After landing at Buffalo Niagara International Airport, retired professional tennis player Jimmy Arias didn’t have much time to sleep before teaching at Chautauqua bright and early Friday morning.
“I got in at 1 a.m. last night, but I love to be here, I love to coach and I try my best to make it as fun for everyone here as possible,” Arias said as he wrapped up the first half of his clinic at the Chautauqua Tennis Center Friday morning.
Even before the clinic started at 9 a.m., Arias was already talking to the participants, telling stories and cracking jokes as if he was just there to play a game himself. After the eight participants were divided into two groups of four, between two courts and two instructors each, the day began.
Arias began by teaching participants his classic forehand swing, which he used as he rose to the rank of fifth-best player in the world.
Throughout the activities, participants gave one another tips and compliments on their playing, and generally commented on how excited they were to be there.
As the day progressed, participants had a slew of activities planned for them, including a double-ball forehand activity, rotating doubles volleys against Arias, as well as another coach at the center, with jokes and laughter floating about the court throughout the morning.
Before the first clinic came to a close, Arias offered $1,000 to anyone who could keep a five-hit volley with him, and then hit him with the ball. Though no one won the prize, participants felt like they had gotten their money’s worth.