Jim Davies, Founder (JD)
USPTA Master Professional
With 50 years of tennis behind him, Jim Davies, the founder of JD Tennis Academy, described himself as eating tennis, breathing tennis and sleeping tennis.
He became Vice-Chairman of the Kenya Lawn Tennis Association (K.L.T.A) in 1971 and Chairman in 1973 and again in 1991 where he served until 1996, when he resigned having completed a total of six years as Chairman.
It is during his tenure that tennis is believed to have undergone tremendous growth. In 1978, JD was coach for the Kenya team at the Third All Africa Games in Algiers.
In 1982 he opened the first fully-equipped gym in Kenya, the Nautilus Fitness and Health Centre, whose facilities were frequently used for training various tennis teams.
In 1987, he opened the JD Tennis Academy in time for the Fourth All Africa Games where the Kenya team trained and where many Davies Cup teams also trained. With more than 30 years of coaching, 20 as a First Class, JD has been coach to the following top players:
- Jane Davies,
- Philip and James Ilako,
- Eno Polo,
- Phyllis and Mary Wilunda,
- Sam Kipkoech and
- Alan Davies.
Junior champions who have passed through his hands include:
- Karim Behal,
- Sean Haskey,
- Wanjiku Ngaruiya and
- Meera Kantaria.
He brought the first electronic ball machine to Kenya in 1971 which he used to train many junior and senior players, including team members from St. Patricks Iten, whom he sponsored and trained.
Jim entertained Arthur Ashe and Stan Smith during their 1972 Ashe visit in Africa. This four-day event included exhibition matches.
In 1974, he was team manager for the second All-Africa Games in Cairo, Egypt. The 12 countries that participated were Kenya, Ghana, Cameroon, Sudan, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Zaire, Tanzania, Togo, Ethiopia and South Langridge.
Jane Davies won a gold medal in ladies singles and captured a bronze medal in mixed doubles.
In 1978, Jim served as co-founder and director of the Safari Circuit . This was a great success and attracted a large number of overseas players. The circuit started in Dar es Salaam, and continued in Mombasa followed by the Nairobi Club, Parklands Sports Club and Nairobi Gymkhana, and then on to Kampala in Uganda. The 20 to 30 overseas visitors stayed with local families.
Jim Davies was a legend, his legacy still lives on and the academy is a testament of his life long passion to tennis.