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TENNIS.com Podcast: Jeff Salzenstein is coaching the masses online
The Stanford grad reached exactly No. 100 in the ATP rankings at age 30, then started a YouTube channel helping teaching tennis to thousands of people.
Published Mar 19, 2021
This week's guest on the TENNIS.com Podcast is former ATP pro and CEO of Tennis Evolution, Jeff Salzenstein. His tennis story is a unique one, as he reached exactly No. 100 in the ATP rankings at age of 30, then started a successful YouTube channel helping teaching tennis to thousands of people.
Salzenstein was a top-ranked junior in Colorado before attending Stanford, where he’d work his way up to play at No. 1. After college, he gave himself three years to make it as a pro, but serious ankle and knee injuries ruined his timeline.
Instead of giving up, he kept chasing his dreams, and would win five ATP Challenger titles and reach a career-high ranking of exactly No. 100 in 2004.
"You definitely have to love the sport. You have to love learning," Salzenstein says. "It's a bit of a trap that you're on this journey thinking you can maybe get to No. 75, or No. 50, or No. 20, or whatever that level is. And it's kind of that never ending cycle."
The feat made him the first-ever American to break into the Top 100 after age 30.
"I think I was in the Top 100 for a cup of coffee," he says. "And then I moved back down a little bit. But it's been a crazy journey. One that I would not change for anything because of all the lessons that have been learned."
After retiring a few years later, he put all his focus into coaching back home in Colorado. In 2010, he started Tennis Evolution, an online destination for tennis lessons and coaching videos with a YouTube channel that has more than 85,000 subscribers.
"I started with no business plan. I started with no clue," he says. "I was making blueberry and avocado videos with no microphone. There was a lot of stuff going on that I mean, I was clueless. And so if anybody has a dream or a passion to start something that is the key. You just have to start and you just have to get going and just take one step at a time."
Every day he uses his decades of playing and coaching experience to help players of all ages and abilities in Colorado and all over the world online. And as everyone knows, standing out on YouTube is no easy task.
"How you can create a unique hook or big idea that people want to listen to you," he says. "You're just trying to get attention and get people to actually watch your stuff and say, 'Oh wow, he kind of knows what he's talking about.'"
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