Top player Vimal Patel named an inductee into Kentucky Tennis Hall of Fame

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Facebook entry from Stanford University tennis team congratulating Vimal Patel for being inducted into the Kentucky Tennis Hall of Fame for 2020. (Photo: Facebook )

An Indian-American tennis player has been honored as an inductee into the Kentucky Tennis Hall of Fame after a lifelong career of excellence in the game.

On Sept. 18, 2020, the U.S. Tennis Association of Kentucky (ustaky.com) along with the Raise a Racquet Foundation announced the nomination of Vimal Patel along with John Karl Hosbach, Paul Varga into the Kentucky Tennis Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021, in Lousville.

The son of retired University of Lousville, KY Chemistry Professor Dr Amrit Patel, and mother Urmila Patel of Owensboro, Ky.  Vimal Patel was selected by a committee of 11 from all areas of the state, chaired by John English, 2008 member of the Hall of Fame.

Now living in Naples, Florida, with his wife Lori and two sons Chase and Caden, Vimal Patel attended Owensboro Catholic High School in Owensboro, KY where he “had an incredible junior tennis career ranked as high as number one in the state, number two in the South, and number two Nationally through multiple age groups U12-U18,”  said USTAKentucky press release. He was the Kentucky state high school singles champion in 1988 and Florida state high school singles champion in 1989, noted Tough Tennis Academy, where he has been a coach for 23 years.

Patel won and placed in many Local, Sectional, and National championships, Tough Tennis Academy went on to say.  He competed in International competitions in South Africa, Brazil, Canada, and Great Britain as a junior under 18 tennis player, the press release recounted.

He accepted a tennis scholarship to attend Stanford University in 1990 where he was a four-year letterman, three time All American and was on the 1992 National Championship Team, 1992 Indoor National Championship Team, and the 1994 National Runner Up Team.

He is one of only five players in Stanford Tennis history to have at least three seasons of 20 or more dual match wins with play under Hall of Fame coach Dick Gould.

Patel competed professionally around the world in 20 countries and received an ATP ranking in both singles and doubles, the press release said.

As Director of Tough Tennis Academy in Naples for the past 23 years, “Vimal is highly regarded as one of the top developmental coaches in Southwest Florida and has coached some of the nation’s top talent including UK standout Jesse Witten ATP #160,” the press release said.

Kudos came pouring from all around including his alma mater Stanford.

“Congrats to Vimal Patel, a two-time All-American for our program, on his induction to the Kentucky Tennis Hall of Fame! #GoStanford,” said Stanford Men’s Tennis on Facebook, with an old picture of a younger Patel on the court.

Tough Tennis Academy, where Patel is a coach, said, “Congratulations to Coach Vimal Patel on his induction into the 2020 Kentucky Tennis Hall of Fame Class! Vimal has served as a Director at TTA for over 23 years, and has developed some of the top juniors ever to come out of Southwest Florida. Prior to his coaching career, Vimal was one of the top juniors in the US and a @stanfordmenstennis All American. We’re so proud to see your hard work and passion for the sport recognized with such an amazing honor! @ustasoutherntennis @naplestennis @239tennis #toughtennisacademy #stanfordtennis

Numerous comments followed like the one by a Tony Kamen, who said, “Awesome and totally deserved!- Congrats!” and by a Piercarlo Bianciardi who said, “Best volleys i’ve ever seen”

“It’s been a long time coming,but well worth the wait for former Owensboro Catholic High School tennis star Vimal Patel,” said the newspaper Messenger-Inquirer.

“Vimal is highly regarded as one of the top development coaches in Southwest Florida and has coached and mentored some of the nations top talent for the past 20 years. He believes strongly in a disciplined mindset and most importantly developing well rounded student-athletes,” said Tough Tennis Academy

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