Tag Archives: tennis

He who lives with tennis: a profile of Luca Pisculli

21 Mar

He won the Italian national championship as a swimmer when he was only 12 years old. But he did not like the sport.

He found his love for tennis and reached the national level when he was a teenager.

Italy may have its own Michael Phelps and Andy Murray now if he had ever continued either sport.

Luca Pisculli, now a final year student of political science at Roma Tre University, has followed his own heart to finish the player career but still keeps his passion for tennis, the sport that has already become part of his life.

Luca is quite nice and easy to approach, but his caution can still be detected when talking to a newly known person.

“I don’t know it in English,” Luca the Italian said every time when he tried to clarify himself so as to avoid confusion.

Farewell to the sportsman career

It sounds hardly too ambitious if a player says he wants to be the best in his field, but the then 18-aged Luca chose to be very down-to-earth about his career.

Luca Pisculli

He decided to finish his sportsman career and turned to coaching and study.

“I was a good player, but I start to play late in the age of 12. In one year I was able to enter the national championship. For several years I was really good. At the age of 18 I need to decide if I want to be a professional player or I just want to study, ” he said.

Even though it was a difficult decision for him, he seems to have less regret than satisfaction, and soon he found another way to keep tennis in his life.

The now 23-year-old added with relief and slightly detectable sense of pity: I’m happy with my decision. My other friends continued to play as professional players. They are still playing now but they are not good enough to make a living with tennis.

But I’m kind of sad. Every time I think about my player career, I’m kind of sad. This is why I decide to be a coach. Just to continue with tennis.”

Luca is now holding the certificate of international coach for tennis, after he went through a long journey.

“In Italy if you want to be the coach for professional players, it’s very difficult. You need to do the six-month course, pass the exam and after that you need to work with a national coach for two years, pass another exam, then you can become a tennis coach,” he explained, paying absolute attention to clarifying each stage.

Aged 23 in 2010, he was the then youngest person taking the final exam for the international coach certificate.

The future tennis coach

As a coach, he teaches young professionals aged from 12 to 26, and he knows how to enjoy this new role on the court as a different experience from being a player.

“This year [2011] I was working with the daughter of the famous Brazilian footballer Emerson, who used to play for AS Roma, Juventus and Real Madrid. Once I was even invited to Emerson’s house. It’s a huge house with swimming pool, it’s funny.”

Luca is also very self-reflective concerning his role as a coach. He believes that a former player career is very important for a good coach, although not necessarily so.

“As a player you can understand how players think. Because you did it and you will know. It’s easier.

“But for a coach, a player career is not so important. Because we have very good tennis coaches who have never played as players.”

He also emphasized the necessity of study for a coach by saying “If you are a tennis coach it is very, very important to study. Because when you study, you have an open mind”.

“But in tennis, no one studies. Just few coaches have the graduation. In Italy it’s just Coppo, ” he added.

Giampaolo Coppo, the 56-year-old international tennis coach who enjoys his reputation in Italy, used to train Luca to be a player and now helps Luca to be a good coach.

Luca describes the relationship with his sensei with pride and gratitude in his voice: “ I was very lucky to work with him. He’s very intelligent. He’s like a father who helps me.”

In Luca’s life, study seems to be important as well, if not more important than tennis.

During the Christmas holiday, he did not even go back to Sicily, where most of his family now lives.

He has also chosen for himself a master’s degree, a bit surprisingly in motorsports management rather than tennis, as his goal of further study.

“I’m going to do a master that’s not linked with tennis, because it’s better to have more ways, more possibilities,” he said.

%d bloggers like this: