The San Diego District Tennis Association, a division of the United States Tennis Association, held its annual meeting and awards dinner his past week, at La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club professional Allison Bradshaw DeNike received this year’s award as the “Pro of the Year.”
Allison has had a connection with tennis since she was 6 years old. A native San Diegan, she grew up playing at Lake Murray Tennis Club, where her mother, recent San Diego Tennis Hall of fame inductee Valerie Ziegenfuss, was the club teaching pro.
Allie, as she is known to family and friends, competed in her first tournament at age 8 and went on to compete at all the national tournaments in each age group. She attended Arizona State University for two years, before joining the women’s professional tour in 2000 at age 19. She was immediately successful, capturing the singles title at Hilton Head, South Carolina, in her first tournament. Allie made it to the third round at the U.S. OPEN later that year. During her four-year professional career, her highest world ranking in singles was No. 102 and her doubles ranking (with a variety of partners) was as high as No. 150.
But something was missing for Allie on the tour with the grind of travel. She felt the need to come home and take up teaching. Not surprisingly, she landed at Lake Murray Tennis Club in 2004. One of her students there, who has taken lessons from Allie since she started teaching, is thrilled with her teaching style. She describes Allie as being a superb, easy going teacher, terrific with both group and private lessons.
Allie joined the professional teaching staff at Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club in 2008. Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club Head Teaching Pro Derek Miller, who has known Allie since their days in the 10-and-under age group, raves about her teaching style. “She is an amazing one-on-one tennis coach. Technique is her strength.” Derek also notes that she works with a “high octane-level of juniors and advanced players.”
Whether it is teaching advanced students individually, or group lessons, Allie espouses an aggressive style. She wants her students to “come forward.” She sums up her teaching philosophy, “You have to know the age and level of your student. You have to be able to coach all types of styles, and you have to listen to your students and their needs.”
Allison is enjoying passion for teaching, and says she is very proud to be named this year’s “Pro of the Year.” Congratulations Allie!