Rafael Fuentes honored
April 15, 2016
Tennis players from across California’s high desert came together tonight to present retired tennis pro Rafael Fuentes a lifetime achievement award in honor of his astounding resume as a player and instructor.
Born in a small rural town in El Salvador, he lived with his mother, father, and eleven siblings. Fuentes’s first encounter with the sport of tennis was when his mother brought home a fuzzy white ball one day. She told her children she thought it was a golf ball. After the family moved to the capital, San Salvador, he began his tennis career as ball boy at the local tennis club. Just a few years later he became a National Champion for the first time, eventually garnering five such titles, in two different countries. After his illustrious playing career he continued as a teaching professional for forty-six years.
Fuentes was Head Tennis Pro at El Panama Hilton Hotel in the Republic of Panama from 1963 to 1971. He then took his career to the United Stated where he served as Tennis Pro at the Midtown Tennis Club in Manhattan, New York from 1971 to 1975. He next served as the Tennis Pro at Transworld Oil America, Inc. in Manhattan from 1975 to 1989, becoming a citizen of the United States in 1980. In 1989, he became the Tennis Pro for Transworld Oil Ltd. in Bermuda, where he stayed until 2009.
Mr. Fuentes has been a member of the USPTA since 1972, has attended eight World Tennis Conferences and has given instruction in eighteen different countries. He is an accomplished tournament player and was the National Tennis Open Champion of Panama in 1964, 1965, 1966, and 1968, and was a finalist in 1963 and 1967. Rafael also held the title of National Tennis Open Champion of El Salvador in 1968 and was a finalist in 1969. He played USPTA tournaments in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Nevada, California, and Mexico. He also played deep into the Central American Tennis Tournaments in Costa Rica, Colombia, and Puerto Rico in 1965.
He currently resides in Victorville, California, with his wife, where he is a member of the Spring Valley Lake Country Club.