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I'm a right-handed player with a one-handed backhand. My best weapons are serve-returns and footwork. I started playing tennis at 10, mostly on clay courts in Tunisia. At 12, I started playing tournaments. At 14, I became part of my city's elite team. At 19, I became national champion of Tunisia par equipe for men under 20. As a teenager, I won 4 tournaments. In 2019, I became a USTA state champion (of Oregon) in mixed doubles (9.0, 18+), and Eugene YMCA's champion in singles (while beating all the YMCA coaches). My 2019 ratings are 4.5 (NTRP) and 9 (UTR). Here's a picture of me at 12 as a ball-boy for my club's tournament in 1987.
I'm a USTA licensed tennis coach, with a specialty in youth coaching. I've been coaching tennis at Eugene's YMCA since 2016, where, in addition to launching tennis tournaments, I taught all their weekly classes for youth and adults, before I designed new adult classes for different levels. I currently have about 2 dozen regular YMCA clients, and about half of them are adults, including a 91 year old! I also coach tennis at local elementary schools through USTA's TGA program since 2018. Here's a picture with my kids at a private (heaven) grass court in Eugene.
Tennis is a game for life, and it increases life expectancy by 10 years; higher than any other sport! Whether you're a beginner who wants to learn everything from scratch, or an intermediate player who wants to fix few strokes, or an advanced high school player who wants to upgrade his or her mental game, I will help you take your tennis to the next level, without losing focus on fun and fitness. My clients often ask me to teach them my (very) topspin forehand, my (very) sliced backhand, and my dropshot volleys (also known at YMCA as "the Mo shot"). Here's a picture of me warming up with a 4 year old client at YMCA, while waiting for our court reservation.
I do all my lessons at YMCA because they have all the tennis equipment we may need (including free used rackets and a ball machine), their court dividers keep balls from interrupting other courts, their renovated lights allow us to play after dark, their renovated roof means no last-minute cancellations due to rain, and playing indoor means warmer winter and cooler summer temperatures than outside. Here's a picture with my group of 5 students.
To book sessions, please call/text/email me to check YMCA's court availability before reserving a court.
(youth tennis players must be within 2 years of each other, unless all the players are siblings)
(when siblings attend the same lesson)
* These are YMCA members' prices. For non-YMCA members, please add $10 / person / lesson, or $60 / family / year.
Many things make playing tennis on clay more special. It's not just easier on ankles and knees as you get older. You also become a better judge of close calls, as you can immediately check the mark of the ball. After playing, watching the red clay go down the shower drain makes you feel like a brave warrior who just came back from a bloody battle.
Growing up in Tunisia, all Tunisians watched every Roland Garros, because the whole nation only had 1 French TV channel! When you play 5 sets on the slowest tennis surface, you need to run like Forrest Gump and remain healthy and rested enough for the next marathon. Big servers can no longer win easy boring points in 3 shots. In long rallies, it becomes a chess game of endurance and patience!
Dropshots are the opposite of powershots, so successful dropshots should start with the element of surprise. A nice bluff makes the opponent's reaction slower, and sometimes leaves them glued to the floor. The best dropshots make opponents run in vain to make them more tired. The tastiest dropshots are the ones after which the opponent shows a lot of frustration. The coolest ones are the unreachable super-sliced "retro" dropshots.
Pelé, the best soccer player in the 70s, meets Federer, the best tennis player in history. Federer has a natural tennis style because when he hits the ball, he makes sure his entire body stays as fluid and relaxed as possible throughout the entire shot, to the point that he doesn't even turn his neck to see where the ball is going, because he memorized the court dimensions, and he trusts the ball will land exactly where he visualized it. My other favorite players are: Jimmy Connors, Yannick Noah, Thomas Muster, Pete Sampras, and Serena Williams.
Nadal rarely turns his body during his forehand, so he doesn't need to run an extra step before each forehand shot; meaning he saves energy on each point compared to his opponent. Since he doesn't rely on (turning) his legs to add power to his shots, he must compensate with topspin velocity, so he uses a very closed topspin grip with a very bent out wrist, and instead of rotating his waist and shoulder, he rotates his wrist and elbow like a ping-pong player. As a clay court player, I'm proud to master that shot too.
In my tennis club in Tunisia, my generation constantly competed for best imitation of Edberg's pure backhand. Nobody was interested in a 2-handed backhand. During my backhand passing-shots, I always pretend I'm Edberg. My mom called me crazy every time she caught me in the kitchen imitating Edberg's backhand in slow motion and without a racket. Today, I'm happy my fascination with Edberg's backhand paid off, as I have one of the best backhands at YMCA, both topspin and sliced.
Polina (9) is a native French speaker, so our tennis lessons are 100% in French! Here's the first minute of her tennis career: