Interview with MADE agent, Eric Pietersz (Tennis Coaching Barcelona)


MADE Scholarships welcomes Eric Pietersz to our selective team of Partners. Eric is a very experienced tennis coach who runs Tennis Coaching Barcelona (, a company that provides intensive training sessions in Barcelona. He also coaches his daughter, Milou, in order to prepare her for a professional career in tennis. In his new role at MADE Scholarhips, Eric will be responsible for the Dutch and Spanish recruiting branches, using his professional company as a key recruiting and training channel. Read our interview with Eric.   

When Eric first heard about MADE Scholarships, he immediately knew that MADE and Tennis Coaching Barcelona could combine forces. After a few meetings with the partners, it was evident that the two companies could bring added value to each other. Having worked for the Dutch Tennis Federation for 18 years, Eric has gained extensive experience in coaching talented players. Throughout his career, he has developed multiple players and led them to a successful career on the Pro Tour such as Michaëla Krajicek, Thiemo de Bakker, Robin Haasse and Igor Sijsling. 

He has coached many talented players in the 17-18 age range who were not fully supported financially by the Dutch Federation and provided them with the key training tools needed to take their game to the next level.

Eric shares our point of view and sees athletic scholarships in the USA as a very positive and unique experience for any athlete. He believes that sports allow athletes to compete and grow in an environment that is incredibly vibrant and focused on sports and competition while at the same time develop their academic and work career.

Eric, could you tell us a bit about your background?
As a tennis coach for the Dutch Tennis Federation, I worked with top players and traveled to international junior tournaments with Michaëlla Krajicek, Thiemo de Bakker, Robin Haase, and others. I am currently running intensive training weeks in Barcelona, and also I work as a Travelling Coach. The tournaments I travel to are National tournaments in Spain/The Netherlands, Tenniseurope- ITF junior- and $10.000 tournaments.

As a junior player, I was a member of the selection of the Dutch Tennis Federation and played National and International junior tournaments. At the age of 17, I played National tournaments and also some $10.000 tournaments.

In 2009 you decided to move to Spain to start your own tennis school at the Costa Brava. What were your reasons to take this big step?
First of all, my family and I wanted to live in a warmer climate. Another reason is that I wanted to give talented players the opportunity to gain international experience. Normally, only the top 1 or 2 players in The Netherlands are invited for international tournaments by the Dutch Tennis Federation. I wanted to help give other talented players the chance to make it to the top. 

Now that you are in Spain, what are some of the biggest challenges for you?
The biggest challenge for me is to work very hard with the players and to make them individually better. That is my strength: I can raise the level of junior players within 1 week. The trainings are based on players' individual strengths and are design to improve their particular game style.   

You are organizing intensive tennis training weeks for young players. Can you share a little bit about how these sessions work?
Players arrive on Sunday. From Monday to Friday, we practice very intensively: 2 hours of tennis and 1 hour fitness in the morning, and 2 hours of tennis in the afternoon. I also arrange practice matches against Spanish players of the same level. On Saturday, we have an excursion trip to the city of Barcelona, and Sunday is the last day and departure of the players. It's also possible to stay a longer period: we have a weekly, monthly and even a yearly program.

Tennis Coaching Barcelona and MADE Scholarships have officially been partners since May 2011. Could you tell us something about how your company can help benefit future college players?
Future college players can raise their level in the intensive training weeks in Barcelona. There is also a possibility to play in National Spanish tournaments or even in $10.000 tournaments including training/coaching. I can help them raise their level, which is very important for their admission at the American Universities. The higher the level, the higher the chance for a full scholarship. Many players who have trained with me in the past are now playing college tennis in the US.

Many European players are concerned that their tennis career is over once they go to college. Do you share that opinion?
No, I don't share that opinion. Many European players are still very young when they graduate from high school. When they choose for college-tennis in America, they can further develop their game and when they are a little bit older and more experienced, they are better prepared both physically and mentally to try the professional tour. Professional tennis costs a lot of money, while the level in college-tennis is very high and you have a change for a scholarship. It makes a lot of sense athletically, financially, and of course it allows them also to obtain a college diploma.

Do you have any advice for young motivated European tennis players who are thinking about studying in the US?
My advice is: Just do it! It's the ideal combination of tennis and academics in a very stimulating sport culture.

In your opinion, why were many tennis players like Jon Isner, James Blake, Jonas Björkman, the Bryan Brothers, Lisa Raymond, Paul Haarhuis so successful on the tour after college sports?
I think the reason is that they although they where studying, they were practicing/playing like professional players. The amount of scheduled practices and the number of matches throughout national US college competition makes you mentally strong and raises your level.

What advice would you give young players who are thinking about playing on the Pro Tour after college?
Take your chance! It's better to try it than wondering the rest of your life how things would have turned out. College tennis can help you become more tactical, mentally strong and physically conditioned and can be a good preparation for the Tour.

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