During this time of social distancing, we are all looking for an outlet where we can see other people, talk to one another and get back to exercising again. With gyms closed and most sports being contact sports, there are very few choices when it comes to getting out and enjoying the Coronado weather and friends.
There is a solution - tennis! Tennis is an outdoor outlet where distancing guidelines can be followed, exercise and fresh air can be found and, warning, time on the court might lead to a love for the sport. There is a team of people at the Coronado tennis center working hard to show you love of the game.
When you are able to live in a town like Coronado, you realize how lucky you are to be in a community that encourages taking part in things that encourage health, fun, and having people like Moises “Mo” Orozco to support you. Sitting in the tennis shop it is quickly apparent how professional, friendly and knowledgeable he is. Players rely on him for information about their play, the last time they had a racquet strung, or when items are available in the shop.
Orozco has been at the City of Coronado Tennis Center for seven years. He is a native of San Diego, has been playing tennis since high school, manages the Westwood Sports Pro Shop and is a pro stringer trained by the Yonex International Stringing Team, (the official stringers of the Australian Open). Orozco is a popular individual to the tennis community in Coronado. He is well versed in the sport and able to help players at any level. The shop, owned by Westwood Sports, is located close to the courts, which enables Mo to analyze how people play, and decipher what equipment they need to improve their game. He often volunteers to hit with players, help with racquet choices or try out a demo racquet until they decide what works for them. These are important ingredients in a sport where communication and relationships drive a successful tennis program.
“We are able to offer our players the full package of services,” said Orozco. “We offer the best equipment, incredible tennis pros, and the ability to build relationships in the Coronado community. This all makes tennis a lot more fun.”
You may notice when you enter the tennis pro shop that some things have changed since the onset of COVID-19. Currently, there is a smaller inventory than before and everyone is required to wear a mask. For a time they were required to remove everything from the store until they determined how to best to manage a store in the middle of a pandemic. Once those issues were tackled, the shop reopened and the players came back to the courts.
“We had to do a lot of things differently when the pandemic hit our community,” said Orozco.“We have a variety of ages that play this sport and we didn’t want anyone in danger of getting sick. We had to sit down as a business and determine what was best to keep everyone safe. We did not offer doubles play for a while, and our programs stopped all together for a time as well.
“We offered sales of equipment, clothes, and shoes on our online outlet – Racquet Depot. There was a 25% increase in our online sales during the pandemic when players could not come to the shop in person. We worked hard to let our community know we were still here for them and tennis”.
Play has resumed, pros are teaching lessons, matches can be played and the shop is back in business. There are great changes on the horizon for the shop with the addition of a boutique and updated shopping experience in the store. “Clients will be able to look at inventory through a new touch screen computer system. You can look at items, discuss them with our tennis professionals, place your order and have them delivered to the store or your home in 1-2 days,” said Orozco with pride. “The shop will be transformed into a tennis experience everyone will love.”
Another important aspect of the tennis program is the instructors on the court. These are the professionals that spend countless hours helping players improve their games. One of the many instructors in Coronado is Bryan Conway. He has lived in Coronado and been teaching tennis here for seven years. His wife is also a lifelong tennis player and is a native of Coronado with an incredible family tennis history.
“I love to coach players and watch them improve their games,” said Conway. “The coaches here at Coronado tennis dedicate their time to encouraging and developing players of all types. We have men’s, women’s and junior programs available.”
On the playing end of the game, things have changed with COVID-19, too. Currently there are no junior programs available, but they hope to start back up in January 2021. However, lessons and play continue every day, with mask wearing required on the way in and out of the tennis center and pro shop.
“There is a comfort zone once you are on the court,” said Conway, “because tennis provides social distancing. The outdoor aspect of the sport has been great for the players and enables everyone to get exercise and play the game they love.”
Conway encourages people who live in the community and anyone who visits to come to the courts and play. “There is a ball machine available and instructors willing to teach players at any level,” he said. “All your other needs can be met by talking to Mo. He provides the personal attention and customer service that goes the extra mile. I have worked with Mo for six years and he is the best.”
Even though leagues and causal play have begun again, the USTA has not approved official tournament play to resume. Because of the current COVID situation, players are required to play a “FLEX” schedule where the players coordinate play time and court locations with each other and the people at the tennis center.
“This difficult time gave us an increased appreciation of the sport we love,” said Orozco. “COVID-19 increased the popularity of the sport and gave a new human connection to something that tennis players have known all along.”
“Tennis is the perfect sport for a pandemic,” Conway adds with a smile.
The Coronado community tennis center is located at 1501 Glorietta Boulevard. Players are required to call ahead and reserve a court with a charge of $5 per court. There are 8 courts available. The Coronado Cays courts and the court by the library are unlocked and walk ins are fine; however, if someone had reservations, you could be kicked off. Best to make reservations. If you have interest in taking lessons with a pro, you can call 619-522-2650 to receive a list of instructors available through the City of Coronado website or pick up a list at the tennis center. Profiles on each of the instructors are available on the website under “tennis.”