"I was born and bred in East Hampton," Paul Annacone told Hamptons.com. "There's such a great quality of life."
This summer, the former professional tennis player and current tennis coach
(who has worked with Roger Federer, Pete Sampras and Sloan Stevens) has teamed up with Gold Coast Sports Academy for Paul Annacone's Tennis Academy. The camp is open to boys, girls, and teens ages 5 to 16 and will take place at various locations throughout tri-state area, including the Hamptons.
When he's not traveling for work, Annacone splits his time between Los Angeles the East End. "This summer, with the Gold Coast Sports Academy affiliation, I'm looking forward to spending some more time out there with the kids and watching people get the rackets in their hands," he told us. "It should be a lot of fun."
We caught up with Annacone to learn more about the camp, his coaching philosophy and his favorite players to watch.
What drew you to tennis?
My parents played when my brother and I were little. They were both school teachers and we didn't have a ton of money, so instead of babysitters, they brought my brother, Steve, and I to the parks. When they were playing we would be running around and at the end, we'd get to hit some tennis balls. I kind of fell in love with it as a little, tiny kid and my parents thought I had a little bit of a talent there, so I started playing junior tennis from there. It just blossomed and it was like a dream turned into a goal and a goal turned into a lifestyle for me, which is quite nice.
Did you play on any local school's teams?
Camps will take place at East Hampton Tennis Club, Montauk Downs and Sag Harbor Park. (Courtesy Photo)
I did. I graduated from East Hampton High School, back in 1981, and played some high school tennis there. I left high school for 2 1/2 to 3 years in the middle of my high school career because there was no indoor tennis out there. So I went to Florida to Nick Bollettieri's tennis academy, so I could chase my dreams of professional tennis and get a college scholarship. But, I wanted to graduate with all my high school friends, so I came back and graduated from East Hampton High School. Then I went on to University of Tennessee for 3 years and after my third year I went pro and had a 10 year career playing on the professional tour. That got me into my coaching career. I've avoided real work for this long I figured I might as well keep up the good luck.
At what point did you realize you were good enough to pro?
When I was in college, between my first and second year, I went from about being ranked 50 in the country to number 2. I made a really big jump after my first year and then it kind of became a reality that I could probably have a chance at becoming a professional tennis player. After my second year, I was debating whether or not to go back to college, which I did for 1 more year, and then my third year in college, I was college Player of the Year. I didn't win the NCAAs, but I was ranked number 1 in the country. Right after the NCAAs, about a month later, I qualified for Wimbledon. I ended up getting to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon, nearly a month out of college. I lost to Jimmy Connors there and that was the springboard of hey, I actually can do this.
You've coached Roger Federer, Pete Sampras and Sloan Stevens. When working with such accomplished players, do you adjust your coaching methods to address each player's game?
That's the tricky thing about individual sports. To be a successful coach of an individual athlete, you have to conform more to how that athlete receives information. You have to have an openness to different types of personalities. Whether it's coaching those great players you just mentioned, or working with individuals at the camps. Part of our goal at the camps, in particular, is to get to understand how differently the kids think and try to get the right message across. My mantra is to figure out how to say what you want to say the way that player needs to hear it.
Who are some of your favorite players to watch and why?
Right now, it's been an amazing era. In the men's game you see [Rafael] Nadal, [Roger] Federer and [Novak] Djokovic all doing historic things. To see that has been quite a special time, for me, after being fortunate enough to spend 4 years with Roger and 7 years with Pete [Sampras]. I love watching that because I feel great players push each other and they make them play at newer and higher heights. I remember that with [Andre] Agassi and Sampras. I remember it back when I played with Connors and [John] McEnroe, and McEnroe and [Björn] Borg. On the women's side you see Serena [Williams] doing things that no other woman has ever done and it's just incredible. Serena's arguable the best athlete that's ever played the game. To see what Serena's done and the longevity of her excellence, for me, as a coach, it's fun to watch because it gives me new information and great pleasure to watch people achieve greatness. There's a lot of youngsters that we don't hear about unless you're immersed in the tennis community. There's a lot of young American men and women coming up, I think that that's going to start to filter out in the next 24 months.
What made you want to start the Academy?
The camp is open to boys, girls, and teens ages 5 to 16. (Courtesy Photo)
When I first talked to the folks at Gold Coast Sports Academy, I wanted to understand what they were trying to do and what their philosophy was. I had reservations because I'm just not there all summer. I wanted to make sure that their philosophy was very similar to mine, which was the hook. Their philosophy is how do we have the kids have a good time and how do we point them in a direction with that good time, so they can see how good they can be, regardless of what that level is. When we started talking about that, we started talking about coaching philosophy. The tricky part was, how can I do this if I'm not there every day? And then it became very simple, because my brother has a business, Annacone Tennis Management. My brother Steve was my coach throughout my professional career, so my brother has the coaching philosophy. I talked to him and said "I can't be there every day, but the only way I feel good about something with my name on it is if my philosophy is being pushed. Since you have the East Hampton Tennis Club, and the Sag Harbor Park and Montauk Downs
, why don't we tie it in so you can 'drive the bus' when I'm not here." That led to conversations with Gold Coast and we felt really comfortable because it would be Paul Annacone's philosophy day in and day out; whether I was there or at Wimbledon or at a tournament in the United States commentating.
Where will it be held on the East End?
It's going to be at East Hampton Tennis Club, Montauk Downs and Sag Harbor Park.
And it's open to beginners through tournament level players?
That to me is the catch all. A lot of times people just want great players or beginners. We're going to deal with all the skill levels.
For someone who is just starting out, what is the best thing they can do to improve?
Have a good time. For anyone who plays tennis, you can play from the time you're 4 till you're 104. If you enjoy it and reap the benefits of what the enjoyment does of hitting that little fuzzy yellow ball around, you can play it forever.
For more information about the partnership, visit goldcoastsportsacademy.com.
Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com
East End Tick Control
The East End's only New York State licensed dedicated tick and mosquito control specialists!
Hamptons Carpet One Floor & Home
We pay less,and so do you.With over 1,000 stores in our buying group, we can get the lowest prices
from the best flooring manufacturers — and pass the savings on to you.Visit our other locations: Hamptons Carpet One Floor & Home, 675 North Sea Road,Southampton, NY 11968
CP Complete- Landscape Design & Construction
Paul Guillo And Chris Hall
Two Of The Most Respected Names In The Community
Together, they are partners in CP Complete. They bring their years of experience
and integrity to creating and renovating luxury backyards.
Hamptons luxury real estate specialist for 33 years, Andrea Ackerman offers outstanding expertise in the field.
Hamptons luxury real estate specialist for 34 years, Andrea Ackerman offers outstanding expertise in the field. Trusted, experienced and successful, Andrea has solidified herself as the go-to broker of the Hamptons and a wholehearted advocate for her clients. A pioneer in the real estate industry on the East End of Long Island, she is driven by her passion for the business. Andrea is based in the Bridgehampton office of Brown Harris Stevens as a licensed real estate associate broker and consultant.
Formerly, a principal partner and Senior Director at Brown Harris Stevens, Andrea now assists in developing their corporate strategy for the Hamptons region, advising other brokers and sales associates, as well as being one of the top producers and listors.
Southrifty Drug 54 Jagger Lane, Southampton Village
Southrifty Drug is a small, neighborhood pharmacy with limited shelf space, and we have to be very selective about which over-the-counter items we carry. As a result you'll find a no nonsense concentration of very effective, high quality and useful products on our shelves. In this new section, we feature a number of these products that we feel are especially worthy of your consideration.
Burner Law Group, P.C.
Burner Law Group, P.C. are full service elder law attorneys concentrating in the areas of Estate Planning, Trust and Estate Administration and Litigation, Special Needs Planning, Guardianship and Elder Law. Offices in East Setauket‚ NY, Westhampton Beach, NY, and New York, NY.
Calissa is Mykonos in the Hamptons.
Our menu focuses on seafood and Greek dishes such as salt baked fish, seafood pasta and Mediterranean mezze. Our wine list has been awarded The Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator and boasts the largest selection of rosé in the Hamptons. The name Calissa is derived from the brightest constellation in the summer sky.Our sister restaurants in New York are Amali and Bar Marseille, opening 2020 in the Rockaways. Calissa offers private dining spaces for groups from 10 to 300 people. To plan your next wedding, corporate event or gathering, please email email@example.com. 1020 MONTAUK HIGHWAY, WATER MILL
WordHampton Public Relations
We build client revenues and reputations.
Our reputation is built on delivering a strong media presence and, as a result, demand for our clients' offerings, resulting in a positive impact on sales. Successful campaigns start with understanding the goals of our clients and developing a customized strategy that will achieve those objectives.