By Michelle Spitzer
It’s game, set, and match for Parkland Tennis Director Rob Nickels.
On Jan 8, the longtime player and instructor won a state championship at the 2022 USTA Florida NTRP (National Tennis Rating Program) 40-and-over Sectional Championship.
Nickels went into the tournament, held at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, ranked No. 2 in Florida. Six competitors in his division (4.5 men’s singles) were vying for the top spot.
“My two sons, Mateo and Ethan, my wife Kathy, and some friends from Parkland were there, and I wanted to do this for them,” Nickels told Parkland Talk. “Having them all, there was 100 percent the best part.”
After the win, the group enjoyed a celebratory meal, and Nickels said he’s now back to training in preparation for nationals. In April, the Parkland resident will represent Florida at the National Championship in San Diego.
“I get match-ready by playing against other people as much as I can,” Nickels said. “That is how I get mentally prepared.”
Nickels’ wife and sons will join him in San Diego, some friends, and even his mother, visiting from England.
“It will be wonderful to have them all out there with me,” he said.
Nickels, owner of Rob Nickels Tennis Inc., has been leading instruction at Parkland Tennis Center since it opened in 2016. He has coached everyone from beginners to nationally ranked NCAA and Davis Cup players.
The Parkland Junior and Adult Tennis Program have grown substantially under Nickels’ direction into one of the largest tennis academies in Broward County. The Parkland Tennis Center at Quigley Park offers group classes for ages four and older, adult clinics, and private lessons.
Nickels holds an undergraduate degree in sport science and administration from Nottingham Trent University, England, and a master’s in business administration from Charleston Southern University.
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- Michelle Spitzer grew up in Coral Springs, attending Westchester Elementary, Ramblewood Middle, and J.P. Taravella High. She attended the University of Florida and has been a journalist for nearly two decades. As a reporter and editor for The Associated Press and USA Today, she’s covered everything from U.S. Presidents to shuttle launches to Jamie Foxx’s New Year’s Eve party.
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