Tennis is “a sport of a lifetime” said Daniel Mainzer, a tennis instructor from Long Beach, California. These days, in addition to all the other junior and adult students he has, 44-year-old Mainzer teaches tennis to 3.5-year-old Kendra Alfaro Segura three days a week. Because Kendra is too young to handle an hour-long class, each one of her classes is 30 minutes.
About Kendra, Mainzer commented that “in 4 years she will be the best junior tennis player in this country. I guarantee it. She is an unbelievable athlete.”
Mainzer grew up in New Mexico. It was his mother that introduced him to tennis at the age of 8. This early acquaintance “blossomed into a junior tennis career,” he said. After playing nationally, and thus travelling throughout the US, Mainzer ended up going to college in California.
His long lasting teaching career, that started at a local parks and recreation facility in Long Beach, coincided with the senior year in college and didn’t stop until a few years ago when he decided to sell his tennis business in California and moved down to Guanacaste. “I just started dealing with some repetitive motion injuries from teaching a lot. I was having wrist problems and shoulder problems when I got to be about 40. Spending 6-8 hours on the court takes a toll on you.”
Although originally he didn’t plan on teaching tennis in Guanacaste, his inevitable affinity for tennis wouldn’t let him go. He said, “I think I just needed a real sabbatical. And now I am kind of re-juiced up and enthusiastic about teaching.”
Tennis in Nosara
While he was trying to figure out where to start in Guanacaste, through a friend’s advise, Mainzer realized that “Nosara is the mecca for tennis” with two courts at Nosara Tennis Club and many other private courts.
Today, he is in the process of starting his own tennis business in Nosara, using some private courts for now.
Californian instructor has already 15 students in the area 10 adults and 5 juniors. “Everyone here has just been so nice. You know, where I am from you can find a tennis pro in every corner. But here they don’t have that. So they have been really enjoying the lessons and they have been fantastic to me,” he said.
Opening New Doors for Nosaran Youth
Although soccer is the most popular sports in Costa Rica, tennis also has its own niche, which is concentrated in San Jóse area. With this awareness, Mainzer is eager to expose the local children to this relatively new sport for the area.
In comparison with his students from the States, “when you get them (Nosaran children) on the court, they are like right there with you. They listen. They pay attention,” he said. “I think they have incredible potential to be really excellent tennis players.”