So says Israeli tennis legend and former Grand Slam winner Andy Ram who arrived in Israel from Uruguay with his parents at the age of 5. They settled in Jerusalem near the Ben B. and Joyce E. Eisenberg Israel Tennis & Education Center, located in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Israel. From the age of 5 to 14, while his parents worked long hours every day, Andy attended the tennis center where he spent countless hours each day honing his tennis abilities while learning life skills.
“I have incredible memories growing up at the tennis center, meeting many friends, doing homework and taking part in social activities. The atmosphere growing up at the tennis center was inspiring.”
At the age of 14, Andy was ranked number 1 in Israel for his age group, at which point he enrolled in a joint program involving the ITEC and the Israel Tennis Association at Wingate for high performance. Part of that program included coming to the ITEC in Ramat Hasharon once a week to play tennis, enjoy lectures and take part in fitness training.
Following the completion of his military obligation at the age of 21, Andy returned to the ITEC – Ramat Hasharon to continue his training. He remembers the incredible support that helped him during those crucial years to turn into an outstanding athlete on the world circuit. “Without the ITEC during this time, it would have been impossible for me to accomplish my dream.”
And accomplish them he did, including reaching the doubles semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2003 and, of course, winning 3 grand slams in Australia, mixed doubles at the French Open and Wimbledon. Another great moment for him was representing Israel in 2014 at the Davis Cup in Florida against Argentina. “That was my last game on Israel’s Davis Cup team and I remember winning the last point and falling on the ground, crying from excitement.”
Today Andy is not only giving back to the ITEC, he is also expanding his influence outside the ITEC. He was recently named CEO of Pulse Play, a revolutionary new wearable device. He also hosts corporate retreats at the ITEC – Ramat Hasharon to help train industry leaders in various aspects of business decision making. At the ITEC Andy is working with one of the national teams at the Israel Tennis & Education Centers in Ramat Hasharon.
“I like to educate the young generation and give them the important values and life skills that I received at the tennis center, telling them that by working hard, being dedicated and having the right positive energy and beliefs, you can accomplish your dreams.”