Jackie Cooper Stats
Born July 1, 1944 in Louisville, Kentucky
Resides in La Quinta, CA
Web site http://www.jackiecoopertennisclub.com
- #1 Junior tennis player in the USA in the 1950’s
- Junior Davis Cup player for the USA
- Tennis Director at La Quinta Resort (1978-1995)
- Head Pro, Indian Wells Tennis Garden (2000-2005)
- at age 60 was ranked #2 nationally
The early years
It was 1957 when Charlie Pasarell traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, to play in the 13 and under Junior Tournament at the Louisville Boat Club. Cooper played in that tournament, as well, and Pasarell ended up staying at the Cooper house. The two stayed friends ever since.
Copper went on to become National High School Champion and won the Kalamazoo Doubles division in 1962. Soon thereafter the USTA put him on the Junior Davis Cup team where he played at Forest Hills.
Tennis paid Cooper’s way through college. While his friend Pasarell went to UCLA, he went to Western Kentucky. After college he began to work in the real estate business, which was hard because of the economic crisis followed by a recession. Cooper began teaching tennis at the Louisville Boat Club. Subsequently he was able to put together a group of investors who built the Louisville Tennis Club with 12 indoor and 14 outdoor courts. Pasarell came to the Grand Opening to play an exhibition and must have been impressed with his friend’s abilities, because in 1978 he asked him to join him in the desert and become Tennis Director at La Quinta Resort.
In the desert
Jackie Cooper stayed at La Quinta Resort from 1978 until 1995. During that time he was able to help Charlie Pasarell get the Indian Wells tournament off the ground. When La Quinta’s owners Landmark Savings went under and KSL bought the property, a lot of people, staff and investors, lost all their accumulated savings and stock options. Cooper was one of them. After that traumatic experience he went back to Kentucky and took care of his ailing mom for a while. When Charlie Pasarell and Ray Moore (PM Sports Management) finished building the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, they asked Jackie Cooper to come back and work for them as their Head Pro. He did so from 2000 until 2005.
Subsequently it was Cooper’s friend Lorne Kuhle, ex-sidekick of Bobby Riggs and current owner of the Bobby Riggs Tennis Club in North San Diego, who discovered the opportunity to improve and run the Palm Desert Country Club’s tennis operations. Incidentally, the tennis courts at the Palm Desert Country Club were originally owned by no other than American tennis legend and International Tennis Hall of Famer, Alice Marble. In 2009, Kuhle turned the management of the club over to Cooper who was able to form the Jackie Cooper Tennis Club with the mission to “provide tennis players and fitness lovers with a friendly and relaxed home away from home.”
Jackie Cooper Tennis Club
Jackie Cooper’s organization is blooming at the Palm Desert Country Club. He took in some very capable partners, USPTA Pro’s Jim and Susan Mattson, who became Directors of Tennis at the club. Cooper is founder and Head Pro, teaching kids and adults. He’s making a point mentioning his 10 year old student Carson Braunstein. Although living in Orange County, Carson is coming out to the desert to learn from Cooper regularly. “By the time she’s 16, this girl will be on the tour,” says Cooper not without pride. After all he was the teaching pro who got Coco Vandeweghe started at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. With Carson, Cooper’s High Performance Coaching extends to match play experience. “We are currently working on the two most important things in tennis: Serve and return of serve.”
The Jackie Cooper Tennis Club is known for a very flexible policy and reasonable rates. Members can sign up and play tennis on an annual, monthly, weekly, or daily basis. The club has an active membership of Tuesday night men’s matches, lots of womens teams, and great senior players Saturday mornings.
Childhelp Desert Classic
Jackie Copper and Lorne Kuhle became involved in Childhelp 5 years ago when Merv Griffin asked them to help raise money and start the tennis tournament fundraising tradition for this worthy cause. The Childhelp web site states, “Proceeds from the tournament benefit Childhelp’s Merv Griffin Village based in Beaumont, California. The Village is a residential treatment facility providing a home and therapy for 80+ children that have been severely abused or abandoned by their parents. The Village exists to meet the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs of the children in its care.”
Lorne Kuhle explains, “Merv Griffin was a personal friend of mine and Jackie’s. Before Merv passed, he asked Jackie and me to continue this work to benefit the Childhelp Merv Griffin Village, on his behalf. We feel lucky to be a part of such a worthy cause.” The tournament is a $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit Challenger and open to the public. It started outgrowing the Palm Desert Country Club and went to La Quinta Resort, and from there to the Mission Hills Country Club. With names like tennis legend Roy Emerson involved, the tournament was able to raise over $100,000 per year for Childhelp.
10 Questions for Jackie Cooper
- If you hadn’t gone into tennis, where would you have gone in life?
My father was in the Life Insurance business. I would have maybe gone in it, too. Or maybe into Real Estate.
- If you retired today, what would you do?
I would play tennis every day!
- What is your favorite tennis book?
“Winning Ugly” by Brad Gilbert
“Percentage Tennis” by Jack Kramer
- Why do you think British tennis players have such a hard time winning Grand Slams?
It’s probably the weather that affects the outdoor play time.
- What is your favorite tennis tournament?
BNP Paribas Open
- In Pro-Tennis, if you had the power to make a historic decision, what would you change today?
I would go back to wooden racquets to end the brutal abuse of the bodies of tennis tour players.
- If you were able to start all over, what would you do different in regards to your tennis career?
I would pattern my game after the games of Pancho Gonzalez and Ken Rosewall. With sliced one-handed backhands and a two handed backhand.
- Are we in the USA doing the right things to develop future tennis champions?
We’re missing out in one regard: Not enough clay courts. Kids don’t get enough clay court experience. The benefits of clay are patience, balance, fitness, and fewer injuries.
- What can the USTA learn from other countries’ tennis associations?
With all the money on hand the USTA should do more for public courts and facilities.
- Who is for you the greatest tennis player of all time?
I think who’s on top today should be in that category. Today it would be Federer and Djokovic. But pound for pound I would say it’s little Pancho Segura. He got the most out of his physique in tennis and beat both Rosewall and Gonzalez.
Thank you, Jackie!
Do you agree with Jackie Cooper about the GOAT? Have you met Jackie and would you share a story? Please comment below. Thank you!
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