Yaser Zaatini is the director of ETSU tennis and serves as head coach of the men’s tennis team at ETSU.
Zaatini is from Venezuela. Growing up, his parents were loving and gave him many opportunities at a young age, like playing tennis, which he is very grateful for.
Zaatini is entering his 14th season as the coach at ETSU.
“What got me coaching is when I went home after playing on tour, I opened a tennis academy in Venezuela in 1996-1997,” Zaatini said. “It got big, and I returned back to ETSU with some of the players from the academy.”
In his career at ETSU, he holds the record with 134 wins. As a coach, in just 13 years he has a record of 226 wins and 90 loses as the men’s head coach. In the past five years as the head of the women’s team, he has a record of 70 wins and 37 losses. He’s never had a losing season coaching the men’s and women’s teams. He is a nine-time Coach of the Year winner in the SoCon and Atlantic Sun conferences.
Of all the coaches who have influenced his coaching career, the coach who has been the most influential has been his coach, Dave Mullins.
“As a coach being as competitive as I am, of course I want my players to win,” Zaatini said, “but I want to get the message across by being a positive influence and for the kids to leave ETSU with a love for the game they will never forget.”
With all his connections back home and many great international players, Zaatini has one that he feels may be the best he’s ever coached. That is Enrique Olivares, who was ranked top 10 in the country at No. 9 in 2009. He was the highest ranked tennis player at ETSU since Zaatini, who was ranked No. 4 in 1993.
“It’s really hard to say who’s the best because everyone has different styles, but if I had to pick, it would be Enrique,” Zaatini said. “He has been the best player I’ve coached; he was ranked top 10 in coaches with being selected as an All-American.”
This season, the Bucs are looking to get rolling with wins.
“We’ve won a couple of good matches and left a couple wins on the table,” Zaatini said. “We as players and coaches know we can’t dwell on the past; we just have to look forward.”