Leon van Voorthuizen – Perth, Australia
Role: Operations Manager and Director of Coaching at Xavier College
1.When did you first pick up a tennis racket?
I first picked up a racket when I was 5 years old. I would play totem tennis in the backyard against my sisters. I would also head down to the local tennis club with my Mum and play against the wall whilst she played her social doubles.
2.Who influenced you to begin playing?
My Mum was the biggest influence on me playing tennis. She played twice a week at the local tennis club so on the holidays I would head down and join in with the ladies. She also introduced me to a local junior tennis club where I began to play tournaments and junior pennant.
I do blame her for me playing tennis right handed as I do everything else left handed, as I mirrored what hand she had the racket in!
3.What player did you idolised growing up? Did they influence the way you play?
I had a few players I enjoyed watching. Andre Agassi was always a favourite of mine. He was small in stature but timed the ball so cleanly.
Lleyton Hewitt was someone I always enjoyed watching as he grinded all day. He was someone that influenced the way I played, he never hit many winners but just forced opponents into mistakes.
4.What person/coach made you love tennis?
I never enjoyed being coached, so most of my time was spent playing social tennis at the local club with friends. Lindsay Groom was a volunteer at Glen Forrest Tennis Club, he was a great mentor to me. He was always there to answer any questions I had but was never invasive. He gave me a real passion to keep playing and to begin coaching to develop the next generation.
5.When did Vida come into your life?
In March 2018, I moved over to Melbourne from Perth to support my girlfriend with her Masters at Melbourne University. I reached out to Kane about potential employment opportunities and he responded almost immediately. I was only in Melbourne for 5 weeks before I went to the US to take up my position as Tennis Director at Windridge Tennis and Sports Camps. Kane and Vince saw the value I could add and got me on board so I could hit the ground running when I returned to Australian soil.
6.What opportunities has tennis/Vida provided for you?
Tennis has given me the opportunity to travel and work doing something I love and am passionate for. I spent a year in Europe playing club tennis before spending 5 summers coaching in the US as well as 6 months coaching in Canada. I have recently taken up the position of Operations Manager and am loving the flexibility and the constant learning of both tennis and business aspects that Vida has to offer. Vida is constantly looking forward and I have the freedom to choose my path knowing I have the support of a great team behind me.
7.How has your time at Vida influenced you as a person?
Vida has a clear vision and values that each coach lives by. Vida has given me an opportunity to work in a business that is constantly evolving and expanding. I know that if I set goals Vida will assist me in achieving them as all the coaches are invested in the process.
8.Why do you love coaching tennis?
I love impacting kids in such a way that they remember who I am and how I helped them. Even if it has nothing to do with tennis, if I teach a kid something that they will use for life I know I have done my job.
9.How has tennis influenced who you have become?
Tennis has made me a more positive and mentally strong person. I don’t get annoyed or stressed as it will impact more than just that moment. I enjoy working in an industry that is impacting people’s lives on a daily basis.
10.Describe Vida in one word?