Our Tennis COACHES

Our tennis academy is comprised of elite tennis instructors that are former collegiate and professional tennis players with years of experience developing high performance juniors. Get to know the talented team behind Tough Tennis Academy below.

vimal patel, tennis instructor, tough tennis academy, tennis academy naples florida

Vimal Patel

Vimal was an elite junior player, and was ranked as high as #2 in the U.S. in the boys 18 and under division.  He was the Kentucky state high school singles champion in 1988 and Florida state high school singles champion in 1989.

Following graduation, Vimal attended tennis powerhouse Stanford University on a tennis scholarship where he was a 3-time All American and NCAA Team Champion. Following graduation, Vimal competed professionally around the world and received an ATP ranking in both singles and doubles.

Vimal is highly regarded as one of the top development coaches in Southwest Florida and has coached and mentored some of the nations top talent for the past 20 years. He believes strongly in a disciplined mindset and most importantly developing well rounded student-athletes.

jesse witten, tennis instructor, tough tennis academy, tennis academy naples florida

Jesse Witten

Jesse began playing tennis at age 6, however, and by age 15 was one of the top ranked players in the US. During this time he spent countless hours training at Tough Tennis Academy and started to realize and fulfill his immense amount of talent. Jesse capped an outstanding junior career with a title in the Boys 16 and Under Division at the prestigious Easter Bowl, along with winning a gold ball at the 1999 Boys 18 and Under Clay Court Championships.

Jesse continued his tennis career at the University of Kentucky where he reached the final of the NCAA Championship as a Freshman in 2002. He was also the Universities first 5 time All-American, and was ranked in the top 10 in the country every year he competed as a Wildcat.

Upon graduating, Jesse became an active player on the ATP tour. Some of his career highlights include qualifying for the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open Main Draws. In 2009, Jesse reached the 3rd round of the US Open losing in 4 sets to Novak Djokovic. His highest singles ranking was achieved during 2010 at 163 in the world.

Jesse also spent time as a member of the NY Sportimes World Tennis Team for 5 years with great amount of success along side one of tennis’s greats, John McEnroe. Jesse is one of the most well known tennis names in Southwest Florida, and strives to use his experiences at the highest levels of the game to help the aspiring players at TTA maximize their potential.

evan austin, tennis instructor, tough tennis academy, tennis academy naples florida

Evan Austin

Evan grew up in Naples, FL and was one of the top juniors in the United States, reaching a high of #4 nationally in the Boys 18 and Under Division in 1999. He attended the University of Kentucky where the Wildcats were ranked in the top 16 each year he lettered, and he was elected team captain in 2004. Evan played professionally, earning an ATP Ranking in both singles and doubles, before beginning his coaching career.

Austin began coaching collegiate tennis in 2006, taking over as the Assistant Men’s Tennis Coach at the University of Wisconsin. Following a Sweet 16 run in 2010, he was hired as the Head Men’s Tennis Coach at Drake University, where he was two time Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year. He then spent 3 years as the Head Coach at Fresno State.

Before returning to Naples and joining Tough Tennis Academy, Evan worked at Smith Stearns Tennis Academy in Hilton Head Island, SC, where he was Director of Tennis Recruitment and a Senior Academy Coach, while he handled a large portion of College Placement.Evan prides himself on an intense passion for the game and motivating students with positive energy on a daily basis, and helping students reach their goals both athletically and academically.

ronen graziani tennis instructor, tough tennis academy, tennis academy naples florida

Ronen Graziani

Ronen Graziani is the founder of Tough Tennis Academy, he has more than 30 years of coaching experience at the highest level.He has coached over 30 National Champions, as well several players who have achieved #1 ranking in the USA. In addition, he has coached several players who have achieved WTA and ATP world ranking. Under his coaching at TTA 100% of his students have received academic / athletic scholarships to some of the top universities in the country.

Originally from Israel, he served in the Israeli Military for 3 years, was a member of 2 National Championship teams, and coached a Division one college team to its first conference championship ever, during his first year of coaching.

He also has a masters degree in education and development in addition to managing several businesses. Ronen and his wife Leeanne, who is a CPA and attorney, have lived in Naples for over 15 years with their daughter Gabrielle who is now attending college.

phillip tennis instructor, tough tennis academy, tennis academy naples florida

Phillip Arndt

Phillip graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2012 with a degree in Business Marketing, playing #1 singles and doubles for the Golden Gophers. Was ranked in the top 10 of the ITA National Doubles Rankings his Senior year at UM. He competed for Team USA in the 2011 World University Games in China, and was the 2012 Big Ten Conference Men's Sportsmanship Award Winner.

He competed professionally from 2012-2013 and was ranked as high as #912 ATP doubles. Phillip spent time as the Junior Development Coordinator at Raleigh Racquet Club and the Assistant Professional at North Hills Club in Raleigh. Most recently, he spent time as a hitting partner for WTA and ATP Professionals, and was a hitting partner for US stars Madison Keys and Cici Bellis.