In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, which takes place Sept. 15 – Oct. 15, USTA Florida is recognizing members of Florida’s rich Hispanic community whose talents and dedication help to grow the great game of tennis every day — at every level. We applaud them all for making tennis a better and more inclusive sport, and for making the face of our game more accurately reflect the dynamic diversity of our country.
When it comes to tennis for Jeff Gomez, family is the first thing he thinks of. Gomez, who got into tennis later in his life, has dedicated a lot of time to the sport as he supports his twin daughters. “Family means love, and that means everything to me, my kids, my wife, they are everything!”
Jeff Gomez and the Tennis Twins
Gomez comes from Columbian decent, as his parents moved their family to America due to hardships back in his home country. He grew up playing baseball, but always had a passion for professional sports. “When I was in college, I would turn on ESPN and I used to watch the highlights of Pete Sampras and Serena Williams, and I was like, this is a pretty cool sport.”
When Jeff’s twin daughters, Jordyn and Jaedyn turned about 4 years old, he wanted them to get involved with sports. So, his wife said, “Tennis is an explosive sport and it’ll be great for girls. It builds character and girl power.”
Having a smaller background in tennis at the time, Jeff had to hit the books and learn everything he could to prepare his girls for the sport. “I’d go on YouTube and I’d watch videos, read books, find tutorials so I could learn how to teach these kids.”
Even though they were active in other sports, the twins decided they wanted to stick with tennis because that’s the sport they had the most fun playing. That decision has paid off well for the girls as they are well known throughout their community and the tennis scene.
“They go to school, and everybody knows them as the Tennis Twins,” he said. “Kids will come up to my daughters at tournaments, as go ‘you’re the tennis twins, can we get a picture with you guys?’ So, that’s cool to see.”
Since the girls have social media presence, Jeff tells them to live their life to inspire others. “You never know who’s looking at your social media,” he said. “There could be a 13-year-old girl somewhere, who might click on a picture and want to play tennis or feel inspired.”
In his free time, Jeff loves to paint and teach others how to. “I started drawing young, and in high school I took art classes. Then I went to college, and I majored in art,” he recalled. “It’s just the love of it that stayed there.”
He enjoys painting on canvas and loves to capture moments of professional athletes. His most recent one was of tennis legend, Rafael Nadal. “I look to an athlete that inspires me and that has made an impact.”
Why It’s Important To Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
Jeff finds it extremely important to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month both in tennis and outside of it. On the tennis side, he talked about some of the game’s best players being Hispanic.
“In the Spanish Community, there’s a lot of people up there that we can look at as are our heroes,” Gomez said. “That’s inspirational, look at tennis, the top two players in the world are from Spain, in Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal.”
He also talked about his parents, who grew up and lived in Colombia for years. His father instilled work ethic into him, because in Colombia “there was a need to work hard,” Gomez said. “I saw how hard they worked just to help us with baseball practice, driving us to games and there was a sense of pride. This is where we’re from, this is our language, our food, our culture, and our community.”
When it comes to his daughters, their tennis coaches have all been Hispanic, so he knows how important they are to the community. “My side, being full of Hispanic Heritage, they got to see that and be inspired, and it has to stick to them.”