The wide world of tennis - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

The wide world of tennis

By Coleman Swierc - bio | email

TYLER, TEXAS (KLTV) - For more than 20 years, John Peterson has led the TJC tennis team.

"When I first was interested, they called me and I came up here. I told my wife later, 'this place is really nice, I think they like me,' and then I got the job a week later."

And every year, he watches players from around the globe descend on TJC.

"They contact me, and I contact them, and sometimes, they tunr out to be really good, like these here," said Peterson.

"It was difficult at first," said TJC sophomore Casey Bulls, "With the lack of communication between us, it was tough, but once we figured it out, it became a real neat experience."

Of course, when nearly half your womens team is from another country, a few adjustments have to be made.

"The Americans are so polite on the court," said Hagar Caro, who hails originally from Israel, "Normally they are telling you nice things when I hit a good shot, back home, in Isreal, that does not happen, so it is kind of nice."

"I really have learned alot," said Peterson, "I know know how to curse in several different languages."

"The Americans are not as experienced as we are," said Mariya Slupska, from Ukraine, "We have played all our lives, so when we get made and fierce on the court, that is why, we put so much pressure on ourselves because we have played for so long, unlike many American players."

Whether Chinese or Ukrainian, Israili or even Greek, at TJC, tennis is the universal language.

"I just can't imagine what it would be like without them," said Brooke Dennis, a freshman from Abilene, "once you get to know them, you cant even think of being on a team without the international players, I love it."

"It has been an extremely fun experience, different cultures, diversity, it has been quite the educational experience, for me and the team," said Peterson.

And that's one reason John Peterson says, he wants to stay for another 20 years.

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