At the beginning of 2020, Rohan Goetzke began the newest chapter of his tennis career when he accepted a position as Director of Tennis at Bogota Racquet Club and joined the CourtSense team. It was the latest, and possibly final, stop on a remarkable tennis journey that began on the other side of the world, and has led him here to the Tri-State area.
“I remember flying up to New Jersey to meet with Gordon [Uehling], Ogi [Nikolovski] and the rest of the team there, and I liked what they were doing,” recalls Goetzke. “I trusted them and what they were doing. I had some other offers elsewhere, but I knew this was the place for me. After meeting everyone and seeing what they were about, my gut told me this was where I should be.”
Goetzke took the position at CourtSense after spending eight years as the Director of Tennis at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. It was while there that he first heard about Uehling and the CourtSense program up in New Jersey CourtSense. There was a player in the IMG Academy program from New York, and his father mentioned what Uehling had established with CourtSense. When Goetzke was finished at IMG Academy, he connected with Uehling and Nikolovski.
“He knew Gordon, and said he is a great guy who wants to always improve his program, and there could be something there,” Goetzke recalls. “At the time, I was taking some time off to figure out what I wanted my next step to be. So I began having some conversations with Gordon, Ogi and the team, and I loved what they were doing. It had to work for everybody, and this was the best move for my family and I.”
At the time, Goetzke had offers to go back onto the professional tours as a travelling coach, something he had done for decades prior. But at this point in his life, spending nearly all of his time throughout the year on the road was not something that he wanted to do; as a husband and father of three kids, Goetzke was looking for something stable and that didn’t require him to travel the globe for much of the year.
“I liked doing that, and it sounds good on the surface. I had a great run doing it, and enjoyed my experience coaching at that high level but 15-20 weeks on the road always ends up being more, and I didn’t want to be on the road that much,” he said. “I made the decision not to do that anymore.”
Goetzke’s tennis journey began when he was 11-years-old in Australia. He originally played Australian Rules Football, but after he got knocked out playing, his mother put an end to him playing that sport, so he transitioned into tennis. At first, he was not a huge fan, but soon after starting he began to fall in love with the sport.
“My life at that time was go to school, and then race off and play tennis,” he recalls. “And then on the weekends, train in the morning and play matches in the afternoon. And that was really the early stages of my tennis career.”
He began studying engineering in Australia, and while doing so went to Europe to compete in prize money tournaments in various countries on that continent. It was while doing that at an event in Belgium, where he met a club owner who was from New Zealand. He was offered some coaching hours during the winter there, and he slowly would take on more responsibility in coaching at the club.
“That was really the beginning of my tennis coaching,” said Goetzke. “A few years later, I decided to move back to Australia, but was contacted by the technical director from the Dutch Tennis Federation who said he needed someone to travel with some of his players. I took them to satellite tournaments in what was then Yugoslavia for a couple of weeks. As time went on, I picked up more time on the road, traveling with them to Spain, and from there on I was pretty much the traveling coach for the Dutch Federation.”
Goetzke would play an integral role in helping strengthen tennis players from the Netherlands, and worked with some of the best including Richard Krajicek, the 1996 Wimbledon champion. He was spending weeks at a time on the road with the federation’s players, which he enjoyed, but when he was offered a chance to run the National Tennis Center in Netherlands, he embraced the new challenge. Afterwards, he became the federation’s Technical Director.
“That was more of an off-court position,” he said. “It was more of a managerial type role. And I did that for about eight or nine years, before taking the position at IMG Academy and moving to the United States.”
And that was how Goetzke’s tennis journey brought him across the Atlantic Ocean to the United States, and now finds himself as Director of Tennis at Bogota Racquet Club, where he bring his years and years of high-performance expertise to the crop of players in the CourtSense system.
That sentiment was echoed by Uehling and Nikolovski, who decided to bring Goetzke onto the team at the beginning of 2020.
“Rohan is a person of incredible character! He shares our same values and drive for excellence and we feel very grateful that he is joining our CourtSense team,” said Uehling. “His experience and passion for tennis on and off the court make us even stronger as we continue to provide world-class services for all of our students!”
“Rohan's experience, along with his passion for the game along with he fact that it was very evident that he really wants to help the players on and off the court meant a lot to us. We could also sense that he was all about the team, so it really was an easy decision. He has brought a steady leadership during challenging times, as he joined our team only 2 months before the start of the pandemic, and also in collaboration with the rest of the high-performance coaching team has further improved all the programs by making sure that every player feels that they are developing their specific needs.”
As we enter 2022, Goetzke will begin his third year as a member of CourtSense, and is excited to continue growing the program and developing top-level tennis players.
“We have great coaches here, and it’s big enough where we have a lot of great players, but a small enough atmosphere where you can still get that individualized attention,” he said. “You’re always striving to win and get the top results, but it’s all about the process, and I think that’s something we do very well here.”
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for New York Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org