Todd Seltzer (2nd from right, back row) has brought four straight teams from the Midwest Section to Nationals.
© ANDREW ONG PHOTOGRAPHY
By Matt Birch, special to USTA.com
TUCSON, Ariz. --- More than 325,000 people have competed this year in USTA Leagues around the country, and only a small percentage of those people get to compete at the National Championships. Coach Todd Seltzer has consistently beaten those odds and is coaching at his fourth Nationals.
Seltzer has been coaching and teaching tennis full time at the Midtown Athletic Club in the Chicago suburb of Bannockburn for the past 13 years. His women’s 3.5-level team is competing this weekend at the Adult League National Championships at the Jim Reffkin Tennis Center and is the fourth different team that Seltzer has led to the National Championships in as many years.
USTA regulations require that teams must break up or move up to the next level after competing at the National Championships, and Seltzer has been able to bring in new team members each year and lead them to great success.
"It can be a challenge," Seltzer said of teaching his women’s teams that have annual roster changes. "But I enjoy it, and they enjoy it. It’s very gratifying to see people enjoy it as much they do."
Growing up, Seltzer also had a successful playing career, including being nationally ranked at the 18-and-under level and winning the Illinois state championship with his high school team as a senior. He also played singles and doubles collegiately at Tulane University in New Orleans.
After college, he worked in retail for his uncle for about 10 years and eventually decided to try teaching tennis part time. He immediately fell in love with teaching and became a full-time instructor.
Lisa Aronson is the captain of the team, which is representing the Midwest Section. She spoke of her coach’s role with the team and the bonding and friendships that have been made as a result of working with Seltzer.
"He is a great coach," she said. "Most of us picked up tennis as adults, and we practice a lot. Everyone on our team is great friends on and off the court, and Todd is the common denominator that brought us all together."
Despite making trips to Nationals an annual occurrence, Seltzer still appreciates what it means to reach this tournament.
"Every year is very rewarding," he said. "We’re proud to be here four years in a row as a club."
Seltzer also instructs the men’s teams at the Midtown Athletic Club and is still looking to bring the men to their first National Championships. Additionally, he has begun practicing tennis with his young children and hopes that they can also be successful in the tennis world when they get older.