***As a freshman Victor went undefeated at 11-0. As a sophomore, he lead his team with 19 wins at the University of Arkansas. He then transferred and completed his time in the US at Middle Tennessee state University, where he was named team Captain in his senior season. In juniors, Victor was a three-time ITF champion, four- time provincial champion and national champion. He was also a part of the Canadian Junior Davis Cup Team. After playing for Middle Tennessee State University and receiving a Bachelors in Business Management and a minor in Business Administration Victor is currently a high performance coach at ACE Tennis in Burlington.***
As a junior tennis player in Canada you trained at ACE Burlington. How was your overall experience at ACE and did it help prepare you for college?
Training at ACE really helped my game mature in all aspects. I was put in a very competitive environment with many strong players together and we pushed each other in the weight room and on the tennis court. The way we trained and the daily competitiveness made the transition to college tennis a smooth one.
When you were coming up as a junior player, who or what inspired your passion for the game?
My father definitely played a key role in my passion for the game. Growing up, he had a huge passion for tennis and transferred that over to myself and my brother. We spent countless of hours on court together from the age of 5-10, there would be days where we would train 3 times a day. The time spent on court with him, really helped me develop my skills which fueled me to love the sport even more as I saw my skills improving on a weekly basis.
How has playing college tennis changed your game? Are you mentally and physically stronger?
College tennis has really taught me how to be a tennis player. Prior to college, I felt that I was a good ball striker. Many North American's are great ball strikers, but, playing against guys from all over the world, some with the most awkward technique has taught me that having pretty strokes and hitting a clean ball will not get you the wins. I had the privilege to compete in the SEC when I was at Arkansas for two years, and every match was super competitive as all the players in this conference were very strong. I felt that at my time at Arkansas, my physical and mental level really did improve, which helped me compete at a very high level my last two years at Middle Tennessee State.
You have now transitioned to being a Head Coach; working with many of ACE's young talents. How do you find your experience as a coach?
In my 3 years at ACE, I have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with some of the best players in the country. It makes my job much easier when many of the players that I work with are very coachable and dedicated to the sport. Being a young coach, I am constantly learning new things on a daily basis. I am very lucky to be surrounded by some of the best coaches this country has to offer, and they have played a key role in helping me transition from a player to a coach.
What makes a good coach? How much of your work is technical, tactical, psychological?
In my opinion, a good coach possesses the ability to motivate and understand the athlete. There are many qualities of a good coach, but I personally believe these two are very critical. I believe it is important as a coach to get your players to believe in themselves and to inspire them to do more than they think they can.
Being a former player, naturally much of my work is very tactical and psychological. On the technical side, I am learning and improving in this area daily. Luckily for me, I personally believe I am surrounded by some of the best technical coaches which really helps in my development in becoming a complete coach.
Do you find the 'level of play' different in the US vs Canada?
Canadian tennis has grown so much in the last 8-10 years. Being a country whose population is 10% of the US, we have done a great job in developing a structure that has allowed for tennis to grow in this country. Some of the up and coming stars of today's game are Canadian, which will only continue to fuel the development of Canadian tennis.
My main experience of tennis in the US was college tennis, so it is hard for me to say if the level of play is very different. We have great players, as do the Americans. However, I do feel the American's have an advantage with their competitive tennis as there are more professional and junior events in the US.
ACE has launched a new video system that allows for analytics of a player's game - how important is video analysis to your coaching? How do you use it?
The ACE replay system is something that I love to use when coaching my players. It allows me to visually show the player exactly what I'm talking about as oppose to them having to try and remember what happened in the first set of the match. Some of the things I like to show on the replay are court positioning, decision making, patterns and behavior.
Where do you see the game going in next five years?
With the advancement in technology, analytics is starting to make its way into tennis and I feel it will become very important in the next five years and beyond. Players today are so complete and finding that weakness can be so difficult, as you must be able to do everything well in today's game. Analytics gives you that little competitive edge, as it will allow you to study your opponents tendencies and patterns in critical situations.