Higueras to serve in new role as Master Coach Consultant

March 2, 2017 10:26 AM

By Pat Mitsch

From Top 10 player to successful coach of some of the game's greatest players to Director of Coaching in the USTA Player Development Department, Jose Higueras has achieved great success in all levels of tennis.

Now, Higueras will serve USTA Player Development in a new role, transitioning from Director of Coaching to Master Coach Consultant, Development and Planning, through the end of the year.

As Master Coach Consultant, Higueras will oversee training camps for American men and women at the USTA National Campus at Lake Nona in Orlando, Fla.; the USTA Training Center – West in Carson, Calif.; and near his home in Palm Springs, Calif. He will also travel to a number of tournaments to coach and advise top players and serve as a development and planning resource for the USTA Player Development coaching staff.

Higueras-vertical“Jose Higueras is one of the most universally respected names in the tennis community, and his service to USTA Player Development has had a demonstrative impact on the upward trajectory we’re seeing with our rising juniors and professionals,” said USTA Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Gordon Smith. “The USTA will be forever grateful for Jose’s contributions as its Director of Coaching, and we look forward to having him continue to positively affect American tennis in his new role.”

Higueras was hired as USTA Player Development’s Director of Coaching in 2008, when the role was created by then-General Manager Patrick McEnroe. Regarded as one of the premier coaching minds in tennis, the native of Spain championed the development of all the skills necessary to play an aggressive all-court game, starting with a base of movement and tactical development on clay.

Higueras was also instrumental in establishing and implementing a comprehensive, unifying coaching philosophy that began as a methodology for USTA national coaches and, with input from the country's top coaches, evolved into a comprehensive player-centric system for teaching, training and coaching that was embraced by many of the best private-sector coaches and programs in the country.

Higueras' outreach and engagement with the country's best coaches and programs was an important component of USTA Player Development’s “Team USA” initiative, which engaged the private sector and the USTA's 17 sections to create a three-way partnership that gives American players comprehensive support at the local, regional and national level.

Since Higueras was hired in September 2008, the U.S. has gone from having six women ranked in the Top 100 to 18 today, which is more than double the total of any other country. On the men’s side, the U.S. had two men who were 21 or younger ranked in the Top 200 then; it now has eight. The next-highest nation in that category, Russia, has three.

As a player, Higueras won 16 tour-level singles titles, reached the French Open semifinals in 1982 and 1983 and was ranked as high as No. 6 in the world. After retiring, he went on to coach Michael Chang, Jim Courier, Todd Martin, Mary Joe Fernandez and Roger Federer, among others.

“Although he’s worked with so many great champions over the years, Jose’s humility and ability to communicate advanced teaching and coaching concepts in a simple way make him unique," said USTA Player Development General Manager Martin Blackman. "He exemplifies the character and integrity that we want our national coaches to aspire to.”

In January, USTA Player Development relocated its headquarters from Boca Raton, Fla., to the USTA National Campus at Lake Nona in Orlando, where its Adidas Performance Center features eight outdoor hard courts, six European red clay courts and six indoor hard courts, as well as a state-of-the-art athletic training area and a player lodge, which can house up to 40 players participating in Player Development programs.

Additionally, the National Campus features a ‘Team USA’ area, where coaches and players from each of the USTA’s 17 sections can utilize to work collaboratively with Player Development.