When Rob learned to play tennis as a freshman at Larkin High School, it was simply to hang out in the spring with his friends who played for the school team. Incredibly, many years later that decision has proven to be life- and career-altering. After studying Leisure Studies with a concentration in Sport Management at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Rob eventually got back on the tennis track. Stints at Lincolnshire, Bannockburn and Heritage tennis clubs were next before his dream job at the Racket Club in Crystal Lake came calling and Rob still cannot believe his good fortune! Rob manages from the viewpoint that there is nothing more important to a club than its members and patrons.
Conni has been a big part of The Racket Club for most of her life. Beginning with group lessons at the age of ten, Conni has taken her passion for the game onto the instructional side and is now the club’s Director of Tennis. By understanding the unique challenges and opportunities that junior players face, she excels at teaching our future stars.
Being one of The Racket Club’s longest tenured professionals means John has left an impression on just about anyone lucky enough to work with him. As both an instructor and as the area’s premier stringer, John takes great pride in his work. You can find John on court with his adult lesson groups and ladies travel teams. Otherwise, he will be hard at work in the stringing room. Either way, you are sure to be pleased with the results.
It is not surprising that Crystal Lake South High School’s career record holder in IHSA state tournament points has become an esteemed professional instructor. It is also very exciting that this man, Scott Meier, is an important part of The Racket Club’s professional staff. Scott’s infectiously positive attitude on the court keeps him plenty busy with the private groups that demand his attention all year long.
Mark is a local talent who honed his craft at an early age on the courts of The Racket Club. That talent took him to the greatest heights of collegiate tennis, culminating in a key role on nationally-ranked Gustavus Adolphus College’s varsity team. Mark is a true natural with children, as evidenced by his “other” career as an elementary school teacher. Students of all ages and levels benefit from Mark’s wide breadth of experience.
Mike’s tennis career spans several decades and is appropriately impressive. Equally adept in singles and doubles, Mike scattered time within the top three spots for the Northeastern Illinois University varsity team. He has lent his talents to such clubs around Chicago as Heritage, Meadow and Midtown. With his ample experience as both a tournament player and an instructor, Mike can analyze the game from all angles.
The Racket Club boasts instructors who are active players themselves, John being a fine example. A former varsity player at University of Illinois—Chicago, John considers himself a perpetual student of the game, constantly studying the pros and noticing new ways to improve his game. Considering the technically precise way in which he approaches his own play, it is no wonder that his students benefit in like fashion.
At one time The Racket Club’s head professional, Mark now teaches a reduced schedule but still makes a big impact on his devoted protégées. With high school All-State honors and a sixth place finish in the IHSA doubles tournament, valuable contributions as a varsity tennis player at Marquette University and over twenty years of experience as an instructor, Mark can count on being in demand at all times.
Fortunately for the tennis world, a man of many talents like Tom — architecture, art, education, spirituality — has found that there is still room in his life to teach at The Racket Club. Tom’s enthusiasm brims over and his students pick up on it immediately, inspiring them. The theme behind Tom’s approach is for his students to not only learn the game, but to enjoy it. It only figures that he is a pioneer in the 10 & Under Tennis movement.
A man of many interests, Brian has worked his way up from casual player in high school to certified teaching professional. His passion really took off around age 30 as a player at (naturally!) The Racket Club. He began studying the technical side of the game while honing his own skills. Before long, he realized that helping others improve their play was equally fulfilling. Maybe when he is not camping or canoeing, he can do the same for you!
Woodstock High School legend Ana credits her success to the credo that hard work beats talent (although in Ana’s case, it is nice to have both in abundance!). After taking up tennis at the ripe old age of 3, she quickly ascended to the national level as a junior in her native Romania. Ana’s guiding principle is simple and brilliant: she makes every student’s goals her own as well. Hard to go wrong with that approach!
Spend any time at all on court with Will and you will quickly realize he has found his true calling. Growing up a few miles south in Elgin, Will played tennis for Larkin High, more of a football school, yet still managed to dominate Upstate Eight Conference play. He continued to showcase his talent at Bradley University. After college, Will perfected his teaching skills at Centre Court in Hanover Park, where he was Head Pro for several years.
Jovial Walter is a big hitter with a soft demeanor. Like many of the area’s best players, Walter learned to play and perfect tennis’ finer points right here at The Racket Club. Back then, the program was known as “Racket Club Intensive Training Program” and rest assured, he still trains intensively. With a varied background that includes poker as a profession and EMT certification, Walter keeps things moving at the right clip.
Let’s see, how many tennis pros have a) piloted over 250 aircraft carrier landings, and b) seen all four of the Grand Slam tournaments in person? Probably just Rick, and his career as an Air Force and then commercial pilot is not the only thing setting him apart. This renaissance man picked up tennis later in life and understands the challenges (and rewards) to learning the sport after age 30. USPTA-certified, Rick is the ultimate teacher of strategy.
Native Waukegian Betsy grew up enjoying park district tennis and played tennis and badminton for Waukegan East High School. A grad of one of the select few accredited Professional Tennis Management programs (Ferris State University), Betsy was also a top player on the college tennis team. Her fun, progression-driven approach to teaching has previously benefited Heritage Tennis Club and The Racquet Club of Lake Bluff.
Andrew’s enthusiasm for teaching tennis may only be matched or surpassed by his appetite for food -- although you would never know it from looking at him, he claims he is well-known for eating copious amounts! The Ferris State University Professional Tennis Management program and summers teaching at Royal Melbourne Country Club have prepared Andrew well, and he loves teaching technique with the assistance of video technology.
Always-upbeat Jeff has always been one of The Racket Club’s biggest hitting players, and it was only a matter of time before he became one of our biggest hitting pros. Jeff was a standout player in high school and enjoys playing tennis for the fun of the game, which shines through in his teaching. Rather than focusing solely on winning and losing, he shows his students how to enjoy tennis as a healthy and social activity as well as a competition.
“Coach Betts” is synonymous in the area for participation, character and achievement. Jon has built Jacobs High School’s tennis program into a historical powerhouse while employing a no-cut policy so that everyone gets a chance to play and learn. His dedication to service extends to every channel; Jon is also a big part of numerous local tennis associations, a fourth grade teacher and a busy family man!