Gonzo Interview

Hi Gonzo – Tell us a bit about yourself…

I am from Argentina, from a little town in the state of Cordoba, a little town with a lot of tennis and soccer. I lived there for 15 years and then my family moved to Buenos Aires where I lived for almost 20 years until I moved to Boulder.

How (and when) did you get into tennis?

My dad was a tennis coach and my older brother a very good player that I always wanted to beat. Of course, I never beat him, but he helped me to be a better tennis player. I don’t remember when I started; I think I always played tennis, even from before I can remember. I know I played my first tournament when I was 7 years old. As a junior player I reached the #2 ranking in the State and the #10 ranking in the country. During my teen years I played 1st & 2nd division in Buenos Aires At 22 I played tournaments in Italy, Spain and France for a year. In Spain I played Carlos Moya, a player from Spain who reached #1 in the world years after.

When did you begin teaching tennis?

I started helping my father when I was 15 years old. I got my first job as a Tennis Director for a club in Argentina at the age of 18. I have been teaching tennis for 25 years. I taught in Argentina, Italy and Spain.

When did you begin teaching tennis in Boulder?

I have been teaching in Boulder since 2002. I started teaching some lessons for the City. From 2003 to 2006 I worked in Longmont (LAC). Gonzo Tennis has been in charge of the teaching programs for the City of Boulder since 2007.

Do you have any tennis-related achievements you are particularly proud of (or that people should know about)?

In 2003 I coached a junior player at the US Open, the Grand Slam that is played in New York. That was a really valuable and fun experience that I won’t forget.

What do you like most about teaching tennis in Boulder and for Boulder Parks and Recreation?

Five years ago I liked the idea and the challenge of developing a quality tennis program for Boulder that could reach a lot of people and, specially, put a lot of kids in the court. After a lot of work (and a lot of help from the Parks and Recreation team) we put together a very good tennis program.
Last year (2010) our tennis program had 1300 registrations (400 in 2005) and in the last two years our Boulder Smash Junior Tennis Team had 15 state champions and 20 state finalists, all kids from our program.
I truly appreciate the opportunity that the Parks and Recreation team gave Gonzo Tennis to be able to develop this program.

What do you like most about Boulder?

I like that is a very friendly town, and people are nice to each other. I always liked the mountains and I felt at home since I arrived here.

What are your favorite Boulder restaurants, indulgences, personal interests/leisure activities?

Pizza is my favorite food (Beaujo’s and Nick and Willys are my favorites in town.) and I always enjoy a good barbecue at home with friends. Spending time with my daughter Olivia is, so far, my favorite indulgence. I like going camping next to the water, swimming, traveling, and listening to live music. I also like a good bath in the hot tub.

What are you most looking forward to about the coming tennis season?

Our main focus is to develop the Tennis Teaching Center. We want it to be the place for tennis in Boulder. It will improve our program even more. I am expecting a busy and fun year of tennis in Boulder.

Teaching experience

Gonzalo has been teaching tennis since 1984 as both a private instructor and director of tennis programs at private clubs and municipalities. Prior to founding Gonzo Tennis he worked for the City of Boulder and the Longmont Athletic Club. Before settling in the United States Gonzo was director of Tennis at the exclusive, and highly successful Mapuche Country Club in Buenos Aires, Argentina. As the Mapuche club director he was responsible for the creation and development of the adult and junior programs. He saw to the growth of all levels of player, from beginners to aspiring ATP pros. He personally trained a cadre of teachers and coaches at the club, all the while maintaining coach status himself.

Gonzo spent his early coaching years creating programs designed to promote enthusiasm for the sport. He developed tennis in the private club environment with that goal in mind. He has since translated his success as a club coach to reach students  of all economic backgrounds – reaching out to city governments and school districts. As a Level 1 teacher with the Argentine Tennis Association (AAT), Gonzalo initiated one of his most enjoyable projects. For three years he managed a team of four teachers in developing the project “Tennis at the School”, a national initiative aimed at developing physical coordination in children 3 to 8 years old through the teaching of tennis. The program reached over 80,000 children.
In 2003 he had the great pleasure to coach a Junior to US Open.

Playing experience:

As a Junior player Gonzalo was ranked #2 in the U-12 State ranking and was the #8 ranked junior in Argentina. He played in 1st. division in Argentina in 1990-1992.  He has also competed as a professional player in France, Spain and Italy. One of his most memorable moments was playing in a semifinal in Spain against Carlos Moya, former No. 1 in the world.