How the GPTCA Is Changing Coaching and Pro Tennis
By Paul Fein
You may not have heard of the Global Professional Tennis Coach Association, but sooner or later this new organization will come to an academy, club, or tournament near you. The GPTCA grew out of an idea that Alberto Castellani and Dirk Hordorff had bandied around for years. Why not assemble a group of world-class coaches to teach less experienced coaches the finer points and subtleties of the game? With their expertise, a corps of local coaches could improve aspiring pro players and help take world-class tennis to a higher, even more exciting level.
Their ideas came to fruition when the GPTCA was founded at a meeting of renowned tennis coaches during the US Open in 2011. “The meeting exploded with ideas, proposals, and commitments,” recalls Rainer Schuettler. “The idea to go to the ATP and ask for their certification came straightaway, and that was one of the many brilliant ideas the meeting generated.”
Castellani, a 64-year-old Italian, became GPTCA’s first president. He has coached the Moroccan Davis Cup team, Janko Tipsarevic, Ivo Karlovic, and 1992 Olympic gold medalist Marc Rosset.
Hordorff, Toni Nadal, and Schuettler were named to the GPTCA’s board. Hordorff is No. 9-ranked Tipsarevic’s current coach and guided Schuettler for many years. Nadal is superstar Rafael Nadal’s uncle and only coach. Schuettler is the 2003 Australian Open finalist and former world No. 5.
Supplementing that leadership nucleus are knowledgeable and experienced coaches Jose Perlas, Marcos Gorriz, Jean-Philippe Fleurian, Claudio Pistolesi, Boris Sobkin, Alexander Waske, and Larri Passos, who guided Gustavo Kuerten to three French Open titles.
The GPTCA’s mission is “to unify all world-class coaches in one association for the first time in history and to foster higher standards of professionalism and ethics,” says Castellani.
The association is already represented in 40 countries by national presidents who are well-known and respected in the tennis coaching profession. A complete list of the presidents and members, plus other important information, appears on the GPTCA website (gptcatennis.org) and on their Facebook page.
According to Schuettler, GPTCA coaches are focusing on the three most important areas in professional tennis: technique, mental strength, and physical skills. “In the next 10 years, every stroke will become better because everyone will work to make strokes even more sound and efficient,” Schuettler predicts.
The GPTCA accredits three levels of coaching proficiency. Level A certification is attained solely on the basis of achievements, such as coaches of Grand Slam winners or runners-up, coaches who reached at least Grand Slam finals as tennis players, and all former Top 10 players. Levels B and C certification is gained through successful completion of courses. Level B is designated for coaches working with Grand Slam, ATP and Challenger-level players. Level C is intended for coaches working with junior and Futures-level players.
In April, GPTCA courses will be conducted in Morocco, Germany and Brazil, while Italy, Germany and France will host sessions in May. During the rest of 2013, the U.S., Russia, Spain, Serbia, Taiwan, Myanmar, Dubai, Colombia and Finland will have courses. The GPTCA recently finalized an agreement with Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena Williams’ coach, to hold courses at his famous tennis academy near Paris.
The GPTCA’s growing prestige in the tennis-teaching world was underscored when it and the Professional Tennis Registry signed an agreement to partner from 2013 through 2015. The PTR has approximately 14,000 members in 117 countries. PTR CEO Dan Santorum says, “It’s a good combination because they’re dealing with information about how to coach on the tour. And the performance education we provide is more detail- and technical-oriented. So we felt we could help them and they could help us.
“High-profile coaches Toni, Dirk, Rainer, Alberto and others will be affiliated with PTR and also be speakers at our conventions. That raises the profile of the PTR, and we want our members to be as educated as possible.”
Paul Fein has received more than 30 writing awards and authored three books, Tennis Confidential: Today’s Greatest Players, Matches, and Controversies; You Can Quote Me on That: Greatest Tennis Quips, Insights, and Zingers; and Tennis Confidential II: More of Today’s Greatest Players, Matches, and Controversies. Fein is also a USPTA-certified teaching pro and coach with a Pro-1 rating.
See all articles by Paul Fein
About the Author
Paul Fein is a veteran tennis writer. His book, *Tennis Confidential: Today's Greatest Players, Matches, and Controversies,* was listed No. 1 among tennis books by Amazon.com and BN.com. For information or to order, visit Tennis Confidential on the web. His second book, *You Can Quote Me on That: Greatest Tennis Quips, Insights, and Zingers,* was published by Potomac Books Inc. in February 2005. Visit Tennis Quotes on the web.
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