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He was declared a “Role model for Latino youth” on an American Latino National TV Show and the County of San Diego declared August 3, 2010 “Angel Lopez and San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club Day” for 30 years of serving the San Diego community. He’s meeting with City Managers to increase awareness of tennis in Elementary Schools, and donating thousands of dollars worth of tennis racquets to kids and schools all over Southern California and the border areas. He’s funding tennis scholarships and organizing free clinics and many tournaments.  Last month he was inducted into the San Diego Tennis Hall of Fame. His list of accomplishments and accolades is too long for this article. Who is this tennis professional quietly making waves in Southern California?

 

 

 

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Angel Lopez

 

 

Jon Muir, General Manager, Racquet Sport for the Wilson Sporting Goods company, says “Angel is a world class coach who continues to elevate his positive impact for our sport and industry. His achievements continue to reflect the high standard he has set for himself and his efforts to positively impact those around him.”  Southern California tennis has for sure been impacted by Angel Lopez. We find him on some prestigious Boards where professionalism, experience, and integrity are no empty buzzwords: United States Tennis Association, Southern California Tennis Association, San Diego District Tennis Association.

 

When Angel started teaching tennis in Southern California in 1979, no one could have known what path his professional life would take. After playing on a full tennis scholarship for the University of Arizona from 1976 to 1978 he played professionally under the guidance and mentorship of International Tennis Hall of Famer Pancho Segura. Reflecting on the work of his former student Pancho calls him a “…big asset to the game of tennis.” Segura’s friend and San Diego tennis personality Lorne Kuhle says "Angel Lopez is the predominant tennis professional in San Diego county.  His 30 year track record speaks for itself."

 

Lorne knows what he’s talking about. As former sidekick of the great Bobby Riggs he has come across his share of tennis professionals all over the world. Lorne owns and operates the Bobby Riggs Tennis Club in Encinitas, CA, and maintains one of the best kept secrets for tennis aficionados on its premises: The Bobby Riggs Tennis Museum. A place for tennis memorabilia, learning and reflection on an exciting era in tennis history.

 

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Gretchen Magers, Angel Lopez, and friends

 

 

Lorne knows what he’s talking about. As former sidekick of the great Bobby Riggs he has come across his share of tennis professionals all over the world. Lorne owns and operates the Bobby Riggs Tennis Club in Encinitas, CA, and maintains one of the best kept secrets for tennis aficionados on its premises: The Bobby Riggs Tennis Museum. A place for tennis memorabilia, learning and reflection on an exciting era in tennis history.

Tim Heckler, CEO of the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA), says about his 1995 USPTA Professional of the Year: “Angel Lopez is a model tennis-teaching professional. If you look at his history you realize why people think so. Not only has he been a Master Professional coach, but he has also been a competitive player with a highly ranked playing background. In addition, he has worked extensively to develop tennis in his community, including providing opportunities for underprivileged children to play tennis.

 

After achieving the certification as USPTA Master Professional Lopez became a top tour coach influencing the tennis careers of dozens of players including international talent like Zina Garrison, Michael Chang, Alexandra Stevenson, and Tami Whitlinger-Jones.

Heckler adds “He is former president of USPTA San Diego and has served his fellow professionals in a loyal and dedicated manner, much as he has the tennis community itself. USPTA is extremely proud of Angel Lopez. He epitomizes what a tennis-teaching professional should be both on and off the court.”

 

Today Lopez serves as Director of Tennis Operations at the San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club, where he has taught since December 1979. In 1997 he began operating the Angel Lopez Tennis Academy at the San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club, where he supervises eight assistant professionals who are all USPTA certified.

 

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Angel Lopez and Raquel Giscafre at the 2011 Mercury Insurance Open

 

 

The San Diego Tennis and Racquet Club is one of the largest and most successful tennis operations in Southern California. In an impressive Mediterranean-style surrounding of 10 sprawling and manicured acres, the club provides 23 championship tennis courts (16 lighted), including a Stadium Court complete with gallery seating for tournaments. In addition, the club recently added four permanent Quickstart courts. Pool, weight rooms, 7 indoor racquetball and handball courts, childcare center, and Courtside Grill make this facility highly desirable for a very large member base.

 

Angel Lopez writes on his web site "The development of the tennis player is the most important part of the Angel Lopez Tennis Academy. Winning is important, second only to the development of the player. We use tennis as a vehicle to also develop successful young people in life in our junior programs."

 

Honoring him for his work with juniors, Angel received the Southern California Tennis Association Service Award for his efforts in the junior player development department in 2007. The SCTA, one of the 17 national Sections of the USTA, wrote to Angel, “The example you have set by virtue of your exemplary conduct, leadership and expertise, while assisting programs conducted by the Southern California Tennis Association has earned you this substantial honor. Your favorable example has enhanced the level of sportsmanship in the program and has provided today’s junior players with an environment in which they can compete and excel.”

 

Bill Kellogg, Immediate Past President of the Southern California Tennis Association, says: “Angel Lopez is a true professional among teaching professionals. He is a terrific player in his own right.  He gives freely of his time, talent and money to worthy causes. He is a USPTA Master Pro and talented coach of professional players.”

 

Bill himself is President of the prestigious La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club and an accomplished international senior tennis player. The man who brought Davis Cup and Fed Cup to San Diego adds: “Angel is an excellent and dedicated club manager. He serves on USTA, SCTA and SDDTA boards in a volunteer capacity. And he does all this with a smile on his face and a positive attitude. He truly represents our sport in the best manner possible."

 

Last month Lopez surprised staff and students at San Diego’s Lincoln High School with a personal donation of 15 new Wilson tennis racquets and six cases of Wilson tennis balls. Carl Davis, a Center for the Arts Math teacher and Boys and Girls Tennis Coach for Lincoln reported about the donation in school publication VOICES OF LINCOLN. “With this donation we will be able to equip more students with racquets who don’t have one and can not afford one. Most students who participate on boys and girls tennis team don’t own a racquet of their own or it's the wrong size,” stated Davis.

 

Angel grew up in the Lincoln High area of San Diego. He knows about the challenges when it comes to funding tennis programs and buying equipment and wanted to make a difference in the lives of those students.

“I was very surprised because I didn’t know who Angel Lopez was and the tennis team doesn’t get donations very often. I was overwhelmed with excitement, budgets for sports programs are being cut, so this was great news,” added Davis.

 

Donating generously to tennis programs is one way for Angel Lopez to give back to the community he lives and works in. Last year he made similar gifts to Calexico High School, San Diego City College, Las Palmas Recreation Center, Montgomery High School, and the Mountain View Tennis Club. The kids benefitting from this generosity must have thought an angel was appearing out of nowhere. It sure looks like Southern California is truly blessed having a tennis professional like Angel Lopez in their midst. What do you think? Please comment.

 

 

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What do Gustavo Kuerten, Bjorn Borg, Venus and Serena Williams, Vince Spadea, and Paradorn Srichaphan have in common? Those are the most prominent names of thousands of tennis players who have been touched by the teachings of legendary Coach Oscar Wegner. And the master has made the LA area his new basis. His credo: Tennis is far simpler than it looks!

 

There is no shortage of tennis coaches in Southern California. Robert Lansdorp, Vic Braden, Billy Martin, Angel Lopez, Dennis Ralston, to name a few. One recent arrival, by way of Clearwater, Florida, is Argentinean tennis personality Oscar Wegner. His bio is as impressive as his drive to teach tennis to young and old, beginners and pros. Wikipedia writes He is credited as the first coach to draw a distinction between the way the best players played and the way the game was taught by the governing teaching organizations in the USA”. Wegner used this early observation, that tennis was being taught one way while the pros played in an entirely different way, to create his Modern Tennis Methodology. Brad Holbrook, TV Host and Producer, called Oscar “The father of modern tennis”, a fitting description for a man who switched from engineering to tennis in the sixties and made his profound mark on so many players all over the world.

 

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Wegner's web site statesWhile watching those shows in the early 1990's, a Richard Williams of Los Angeles, California, decided to apply Wegner's teachings on his daughters Venus and Serena. The results were phenomenal, and even without participating in formal competition, the two youngsters quickly showed their championship qualities, securing important financial endorsements that facilitated their future careers.”

 

MTM Certification

Although Oscar Wegner's methods have revolutionized tennis instruction around the globe they have met with resistance from the conventional teaching establishment in the USA.  Fortunately, that outmoded way of thinking has been gradually changing. TennisOne.com, wrote in their May 2006 issue: “A lot has been written about the modern forehand with its natural movements, open stance, windshield-wiper swing, and most importantly, tracking the ball and waiting before taking the racquet back. Much of this has been pioneered by Oscar Wegner, who has been teaching this method since 1968. Back then, this was very controversial, however, history has proved him right.”

 

Wegner says that over the years he has received numerous requests from coaches who teach using his techniques to generate specific certification procedures.  He created a coaching organization called MODERN TENNIS METHODOLOGY (MTM), designed to “fill a void at the grassroots level for simple and easy “Play Like The Pros” tennis instruction”. The certification process, in addition to a database of certified teaching professionals is handled through the MTMCA.com web site, home of the Modern Tennis Methodology Coaches Association.

 

Lucile Bosche´ is the General Manager of Oscar Wegner Enterprises, and an MTM Certified Coach. She says “This system is very different from conventional tennis teaching, with far superior results. It teaches you how the top pros stroke the ball, why and how to apply it to your game. The motto is: Find It - Feel It - Finish"

 

 

 

Publications

Oscar Wegner has published three books and a number of instructional DVD’s.

 

Books

  • “Tennis In Two Hours” was published in 1989
  • “You Can Play Tennis in Two Hours” was published in 1992
  • “Play Better Tennis in 2 Hours” was published in 2005

DVD’s

The astounding number of DVD’s and sets, described as “These materials are very revolutionary and may shake instructions you had reinforced for years”, include titles like

  • Tennis 101/Play Like The Pros (Classic Series)
  • Master Strokes Vol.1 & Vol. 2 (Classic Series)
  • The 10 Amazing Secrets (Classic Series)
  • Advanced Tennis Techniques (Intermediate/Advanced Package)
  • Ultimate Professional Coaching Techniques (Int../Adv. Pack.)
  • Tennis Into The Future Vol. 1 – The Basics
  • Tennis Into The Future Vol. 2 – Modern Footwork
  • Tennis Into The Future Vol. 3 - Coaching Modern Strokes
  • Tennis Into The Future Vol. 4 - Modern Serves and Volleys

Conclusion

Southern California is home to hundreds, if not thousands of remarkable tennis professionals.  True legendary teaching pro’s, however, who made a mark on professional and recreational tennis players alike are a rare species. Oscar Wegner is truly a legend and has evolved from tour player to coach for the pros to teacher for recreational players. He helped Gustavo Kuerten and Bjorn Borg (during his comeback run) to some impressive achievements. He indirectly was instrumental in getting the careers of the Williams sisters and so many other celebrity players to bloom. Now he is ready to apply all this knowledge and teach the recreational players how to Play Like The Pros. Southern California is lucky to have Oscar Wegner as its resident.

 

 

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