Notable: Jacopo Tezza ’06

Notable: Jacopo Tezza ’06

Jacopo Tezza understands the challenges and opportunities in devoting one’s life to tennis.

He started playing the sport as a child in Verona, Italy, eventually becoming a top five singles competitor in the Italian junior ranks. His talents earned him a place on the tennis team at TCU.

After graduation, Tezza spent some time on the professional circuit. Then he enrolled in graduate school at the University of Central Florida and served as an assistant on the women’s team.

Now, Tezza is academy director at the Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton, Fla., which was established by former tennis star Chris Evert, her brother and parents.

At the academy, Tezza shares his experience with the 80 junior high and high school kids studying tennis. He spends about half of his time teaching fundamentals on the court and half managing the daily details of the residential facility.

“I get the best of the two worlds,” he said.

Tezza stressed that turning youngsters into tennis pros requires a commitment to their holistic development. “We are very family oriented,” he said about the academy. On weekends, staff members take kids to movies, the mall or on special occasions, Miami Heat games.

Even after spending four or five hours a day on the court, Tezza said the training is worthwhile. “If you can overcome all the obstacles that tennis throws at you, I think the rewards are incredible,” he said. “Tennis prepares for whatever life throws at you.”