MPRC Tennis Professionals

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Roger Dowdeswell

Roger Dowdeswell was ranked in the world’s top-60, and competed in Wimbledon, US Open, French Open and the Australian Open many times. He also played Davis Cup for Rhodesia, coached both the US and New Zealand Junior Davis Cup teams, and as Zimbabwe’s National Coach he established a tennis development program involving 20,000 juniors. Roger has taught both John and Patrick McEnroe, as well as many other world class players. Recently, Roger represented Zimbabwe at the World Senior Team Championships in Turkey. Zimbabwe won their section and finished 6th out of a field of twenty teams. In the Individual Senior World Championships, Roger reached the last 16 of the singles, and he and his partner reached the finals of the doubles.  With 30 years of tennis teaching experience, Roger can help optimize the learning curve at any level.

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Bruce Barney

Bruce is a USPTR certified pro since 1981, and a student of world renowned teacher Dennis Van Der Meer. Bruce has more than 30 years of teaching experience in which to craft a program specifically designed for you whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced tennis player. He is an Etcheberry certified trainer in strength, conditioning, and movement, and a training pro for Couples Resorts in Jamaica, and Tennis Ventures in Australia. Bruce is a certified tennis racquet stringer with the USRSA (having worked with Connors, Wilander, McEnroe, Becker and Navratilova). He holds a B.A in Archeology and a M.A. in Theatre.  Bruce teaches several clinics–including the popular Monday and Thursday morning doubles clinics, runs the group lessons program, and maintains a full schedule of private and semi-private lessons. Raise your level of play and NTRP rating with a lesson of fast paced drills, stroke analysis, workout, and fun.

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Marlie Buehler, Tennis Pro

Marlie Buehler was ranked among the top 150 players in the world. She competed in the major competitions—Australian Open, French Open and US Open. Later in 1998, she was chosen to represent the USA on the Margaret Court Cup team in England and became #1 in her age category (45-and-over) after winning. She also runs in the NYC marathon. Marlie is a USPTR certified pro, and is a tennis teacher at the Manhattan Plaza Racquet Club (MPRC) for more than two decades. She is a graduate of Wilson College in Pennsylvania with a degree in economics, and was an all around athlete there too. She teaches players of all ages and levels.

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Olivier Morel, International Touring Coach, Tennis Pro

Olivier Morel was born in France and started playing the ATP Tour in 1991 after finishing high school. Prior to turning pro, he won many junior tournaments in France such as La Coupe Galea, Normandy Championship, Open of Paris and more. Olivier has played some of the biggest international tournaments, including Grand Slams, Grand Prix, Challengers and Futures and was ranked #16 in France.

In 1997, Oliver achieved his ranking on the ATP Tour # 360 in Singles and #163 in Doubles. As a junior, Olivier defeated some of the world’s top junior players (their rankings then): Sebastien Grosjean (#10), Roger Federer (#13), Xavier Malisse (#19), Arnaud Clement (#43), Dominick Herbaty (#52), Julien Boutter (#54) and others. Olivier sometimes travels as a coach on the world major tours, coaching talented tennis professionals such as Ernests Gulbis (US Open 2009), Victoria Azarenka (Australian Open 2010), and also is a tennis practice partner for top professional tennis players, such as for Jelena Jankovic a few years ago. Olivier coaches to all levels and ages. He is a tennis pro at Manhattan Plaza Racquet Club (MPRC) for many years.

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Julien Morel, Tennis Pro

Julien Morel has many years of professional competitive and coaching experience. Julien began coaching ATP/WTA players part-time in 2000 including such players as Mary Pierce at the French Open 2000 (winner), Alexandra Stevenson at the French Open 2001 (3rd round), and the Williams sisters at the US Open 2001 (both in Finals).

Born in Rouen, Normandy France, Julien started playing tennis at the age of 4 and competed in national and international junior tournaments until 1991. Julien turned Pro in 1992 and played on the ATP tour until 2001. Julien best ATP rankings include # 680 in Singles and # 540 in Doubles.

Following his move to New York City in 2001, Julien has taught at various tennis clubs in New York City including Columbus Racquet Club (2001), Tennisport, Inc. (2001– 2008), CityView Racquet Club (2008–2012), and finally joining us here at the Manhattan Plaza Racquet Club (MPRC).

Julien teaches tennis to all levels and ages, and enjoys giving technical instruction as well as teaching endurance training to the young and adults. During the summer, Julien is also the co-director of the Advantage Tennis, Sea and Sports Day Camp for juniors run at Advantage Tennis’ New York Tennis Club and the Maritime Academy in Throgs Neck, New York.

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Pavlos Stephanides, Tennis Pro

Pavlos Stephanides started playing tennis in Marathon, Greece at age five. He played his first regional tournament for the Boys 10 and Under division at age eight, and made it to the semifinals. Throughout the juniors competition, he was consistently ranked within the Top-20 nationally in Greece. He won his first national tennis tournament at age 12 in the Boys 12 and Under division, and was ranked as high as #6 in Greece for the Boys 14 and Under division.

Pavlos moved to the USA’s Long Island when he was 16 years old, and after only six months of competition, reached a ranking of #31 in the Boys 18 and Under division of the USTA’s Eastern section. Pavlos was recruited at age 17 by NCAA Division #1, Temple University, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He played #4 and #6 in singles, and #2 and #3 in doubles consistently throughout his university career, while also winning “Rookie of the Week” honors several times for the A-10 conference during his freshman year. Pavlos earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Sport and Recreation Management from Temple University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management.

Pavlos received his USPTA certification after his graduation in 2010, at the age of 21. Before arriving at MPRC to teach tennis, he was a tennis pro for Sportime at Kings Park, NY where he worked with sectionally and nationally ranked juniors. He also has taught tennis offering private lessons in San Diego, California. Prior to that, during a summer break from Temple University, he was a paid tennis instructor at Sportime in Kings Park, NY and he was a volunteer tennis instructor for inner city youth for the Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis in Philadelphia, PA.

In addition to teaching tennis at MPRC, Pavlos is also the junior varsity tennis coach at Columbia Grammar and Prep School in Manhattan.

Pavlos is CPR, First Aid, and AED certified.

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Zuzana Nicoletti, Tennis Pro

Zuzana Nicoletti has several years of competitive tennis playing experience, as well as teaching tennis to adults and children of all ages and levels. Zuzana was born in Slovakia’s capital city, Bratislava. She started to play tennis when she was eight years old, and began to compete in National junior tournaments in Slovakia when she was 11 years old. Zuzana was ranked in the juniors’ top-20s in Singles and top-10 in Doubles. She studied at the University of Physical Education in Slovakia for two years with a major in Physical Education and Regeneration. Zuzana received a full tennis scholarship at the age of 20 to Lindsey Wilson College located in Kentucky, USA where she played #4 and #6 Singles, and #2 and #3 Doubles in the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) where she competed for three years and was an assistant tennis coach for two years leading the team to victory four years in a row at the Mid-South Conference Women’s Tennis Championships from 2006-2009, and finished third place at the NAIA Women’s Tennis National Championship semi-final from 2006-2009. After graduation, she moved to New York City. Prior to teaching here at Manhattan Plaza Racquet Club, Zuzana was a tennis professional for Total Tennis, and she received her USPTA certification.

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Gabriel Slotnick, Tennis Pro

Gabriel Slotnick has both teaching and competitive experience. Gabriel played Division III singles and doubles for Yeshiva University (where he received a degree in accounting), and was named to the All American Conference for three straight years. For two summers during his college career, Gabriel was the head tennis instructor at Camp Lavi, a sports sleep away camp at Lake Como, PA. He also taught adults and juniors at the Broad Street Tennis center in Englewood, NJ. Before joining MPRC, Gabriel was the head instructor at QuickStart’s West Side YMCA site. He currently captains an adult USTA league in Manhattan and has led the team to three consecutive playoff seasons. Gabriel is also a member of the New York Road Runners Club. Since 2005, he has completed more than 80 road races ranging from 5K’s to marathons, including 6 ING New York City marathons and 5 ING Miami marathons. Gabriel is also an avid indoor rower for 13 years, and teaches indoor rowing at the West Side’s YMCA three days a week. Gabriel recently left the corporate world where he worked as an analyst to become a tennis professional.

Gabriel also teaches in Advantage Tennis Clubs’ QuickStart programs. He earned his USPTR certification in Adult Development and 10 & Under, as well as USPTA certification.

Stephen Brandi
Stephen Brandi, Tennis Pro

Stephen Brandi offers years of experience and achievements in coaching adults, USTA Junior ranked players, juniors and all other levels of the game. Previously, he was Co-Director of Tennis at Solaris Sports and Racquet Club, as well as Assistant Director of Tennis at the Westchester Country Club in recent summers. In 2013 he coached the Ladies’ B Team to #1 in their MITL division and in 2014 saw them through to victory in the MITL A team division.

Stephen was also the Assistant Director of Tennis at Shenorock Shore Club in 2011, teaching the Ladies’ Leagues, Men’s Leagues and junior programs. From 2007 to 2012 he taught full-time at Profrom Tennis in Westchester.

A PTR Professional 1 Certified teacher, Stephen also holds a Master Racquet Technician certification, which acknowledges excellence in all aspects of racquet service — stringing, gripping and customizing.

He grew up playing tennis in Florida under the tutelage of his father, Joe Brandi, who coached Pete Sampras to his first US Open and Grand Slam titles in 1990. Stephen was the #1 player of high school tennis in Florida for 3 years. Then he joined his sister, Kristina Brandi, on the WTA tour as a hitting partner and travelling coach. Under his guidance, Kristina achieved a career high WTA world ranking of #27, earning wins over world Top Ten players Jelena Jankovic, Amanda Coetzer, Jelena Dokic and Conchita Martinez.

Raymond Diez
Raymond Diez, Tennis Pro

Raymond Diez shares his years of experience playing exceptional tennis and helping players of all ages–from beginners to professional standard– improve their tennis skills and talent. Previously, he managed the Diez Tennis Academy for 9 years at the Aztec club in Andalucia, Spain. Raymond has attained RPT Level 1&2 and has worked as a travelling tennis coach and hitting partner as well as providing expert racquet service–customizing and stringing.

Over the last 10 years he travelled on- and off-tour as a tennis coach for his brother, Steve Diez (190 best ATP ranking). Under Raymond’s tutelage, Steve played in tournaments including Wimbledon in 2013 and 2014 as well as the 2013 US Open. Those are just a few examples among many.

Raymond played semi-professionally himself, and currently plays the game at a high level. He has travelled the world, coaching tennis in 5-star hotels and elite tennis clubs in Dubai, Bali and London, as well as Florida.

One of the top-ranked junior players in Spain until the age of eighteen, Raymond is still one of the top-ranked men’s players in Andalucia. He has been in the tennis world for a very long time, learning to play at the age of four in Toronto, Canada, where he was born.