Michael-Ray Pallares

Michael-Ray Pallares is a professional tennis player from the Dominican Republic. He was a member of the Davis Cup team for the Dominican Republic and represented his country at the Central American and Caribbean Games. Michael-Ray owns Crown Elite Tennis and is the founder of non-profit ONE LOVE TENNIS. He serves as Director of Coach Training and Education for the Union of Professional Tennis.

In 2019, the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) named Michael-Ray Humanitarian of the Year.

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Pushing the Boundaries: New Frontiers

By Michael-Ray Pallares


Three years ago, Michael-Ray Pallares was in Kansas City hosting a Play-Day tennis event through his foundation One Love Tennis Inc., a non-profit organization designed to reach underprivileged and low income youth through affordable tennis, education, and fitness. Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist Ron Tankel learned about his initiative and extended an invitation to visit with members of Truman Medical Center (TMC) Behavioral Health’s New Frontiers tennis program, and the rest is history.


Michael-Ray Pallares with clients of the New Frontiers Tennis Program at the Truman Medical Center in Kansas City, MO.

The two have embarked on putting together a team of experts to create a certification program that will be geared towards educating coaches and therapists on how to implement a program designed to help patients achieve long-term recovery through tennis across the country and eventually the world. Physical activity has been shown to have a strong and positive influence on mental and emotional wellbeing, as well as a number of mental disorders. Participation in regular physical activity can increase self-esteem and improve social skills, in addition to decreasing stress and anxiety.


Michael-Ray Pallares is a former professional tennis player who was a two-time USTA national champion as a junior, received a full scholarship to play at the University of Alabama, ranked Top 10 in NCAA Division 1 tennis and held an ATP ranking for more than ten years while representing the Dominican Republic in the Davis Cup and the Central American and Caribbean Games.

Michael-Ray then traveled extensively as a professional tour coach for several ATP and WTA players ranked in the top 10 in the world. He also served as Technical Director of the Panamanian Tennis Federation, Turkmenistan Tennis Federation and the Guam National Tennis Federation as an Expert Coach for the International Tennis Federation undertaking the Development of National Sport Structure, creating an action plan to strengthen the tennis program approved by the International Olympic Committee and Olympic Solidarity.


He is now the Director of Coach Training and Education for the Union of Professional Tennis, and has received the green-light to offer the Behavioral Health Tennis Program via the UPT coach education platform.

Ron Tankel has over 35 years of professional experience in both inpatient and outpatient behavioral health as a recreational therapist. He has worked with adolescents and adults as both a clinician and a program supervisor. Ron collaborated with an Occupational Therapist to create the New Frontiers' Outpatient tennis program at Truman Medical Center Behavioral Health in Kansas City, Missouri.  This program provides programming for adult clients who have severe and persistent mental illness. Ron served as the former National co-chairman of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) Behavioral Health Section and was also a member of the Truman Medical Center Diversity and Inclusion Council.


Together, Michael-Ray and Ron plan to begin offering certification for the new innovative and creative Behavioral Health Tennis Program in 2021. For more information on how to bring this program to your tennis community, please contact Michael-Ray Pallares at pallaresupt@gmail.com.