"Tennis is the greatest sport in the world and the better you get the more fun it is. I begin every lesson by asking my student 'what's your playing schedule', for there lies the answer on how I am going to teach them. "
- Tennis Instructor - Tamarack Tennis Camp - Franconia NH
- Tennis Professional Laver-Emerson Tennis Holiday's
- National Director of Tennis - Rod Laver Tennis Holiday's
- Director of Tennis/Owner - Waterville Valley Tennis Center
- Contributing Editor - Tennis Magazine - London, England
- Tennis Instruction - World Tennis Magazine
Tom is the Director of Tennis, Head Professional and an owner of the Waterville Valley Tennis Center - Consistently named one of the 50 greatest tennis resorts in America by Tennis magazine and one of the Top 50 Tennis Resorts in the World by Tennis Resorts Online.
Tom began playing tennis at 3 and began learning how to teach at Tamarack Tennis Camp at 14 under the tutelage of one, if not the greatest progression teachers, Jack Kenney, who just happens to be Bode Miller's grandfather.
"Jack was amazing," says Tom, "I learned so much from him. His method of making the learning experience as easy as possible for the student was paramount. He had invented all these contraptions; he had one that made the ball float, another that dropped the ball from this futuristic ball dropper. He had a bungee cord going through a ball that you would hit. The ball stayed stationary so you could work a proper swing into your muscle memory. Jack had it all going for sure. And if an unannounced person arrived at Tamarack, we all had to run around covering up all of Jack's inventions."
It was at New England College when Tom was first published in World Tennis Magazine. He went on to write over 30 tennis instructional articles for World Tennis and Tennis Magazine in Europe and began his lifelong friendship with Rod Laver.
Upon graduating from NEC in 1975 Tom became certified by the USPTA and was hired by the Laver-Emerson Tennis Holidays. "It was by far the greatest tennis camp in the history of tennis camps," states Tom, " Either Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Lew Hoad, or Mal Anderson were in residence for every tennis week, so you were on the court with these superstars every day. We combined great tennis, with great fun. The pros were outstanding, the instruction top notch and what an opportunity to learn the game from the greats."
"Rod Laver! You know those newspapers where you can put your own headline on there. Well, when I was 12 I had one made. 'Gross Beats Laver. Cops Wimbledon Title.' Never made it to Wimbledon, but it wasn't too bad working with my idol. To this day when I'm with the 'Rocket' I think to myself, I'm in the company of greatness. I told him that once, but he told me to stop it."
Tom honed his teaching skills by working with Rod, Roy, Lew, Mal and Pancho Gonzalas.
"Lew was awesome! He taught me so much. He taught me to keep it simple when you work with students. Take what they have and improve it, unless they have a lot of time to relearn a stroke. Make the experience fun and if they do not have time to change their strokes then you be darn sure they can go from your teaching court after your lesson right onto another court and play a match without being all flustered. That is my philosophy to this day."
Lew had a really bad back and would stand by the court; arms crossed across his chest with his Dunlop Fort (the greatest tennis racquet ever made by the way) and a pack of European cigarettes in his breast pocket.
Tom will never forget a week at April Sound in 1976 where he had the opportunity to meet and hang out on the court with his serving idol Pancho Gonzales.
"Pancho was and still is the greatest server in the history of the game. I always wanted to serve like Pancho and to spend time with him in Texas was unbelievable. We dissected every facet of the serve, and I like to think of myself as a disciple of the great Pancho Gonzales when it comes to teaching the serve. I teach the serve the way Pancho taught it and did it and it is still the only way to serve today."
Tom has been teaching and coaching for over 30 years and enjoys it as much now as he did when he first began. "I never wanted to be one of those teachers who bailed out of the game. I'm still on the court 7 days a week in July and August in Waterville Valley and coach at our indoor complex, the White Mountain Athletic Club whenever I am in town. It's just so satisfying to see the instant improvement with my students. I'll always teach tennis."
History:Here's what others have had to say about Waterville Valley Resort on tennisresortsonline.com.
"Wow! 18 of the most beautiful red clay courts in a valley surrounded by 4,000-foot peaks! This is truly an incredible setting. The center is staffed with friendly competent tennis fanatics and Tom Gross Jr. is a superb instructor! You should make a visit here your first priority."-M.A., October 2006
"I'm hooked!!! Not only is the valley gorgeous, the tennis accommodations and instruction are superb! Tom's natural teaching ability and support brought out the best in me!! If you've not visited, please do so!"-J.M., October 2006
"Excellent court conditions, play and instruction."-S.R., October 2006
"Excellent"-D.V., October 2006
"Waterville Valley is truly a special place, have been going there for many years and always marvel at the mountain scenery. The tennis courts are well maintained with a caring, friendly staff. Tom Gross is the best instructor and the Round Robin has a great group. HC"-H.C., September 2006
Tom gives the same level of attention to all his students, regardless of
level. As a (very serious and focused) beginner, I felt that Tom gave me
100%. He obviously enjoys teaching and is extremely good at it. If he didn't
keep me so focused on my lessons, I'd be wandering off, gazing at the
spectacular scenery, high with the fresh mountain air.
My partner, who is an excellent player, also found Tom to be an exceptional
teacher. I can't imagine a better place to learn and play. I can't wait to
return next summer! (Note: We also brought our nephews to juniors classes,
and they had great experiences with Ray & Betty, who are amazing with the
The scenery is spectacular, the tennis is great. Just can't say enough
about how well run the daily round robins are (thanks Beth). The people are
incredibly friendly. Have been visiting Waterville for years and it's always
a wonderful experience. Can't wait to return.
An excellent facility - friendly staff, top-notch pro, daily round-robins
(nice work Beth!!) and all in the most beautiful mountain setting...a
favorite spot to unwind...can't wait to return.
I've been going to Waterville Valley for the past 17 years and have greatly
enjoyed the Round Robbins and Tom Gross' instructions for the (WOW) I don't know how many years...and I'm only 80. Repetition is a solid clue to the extent of my enjoyment!
I have been to many facilities in many, many places. Several settings have
been great and the level of instruction very fine. Waterville Valley is a
cut above--it is a uniquely serene and gorgeous place, from any of the 18
courts it is just a heartbreaker. Tom Gross, the head pro, is a gifted teacher. Frankly, I found his instruction the most helpful (and least disruptive) I have ever experienced. He's a terrific guy to work with. He was just as good with the teenage boys we had with us, which is no small thing. He focuses on what should be focused on; he doesn't pretend to try to change things that would require a five-hour a day commitment. It's just an exceptional place.
We had a wonderful experience at Waterville. The teaching staff is top
notch. My entire family participated in their clinics and lessons. The
instructors took the time to focus on each individual's needs and catered
parts of the clinics to them. The courts are gorgeous with vistas of the mountains and ski area rising out of the valley. The tennis facility runs a daily 2 hour round robin that only costs $1 to play so it is extremely easy to get in several hours of tennis a day.
I've been going to the Valley for the past 15 years, 10 of which involved
playing tennis...which I had just taken up in '94...after 15 years of
racquetball and open-heart surgery. Tom's lessons (an annual event) and the round robins have proven invaluable in my 300+ matches each year.
Tom Gross is a phenomenal teacher. The red clay courts are fun to play on,
and the locale is beautiful. There is also plenty to do in Waterville
Valley other than tennis. Overall it is extremely highly recommended.
Tom Gross is a consummate professional. His game is up to par with any
teaching pro, if you are looking for a good 4.5+ hit, skip the lesson and
play. You will probably be on the downside of the scoreboard but enjoy a
good lesson. If you are looking for a drill/lesson, Tom will improve
whatever you are working on. The summer is grand with the clay, and the
indoor courts are fantastic for inclement weather and the off season.