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New tennis coach loves players' attitudes

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    Tony Martinez has been bouncing around tennis courts all over Texas for several decades.

    One thing he’s learned in his love affair with the game and teaching, is how to size up a situation.
    After just a few days in town, Martinez thinks he has a good situation in Sulphur Springs.
    “Some kids think they know it all and know tennis. Not here, these kids in Sulphur Springs, the ones I have seen are very coachable,” Martinez said. “I like that, I can tell you good things are going to happen here.”
    Martinez is looking over current and future talent as he conducts a tennis camp at the high school. He’s very encouraged with the players he has to work with at the high school and middle school level.
    “They are very receptive and that makes me even more excited,” Martinez said. “They want to learn and get better. We did a service return drill the other day they had not seen before. They learned from it and wanted to do more. That’s great. They are paying attention. Everything has been very positive. They can tell, I know a little about tennis. They ask really good questions and listen attentively.”
    Martinez, a graduate of Wichita Falls Rider, has more than 25 years of coaching at the high school and college level. He attended Texas A&M-Commerce when it was East Texas State University, along with Midwestern University and Texas A&M-Kingsville.
    He has coached as Calallen High School and Tuloso-Midway in Corpus Christi and conducted camps for the University of Texas in Austin and in Corpus Christi. Martinez is also a USPTA certified tennis coach and umpire
    The 2014 the Calallen tennis team was ranked No. 7 in the state. The UT-Austin Men’s team was a NCAA semi-finalist and Big 12 champions in 2010.
    Martinez said he was already glad to see the facilities improving with the upcoming addition of tennis courts at the high school.
    “I will be coaching at the high school and the middle school,” Martinez said. “I look forward to working with the kids and being part of the community. I’d also like to introduce tennis on the elementary level in the future.”
    Martinez is quick to credit former SSHS tennis coach Randal Namanny who is now coaching in Lindale.
    “This program was going well —with a good foundation by Randal, when I just got here,” Martinez admits. “The program was already headed in a good direction and now I get to take over a aim for going to the next level. The parents are fired up about it and I am too. I want things here to keep on growing.”
    Martinez said, “We might not win right away, but it will come because the kids are competitive. District is tough, but we can’t worry about that. We have to do things the right way on our team. All I can ask is for the players to improve and compete while staying positive about what we are trying to accomplish. You might get knocked down, like the boxer Rocky... what shows your character, is how you get up.”




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