Wanganui tennis skills are set to improve sharply with the introduction of a prominent international coach.
The Wanganui Tennis Club has signed former Mexican Davis Cup player Victor Romero as its head coach.
Romero was the top-ranked player in all junior age groups in Mexico, and reached number 31 in the ITF junior world ranking.
The 33-year-old was ranked as high as 390 (singles) and 309 (doubles) in the world before injuries cut his progress at age 19.
"I injured my knee and it really limited my training. If I trained hard it would swell up quite badly," Romero said.
He graduated from Tulane University in America and was an all-American College tennis player. Last year in the Caro Bowl interclub in Auckland he beat the New Zealand No1, Daniel King Turner.
In his career, Romero reached more than 80 finals, won over 50 professional tournaments, and in 2010 he was in charge of training the Mexican Davis Cup team.
Later that year he moved to New Zealand with his Kiwi wife Katrina and their daughter Anabel.
He earned a business degree at university in New Orleans and that is where he met his wife.
"She was rooming with one of my tennis teammates and was on an athletics scholarship," Romero said.
"The move to Palmerston North where she is from was a bit of a culture shock at first after living in Mexico City, a town of more than 20 million people. But I'm getting used to it now.
"I was approached by David Butters [father of Wanganui tennis ace Kyle] to come and coach here in Wanganui. I already knew a little about the club through the profile Paige Hourigan and Kyle Butters have given it. It was a great opportunity, so I was happy to accept. I will commute initially between here and Palmerston North."
Already Romero has held several private training sessions, but within the next few weeks he will begin squad training.
"I was also impressed by the rich history of the Wanganui club," he said.
"It is the second oldest club in New Zealand, the first to offer a trophy for women players. I'm looking forward to meeting current members and encourage newcomers to sign up."
Tennis Wanganui development officer Wilton Atkins said: "We are very lucky to have him here in New Zealand, let alone in Wanganui.
"We are hosting our junior open day on Wednesday [October 17] for all beginners that want to give it a try for free. To celebrate, though, memberships are only $30 if you sign up on the day."