Ryan Preston

-Vanderbilt University-

“I can't say enough about what Rob has done for me as a player and a person. I was fortunate to meet and begin working with Rob when I was coming out of my last year of 14's and trying to transition into playing at a more physical and demanding 16's and 18's level. At the time I was still small and undersized for my age, but we knew I was going to grow and Rob was able to envision where my game was going to need to be in order to have success at an 18's level and beyond. When I started with Rob, I had somewhat stalled in terms of the development of my tennis game, but within the first couple years under Rob I went from being a mediocre Midwest level player to being able to compete and win many more matches at the national level. I bought into Rob's vision for the best type of tennis that would suite my strengths and style. We started making adjustments and working on weaknesses, all of which allowed my game to really flourish and come together as I was starting to be recruited by several of the nations top collegiate programs. I ended up choosing to accept a scholarship to play for Vanderbilt University and had an excellent and successful experience playing for the Commodores. There is no way that I would have ever had the career and experience that I did if I hadn't had Rob's help and guidance through that process and the years leading up to it. Many of the lessons of professionalism, hard work, and discipline that he demanded from me on a daily basis have served me well, not only in my tennis career, but in my endeavors after tennis and into medical school. I will always consider Rob to be a great friend and mentor.”

Karyna Bihel

-University of Minnesota-

“I have so many things to say about Rob. He is an amazing person and my role model. I look up to him more than anyone else and know that I can always come to him for advice, wether it would be about tennis, college, or just life. I started working with Rob when I was 8 years old and it was the best decision of my life. He took my tennis game and got me to the level where I can play D1 tennis at a Big Ten school. He made tennis fun and motivated me to work harder every day on the court. I loved traveling to tournaments with him and having him coach me there. I consider Rob a father figure in my life and have been so fortunate to become so close with him and his family over the years. Even now that I’m in college, I still call him when I need advice on my game, or just general stuff. He is someone I can always count on. I wouldn’t be where I am now If it wasn’t for Rob. He has shaped my life both on and off the court. He has taught me how to give it my all, work for the things I want, and to keep my head up even when there’s bumps in the road. Having him as my coach has been the best thing that could’ve happened for my tennis game and having him as a role model has been the best thing for me as a person.”

Jack Kasbeer

-Carnegie Mellon-

“At the Chicago District Qualifier, I was playing Conrad Harron, someone who was known to be twice as good as me, and I had just won the second set when Rob sat me down to talk before the final third set (best of 3 sets to win). I vividly remember Rob staring into my eyes, and with absolute confidence, he said, “Jack, you are better than this kid. You have created fear in his heart... You can win this match. All you have to do is believe in your talent.” That’s when I understood how much Rob meant to me and how much he had already impacted my life. In that moment, I felt unstoppable. The hardest thing for me to do has always been growing up. Math, science (school in general), activities outside of school, sports, these have always come naturally to me; but coping with problems at home has always been difficult. Unfortunately, my dad has always been an incredibly hardworking individual, so naturally he wasn’t around often. Freshmen year, I found the male figure: my tennis coach. Rob Budacsek has influenced my life in ways that I cannot put into writing. He’s been my mentor for three incredible years, and he has helped me become the person I am today. For the first time in my life, I feel like I know who I am, what I’m capable of, and what’s in my future, all because of Rob’s guidance. He has always been there for me when I needed him; even when my problems are completely unrelated to tennis, Rob always offers his words of wisdom. Rob helped me discover who I am by using my potential to create a tennis player, which simultaneously made me a better person outside of the tennis world. He taught me discipline on the court, which in effect did the same for me off the court. He showed me what it means to work hard at everything you do because your actions define you. Rob worked me as hard as my body would allow every time I walked onto the tennis court, pushing my game to new levels; but the most important thing he’s ever done for me was not accomplished on the court, it was achieved off it. Rob has incredible influence on me because of the way he shaped me throughout my high school years and showed me guidance when no one else could. He is both my mentor and my trainer, and I will forever be indebted to him. -If you ever need help in tennis or college tennis, Rob will get you there!”

Aimee Tarun

-University of Iowa-

“I started working with Rob Budacsek in 2010 and I can 100% say that it's the best decision I have ever made for my tennis game. I started working with him my sophomore year of high school and had high college goals, and he has  helped me achieve them. He helped me a ton and I would not be playing college tennis where I am, if it wasn't for him. He has many connections with D1-D3 college coaches and knows a great deal about the recruiting process. He has been in the tennis industry for over 30 years and has helped many kids get into colleges. He will tell you what you need to do and help you along the way. Choosing Rob's Tennis Connection services is something you will definitely not regret. “

Jonathan Schroeder

-Boston College-

“As a former student and long time friend of Rob, I can confidently say that he is the best in business when it comes to the placement of prospective collegiate tennis players.  He has a straight forward, no nonsense approach to the college recruiting process.  Rob encourages his students to strive for positions at "stretch" schools, both athletically and academically, while at the same time being honest about where they currently stand in the eyes of college recruiters and how they can best improve their chances of admission.  Perhaps his best quality, however, is his vast network of college coaches.  From the top schools of division 1 through the lower levels of division 3, he has established relationships with numerous head and assistant coaches.  If you are a prospective athlete looking for guidance in the college placement process, look no further than Rob Budacsek at Tennis Connection.”

Jacqueline Baum

-Tufts University-

“I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate everything you have done for me. I never thought that a single person could have as much of an impact on me as you have had, and I’m so grateful for that. Committing to Tufts University is something I couldn’t even dream of a year ago, and I am so proud to say that I’m a Jumbo. It is an outstanding accomplishment and you have been a huge role in making it happen, because you always believed in me and supported me. You have been an amazing mentor and role model to me for the last couple years, and you will continue to be for my entire life. Not only have you motivated me through your tennis accomplishments, but your attitude, perspectives, and outlook on life are truly inspiring. You have taught me the value of hard work, determination, and confidence. Most importantly, you have taught me to believe in myself. I know that if I can obtain half the attitude you have by college, I will have succeeded. You’ve coached me for a little less than four years, and I feel like I’ve become a much better tennis player and person since then. I’ve become more responsible, independent and confident, and I’m so happy with the person I’ve become. Not only can I now hit a backhand volley and a slice, but I now have faith in myself and can see myself along with other things in a more positive light. I hope you always continue coaching at CPAC, because you are an amazing role model for every student there. You have such a great influence on all of us, because your positivity and attitude is contagious. One of the qualities I admire most of you is your ability to stand out. You can always feel your presence in the room. When you talk, everyone wants to listen. When you say jump, everyone jumps. Moving forward, with whatever I choose to do with my life, I hope to also find a way to stand out and make a difference, because that is a quality of a true champion. Again, I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done for me. You have been there for me for the past four years and never stopped believing in me. You have helped me become a more well-rounded, mature, and confident individual and tennis player, and I’ll never forget that. “

Brian Alden

-University of Iowa-

“I credit a ton of my success to Rob Budacsek, he took me on at a young age and turned me into a complete player. Without him I would have never been able to receive a scholarship from one of the top programs in the nation.”

Ryann Young

-Cornell University-

“I started working with Rob the summer before I started college, and I honestly regret not starting with him sooner. Going into that summer I felt pretty good about my game. However, by the time I left for school, I felt very confident about starting my freshman year on the Cornell tennis team. Over the past four years, Rob has really brought my game to a whole new level by pushing me to work harder than I ever thought I could and by instilling confidence in me. Now, when I step on the court, I believe in myself so much more that I ever did before working with Rob. Thank you Rob for helping me achieve my goal of being an All-Ivy League player. I couldn’t have done it without you.”

Gabrielle Nixon

-University of Wisconsin-

“To simply thank Rob for all he has done for me is insufficient. At the beginning of my junior year I was basically forced to begin hitting at College Park by my dad following a pretty low point in my tennis career. After just one day hitting under the guidance of Rob, it was clear to me that he was unlike any of the other coaches I had been exposed to over the years. After playing with the same coach my whole life, I had never wanted to begin working with anyone else until I saw how Rob handled his students on and off the court. His optimistic attitude and focused sessions each day have changed my entire perspective about tennis.
"When I first came to Rob I was a scrappy player who basically tried to end the point as quickly as possible. Rob taught me patience and made coming to College Park to work with him and everyone there the best part of my day. Through his challenging yet gratifying approach to tennis I have become the player I always hoped to be and enjoyed every minute. Rob's positivity, charisma, and dedication all make him the perfect person for anyone to trust to take them to new heights in tennis and teach them plenty about life along the way. Once coming off the court after a tough practice consisted of anger or tears but with Rob's reassurance I have learned to cope with mistakes and strive to improve with my head held high. Besides building me into an improved athlete and person, Rob helped me achieve my dream of playing tennis for the University of Wisconsin. I am beyond grateful to have had the opportunity to work with someone like Rob who truly made me believe in myself over these past few years. College park will always feel like a second home to me and Rob is someone I will always look up to.”

Julia Jamieson

-University of Illinois-

"I was looking for a new tennis coach when I was 15 and just moved into the Chicago area. Rob was recommended to me and having hit with him just once, I was immediately drawn to his positive coaching style. I hadn't played many tennis tournaments at the time, but Rob had faith and belief in me and my abilities. He is a very positive person and is dedicated to his students and their growth. There is more than one way to play the game of tennis. Rob recognizes his student’s strengths and what style works best for them. He improved my game by focusing on my athleticism and helped me use it to my advantage. My game has changed drastically from the years of hitting with Rob. Today I am a scholarship D1 athlete and he is a major reason as to why I reached this high point in my life. If it weren't for his encouragement and confidence I wouldn't be where I am today."

Meg Crowley

-DePauw University-

"Rob has been a teacher, coach and mentor to me for almost six years. I differentiate between those three terms because I believe they are very different, and to find a coach that can offer all three of those qualities is incredibly rare and special. He is a wonderful teacher because his extensive professional experience and expertise gives him a realm of knowledge that is unmatched by most coaches. Rob has real, applicable experience like playing on tour and he knows the game inside and out and how to pass that on to young players. Additionally, he is a coach, because he knows how to push his players to excel and compete to their full potential. He takes the time to get to know his students and he applies that to how to coach them in the best way possible. Rob is also an incredible mentor. Someone who is always there to give advice or help pick you up out of a rut. From personal experience: I have called him in college when I have felt hopeless and down about my game and he has been able to talk me through it and get me back on my feet and competing with the passion and love he knows I have for the game. Rob has a unparalleled natural talent and enthusiasm for the game, and his ability to pass this on to junior players is evident to all who watch him coach or give a lesson. I feel lucky to have had so many great years with him as my coach. Thanks for everything Rob!"

Taylor Hampshire

-Lehigh University-

"I started working with Rob my Sophomore year of high school when I decided to take my game to the next level. Rob helped me achieve my goal to play Division 1 tennis where I played No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles as a Freshman while also making an All Conference team at Lehigh University. He pushed and challenged me both physically and mentally during every lesson which prepared me for all of my college experiences. Not only did Rob help me on and off the court, he also helped me mature into a player that could deal with injuries, school as well as how to balance it all."

Blake Bazarnik

-University of Illinois-

I can’t begin to describe how much Rob helped me not only in tennis, but in life as well. Rob was an amazing mentor for me growing up and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to have him as my coach. I started working with Rob when I was 16 and prior to seeing him, I had some success as a tennis player, but was struggling to get to that next level. Rob’s passion and positive energy is contagious and was exactly what I needed. I went from being a good Midwest player to a top 10 player in the nation after just over a year of working with Rob. All of the help from Rob allowed me to get scholarship offers from more schools then I ever thought would be interested and I ultimately decided Vanderbilt University. As I stated earlier, Rob didn’t only help me with tennis, but he has helped me through life. After being at Vanderbilt for two years, I decided that it was not the right decision for me and one of the first people I called for help was Rob. After explaining my situation to him, Rob helped make it possible for me to go to the University of Illinois to play tennis for my last two seasons. If it wasn’t for Rob’s guidance, I am not sure where I would be right now. Rob will always be a great friend and mentor for me throughout the rest of my life.

Anna Ruth Kaplan

-Bowdoin College-

I started working with Rob fairly late in my junior tennis career. In the summer leading up to my junior year, I went to a couple of Rob’s drills just to try them out. My current coach at the time was in the process of moving clubs, and wasn’t sure where he was going to work out of then. I knew going into my junior year, I would need someone to take lessons from during the week, and so I asked Rob if he would be willing to hit with me a couple times a week during the beginning of my junior year, and he agreed, and fit me into his schedule. Meanwhile, my old coach ended up finding a club to work out of, so I took lessons from him as well as from Rob. However, by the end of the fall, it became apparent to me that I could only hit with one of them as my private coach. It was a really difficult decision because I had been with my old coach for almost three years, and I knew he had an excellent track record in getting his students into college. However, I had also heard a lot of great things about Rob. I knew it would be risky to switch coaches in the middle of my junior year, but I didn’t see myself getting much better with my old coach, so I ended up asking Rob to take me on as a full time student in November of 2011. Within two weeks, Rob had convinced me that my forehand grip and technique needed to be changed. He told me it would be a huge adjustment and it would take some time for it to feel comfortable and consistent. The first month or so was probably one of the hardest months I had even spent on a tennis court. Whenever I hit a forehand, I would hit it into the bottom of the net or into the tarp more often than the court. But every time I missed, Rob kept encouraging me and telling me what to correct and eventually I started to make it more. Within two months, I was hitting my forehand consistently in the court in high-level Midwest and national tournaments. It wasn’t perfect, but it was getting better. However, I wasn’t quite getting the results I wanted yet. I felt like I was able to beat all the players I should be beating, but I lost most of the matches that were more even. But Rob kept pushing me and encouraging me in practice and in lessons, and by the spring of my junior year, I went on a roll. I won almost every match I played during the months of April and May, and I won five matches in a row in the Chicago Qualifier after a tough first round loss. I remember after winning my final match of the tournament and seeing the pride in his face, and how glad it made me that I had chosen him as my coach. It made me feel so excited to get back on the court and keep working hard every day. That summer, I played my toughest tournament schedule, ranging from Midwest sectional tournaments to national clay courts. I also played a recruiting tournament at Princeton called the Donovan Showcase. Every tournament went well. At the showcase tournament, every school I was interested in reciprocated that interest. I had coaches coming up to me at the tournament talking to me, and emailing me after, asking me to take a visit to their campus. And it didn’t hurt that I was winning more matches than I ever had in a summer. Some of my biggest results of the summer included beating the #2 seed in singles at the regional tournament in St. Louis, and making it to the round of 16, making the quarterfinals there in doubles, winning a round at clay courts, and getting 4th place in singles and doubles in the Midwest level 4 tournament in Ann Arbor. Looking back on that summer now, I don’t think I could have done that well without Rob. It seemed as if I peaked at the perfect time of my junior career, right during my recruiting summer. Coaches from so many schools were interested in me that I was only able to go to a fraction of them for official visits. I ended up narrowing my selection to Carnegie Mellon University and Bowdoin College. Both of these schools were ranked in the top 10 in Division III and were top-notch academically, with great science programs, which is my area of interest. However, I knew I could only pick one, and I had a really difficult time deciding, but Rob and I spent a lot of hard thought on it, and I believe he led me to one of the best decisions I made in my entire life. I ended up committing to Bowdoin College, which is now ranked #6 in the country leading into the spring season, and is the 20th ranked undergraduate school in the country academically. I am currently looking to major in Biochemistry and Neuroscience there, and minor in Russian. I feel like I am now at a place that has set me up for such a successful and happy life, and I owe a lot of that to Rob. He helped me reach a lot of highs and battle through a lot of lows. After committing to Bowdoin, I struggled with my tennis, and a lot of personal issues as well, all the way through my senior year and into the summer. I’d be lying if I said my senior year was awesome, because it wasn’t. But Rob not only stuck with me as a coach, but also as a mentor. He became someone that I felt comfortable sharing a lot of personal things with, because he always had really good advice to give, and he never judged me, no matter what I told him. He would just listen and answer. He was so patient with me, even though I know it must have been frustrating to watch someone he had built up as a tennis player crash and burn. I know that I can be difficult to put up with a lot, but Rob stuck with me, and he really showed the kind of person he was, by sticking with me until the very end. He helped me overcome a lot of issues, and by the end of the summer, I had found my tennis game again, and was also comfortable with myself as a person. I owe a lot of that to Rob. He believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself, and he gave me hope, even when there seemed to be none. But without him, I don’t think I could have fought out of the low points I hit throughout this past year, and I don’t think I would be where I am today as a tennis player or as a person. He not only taught me how to become a better tennis player, but also how to love tennis, and most importantly, how to love myself.