Sports

Ryan Pang returns to Island tennis roots

Islander Ryan Pang coaches one of his students at the MIHS courts. - Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter
Islander Ryan Pang coaches one of his students at the MIHS courts.
— image credit: Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter

Ryan Pang grew up playing tennis on Mercer Island. During his high school career, Pang made it to state twice as part of doubles teams for the Islanders. That love for tennis has become Pang’s life, and he is committed to spreading the infectious nature of the sport.

Pang will put that drive into his first Mercer Island tennis clinic for Island youth on Saturday.

“I teach a lot of the high school players on the Island,” said Pang. “I want to keep my relationship with the Island, and it is something I have wanted to do for the tennis-playing community as a whole.”

Pang has a lot of experience teaching the sport that he loves and is known in the greater tennis community. He has hosted two tennis clinics in California and hopes to make his Mercer Island clinic an annual event.

“All proceeds go to the Mercer Island High School boys and girls tennis program,” said Pang. “I want to show kids how much fun tennis can be in a group environment.”

Pang, who graduated from Mercer Island High School in 1994, played at Santa Clara University in California. He moved back to the Island a few years ago.

“I was ready for a change,” said Pang. “I think I learned all I could in California, and I wanted more opportunities to coach.”

Pang’s ultimate goal would be to open an indoor tennis facility on the Eastside that would cater exclusively to junior players.

“It is my passion to teach kids and get them to the highest level possible,” said Pang.

One of Pang’s biggest influences growing up was Michael Chang, a former U.S. Open champion and Island resident.

“He opened up the world of tennis to me,” said Pang. “Mercer Island is such a haven for tennis players.”

That popularity is dwarfed by the lack of exposure that the region gets, compared to California.

“I want kids to see what tennis is really about,” said Pang. “This camp will give kids a chance to meet other players and forge friendships and people to play with on a regular basis.”

The clinic will begin at 11 a.m. and run for two and a half hours at the cost of $30. It will take place at the Mercer Island High School tennis courts for youth 8-18 years of age. Events will include drills, games, hit for prizes, lunch and a raffle.

“This clinic is for kids of all levels as long as they have had some exposure,” said Pang.

Pang will also have other tennis players from the Island helping to coach such as Chris Bailey, who helped the Mercer Island High School boys tennis team to the state title in 2006 and 2007.

For more information or to sign up for the clinic, contact Pang at inthezone10s@yahoo.com.

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