5 min read
Clinton Jacobs had no intention of starting a tennis business. The South African-born tennis pro simply wanted to enjoy his eldest daughter's tennis journey, but it became harder and harder for him to take a back seat.
“When we moved to Fort Myers, his tennis pedigree became known,” said Clinton's wife Sarah. “We would go watch our daughter's tennis lessons, and the whole time he would get mad because they were teaching her the wrong techniques.”
Clinton was a top-ranked junior and competed in the junior Grand Slams. He later went on to play college tennis at the University of South Alabama.
“He didn’t pick up a racquet between 2007-2017,” Sarah said. “He was burnt out by the sport.”
After five years abroad, the Jacobs’ moved back to the U.S. with two kids in tow, settling down in Fort Myers, Fla. And that is where Fort Myers Tennis started. When Clinton began coaching his daughter Summer, other parents started approaching him about lessons for their children.
“We were very lucky, we got to Fort Myers before it got popular,” Clinton said. “We started on a little Facebook page and we put up an event.”
With Clinton's tennis background and Sarah’s business experience, the couple was able to scale their tennis program. They eventually secured a partnership with the City of Fort Myers, as well as the Punta Gorda YMCA.
Fort Myers Tennis recently celebrated its 5-year anniversary by holding a Universal Tennis Match Play event. They’re now focused on expanding their Universal Tennis programming.
“The most popular event by far is Match Play,” Sarah said. “Kids love being able to come and play two matches in three hours and it doesn’t take away their entire weekend. But we are super excited about the color ball pathway too because we have so many kids in that age range.”
The Jacobs currently host about 350 junior players per season. They find that the players really enjoy using the UTR Rating because it’s accurate and keeps them motivated, especially if they want to pursue college tennis. The parents and coaches also appreciate the flexible scoring format, especially on hot days in South Florida.
“We’ve managed to build a really amazing community around tennis and everyone enjoying the sport no matter at what capacity,” Sarah said. “The back of our shirts say #TennisFam and I think it’s really important to note that we see everyone involved in the academy as family.”
Are you interested in hosting color ball events or other Universal Tennis program offerings? Click here to learn more!