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  • CDT Staff

Cross-Court Conversations: James Ling

By: Rob Lowe

I met James Ling on a video phone interview back in 2019 when he was applying for a position at Walden Racquet Center. James found Cliff Drysdale Management through Tennis Smart, which provides continued support for their athletes and offers a pathway into the tennis industry over in America. After interviewing James, I instantly new James had so much passion for the sport after hearing about his tennis journey. Tennis is a constant learning and forever evolving environment; James was a great candidate to take what he has learned from his previous coaches/piers and also his playing history and bring it to Walden/ Cliff Drysdale Tennis.

James is ambitious and a highly driven coach. We offered James a position as a teaching professional at Walden knowing this was just the start for James and his teaching career. I mention career because for James prior to Cliff Drysdale Tennis, tennis was a job, but he soon realized after working for Walden and Cliff Drysdale Tennis, his career pathway had begun. 

I sat James down a few weeks ago and to hear his reflection on his first month at Walden. As a Director and Regional Director at Cliff Drysdale Tennis I can appreciate how much opportunity there is to grow within the company because I am, amongst so many other pros are proof that there is tremendous growth opportunity.

Rob Lowe: How were your first few weeks at Walden?

James Ling: “I was nervous but at the same time excited, I was unsure how transitioning from college playing level into club level coaching would feel. One thing that I learned in the first week that helped me transition is the amazing team culture at Walden and support that they bring. I have learnt so much from the staff at Walden and my knowledge of tennis has increased.”

James is a really impressive listener and retains all the information to create a cohesive learning and training environment on the court for our players. James understands the bigger picture and wanted to learn more about the back-end operations of running a club. Cliff Drysdale Tennis offers that platform for professionals to grow within. One phrase that has always been stuck in my mind the moment I started working for CDM is you will be trained, so if you leave you will have the tools to be successful, but you will be treated well enough that you do not want to leave. Over 4 years into my career at Cliff Drysdale Tennis I have never forgotten that and will continue to lead by example. 

Rob Lowe: What have you enjoyed at Cliff Drysdale Tennis?

James Ling: I have enjoyed learning the tools associated with the operational skills in specific departments to run a successful club. I joined a program that Cliff Drysdale Tennis offered called the PTU program. All my team mates at Walden were on it. It was a platform that showed you the operations in a variety of departments key to running and operating a club of your own. Those departments consisted of:

  • Marketing

  • Finance

  • HR

  • Operations

I spent 3 paid hours a week to learning, and collaborating with other teaching professionals at other CDM clubs. You felt part of a team while elevating your knowledge in club operations. I enjoyed meeting new pros that all had a common goal of being a director of a club. 

The team culture is a big part or Cliff Drysdale Tennis, and James like so many other pros starting at Cliff Drysdale Tennis have grown to understand that we are stronger as a team and we all grow together. I am so glad James found Cliff Drysdale Tennis and also a big thank you to Tennis Smart for the partnership we have in developing tennis professional to grow the game of tennis. I for one have enjoyed watching James grow and become a leader at the club preparing him to one day to be a director for Cliff Drysdale Tennis. The sport needs more great tennis pros, and that is why Cliff Drysdale Tennis not only offers that ultimate tennis experience, but also invests in their tennis professionals to strengthen the tennis industry. 


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