Suntree CC tennis pro finds coaching success at U.S. Open
Suntree Country Club tennis pro Paul Davis, left, posed for a photo with Laura Siegemund and Mate Pavic on center court just before their victory in the U.S. Open Mixed Doubles final. Davis recently started coaching Siegemund.
photo courtesy of paul davis
When Laura Siegemund and Mate Pavic won the mixed doubles championship at last month’s U.S. Open, Paul Davis wasn’t just watching every point.
He was living through them vicariously.
That’s because the Suntree Country Club tennis pro has been coaching Siegemund, a 28-year-old German, since July.
Davis and Siegemund met at Wimbledon, where she was paired with another player he was coaching, Artem Sitak, in the mixed doubles event.
“Due to the scheduling that works out with mixed doubles, sometimes they get delayed,” Davis said. “So it ended up being we spent several days on the practice courts. I got to spend time with Laura on the court and we connected while we were out there working on stuff for their mixed matches.
“At the end of the event, she (said) she was looking for someone to attend some events with her, to come work with her this last portion of the year.”
The first event Davis went to with Siegemund was in Bastad, Sweden where she would go on to win her first WTA singles title.
Davis was already scheduled to be at the U.S. Open with Sitak, who was playing in the men’s doubles event. Siegemund and Pavic, meanwhile, paired for mixed doubles minutes before the entry deadline.
They had never played together, but ended up not losing a set and beat CoCo Vandeweghe and Rajeev Ram 6-4, 6-4 in the finals.
“It was amazing,” Davis said. “I was so excited for her.”
The plan is for Siegemund and Pavic to team up again at the Australian Open.
In the meantime, the 45-year-old Davis will continue to balance coaching Siegemund and Sitak with his job as the Suntree Country Club pro and the owner of two Nature’s Table restaurants, including one in Suntree.
“As my friends have told me, I’ve done this backwards,” Davis said. “Most people come right off of playing and go out and start coaching players. I did (the) reverse. I got myself established, got a couple of restaurants, became the head pro at Suntree and created a good team there.
“Then, obviously by fortune, I was contacted by my buddy who was the main coach for Artem. When (Artem) went full-time doubles (in Jan. 2015), he called me to come in and be the doubles specialist on the team.
“And of course, once you’re out there, you’re out there. It’s wonderful. I love it. It’s nice to throw a change into something you already enjoy. I’ve been blessed enough to be able to teach. Now you’re able to teach at that level and with that level of player. It creates all kinds of things I can bring home to the club. It’s really a great thing.”