I got a chance to sit down with former USA Davis Cup Player Yann Auzoux. Yann is a two-time Washington DC coach of the year, has appeared as a featured contributor on tennis.com, has been a guest coach on FuzzyYellowBalls video lessons, and has created a free app that you can download which connects tennis players all over the world with the other players, coaches, and provides resources to help you find courts and improve your game. The name of the app is TennisCentral and it is available on all platforms.
1. Yann, What drew you to tennis initially? Why did you start playing?
I was naturally gifted for racket sports early on (badminton and table tennis). My family knew Yannick Noah’s dad and my dad thought it would be a good idea for me to try. I started playing at 11 years old.
2. Who were your favorite players to watch when you were growing up?
Yannick Noah was my favorite because we knew him personally.
3. When you were playing professional tennis, how did you balance all of the hard work that was necessary with fun so you didn’t get burned out?
I have always had an interest for cultures so I always made friends with local players who then would show me around their town the best possible way.
4. You told me you took a few lessons but were mostly self taught. How did you accomplish that?
I spent a lot of time practicing with my friends and testing things out we would see on TV. It promoted creativity and self discovery. We all figured things out quickly and moved up the ranks fast enough to be noticed by the French Federation and Cameroon Federation for me. Both of them.
5. What advice would you give to someone who wanted to take their game to the next level? Say a 3.5-4.0?
I would tell 3.5 and 4.0 that the best improvements are in the most unlikely places. We all tend to concentrate on strokes too much when it is how you use your tools that make a difference. Footwork and Strategy are too often left aside in favor of technique and power. One well placed shot usually defines the outcome of the point.
6. Did you have any rituals that you performed before a match? What about between points?
I was very meticulous about my warm up routine. It had to be perfect and timely. I would get riled up if it did not go as planned. Jump rope, then wall practice, serve and stretching alone were good routines for me.
7. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Instill passion. I feel that too many junior players lack it and this prevents players from reaching their peak.
8. What kind of music do you like to listen to? I love all music but if I have the choice, classical. Beethoven is my favorite.
9. You’ve created an app called Tennis Central, can you tell us a little about that?
Tennis Central is my gift to the tennis community. It is a one stop shop for the major services that players need to reach their peak and have fun with the game. We need a great variety of players to improve as each style teaches us something, courts can often be a pain to find so we solved that riddle, pros are an integral part of mentoring players so we added that, we threw in video courses for all and access to events and special offers rounds all the services up to maximize everyone’s tennis IQ while retaining fun and savings. We also added an improvement tracking tool that will generate a chart for players like me who like statistics. Think tinder for tennis with tools to help you improve.
10. What are your goals in terms of playing tennis, and in terms of the business side?
My competitive days are pretty much behind me but sharing my passion for the sports on a large scale has just started. I know players don’t have to struggle. I am nothing special and if I could go from beginner at 11 years old to Davis Cup player in just 5 years, I feel that anyone can achieve their peak potential by doing the same process. The cool thing is it does not have to be hard and painful. Business wise, I am certain that helping players succeed will exceed my expectations.