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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Pavlos is CPR, First Aid, and AED certified.
Gabriel Slotnick, Tennis Pro & QuickStart/Junior Development Director
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. Gabe 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. In the past, he ran an adult USTA league in Manhattan and led the team to three consecutive playoff seasons.
Gabriel was 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, an avid indoor rower for 13 years, taught indoor rowing at the West Side’s YMCA three days a week. Gabriel left the corporate world where he worked as an analyst to become a tennis professional.
He earned his USPTR certification in Adult Development and 10 & Under, as well as USPTA certification.
Steve Hilliard, Tennis Pro & Racquet Stringer
Steve Hilliard was born and raised in Manhattan. He was focused on academics until age 11, when one of his math teachers suggested that the class do “something different.” He discovered tennis, fell in love, and was playing in the Men’s Open at age 18. He became interested in coaching and attended prestigious “work and play” programs – at John Newcomb’s Tennis Academy and the Chris Evert Tennis Academy — assisting head coaches working with adults and juniors.
Steve also taught himself to string racquets by hand, using his own strength to adjust the tension. He has strung for Pete Samperas, Grigor Dimitrov, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Venus and Serena Williams, Jelena Jankovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Ana Ivanovic.
After teaching at the Sutton East and Yorkville Tennis Clubs, Steve joined Manhattan Plaza Racquet Club in 2011 as a hitter and the club’s stringer. He continues to provide excellent stringing service to the staff and members, serves as an ideal hitting partner and is a versatile teaching pro, catering to all ages and levels.
Alexandre Lacroix, Tennis Pro
Alex Lacroix was born in France. He stepped onto a tennis court at age 5, instantly becoming the sport’s biggest fan and eventually joining the ranks of France’s top junior players.
In 2008 he came to the University of Florida to pursue his tennis and academic goals. Playing for the college Division 1 team, Alex was named “All American” 4 years in a row, reached the Top 3 in the U.S. and was designated all-time wins leader in the men’s tennis program. He went on to compete on the ATP Tour, achieving a WTA ranking of 717 in singles and 687 in doubles. On the circuit, he won matches against Jiri Vesely and Jack Sock, two of the world’s Top 100 professional players.
Alex joined the staff at Manhattan Plaza Racquet Club in 2016. Prior experience includes coaching at the John McEnroe Academy at Sports Time on Randalls Island and in Columbia University’s Junior Program. When he is not on the court, Alex works as a Real Estate Agent in Manhattan.
Carlo Carlini, Tennis Pro
Carlo is a USPTR- Certified Professional and holds certificates in the 10 & Under and 11-17 age groups. He teaches players of all ages and levels, sharing with them his skills and his nearly life-long love of the game.
During the outdoor season, Carlo directs both the adult and junior programs as well as teaches private lessons at the Sunnyside Tennis Club in Queens.
Vladimir Paunic, Tennis Pro & Tennis Director
A native of Novi Sad, Serbia, Vlad was ranked in the top 10 in the Boys’ 14s, 16s, 18s divisions in his home country. He acquired a full scholarship in Division I school, Southeastern Louisiana University, achieving one of the most successful win-loss records in the history of the school, 51-9. He was also SLU Men’s Newcomer of the year in 2006 and Student-Athlete of the year in 2008.
After graduating from SLU with a BS in Finance, Vlad joined the pro tennis circuit, garnering victories against various ATP ranked players and winning Men’s Open Serbian National Championship in 2010. He was a founder, director and the Head Coach for one of the top tennis clubs in Serbia, 2009-2016, where he was working with various top nationally ranked juniors.
Vlad joined MPRC in 2021 where he continues to provide top-notch coaching to players of all ages and levels.
Chris Crowe, Tennis Pro & Racquet Stringer
Born and raised in NYC, Chris first started playing tennis at the age of 6. He joined the NYJTL tournament team and played in regional/sectional tournaments during the summers of 2000-2007. In his Junior year, Chris and the tennis team won the PSAL Division B Championship for Eleanor Roosevelt High School in 2006 and after being interviewed by CBS, Chris was awarded the title of Student Athlete of the Week.
Chris has been involved in the tennis world since then, working at several locations around the city. From 2011-2014 he was a pro-shop associate at Sutton East Tennis and was in charge of selling tennis merchandise and stringing. From 2012 thru 2016, Chris spent his summers working for the NYJTL flagship site, located at Wagner Middle School, hosting summer camp for approximately 80 kids a day and over 250 registrations over the three months. From 2018-2020, Chris built the stringing program at McCarren Tennis Center in Brooklyn as well as coordinated their after-school program transportation services. For the 2018, 2019, 2021 outdoor seasons, Chris worked as the weekday manager for Eastside Tennis Association at Wagner Middle School. There, Chris was In charge of the locations operational procedures including payroll, membership sign-ups, booking lessons and managing the staff. On the weekends, he was the head pro and taught both kids and adults. Chris is currently a teaching pro for Manhattan Plaza Racquet Club working with the Junior Development & QuickStart Programs as well as private and group lessons for adults.
Net Generation Certified
USTA Professional Tennis Management Certification (Queens College)
Jake Laurence, Tennis Pro
Jake has been a staff pro at MPRC since 2020. He is a PTR certified teaching pro and has a wealth of playing/teaching experience. After taking up the sport at age 9, Jake soon after began excelling and competing in USTA tournaments in it’s Eastern section in all age divisions. He opted not to play collegiate tennis in order to study his other passion of acting.
After a short hiatus, Jake returned to the tennis industry through teaching. He began working for the nonprofit junior tennis organization NYJTL, working his way to becoming a site director for their programs at Manhattan Plaza, a position he inherited from his childhood coach. In 2018, Jake began working for Advantage Tennis clubs in their QuickStart 10&U tennis division, which quickly expanded to teaching privates at their outdoor club East Side Tennis Association, where he is now a head pro. Jake also was the head coach for the United Nations International School‘s Varsity tennis team.
Jake enjoys extending his passion for the game of tennis to people of all ages and levels.
Anna Volikova, Tennis Pro
Anna Volikova, originally from Ukraine, was ranked top-10 as a junior in her home country. Anna came to the United States and attended the University of Indianapolis, where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management with a minor in Business Administration. During her time as a member of the University’s tennis team, Anna obtained a national ranking of #2 in singles and #1 in doubles. She also received the All-American; Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards in 2017; 2018 and in 2019.
After graduating from college, she joined the John McEnroe Tennis Academy coaching staff where she worked with 10 & Under kids, recreational and high-performance juniors as well as adults.
Anna joined the MPRC team in September 2022 and teaches junior and adult programs as well as private lessons.
Martin Zarate, Tennis Pro
A native of San Miguel of Tucuman, Argentina, Martin was ranked top 20 in his country as well as top 2 in his region during his junior career. He won the Head Junior Cup twice, one-time high school regional championship and several national tournaments in Argentina.
His professional experience includes numerous future tournaments in South America before coming to the United States to play for Abraham Baldwin College in Georgia. Martin was ranked #4 at the Team National Championship NJCAA in 2016 with a record of 7-1 in singles and 9-5 in doubles. He also played for Jacksonville College in 2017 and ended up graduating from Hanover College in 2020 with a degree in Economics.
After graduating, Martin joined the John McEnroe Tennis Academy on Randall’s Island where he coached in the 10 & Under program, high performance juniors and adults. During this time, he also was the sparring partner for Garbine Muguruza and Bianca Andreescu. In 2022, Martin joined the Manhattan Plaza Racquet Club pro staff and continues to provide instruction to players of all ages and levels.
Martin holds several tennis certifications obtained through ITF including Fundamentals of Teaching Tennis to Adult Players and Introduction to Tennis10s and Player Development.