Hunter Reese is in a league of his own. The 29-year-old Georgian doubles dynamo has never been the type of elite athlete who’d sit still in between matches in hopes of preserving energy for future competition. Instead, the former NCAA champ from has developed a knack for seeking adventure; or in many instances, the adventures have a way of finding him first. Upon graduating from the University of Tennessee, where he broke numerous records that include claiming a second-ever NCAA doubles title for the Vols, Reese decided to continue his tennis journey and venture onto the pro circuit. Fast forward to today, and Hunter Reese is a top 100-ranked doubles player, who’s competing in the main draw of Roland Garros for the first time in his career starting next week. Sitting at a career-high rank of roughly 80 on the ATP world tour, Reese has never lost sight of the fact that doubles is a team sport, and your success relies heavily on how well the duo meshes together on any given day. His partner in crime for the year so far has been Sem Verbeek of the Netherlands; they first linked up as a team in 2020 at on the challenger tour and then again last summer in the Newport ATP event where they won a round and never looked back from there. “We approach the game similarly, analyze the matches, are objective about the games and speak the same language,” says Reese of the on-court compatibility he shares with his doubles partner, which he says is hard to realize in every team. “We are focused on the long term and we don’t need results tomorrow – we clicked on all of that.” Reese says he and his partner only intended on playing together up until this point in the year, but that could change given how well they’ve performed so far and the schedule ahead. Unlike other sports, a tennis player’s schedule is predictable in that it’s quite unpredictable; you have to be ready to gather your belongings and rush to another city depending on where you stand on an event’s entry list versus another tournament scheduled simultaneously. With that said, you’re experiencing many sights and sounds off the court, so wouldn’t it seem natural that your doubles partner automatically becomes your best friend in activities outside of tennis? According to Reese, while he’s definitely good friends with his partner and many others on tour, spending a portion of quality time on the road by yourself without any interruption can be beneficial. “I quite like that time alone and having time apart; I think that’s really healthy,” says Reese on how he handles himself off court. “You can’t be around the same person 24/7, even if they’re your best friend.” In the upcoming Roland Garros championships alongside Ramkumar Ramanathan of India, Reese’s mentality remains the same: Chase after what’s in front of you. “It was always my dream to play professional tennis,” says Reese, who’s playing in his fourth Grand Slam event with the help of the V-Feel 8-315 in hand since the US Open last fall alongside fellow American Evan King. “Realistically that wasn’t going to be an option as a kid. My highest ranking was 4 in the country; I was good but not on track to turn pro. And the way I was raised, was you go to college.” After completing that chapter in his life, Reese had his sights set on playing professionally or perhaps teaching tennis as an assistant coach for a collegiate tennis squad. Either way, he had tennis on his mind and wanted to map out exactly how the chips would fall for him. “I love to have a plan – but tennis has taught me and my career that you can’t always have one,” Reese says. “Days before an event and I don’t know where I am going to play next week – and then you just make a plan and go. I just learn to surrender a little bit and like the illusion of control.” As everyone knows, winning a pro event week in, week out is an almost impossible task (unless you’re Swiatek); and you have to accept the fact that more losses happen than wins which interestingly can help you become a better tennis player as a whole. Rather than dwelling on a loss, Reese takes it upon himself to become immersed in Mother Nature by hiking after a tournament run ends. “If I lose, I’ll just go find a mountain and hike it,” says Reese, who has backpacked throughout Brazil’s rainforest where he rented a bungalow. “Other people don’t get it, but that’s what I love.” Bringing a bit of the nomadic lifestyle he honed abroad home here in the States, Reese has started designing a school bus that he plans on traveling in from tournament to tournament (so long as these events are driving distance from his home In Georgia, of course). “I would go crazy if that’s all I did – eat sleep and breathe tennis,” Reese says. “Everyone just has to have that outlet of turning your brain off.” Wishing all of our players the best of luck in this year’s Roland Garros tournament May 22-June 5! May the red clay propel you to great places and beyond! And don’t forget to enjoy Paris on and off the court!
It’s been half a century to the year since the Fort Lee Racquet Club opened its doors to New Jersey residents, which just so happens to coincide with Volkl Tennis’ 50th anniversary as a leading innovator in the world of tennis. On Wednesday afternoon, dozens of local league players and New Jersey denizens partook in a so-called “demo-day” featuring Volkl's Northeast Regional Manager Cliff Berman at the helm, representative and teaching pro Saif Ali (and of course, yours truly). Of every racquet put to the test on-court in a head-to-head match-up with a former collegiate standout player (somewhat of a tall order), the consensus among players was that the the V-Cell 2 racquet mixed with power fiber string perfectly blended power and control with each hit directed at Coach Ali. The Club itself has been managed since 1972 by the Mann family, and then current co-owner, Howie Mann. Toward the tail end of the session at the Fort Lee Racquet Club, Howie got his hands on a VCell-3 and couldn’t put it down (don’t tell anyone, but he was wearing Merrill shoes at the time of the hit, but he is the Club owner after all, so all is forgiven). It had been more than a decade since Mann had even hit a ball, yet he was beaming at the thought of getting back into the groove as soon as possible. "Everybody wants to be here, and it’s fun to be here because [of that very reason],” says co-owner Howie Mann, who’s recovering from an ankle injury and grew up playing tennis as well as skiing with Volkl. “But after today, I might start taking tennis up again.” What a way to kick off the spring tennis season!
Today's not only the first Monday of May, it's also an historic day for American tennis star Hunter Reese as he's just achieved another career-high doubles ranking of No. 82 today. It's his second consecutive week with back-to-back high rankings on the ATP tour, after falling in the final of a Challenger in the Czech Republic this past weekend alongside partner Sem Verbeek. The team is on the road again, competing in another Challenger starting on Tuesday, this time in Austria. Best of luck to Hunter, who will continue to climb the ranking charts with his excellent results. This was Reese's first final of the year so far! We'll have more to come on Reese in the near future. Go team Volkl Tennis!
Croatian tennis star Borna Mohac has had a racquet in-hand ever since she was little, and the 21-year-old has been with Volkl Tennis for the past year. “What attracted me to Volkl was uniqueness,” says Mohac, who knew she needed to switch racquets in order to recover more quickly from the injuries she suffered in her teens. “Not many players have been using [Volkl] yet as it is new to them still, and I decided to try it.” Now armed with the V-Cell 8, the south paw competitor says it’s the first time in her career that a racquet fits perfectly with her style. “The feeling in my arm when hitting the ball is just perfect,” Mohac says. “It just amazes me!” Tennis has offered Mohac countless opportunities that she says would never have happened if it weren’t for the sport: new travel experiences, life lessons, learning how to deal with stress during matches (and afterwards depending on the result), becoming more mature, making friends and learning the importance of being honest; these are just some of the many useful skills she’s honed while on the road as one of Croatia’s top competitors. “I was always the top-ranked in the country and it has taught me a way of life – do it right or don’t do it at all,” says Mohac on her philosophy toward tennis that also carries over into her daily life, which now includes coaching the next group of up-and-coming players from her home country. “I’m educating myself in that part of my life too, and hopefully I can share some of my knowledge to younger generations and keep moving forward." Outside of tennis, Mohac has a strong interest in fashion, modeling and being a global ambassador through the sport she knows and loves. Just last year, she won the coveted “Miss Croatia Sport” title after having fallen short of winning it two years prior. “I felt confident, and I had a feeling in my stomach that this is it! I made sure my tennis talent show was perfect and with the help of my friends and Volkl equipment, I made it happen,” Mohac says. “This proves that you can accomplish anything you imagine and you just have to work for it!” It’s clear that between coaching tennis, competing at a high level herself, and her tennis-inspired interests off the court, Mohac has her hands full; but regardless of all of her success, she always remembers her roots. “I would not be able to be so successful if it weren’t for tennis,” Mohac says. “Tennis is a way of life for me and it always will be; my advice for everyone is to keep playing, enjoying, and to choose the right equipment – like I did!”
Match highlights from the men’s and women’s “5th Grand Slam” finals held at the Hard Rock Stadium March 21-April 3 included Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz winning his first Master 1000-level event at the tender age of 18, Poland’s first world No. 1 Iga Swiatek claiming the “Sunshine Double” (she also won the BNP Paribas Open two weeks prior) and a handful of up-and-comers making a name for themselves in tennis paradise.
Dynamite doubles pro Kaitlyn Christian can be seen on-court competing in WTA tournaments, but in her off time, she’s the unsung hero of sports films as the sought-after body double for women tennis stars of generations past. Christian, who's now 30 years old and plays with the VC 8 300g, coincidentally fell into acting at around the same time as her racquet switch. “It happened by complete chance,” says former USC All-American Christian about the opportunity of portraying WTA founder and equal rights trailblazer Billie Jean King in Battle of the Sexes, as Oscar-winning actress Emma Stone’s double. “The next thing you know, I played some tennis and got the part.” It’s no surprise that Christian would seal the deal and be signed on-board, given her track record on-court at USC and easy-going outlook on learning how to embody King’s likeness on the silver screen. “I got to spend some time with her on the court; she would teach me how she played including what grips she held,” says Christian about King, who walked her through how to properly use a wooden racquet for starters. “It was such a cool experience just spending time with her.” The native Southern Californian, who has been ranked as high as top 50 on the WTA tour, earned her diploma just a stone’s throw away from the epicenter of Tinseltown and its renowned “Hollywood” sign. She was on the same Fighting Trojan all-star squad as fellow Volkl player Sabrina Santamaria, who initially introduced her to her racquet which she describes as “sturdy”. The pair were No. 1 in the ITA rankings, leading USC to its first-ever NCAA doubles championships together, plus they even teamed up on the tour afterwards. In between her stops on-tour, Christian recently squeezed in yet another body-double role in the Hollywood blockbuster film, King Richard. In one of the film’s most defining moments, Shaun Stafford (portrayed by Christian) faces one of her biggest matches yet: a first-round date at the Bank of the West Classic against newcomer 14-year-old Venus Williams (Saniyya Sidney). On Oscar Sunday, King Richard is up for six Academy Awards. During the awards ceremony, Kaitlyn says she’ll be watching from Marbella, Spain, as she’s competing in a tournament there. In an effort to have a healthy work-life balance, she tries to take in a bit of every city she visits on the WTA tour with this trip being no exception. “I made this rule with myself because I was getting consumed with playing, that every tournament, I want to see at least one thing – every week I try and block out one day before and after the tennis.” A recipe for a balanced lifestyle, both on and off the court.
Tennis is regarded by many as the sport of a lifetime, and for Karen Moriarty of The Tennis Professionals, she’s treating it as such and more. Karen Moriarty has been at the helm of The Tennis Professionals’ locations in Westchester County for more than 30 years – and she has no plans of slowing down with her tennis-centric business endeavors at any point soon. In her time as leader of the popular sporting good shops, she’s amassed a significant following from tennis players of all different playing backgrounds – many of whom have become a part of not just the Tennis Professionals family, but also of the Volkl family. Moriarty says the popularity of Volkl Tennis has skyrocketed in her stores over the years, and that regardless of how someone plays on the court, there’s going to be a Volkl racquet that works for them. “All of a sudden, Volkl has blown up and become basically the racquet company,” says Moriarty of Volkl tennis. “There’s one for everybody from the beginner to the elite player.” Rob Ferrante, a former elite junior player with Volkl for many years and a current Volkl VIP player himself, oversees the tennis programming at the Westchester Tennis Center. After his students were introduced to Volkl racquets for the first time at one of his winter camps, they expressed extreme interest in switching from their former racquets. This comes as no surprise to Moriarty as Volkl racquets stand out from the competition for numerous reasons in her book. “It’s great because they’re the most cushioned, comfortable racquets that I can hand to somebody,” says Moriarty on the frequent requests to demo Volkls from both Juniors and Adults. “You want to be able to give them a weapon that they can use and grow with; and not outgrow, which is the nice thing about a Volkl racquet – it’s built so well.” What differentiates Volkl from its competition, Moriarty says, is that: “People get addicted to Volkl racquets; once they buy a Volkl racquet, they generally will just stay with the brand.”
When you first arrive to the Ross School Tennis Academy nestled in the countryside of East Hampton, NY, the grounds feel as though hallowed. It’s the premier athletic extension of the main campus, which since 1991 has offered a well-rounded education to its K-12 boarding school’s student body. The educational hub’s motto, “Know Thyself in Order to Serve,” could take on multiple meanings in the context of tennis at the Academy run by Brazilian tennis pro and Volkl guru Vinicius Carmo. The student-athletes who take to the courts day in, day out show a commitment to education whether that’s on or off the court. But once they step onto the courts (right now housed in a pristine facility, starting with an elegantly simple entrance that has a Japanese-garden vibe), it’s a whole new ball game. On fully display in the cases in the lobby are a couple of Volkl C10 Pro racquets, which bring an extra pop to the otherwise calm color palette seen throughout the space. Now to the series of har-tru courts, filled corner to corner with groups of adults in the morning, and teens followed by junior players after their respective schools’ curriculum ends for the day; one of the junior players must have taken his school’s motto to the court, because he was serving aces left and right. In the high-performance junior program, a few of the players tested out Volkl racquets with some showing an extreme interest in becoming part of the team. About 90 percent of the teaching pros – all of whom were former players themselves – gravitated toward the V8 Pro as that’s the stick they felt had the optimal balance of feel, power and control that they say they’d need for teaching as well as competing from time to time. ************** One of the academy’s star players, Luanna uses the V-Cell 6, which she says was an integral part in her success on-court so far in her budding career. Something Luanna does not mention in this interview are her passions off the court, which include cooking meals for her mom, dad and brother (also a Volkl player); her favorite dish to prepare for everyone at home is pasta with sausage. A handful of other girls follow in the footsteps of Luanna, wanting to make the switch to Volkl from their current racquets or just a new version of what they already use. Either way, Luanna clearly has a powerful influence on her friends that leads them to also be believers in the Volkl Tennis brand. Volkl Tennis welcomes Ross Tennis Academy into their family with open arms, and plans on collaborating on events at their facility this spring.
V-Cell 6 is my big hero By Liz KobakFeb. 11, 2022 Choosing a racquet is a very personal decision. Whether you want to be armed with a lighter racquet for quick power, or a heavier racquet for precise control, or you don’t yet know what you want, the selection process can be daunting. The question often remains: Did I choose the best racquet for me? It’s a hard question to answer. But when it comes to Volkl tennis racquets, there’s at least one designed for every type of tennis player regardless of level, playing style, and aspirations. I’ve been playing with Volkl for the last 20+ years and, while my game has changed a lot over that period, there has always been a Volkl racquet to match. Lately I’ve played with the V-Cell 6, since it was introduced to the market around two years ago. My initial attraction to the V-Cell 6 was its colors (I was a C10 pro tour player back in my former full-time playing days – still a gorgeous yellow). The bright white and red color palette evoked the character Baymax from Disney’s Big Hero 6. Without spoiling the plot (though you should see the movie), Baymax is a robot invented with the purpose of being a doctor of sorts—he and the “Big Hero 6” squad of inventors-turned-superheroes eventually save the day. The V-Cell 6 is in fact my big hero: a hero that has superpowers I cannot possibly channel without its help. As I swing at the ball, the red and whites swirl together—I can pick my pace and targets just like in my old glory days. Sure, some of that is thanks to skills acquired over the years from intense coaching and being around the game; I’ve been playing tennis my entire life thanks to my tennis-obsessed family. But finding the right match in a racquet is still really, really important. The V-Cell 6 is what works for me today—other racquets in the V-Cell line would have been ideal for me years ago, and yet other V-Cell racquets will serve me well in the years to come. There are some things in tennis that coaches and experts of the game say cannot be taught, such as possessing a full heart and true grit. No tennis racquet will solve for these concepts, but in my experience with Volkl racquets, they can get easier to achieve. The V-Cell 6 removes a lot of variables for me so I can focus on what’s important on the court. In essence, Volkl Tennis is saving the game by maintaining a line of racquets that serve as superheroes. The racquets, strings and equipment are the extension of us players just looking to be on-court and have a good time playing the sport we all love. For those who haven’t explored the V-Cell line, there’s a whole lot of magic to be discovered. Go pick a Volkl stick!