Tasks aplenty for Aspen’s new tennis director | AspenTimes.com

Tasks aplenty for Aspen’s new tennis director

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times

The city of Aspen has hired a new tennis director and charged him with the task of revamping and improving programs at the six-court facility adjoining the Aspen Golf Club.

Gary Quandt, 60, just started his seasonal position two days ago. He’s semiretired, having worked as general manager and tennis director at Timberhill Tennis Club in Corvallis, Ore., from 1983 to 2011. He still coaches tennis at Philomath High School in Oregon, a position that won’t interfere with his summer in Aspen. He has more than three decades of experience teaching tennis.

“I kind of got tired of retirement and wanted to work, not full-time,” he said. “I was looking to find a new place and a new adventure.”

Quandt replaces the city’s tennis director of the past three years, Rob Simpson, who has left the area. The public can take the opportunity to meet Quandt and Aspen’s other professional tennis staffers during an open house from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday at the city’s tennis courts off Highway 82. The facility will offer free use of the courts and its serving machine. There will be a serving clinic and other activities for kids and adults alike.

Quandt said individual tennis lessons will continue, but he also will emphasize various classes throughout the summer for children, teens and adults. He’s also planning to hold junior tennis tournaments and adult social and competitive activities.

He said he’s available to talk about the summer lineup in person or on the phone. To reach Quandt, call 970-429-2869.

He and others were busy Wednesday getting the clay courts in shape for play and painting lines, cleaning windscreens and hanging nets. He said tennis pros visiting the city have said that the courts are the best clay surfaces in Aspen.

Quandt briefly discussed his management credentials within the tennis world. He’s a U.S. Professional Tennis Association member of the highest level.

His favorite tennis player of all time is Rod Laver, an Australian who won two Grand Slam titles, one as an amateur in 1962 and another as a pro in 1969. Laver retired in 1979 with a career record of 411-107 in singles play.

“I liked his creativity; he could do anything on the court,” Quandt said. “He was one of the most unpredictable players out there.”

Among modern players, he likes Roger Federer.

“I just think he’s a class act, and he’s got a phenomenal game.”

A Southern California native, Quandt attended Cal State-Fullerton on a tennis scholarship. He played professionally in Europe after graduation and then returned to the United States to embark on a teaching career. His forte as a player was in doubles competition.

Steve Aitken, director of golf for the city, oversees the nearby tennis facility as well. He said it was clear to him and Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Woods that Quandt was the right man for the job.

“Gary brings a lot of new energy and programming to the Aspen tennis program that will take us to a new level,” Aitken said. “We saw that there was a need for more enthusiasm for the program, and he’s got it.”