NZTA was established in 2008 by head coaches, Gerrit Steenkamp and Guillaume Gignoux. In combination, we have more than 20 years of experience in the tennis industry. We began working for Waikato Tennis Association in 2003.
At NZTA, we coach kids between the ages of 6 and 18 years old, from beginners to high performance players. Our general goal is to give our players opportunities for greater life skills, and for those who are high achievers, the chance to obtain scholarships in the United States, or even to become professionals.
Our main base is at Waikato Bay Tennis on Dey Street in Hamilton. We have access to 25 courts; 3 indoor, 14 rebound ace, and 8 Astroturf courts. This tennis centre was established in 1922 and since 2007, is one of only six Regional Performance Centers (RPC) in all of New Zealand.
Our second base is St Peters School in Cambridge with 14 courts (six floodlit). Of these 14; 11 are rebound ace and three are classic clay. At this base, we have access to a state of the art gym with treadmills, rowing machines, stationary bikes, weight machines and free weights. There is a new 25m, 10 lane lap pool for additional training or a cool down at the end of a hard day on the court.
Our programmes focus on technical, tactical, psychological and physical components to build a complete player. Our available programmes include Hot Shots (beginners), coaching for Juniors and Elite squads, RPC academy, Regional Camps, Holiday camps and tournament trips in New Zealand, New Caledonia, Fiji, Australia and France. Our programmes have been very successful with a total of 25 national titles won in singles.
My tennis goals were not reached and I started my Business Degree at The University of Stellenbosch which I finished in 2000. While at University, my coaching career started taking shape. I started working with travelling South African players coming home for a break.
I started working at Waikato Tennis and St Peter’s, Cambridge at beginning of 2003. I soon figured out that there has been no consistency in the past and people were desperate for it. So the first 5 years were really just about building structure and creating a good training environment for kids to play and learn in.
I am from Bordeaux in the South-West of France. I have played tennis since I was four years old. I started hitting against a wall at a tennis club because they did not accept kids younger than six years old, but I was hitting the ball ok so they put me in the club coaching classes when I was five. I started coaching when I was 12. It was part of my contract with my club – they were giving me some training for free but I had to help with club tennis.
My dream was to win the French Open but a ski accident combined with a weak knee made me realize at the age of 14 that I did not have a chance. It does not mean that without injury I would have made it (I don’t think I would have) but I would have tried for a few more years.
I started coaching full-time in 1999 with the French Federation and moved to New Zealand in 2005 where I started working with Gerrit at Waikato tennis. Ten years later we are still here.
People asked me for years when I would go back? The answer: I won’t. I love New Zealand too much and I couldn’t leave players that I have coached for years.
Since coming to New Zealand, I have lived in Raglan. I still live there; down a gravel road, in front of the Tasman sea, off-the-grid, with my beautiful family.
Guillaume is sponsored by Wilson.