August 3, 2018

Tennis, lead the way!

550 words · 3 minutes

Tennis is my go-to. I love the energy it allows me to express on and off the court. It’s more than a sport, it became an addictive lifestyle with all of the traveling, training, and experiences it presents. It taught me how to be adaptable and it improved my interpersonal communication skills, my determination, and provided me with a hard work ethic.

After graduating from high school, I took a year off studying to play junior tournaments around the globe. My effort and dedication allowed me to reach my highest junior ranking, #69 in the world. That same year I had the opportunity to play Wimbledon.

After Wimbledon, I decided that it was time to go to college. I committed to East Tennessee State University (ETSU) where I earned a degree in Finance. The main reason I ended up at ETSU was because the head coach Yaser Zaatini and assistant coach Ricky Rojas were from Venezuela as well. ETSU also had a great schedule where I got to play some of the best universities and players in the nation. College was by far the best time of my life.

Representing my country!

One of my goals was to play professional tennis right after college. I was fortunate enough to play for three years. To be honest, it was a grind but I loved every moment of it. Since I was a child, my dream was to play Davis Cup for my country. Luckily, my dream become reality as I got to represent my country in Davis Cup against Uruguay and El Salvador. Unfortunately, professional tennis is a very expensive career path and I only had the financial support of my parents. Due to a struggling economy, I was forced to stop playing and leave my country looking for a better future. I ended up coming to St. Louis, Missouri where I started being a tennis coach at Frontenac Racket Club. After a couple of months, I decided to pivot into business and applied at the Olin Business School, a great MBA program. I got accepted and was also able to be an assistant coach for the men's tennis team.

Admittedly, being on court and playing myself is still my favorite part of the sport. However, since branching out into the coaching position, I have a greater appreciation for the sport in general. It’s a different level of excitement that motivates me when I transition back to being a player. Coaching the boys at WASHU and at Algonquin Golf Club has shown me how much it actually takes to be a successful player. When the role is reversed you see how challenging it really is to combine fitness, technique and the mental aspect all at once. That’s what makes tennis so unique. You can be super fit with great groundstrokes but if you don’t have the mental strength and willpower, it’s even harder to improve as a player. This becomes especially challenging when you are working with players whose goals are more exercise-driven than results-driven. Luckily, I can say that I learned how to adapt to that coaching environment as well.

I am very fortunate to be in the position I am today and am looking forward to what my future holds in store for me.

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