INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — In a sport that requires great focus, tenacity and stamina, tennis offers a foundation for discipline.
“Tennis still has incredible value in the minds of parents. For them wanting their kids to be involved in personal growth and development,” said Rick Witsken.
Former tennis pro Rick Witsken just opened a brand new tennis facility in Zionsville. With eight indoor courts and top-of-the-line coaching, he’s turning his passion into a purpose for the sport he’s loved since childhood.
“Watching my older siblings do amazing things and get a lot of accolades for it was a nice way for me to say ‘I’m going to like this sport.’ So I hit the ground running playing with all of my siblings,” said Witsken.
For the Witskens, tennis is a family affair. And the Pearson Automotive Tennis Club embodies that. But for Rick Witsken, these courts mean so much more than the matches played on them.
“At the end of the day, Todd Witsken was the best mentor, role model, idol I could’ve ever had.”
Rick’s older brother Todd will go down as one of the best to ever play tennis in the state of Indiana. A graduate of Carmel High School, Todd went on to beat countless legends in the pros, including a win over Jimmy Connors at the US Open in 1986.
“The amount of respect people had for Todd is amazing,” said Witsken.
Rick and Todd bonded over teaching the sport they loved to kids, but a brain tumor ended Todd’s life at age 34.
“When Todd passed away, I thought I had to do something really big to memorialize him,” said Witsken.
That idea turned into Team Witsken: an organization dedicated to helping kids develop a good work ethic and positive attitude through tennis, allowing his brother’s legacy to live on not only through giving back, but also through Todd’s son.
“I feel like he’s watching over me when I’m out here,” said Tyler.
Tyler serves as a coach for Team Witsken, providing a platform to help mentor children and connect with his late father.
“It’s crazy kind of how everything comes back full circle. To honor him and be a part of something,” said Tyler.
It’s something Rick hopes continues to impact the community.
“We love what tennis does for life,” said Witsken.
Preparing the youth for the real world, one serve at a time.