Here we have one of our international coaches Rodrigo Lencioni, he spends 6 days a week on court between Altona and Essendon Tennis Clubs. Let’s get to know why he started paying tennis and how he ended up in Melbourne!
1.When did you first pick up a tennis racket?
I started playing tennis when i was 6-7 years old. My family used to go to a club every weekend to spend the day. There were free tennis lessons for kids on Saturday and Sunday morning. I remember that the lessons started 9am in the morning and I was always the first in my family to wake up and go to the club. I loved tennis ever since.
2.Who influenced you to begin playing?
Well I was very young but probably my 2 older brothers that started first.
3.What player did you idolised growing up? Did they influence the way you play?
First I idolised Andre Agassi, because my first racket was the junior version of his racket and I loved it, but then when Nadal appeared, I started to look up at him. Definitely I was influenced by the way Rafa plays, as I use the western grip and love hitting with lot of topspin from behind the baseline.
4.What person/coach made you love tennis?
The first coach I started with made me love tennis, he is very passionate about coaching and introduced me to this world. He has been my coach since I started playing and until I was around 15 years old. He was also the lead coach for the level 1 coaching course I completed, so it’s safe to say I learnt a lot from him.
5.When did Vida come into your life?
When I arrived in Melbourne on March 2019, I contacted Ignacio and Martín, fellow Argentinian coaches that were already working for Vida. I sent my resume in and within a few days I was on court. I couldn’t believe how fast I found soo many hours.
6.What opportunities has tennis/Vida provided for you?
Firstly through tennis I made many good friends that I still am in contact with. I also learnt a lot about the importance of hard training and effort. Then when I started coaching, it gave me the chance to work doing something I love. It was a great part time job whilst I was at university as well as giving me the satisfaction of witnessing some of the young players I coached, grow up and continued in the tennis industry.
Moreover, it gave me the opportunity to work in a social programme, were we had to go to slums and coach in the street with mini nets, to kids that didn’t have the chance to go to a club and didn’t even know what tennis was. Through that experience, I met some amazing people, learnt to appreciate what I had and be less prejudiced.
Finally now, thanks to Vida, I have the opportunity to travel and live in this beautiful city, get to know a lot of new people and a completely new culture, while working doing what I love in a supportive environment.
7.How has your time at Vida influenced you as a person?
I have learnt many things from the other coaches during my time at Vida. It is a completely different world for me. The way the culture and style of coaching is very different which means I am continually learning and improving as a coach.
8.Why do you love coaching tennis?
I love teaching anything since I was a kid, and also love tennis, so coaching is something I enjoy a lot. In tennis you never stop learning, it is a sport that you can do all your life, and it’s amazing to witness how the younger players grow up and keep playing and trying to improve everyday. Furthermore, I consider that it is one of the healthiest sports, so we are giving the chance for our students to learn an activity that, apart from being very joyful, will keep them healthy and fit and they will be able to do it for the rest of their lives.
9.How has tennis influenced who you have become?
It has definitely influenced my personality. Tennis is an individual sport, that means that you are on your own during matches, so you have to deal with everything alone, make decisions without having the opinion of others. I think in my life I am a bit like that, even when I am in a social setting I will make decisions for myself without having other people’s opinion. Tennis has made me very independent, I used to go to the club to train by bus, and then come back home alone, since my parents were working and couldn’t take me. I then started helping the coaches in the club to have some money to pay for my lessons.
10.Describe Vida in one word?