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USTA Florida’s mission is “to promote and develop tennis for all.” As a core value, we believe in providing opportunities for everyone to participate in the game of tennis, regardless of skill, age, physical ability, gender, ethnicity, economic background or sexual orientation. As Sept. 15 – Oct. 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re taking the opportunity to celebrate the diversity of the Florida tennis community.
We want to introduce you to 53-year-old Ismael Rosales, the Adult Tennis Programs Director at the Midtown Athletic Club in Weston. Rosales got his start teaching tennis in 1987 as the Director of the National Tennis School in Caracas, Venezuela, his hometown. Now living in Hollywood, Fla., Rosales has been incredibly instrumental in forming USTA Florida league teams in Broward County and loves having the opportunity to introduce new people to the sport.
How did you get involved in tennis?
My sisters used to play and got into the sport at age 11.
What do you enjoy most about the sport?
I love to organize teams, direct tournaments and train players all ages.
What is your current role and what do you do?
I’m the Adult Tennis Director at Midtown Athletic Club in Weston. I organized over 120 teams per year in USTA, Iola and Broward league.
What has been your experience being Director of Adult Tennis at Midtown Athletic Center?
I love my job. It has been 10 wonderful years at Midtown! I’ve organized USTA teams, directed a Men’s 35 National and also a Men’s 25K Futures.
Does your family play tennis?
My two boys play competitive tennis. Fabian (16) and Samuel (11). My wife Evelyn is also a Tennis Pro at Bonaventure Town Center in Weston.
What message do you have for parents about tennis?
Let the kids enjoy the game. Tennis is a lifetime sport!
What is your heritage?
All my family is Venezuelan. My sister lives in Tampa; my mom, other sister and two brothers still live in Venezuela.
Why is celebrating Hispanic heritage important to you?
It is important because I like to learn more and more about other cultures.
How has your Hispanic heritage inspired you in tennis, or, your life in general?
It has inspired me to work hard for things I love to do, along with discipline and commitment.
Why is it important to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in general, as well as in tennis?
It is important that we all know about other cultures. I enjoy learning about other players’ cultures.
Why is it important to not only support and celebrate other cultures, but be inclusive to all?
I think it is important to learn from all cultures, to give you a better understanding of other people.
If you had to share your message of unity, what would it be?
At this moment we need to be united more than ever and work together to beat all the problems we are facing.
To learn more about USTA Florida’s diversity initiatives, click here.