – the kids who seem quiet on the outside, are often the ones who are most competitive.
W: What’s your favorite shot?
A: Volleys – I have good hands at the net. I actually won the world ITF Senior 55 Mixed Doubles Championships this year.
W: What advice you would you give to young players who want to go pro someday?
A: Get a good education. It’s great to have the dream of beig a pro, but few people make it. You can strive for it, but make sure you have a good education to fall back on.
To find out more about Angel or his tennis academy, visit www.sdtrc.com/tennis/angel-lopez/