20 Questions with PPA's Tennis Director, Alex Assaf

 

1. What’s your position(s) at PPA? I am PPA’s Tennis Director, Marketing Associate, and the 1st Grade Girls League

Director for Hoops.

 

2. How old were you when you started playing tennis? 5 years old

 

3. Did you play other sports? Yes, I played travel soccer and CYO basketball until 8th grade. In high school I played volleyball.

 

4. Who was your favorite player growing up? Andre Agassi. I wish I had his perfect backhand!

 

5. When did you start playing competitively? When I was 11 I realized that I wanted to compete in Junior tournaments which is essentially “premier tennis”.

 

6. What was your ranking in Junior Tennis? My best ranking of all time was #9 in U14’s (Mid Atlantic). I was Top 30 in U18’s and worked my butt off to get that since I was coming back from a shoulder injury that required surgery.

 

7. What’s your secret weapon on the court? Backhand slice

 

8. What was your summer job in high school? I started coaching tennis when I was 14 and would coach every summer through college.

 

9. Who was your mentor in tennis? My coach, Bear, was my mentor on and off the court. Everything he instilled on me I try to pass on to my students today.

 

10. What position did you play on your high school tennis team? #1

 

11. What’s your favorite memory from youth tennis? My team gave McLean High School it’s first Regional Title in 20 years. We made it all the way to the States Final and lost :(

 

12. What was the most challenging aspect of youth tennis? When you’re competing in Junior Tennis tournaments you have to be extremely mentally tough because you’re not allowed to be coached while you play. It can also get pretty lonely out there because you’re competing against your friends that you train with. I’m lucky that I always had my mom with me at every tournament to support me.

 

13. Where did you play college tennis? I played D1 Tennis at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

 

14. What did you study in college? Business Marketing

 

15. When did the PPA tennis program start? Fall 2017

 

16. How can you join PPA tennis? You can try it out for free by coming to one of our clinics or by scheduling a 1-on-1 with me! We are also offering 2 weeks of summer camp at the end of July.

 

17. How many tennis clinics are there? We have 8 total clinics. You can check www.ppateam.com/tennis for the schedule.

 

18. Who coaches the clinics? I coach the clinics along with 3 other UDC tennis players.

 

19. What advice do you have for aspiring tennis coaches? Every kid is different, but all kids learn better when they are having fun and that begins with you setting the tone that TENNIS IS FUN!

 

20. What advice do you have for aspiring tennis players? Never let anyone tell you that you’re not good enough. When I was 11 a coach told me I probably wouldn’t be good enough to play college tennis, let alone be a pro. Just look at me now!  

 

 

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