Meet NTC Pros

Whitney Kraft - Director of Tennis
Whitney brings more than 25 years of tennis experience to the National Tennis Center. He is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University, where he was an All-American singles player in 1982 and was inducted into the FAU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006. As a tennis player, Whitney was a four-time National Mixed Open Champion and was the USPTA International Over 45 doubles champion in 2006. His tennis industry affiliations include serving as District President of the USPTA and District Director for the USTA, as well as City Liaison for First Serve of Broward County (Fla.). For the past eight years he has served as Tournament Director for both the USTA Boys’ 14 Clay Court National Championships and the USTA Open National Clay Court Championships.

Joao "Jay" Pinho - Head Pro
Joao "Jay" Pinho joined the National Tennis Center in November of 2016. Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jay played four years at the NCAA DI level, graduating from Utah State University. He has served as a collegiate coach at Utah State, Toledo, and Princeton. From 2011-16, players that Joao has coached have appeared 123 times in the Top 10 in their section; 15 times as #1 in their section, 69 times in the Top 150 in the nation, and 42 players have moved on to play collegiate tennis. Joao is a Certified Elite Professional by the USPTA, a USTA High Performance Certified Coach, PTR Master of Tennis in Performance, PTR Certified Professional in 10U, 11-17 and Adult Development, HPI Mental Toughness Specialist, Etcheberry Certified in Strength, Conditioning and Movement in Sports, and Certified by the Academia Sanchez-Casal in Spanish System Levels 1 and 2. Since 2014, Joao has presented at over twelve conferences and workshops throughout the country, including the USPTA World Conference and the PTR International Symposium. Joao has earned a variety of awards, including USPTA Rookie of the Year, USPTA U30 Pro of the Year, and USPTA Pro of the Year.

Rod Bailey
Rod grew up in Macon, Ga., where he excelled on his local tennis high school team. He received a full tennis scholarship to the Georgia Military College, where he played No. 1 for two years. Rod is certified to teach tennis by the USPTA and works with all levels and ages providing tennis instruction. Before coming to the National Tennis Center, he worked at the Doral Golf Resort in Miami, Fla., and the New Canaan Racquet Club in Connecticut, and he was the head teaching professional at the Healy Pointe Country Club in Macon for seven years.

Alex Bessarabov
Alex was born in Belarus but grew up on Long Island. He started playing tennis at the age of 12 and went on to make varsity during his freshman year in high school. While he was playing at Farmingdale State College, which went on to become Conference Champions in 2011-2013, he was voted 2010 Rookie of the Year and 2012 Championships MVP. Alex is PTR certified as well as 10-and-under certified, so that he can work with all ages.

Leo Correa
A native of Rio de Janeiro, Leo has an extended tennis career. As a nationally ranked junior tennis player in his country, moved to New York to study Business and play college tennis on a full ride scholarship at Saint John's University Division1. After graduating went back to Brazil to open his own Tennis School and had the opportunity to work with many top juniors. Also, as a tour coach, traveled to Europe and Africa and assisted coaching ATP and many ITF junior players. He served as a hitting partner to ATP players Max Mirnyi and Fernando Verdasco during the 2007 US Open. His love for the USA brought him back, and in 2013 moved to Utah as Director of Junior Tennis at Salt Lake Tennis and Swimming Club. After Utah, Leo was hired as a Director of Tennis at Wachesaw Plantation Club in South Carolina for 3 years. In 2017, excitedly returned to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center as a high-performance specialist.

Cathie Delaney
Cathie has been teaching at the National Tennis Center since 1989. She grew up in Port Washington, N.Y., and attended C. W. Post–Long Island University, where she played No. 1 singles. After college, she played on the USTA Penn Circuit tour from 1986 to 1988 before becoming certified by the USPTA as a P1 teaching instructor. In addition, Cathie has been selected by the Tennis Industry Association to participate in the Cardio Masters Programs and is an instructor for 10 and Under Tennis classes, junior development classes and daytime group lessons. Along with her other teaching duties, she coordinates the daytime playing leagues during the fall-spring months.

Cynthia Dewi Yonathan
Cynthia was born in Indonesia and competed as a member of the Indonesian National Tennis Team, participating in numerous international junior and women’s events in both Asia and Europe. She graduated from Widya Mandala University in Indonesia in 2001. Cynthia was a national champion in the USTA National Indoor Women’s Doubles and silver ball in Mixed Doubles in 2008. She has been teaching at the National Tennis Center since 2005. 

Nouri El Hajjar
Nouri was born in Morocco, where he learned to play tennis. He is certified both by the PTR of Tennis Teachers and Coaches and by Tennis Dynamics. He has been teaching all age groups at the National Tennis Center since 2006. He is active in instructing players and developing their skills in 10 and Under Tennis and the School Tennis programs. He enjoys working with children and takes pride in helping them improve their tennis skills. He strongly believes in teaching high-quality basic techniques and methods. He keeps current by studying the tennis industry developments advocated by top-rated coaches and incorporates these teachings into his daily instructions. He brings to his students a love of the game and advanced instruction, which have resulted in his students’ achieving significant improvement and the ability to successfully compete within their age groups.

Petros Georgiou
Petros was born and raised in Flushing, NY. He has been playing at the National Tennis Center since he was eight years old. He attended St. John's University. Petros is a certified USPTA pro and has certifications for 10 & Under tennis and Cardio tennis. Since 2012 he has been working at the National Tennis Center, where he coaches all age groups and classes ranging from 10 & Under through tournament-level juniors and adult classes. He brings to his students a lot of tennis knowledge and personal tennis experience from playing at very high levels as a junior. He is fluent in both English and Greek.

Reiko Giffords
Reiko has been an instructor at the National Tennis Center since 1998. She is certified to teach tennis by the USPTA/USPTR and is a certified wheelchair tennis instructor. When not teaching tennis, Reiko works in the Programs Office, where she organizes and coordinates junior and adult tennis programs, adult weekend tennis camps, adult round-robin daytime tournaments and seasonal mini-camps. Reiko played college tennis growing up in Kiryu, Japan. She is fluent in English, Japanese and Korean.

Aki Takayama-Wolfson
Aki has been teaching tennis at the National Tennis Center for 15 years and is a USPTA/USPTR-certified professional. An ITF Wheelchair Tennis Tournament Director and a certified High Performance coach, she was a Girls’ 12 and under national coach for three years. In addition, Aki received the prestigious USPTA Heroes award for accomplishments with wheelchair tennis in 2005 and the USTA Service to People with Disabilities award in 2008. Aki graduated from New York University with a master’s degree in fine arts.

Justyna Wereszka
Justyna Wereszka, a native of Katowice, Poland, received a master's degree in education from St. John's University in 2008, and served as the graduate assistant coach of the St. John's Division I women's tennis program. Justyna was ranked as one of the top juniors players in Poland. She received her master's degree in education and journalism from Silezian University in Poland and began her career as a teaching pro in her hometown. Justyna currently volunteers for the Polish-American Sports Association and competes in open tournaments. She is USPTR and USTA certified coach, and enjoys teaching 10 and Under Tennis, along with juniors and adults of all abilities.