Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight: Raul Bermudez, Delgado Family
Coach Raul Bermudez
Pictured below, from Little Rock, AR
When arrived in the United States:
Highest junior or adult ranking:
Venezuela No. 1 in 1996, No. 4 in nation Division II in doubles, No. 30 in the nation in singles, No. 1 team in the nation 2000; awarded as the best player to watch in the nation in Division II in 2000, top 5 in Southern 30 and over doubles; finalist future Little Rock 2008 in doubles.
College and years played:
Ouachita Baptist University 1999-2003
What attracted you to Little Rock:
Opportunity, great scholarship for college, lifestyle, and able to start my own academy since 2003.
What is your current position?
Head coach and owner of Bermudez Tennis Academy at the Rebsamen Tennis Center.
What are the major programs you offer?
We offer a complete program from 3- year old juniors to advanced adults, from beginners to college or even pro level.
What is your coaching philosophy?
I believe to help any player to be the best they can.
How did COVID-19 affect tennis at your center?
COVID-19 affected all the groups for a period, but we were able to do private lessons. We had to adjust by having small groups, a maximum of four on court with sanitary equipment and social distancing.
Who is your tennis idol or favorite player?
What do you like to do outside of tennis?
Cycling, swimming, watch TV and enjoy social events as well as dancing and listening to music.
Delgado Family Spotlight
Oscar, Elaine, James, Andrew and Sarah, High Point, NC
Where did you emigrate from?
I emigrated from Bogota, Colombia. My children were born here in the United States.
How did your family get involved in tennis?
When my oldest son was 2, we lived in New York and went to the US Open Kids Day. From there on, we started practicing in our driveway every day. I would feed him balls and he would try to hit it into the canal next to our house. When Andrew and Sarah came along, tennis was already ingrained. We played as a family and they all loved it.
What are your juniors’ rankings?
- James, age 17, ranked No. 16 in Southern 18s
- Andrew, age 15, ranked No. 25 in Southern 16s
- Sarah, age 12, ranked No. 10 in Southern 12s
How did tennis benefit the family?
Tennis is our family sport. We all play together and share time together. It makes us more united because we share the same sport. Through tennis, we have been able to travel throughout the country, play in different cities, meet people from all over and learn so much about strength, determination and hard work.
What do you look for in a coach for your kids?
I look for coaches that care about my children and have a vision for them. Coaches that are interested in growth, development, and helping them throughout their journey, not just in the present.
How do you see your role?
My role is to encourage them and support them. I am also the one to push them towards their goals, because I know them better than anyone else. I am there to show them just how strong they are and help them through the ups and downs. I am their biggest fan and try to keep their vision, because I know how easy it is to get distracted from their goals.
What advice would you give to other parents that are starting this journey?
My advice would be to be consistent and involved. Do not just drop them off at practice. Be there and be involved so you can see the growth in their journey. Make it a team effort and show them that you support them. Look for the right coach that will see their potential and help them grow at their different stages. Trust the development and think towards who they are becoming rather than just the results. You forget the wins and losses, but you do not forget the time you put in together.
How did COVID-19 affect tennis play and programming for your family?
Thankfully, our local courts remained open throughout with protocols in place. They have been able to play almost every day, but they have only played with each other for the most part. Being that tournaments have been cancelled, they were able to try some new sports, too. Andrew has gotten into golf and likes to play with his dad. James and Sarah have gotten into cycling and ride with their mom. They are really excited to get back into tournaments and see all their friends though. So far, Sarah was able to play a USTA Southern tournament last week and it was handled great by the facility and staff.