Get To Know Your Pro! – Mark Renneson

The fourth in our monthly blog feature blog Get to Know Your Pro. Each month a different tennis pro will shares some insight into their passion and motivations for being involved in tennis. This month’s feature coach is Mark Renneson.

Full Name: Mark Renneson

Date of Birth: March 15, 1981

Coaching Credentials: Tennis Canada Club Pro 2, Coach 2. Tennis BC Instructor Course Facilitator. BA, MA, B.Ed

Playing History/Titles: Open Level Player; former Captain UofT Varsity Tennis

When did you start playing tennis? Age 10

What do you love most about tennis? Variety. I love that no two matches are alike, that there is no time clock to run down, that a tennis match is a puzzle that needs to be solved.

What do you enjoy most about being a tennis coach? The joy that comes from other people’s success.

Tell us about the most memorable match you have played in? It was a university competition in 2002. Ten minutes before my match was scheduled to start I received word that a childhood friend had died in a car accident. After declining my coach’s offer to replace me with another teammate, I played the match against an opponent who was also an old friend. Having just experienced the sadness of this news, the tennis match, in comparison, seemed relatively unimportant. Surprisingly, it was the non-importance of the match that allowed me to enjoy it so much (and to play so well). I was unconcerned with winning or losing and felt no fear or anxiety about my “performance”. I was able to play a game, with a friend, free from the pressures that often accompany competition. While I was sad about my friend and his family, I also felt incredibly lucky to have the life I had.. It was a privilege and a joy to be able to play tennis.

I learned from this match that “choking” occurs when we misalign our priorities and put too much emphasis on the wrong things. This has proven invaluable in my playing and teaching career.

What skill do you find most enjoyable to teach? Thinking.

What is the biggest challenge you face in coaching? Students – of whatever level – who aren’t really interested.

What about the most memorable match you have ever watched? I’m terrible at remembering matches.

Who is your favorite famous tennis player and why? Hopefully multiples are allowed: Fabrice Santoro (his creativity); Justine Henin (Backhand & Variety); Marat Safin (Intensity/Humour); Pat Rafter (Serve and Volley); Daniel Nestor (Longevity, Consistency)

If you were to describe yourself as tennis shot, which would it be and why? Short, low backhand slice down-the-line. It seems unassuming but is highly effective.