There’s a sporting energy in the Royal Coast community that may surface through golf, water sports, football and more. This article follows an interview by the Royal Coast Review with Sly Black, a very energetic tennis coach of international renown.
Sly says he was recently asked if he has the ability to manage a tennis academy. With a confidence born of experience he replied, “I’ve managed the Chinese national team, so I don’t think that would be a problem.”
Sly hails from Jamaica where his first experiences on the court were as a 10 year old ball boy. Recognised for his determination by taking every opportunity to take racquet in hand on court, his natural talent was recognised and he rapidly progressed through junior national team selection to become a member of the Jamaican Davis Cup team at the age of sixteen and travelling the world.
Then followed US experiences as a ‘sparring partner’ for some of the greats in the world of professional tennis, including the Williams sisters, Martina Hingis, Jennifer Capriati and David Nalbandian.
Coaching became Sly’s chosen direction in tennis with his own academy established in Florida focusing on recognising and developing young talent, including all three of his daughters who each became world junior champions at the age of fourteen.
His role in the development of current world ranked professionals including Sloane Stephens and Cori “Coco” Gauff, was then recognised by Chinese ‘head-hunters’ who enticed him to take that country’s tennis competitiveness to the next level, including managing the Chinese Olympic team.
Sly first came to Hua Hin in 2017, primarily with the aim of arranging for Chinese tennis players to have access to a premier Asian training and development centre outside the country. He immediately realised the advantages that the Hua Hin environment has over other locations and the potential of the amazing True Arena facilities to become that base.
Plans for groups of Chinese tennis players to travel here were well advanced before the Coronavirus pandemic struck to put a halt to these plans.
In recent times Sly has adopted Hua Hin as his home, with a continuing stream of potential tennis hopefuls keeping him busy on the courts of True Arena for many hours every day. His vision of Hua Hin becoming Asia’s centre for international tennis development remains at the forefront of his ambitions for True Arena and for our region.
That’s a vision in line with tennis promoter Khun Suwat Liptapanlop, the former Deputy Prime Minister and founder of True Arena. Together with Sly Black’s experience and belief that Hua Hin can achieve that status, Hua Hin really has the potential to achieve that recognition.