Tennis is a lifelong sport, especially for one San Antonio attorney
Interview by Adam Faderewski
“Tennis is a tough sport, and it builds
character and resilience,” Karl Furmaga told the Texas Bar
Journal. He is a partner in Ray Peña McChristian in San Antonio.
Photo by Andrea Reyes.
Timing and Mental Acuity and Stamina are vital in tennis. Slack on your footwork and watch your shots swing wide or smack the net. But keep your mind sharp, your strength and cardio up, and fundamentals crispy and that just might be tantamount to a Sunday win. And modeling any part of your game on Roger Federer doesn’t hurt, says civil litigation defense attorney and United States Professional Tennis Association certified coach Karl Furmaga.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PLAYING
TENNIS? WHEN DID YOU START?
I picked up the racket when I was about 9 years old. It was an after-school activity that kept me out of trouble. Then I began playing competitively in USTA (United States Tennis Association) organized tournaments in the 12-and-under age division. As I moved up the age divisions, I competed regionally and nationally to build my ranking. It was practice every day and tournaments every weekend. The hard work paid off though, and I ended up playing collegiate tennis at Williams College, a school with a strong tennis tradition.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU OR GOT YOU INTERESTED IN PLAYING TENNIS?
There were public tennis courts near where I lived, and I would watch people play after school. I noticed that tennis was a sport where you could beat someone twice your size. It didn’t matter how tall they were, what racket they had, or what shoes they wore, some players just found a way to win. That was inspiring.
AT WHAT LEVELS DID YOU/DO YOU
After college, I competed in Men’s Open tournaments and realized there was a lot of incredible talent out there. I became involved in coaching and taught at several clubs, organizing group clinics and private lessons. With junior players the focus was on drills and match play, which allowed me to coach and be their sparring partner. I continued coaching and playing over the years—and still do when time allows. I currently play at a 4.5 level and coach on the side.
Attorney Karl Furmaga is a life member of the
United States Tennis Association and a member of the United States
Professional Tennis Association.
Photo by Andrea Reyes.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY YOUR BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT IS? OR WOULD YOU SAY YOU DO IT MAINLY FOR EXERCISE AND FUN?
I am proud to have coached junior players who went on to play competitively in college. It’s inspiring to see players overcome adversity on the court, elevate their game, and go on to play at great schools. Tennis is a tough sport, and it builds character and resilience. Many of these players have gone on to succeed off the court. That’s great to see.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART ABOUT
PLAYING? THE EASIEST OR MOST ENJOYABLE?
Tennis is demanding both physically and mentally. Physically, it requires good upper body and lower body strength, and good cardio stamina. Mentally, it requires the will to fight for every point and not get discouraged by mistakes. Some players have the talent and the tools to win but the mental toughness is missing, and they fall short during matches. It’s also a game of inches, where timing makes all the difference. If your footwork is a bit off or your racket preparation is not there, the shot will sail wide or into the net. But if everything lines up and you nail a clean forehand winner, that’s satisfying. It’s a lifetime sport, so whether you play singles or doubles, it’s a game you can enjoy at any age.
IS THERE ANY PLAYER THAT YOU
PARTICULARLY ADMIRE OR TRY TO MIMIC THEIR PLAYING STYLE?
I admire the mental toughness of Novak Djokovic and the tenacity of Rafael Nadal, but Roger Federer rises above all in