Gullikson to retire
from full-time coaching with USTA
Sally Milano | April 25, 2017
Tom Gullikson, a name synonymous with tennis coaching in the United States over the last three decades, has announced that he will be retiring from his full-time position as USTA Lead National Coach with USTA Player Development.
Gullikson, the former U.S. Davis Cup captain who has led Player Development’s Team USA – Pro Men’s division since it was created last year, will stay on until June 2.
“It's been a great run,” Gullikson said. “Tennis has been a real labor of love for me. I've never really considered it a job, either the playing or the coaching, because it's something I've loved since I hit my very first ball at 5 years old with my twin brother in La Crosse, Wis., on the public courts. I think tennis is in my DNA, and certainly American tennis is always going to be a part of who I am and what I've been.”
Gullikson began coaching with the USTA in 1988 as one of the very first coaches in the USTA Player Development program, and he guided American stars Jim Courier, Todd Martin, MaliVai Washington and Jennifer Capriati, among others, during their careers. ADVERTISEMENT He was the U.S. Davis Cup captain from 1994 to 1999, leading the 1995 team to the Davis Cup title, and he was the men’s coach for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, where he helped Andre Agassi win the men’s singles gold medal. He later served as the program’s Director of Coaching from 1997 to 2001.
As a player, Gullikson peaked at No. 4 in the world in doubles in 1983 and captured 16 career doubles titles, including 10 with identical twin brother, Tim, with whom he reached the Wimbledon doubles final in 1983. He also teamed with Manuela Maleeva to win the US Open mixed doubles championship in 1984.
“Gully is cherished all over the tennis world for his wisdom, humility and genuine kindness toward people," said USTA Player Development General Manager Martin Blackman. "Three generations of American male and female champions consider Gully to be their coach, mentor and friend, and he has taught and guided players, coaches and parents at every level of our sport. Gully has not only been an outstanding ambassador for our sport but also an inspirational force. Captain Gullikson epitomizes the values of Team USA, and his legacy will be seen in generations to come."
Gullikson, who boasts wins over Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors during his 13-year playing career, will leave his position in the next few months optimistic about the state of tennis in the U.S.
"I'm really excited about the future of American tennis, both on the men's and women's sides,” he said. “I think we've got a lot of great young players, and we've got some great leadership with Martin Blackman and Brian Boland, so I think tennis is in good shape right now in the U.S., and we're only going to get better.”