Renowned coaches honored
April 10, 2014
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Legendary tennis coaches Jerry Baskin, Nick Bollettieri, Robert Lansdorp and Jack Sharpe were each honored as Team USA Coaching Legends at the inaugural Team USA Coaching Awards reception held Wednesday alongside the ASICS Easter Bowl junior tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, Calif. Joseph Gilbert, coach of 2013 USTA Boys’ 18s national champion Collin Altamirano, was recognized as the 2013 USOC Developmental Coach of the Year, and the Junior Tennis Champions Center (JTCC) in College Park, Md., was named the 2013 Team USA Developmental Program of the Year at the awards reception, part of USTA Player Development’s Team USA initiative to work collaboratively with developmental coaches and programs across America.
“Jerry, Nick, Robert and Jack have given so much to the game and truly are American tennis coaching legends,” said USTA Player Development General Manager Patrick McEnroe. “Joseph and the team at the JTCC continue to raise the standard for player development in the United States. They all deserve even more recognition for their hard work, dedication and achievement in the sport.”
Baskin is regarded as one of the best junior development coaches in the country over the last 40 years. The 2002 United States Olympic Committee Tennis Coach of the Year and a 2004 Georgia Tennis Hall of Fame inductee, Baskin has helped guide more than 300 players to college scholarships and helped develop touring pros such as Brian Vahaly, Bobby Reynolds and US Open semifinalist Robby Ginepri.
Bollettieri is the personification of a coaching legend. An International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee this year, Bollettieri is synonymous with success at every level of the game. Since he founded the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in 1978, the players Bollettieri has coached are a who’s who of Grand Slam champions and world No. 1s, including Andre Agassi, Serena and Venus Williams, Boris Becker, Martina Hingis, Jim Courier and many others. Bollettieri has received countless honors as a coach and a community leader. At 82 years old, he continues to teach and run his academy at the 400-acre IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
Lansdorp began teaching in 1967 and has developed a number of Grand Slam champions, including Pete Sampras, Tracy Austin, Lindsay Davenport and Maria Sharapova, using his renowned philosophy and emphasis on discipline. Lansdorp, who grew up amid unrest in Indonesia, later moved to the United States and became an all-American at Pepperdine. He is a Southern California Tennis Hall of Fame inductee and continues to coach near his home in Torrance, Calif.
Sharpe has coached budding young players in the Chicago area for the last 40-plus years, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in college and on the pro tours. Now teaching out of Hinsdale Racquet Club, Sharpe maintains his status as one of America’s premier junior coaching experts, coaching current top-ranked juniors Gianni Ross and Axel Nefve, who have both represented the U.S. in the prestigious Les Petits As junior tournament in Tarbes, France.
Gilbert, the owner and director of the JMG Tennis Academy at Arden Hills Resort & Spa in Sacramento, Calif., coached both the USTA Boys’ 18s and 12s national champions this past summer. Altamirano, the former, whose victory earned him a main draw wild card into the US Open, was the first unseeded player to win the 18s title in the 71 years the tournament has been played in Kalamazoo, Mich.
The Junior Tennis Champions Center, a USTA Certified Regional Training Center since 2008, trains more than 150 students full-time and more than 1,000 during the summer camp season. Having produced and coached Top 100 professionals such as Denis Kudla and Alison Riske, as well as numerous top college players, the JTCC, and its high performance “Champions” program led by Vesa Ponkka and Frank Salazar, trains a number of top-rated American juniors, including 16-year old Francis Tiafoe, who became the youngest-ever Boys’ 18s singles champion at the prestigious Metropolia Orange Bowl in December.