During the weekend of November 15 - 17, 2019, Michael-Ray Pallares, President of the foundation One Lov Tennis and Director of Coach Education for the Union of Professional Tennis (UPT), made his first visit to Lebanon to arrange a play-day event for the children at the SOS Children's Village in Kfarhay as well offering a UPT Junior Development certification course and a Doubles Tactics certification course for all the national coaches held at the beautiful Schick tennis court in Yahchouch.
One Love Tennis is a non-profit organization designed to reach underprivileged and low-income youth through affordable tennis, education, and fitness. On Saturday, November 16, over 30 children who live at the SOS Children's Village in Kfarhay participated in a tennis event to introduce beginner tennis to children in a fun and joyful way. Interim village director Charbel Joseph Khoury said “this was a fantastic event for the children to learn discipline, companionship, and fair-play, all of which are values we try to instill at the SOS Children’s Village” which is active in supporting families and their children, by providing for their most basic needs ensuring that they are actively integrated into their local community. One Love Tennis was able to donate over 100 tennis balls to their program.
The UPT is a coach certification registry-based out of Alicante, Spain that focuses on the "Spanish-method" of coaching, a method that has produced the most top-100 ATP players in the past 30+ years. The professor responsible for the UPT Project in Lebanon, Michael-Ray Pallares, is a former Davis Cup and ATP ranked professional tennis player from the Dominican Republic as well as a qualified Level 3 Expert coach by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
During his time with the Lebanese coaches, he evaluated and certified fifteen national coaches in Junior Development as well as in a special Doubles Tactics course offered by the UPT. The Doubles Tactics course was designed by Matthew Seeberger, a former professional tennis player and tour coach from the United States who held an ATP doubles ranking of 155 and competed in the main draw of the US Open, to show all coaches different ways to teach, coach, and learn the game of doubles through different tactics and drills.
“This was my first time in Lebanon and the warmth and hospitality I felt was very heartwarming,” said Pallares, “I would like to give a special thanks to Leyla and Daniel Schick for being such gracious hosts to our event at their beautiful home and tennis facility, as well as Secretary-General of the Lebanese Tennis Federation and Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Union of Francophone States for Tennis, Alain Sayegh for supporting this project. It is through projects like these that I am able to promote and grow the game of tennis worldwide.”
Lebanese Davis Cup Captain Fadi Youssef had this to say about the course, “The UPT course was a really great experience not only for myself but for the Lebanese tennis community. Anytime you gather the top coaches in the country for a high-quality course such as what the UPT offers, it brings out the best in all of us.”
The following is the list of coaches who successfully completed the UPT Junior Development and UPT Doubles Tactics certifications.
Salim El Achkar
Elie Joseph Mrad
Mark Anthony Villegas