Trent Tucker isn’t just giving tennis lessons. The founder of Tucker Tennis Academy and his staff of 13 are developing the next group of college tennis champions.
"These kids are the 1 percent of the 1 percent," Tucker says. "They fight for these coveted spots." So far, more than 100 graduates of the program have gone on to play college tennis and win scholarships from universities such as Pepperdine, Stanford, University of Illinois and Purdue.
Tucker himself played tennis at Holland Hall before going on to the University of Kansas, where he received a business degree. There, he was introduced to players from other countries. His KU tennis team won four Big 8 championships and earned the highest ranking in school history.
After college, he trained in Spain and played professionally for two years. He returned to the U.S. with a new philosophy of coaching. The regimen he learned overseas included more hours of training, both physical and mental, and more advanced, modern techniques.
Since its opening in 2000, Tucker Tennis Academy has become one of the top tennis academies in the nation. In 2014, it was named the best developmental program in the country by the U.S. Tennis Association. "You can’t get a higher honor," Tucker says.
He looks for players who want to work to play at the highest levels. "Our philosophy is to develop world-class players and people," he adds.
Today, his training staff includes experts from Argentina, Hungary, Russia and Brazil. Mental toughness is taught by a Ph.D. on the subject. The full-time program features 14 students; an additional 275 take lessons at the academy, located at the Grand Health and Racquet Club in south Tulsa.
Tucker claims players don’t have to go to either coast for professional training. "Others (coaches) take good kids and claim them," he says. "We take local kids and teach them tennis."