We keep reading how the tennis industry is 'aging out' and for the most part is dominated by a bunch of older male professionals.
So we set out to find young female tennis professionals who are really flourishing in our male-dominated industry. And we found them on the U.S. East Coast, West Coast, in England, and in Australia. We asked them a bunch of questions in order to learn how they got into teaching tennis, why they did it, and if they would do it again. We wanted to know their story.
"BELIEVE IN YOURSELF AND IN YOUR DREAMS"
Director of Racquet Sports
Mamaroneck, New York
QUESTIONS FOR ROXY ENICA
TCB: Roxy, where were you born (city, country)?
RE: I was born in Constanta, Romania.
TCB: How old were you when you started to play tennis and who introduced you?
RE: My dad brought me to tennis when I was 4 years old and I’ve never stopped playing ever since then!
TCB: Where and in what position did you work as a tennis professional?
RE: My first tennis professional position was at Aspetuck Valley Country Club in Weston, CT, followed by Westchester Country Club in Rye, NY, and Greenwich Country Club in Greenwich, CT.
TCB: Where do you work now, and what is your position?
RE: I am currently working as a Director of Racquet Sports at Orienta Beach Club in Mamaroneck, NY.
TCB: Do you like your current position, and why?
RE: I started this position on April 1st, but with all the unprecedented situation, I really was only able to start on May 15th. I love it so far, but this will definitely be a modified summer with lots of adjustments and last-minute changes.
TCB: Did you play tennis in high school, college?
RE: I played competitive tournaments in Romania and came to the US with a full scholarship to play Division I for Stephen F. Austin State University.
TCB: Was tennis your first choice of work after school? If not, please explain.
RE: I started teaching tennis since I was 15 years old. During the summer of my freshman year in college, I came up north and got an assistant professional job at a country club. I continued doing that for all my years in college and when I graduated, the Club sponsored my visa and that’s how I stayed in the industry.
TCB: When did you start teaching, tennis and why?
RE: I started teaching when I was 15 back in Romania. I would help my coach with the kids and in exchange, he would not charge my parents the monthly fees that they had to pay so that I can play at that club.
TCB: Did you get certified as a tennis professional?
RE: I did get certified as a tennis professional first and then also for Platform Tennis and recently, Pickleball.
TCB: What are the challenges you are facing today?
RE: One of the biggest challenges is that I have started a new job and we aren’t currently allowed to do much besides privates and semi-private lessons. Not being able to get to know the membership and the culture of the club as if I would under normal circumstances is definitely a hurdle.
TCB: How difficult was it for you as a woman to have a career in male-dominated tennis? (Please elaborate, if you like)
RE: To be honest, it has been a very rough and frustrating road. I have been to many interviews and I came in very close to getting many of the Director positions, but it always seemed that the men had a slight advantage. I was very frustrated and cried many times as I am very competitive and I do not like to lose, but I never gave up. I knew that running a racquets program is what I wanted to do and I also felt very confident in the fact that I could be very successful if I was given a chance. I’ve been very fortunate to work for over 10 years with one of the most recognized and well known Director of Racquets in the area, Juan Arraya and he was my mentor and role model!
TCB: How did your past income, and how does your current income compare to similarly experienced male tennis professionals?
RE: I believe that the income has been equally as the male tennis professionals. I never felt that I was underpaid because I was a woman. As the years passed, and I got more experienced, the income continued to grow as well.
TCB: What would you say to young women interested in tennis and undecided whether they want to make a career out of it?
RE: If tennis is their passion and they want to pursue this path in life, they should go for it with an open mind and even though it won’t be as easy, it is definitely not impossible. All you need to do is to believe in yourself and in your dreams and continue to fight until they become reality!
TCB: If you had a chance to do it all over again, would you choose the same career again?
RE: Yes, I would definitely do so! This is my passion and I wake up every morning happy to come to the club as for me most of the time it doesn't feel like a job. This is my happy place, where I get to see my friends every day and help them get better or maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle.
TCB: Do you play or teach Pickleball? How do you like the sport?
RE: I’ve started playing Pickleball last year and I love it. I was in the process of building 4 brand new Pickleball courts at my previous club that I ran, Weston Filed Club but a new and great opportunity came along and I had to leave. But, I am planning on developing a Pickleball program here at Orienta Beach Club as well, most likely the following season as this one looks compromised.
TCB: What is your tennis racquet of choice?
RE: I have been playing with the Wilson Blade for the last 13 years and I love it!
TCB: Thank you, Roxy.