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Copyright © 2016. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.
Photo by Dave Kenas/USTA
Renowned tennis coaches Dick Gould, Tim Gullikson and Pancho Segura were honored as Team USA Coaching Legends at the third annual Team USA Coaching Awards reception held during the ASICS Easter Bowl junior tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, Calif. Guy Fritz, father and coach of rising American teen Taylor Fritz, and Diego Moyano, coach of 2015 Grand Slam boys’ champions Tommy Paul and Reilly Opelka, were named 2015 Team USA Developmental Coaches of the Year, while 4 Star Tennis Academy in Fairfax, Va., was named the 2015 Team USA Developmental Program of the Year, and USTA Mid-Atlantic earned the inaugural Team USA Player Development Section of the Year distinction.
“Every year the roster of recipients for these awards is amazing,” said USTA Player Development General Manager Martin Blackman. “Tim Gullikson coached and guided our great American champion, Pete Sampras, to his first four Slams. He was a great coach and a great person, epitomizing the standard of coaching character first. Coach Gould is a living legend; his elevation of college tennis in the 70s and 80s raised the bar for college tennis throughout the country and positioned college tennis as a pathway for American champions. He also showed the country that college tennis could generate revenue and galvanize college community support for universities. Pancho Segura is the embodiment of hard work and perseverance. The adversity he overcame to become a champion and a coach of champions as one of the smartest minds in tennis is one of the game’s greatest inspirations. He was a great player, a great entertainer and remains a great coach and mentor to many. Pancho was part of the barnstorming movement in the 1950s that ushered in professional tennis, and the professional game owes him and his fellow pioneers a debt that can never be fully repaid.
“Guy Fritz’s work with his son, Taylor, shows that a parent can be a great coach, and Taylor’s performance on the court and conduct off of the court shows that Taylor’s parents got it right,” Blackman said. “Diego Moyano’s work with Reilly Opelka and Tommy Paul last year shows the fruit of three years of coaching and mentoring and a passion and commitment to player-centered development. The fact the Tommy and Reilly have different personalities, game styles and body types, is a challenge that Diego embraced.”
Renowned for his understanding of the game, Francisco “Pancho” Segura, 94, is perhaps best known as the coach who helped groom Jimmy Connors into the world’s best player in the 1970s. Segura overcame his modest upbringing in his native Ecuador to win three straight NCAA singles titles at the University of Miami (1943-45) and become the Co-World No. 1 in 1950 and world No. 1 in 1953. He began coaching in the late 1960s, first out of the Beverly Hills Tennis Club and later at the La Costa Resort in San Diego, counting Connors, Stan Smith, Michael Chang and a myriad of Hollywood stars among his students. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1984.
Dick Gould, 78, is widely regarded as one of the best college tennis coaches of all time. Gould was the men’s tennis coach at Stanford from 1966-2004, where he guided the Cardinal to 17 NCAA team championships and coached 10 NCAA singles champions, seven NCAA doubles champions and 50 all-Americans. The Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Coach of the Decade for the 1980s and 90s and a member of numerous Halls of Fame, Gould coached eight different Olympians and 13 different Grand Slam champions (singles, doubles and mixed) at Stanford, including John McEnroe and Bob and Mike Bryan. Gould is now the John L. Hinds Director of Tennis at Stanford.
Tim Gullikson is recognized as the coach who helped turn Pete Sampras into the player who would become one of the best to ever play the game. Gullikson was a Top-15 pro himself, reaching the singles quarterfinals at Wimbledon and the fourth round of every other Grand Slam before retiring in 1986. He began coaching shortly thereafter, working with the likes of Martina Navratilova, Mary Joe Fernandez, Aaron Krickstein and Sampras, who reached the world No. 1 ranking and won four of his eventual 14 Grand Slam titles while under the eye of Gullikson. In 1996, at the age of 44, Gullikson lost his battle to brain cancer at his home in Wheaton, Ill.
Guy Fritz is the father and coach of 18-year old Taylor Fritz, who is considered one of the brightest young prospects in tennis. A former touring pro, Guy is a longtime junior development coach in Southern California – CoCo Vandeweghe is a former student – and helped guide Taylor to a 2015 season in which he won the US Open boys’ singles title, reached the French Open boys’ singles final, clinched the year-end world No. 1 junior ranking and was named ITF World Junior Champion. In February, Taylor reached the singles final of the Memphis Open ATP World Tour event, becoming the first American teenager to reach an ATP singles final since Michael Chang in 1989. His rise from outside the Top 1000 to inside the Top 100 – where he is currently the youngest player, by six months – happened faster than any player in history.
Three different American boys won a junior Grand Slam singles title in 2015. Diego Moyano coached two of them, guiding Tommy Paul to the French Open boys’ title in June and Reilly Opelka to the Wimbledon boys’ title in July. When Taylor Fritz edged Paul for the US Open boys’ title in September, it marked the first time in history that three different American boys won junior Grand Slams in the same year. A USTA National Coach since 2010, Moyano, a native Argentine known for his clay-court expertise, has also coached pros such as Robby Ginepri, Ryan Harrison, Denis Kudla and Grand Slam finalists Guillermo Coria and Fernando Gonzalez.
The 4 Star Tennis Academy, based in Fairfax, Va., creates the environment and provides the coaching for students to pursue excellence in tennis and in life. Bob Pass started 4 Star Academy in 1973, and has consistently produced top players in the Mid-Atlantic Section, nationally and internationally. In 2015, many of their players had stand-out years, including Ryan Shane winning the 2015 NCAA men’s singles championship representing the University of Virginia and 14-year old Natasha Subhash, who was ranked the No. 1 singles player in the country in both the Girls’ 14- and 16-and-under age divisions last year. In addition, Natasha qualified and won her first-round match at the US Open Junior Championships as a 14-year old. The 4 Star Tennis Academy also partners with Southeast Tennis and Learning Center in Washington, D.C., as one of the 11 National Junior Tennis and Learning Excellence Team Programs in the country.
USTA Mid-Atlantic earned the inaugural Section of the Year distinction both for the success of its top junior, collegiate and pro players and its commitment to developing their future successors at the grassroots level. Both the 2015 NCAA men’s singles champion – Ryan Shane, of the University of Virginia and Falls Church, Va. – and USTA Boys’ 18s national champion Frances Tiafoe, of College Park, Md., hail from Mid-Atlantic, as well as Denis Kudla (Arlington, Va.), who reached the fourth round at Wimbledon and ended 2015 ranked No. 69 in the world. Natasha Subhash was ranked the No. 1 girl in the nation in both 14s and 16s during 2015 and qualified and won her first-round match at the US Open Junior Championships as a 14-year old. Eight juniors from Mid-Atlantic were champions or finalists at the 2015 Easter Bowl and USTA national clay- and hard-court championships. Further, the Mid-Atlantic Player Development efforts, led by Bonnie Vona, hosted three Early Development Camp Coach Training Workshops and promoted cross-sectional play by hosting the four-section green ball “Capital Clash” competition.
“Bob Pass and 4 Star Academy had an outstanding year last year with results from their players, including an NCAA singles title, No.-1 rankings in older age divisions and an incredible impact being made through their NJTL Excellence Team collaboration with Jeri Ingram and the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center in the Washington, D.C., area,” said USTA Player I.D. and Development Director Kent Kinnear. “Congratulations to the 4 Star Academy on having an exceptional 2015 and on creating a program that has been impacting lives for over 40 years.
“The Mid-Atlantic Section, while not large in size, continues to be a strong leader in developing players that are making an impact at the national and international level,” Kinnear said. “The section also continues to feed and build the foundation of their next generation of players through their tireless work in executing Early Development Camps, ‘Train the Trainer’ Workshops, hosting the multi-sectional Capital Clash event and being home to two of the NJTL Excellence Team Programs.”
Copyright © 2016. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.