Celebrating Junior Team Tennis Most Valuable Providers in Southern California - USTA Southern California




Joseph Lizardo



JUNE 1, 2024

Joseph Lizardo
Gerald Mathews
Katya Welborn
Rafael Martinez
Ray Fisher

Junior Team Tennis MVPs from top to bottom: Joseph Lizardo (Rolling Hills Estates); Gerald Mathews (San Fernando Valley); Katya Welborn (Ojai); Rafael Martinez (San Diego); Ray Fisher (Temecula).


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email

Junior Team Tennis (JTT) offers level-based team matches for players ages 5 to 18 at various local venues. Teams compete weekly in Southern California leagues, fostering unity, sportsmanship, and skill development under USTA Safe Play certified coaches. Success is emphasized beyond winning, focusing on teamwork and resilience. JTT is more than just a competition; it’s a community where young athletes learn, grow, and thrive together. 

This year, we are thrilled to honor the exceptional coaches and providers who have made significant contributions to the JTT program across Southern California. These Most Valuable Providers (MVPs) have dedicated their time, energy, and passion to nurturing the next generation of tennis players, instilling in them not only the skills to succeed on the court but also the values of teamwork, sportsmanship, and perseverance. Join us in celebrating these inspiring individuals whose commitment to youth tennis continues to make a profound impact in our communities.

Giuliano Coria (Orange County, Racquet Club of Irvine)

Giuliano Coria, born in Argentina and raised in Tustin, began his tennis journey with Junior Team Tennis (JTT). He excelled at the highest levels of junior tournaments and dominated his varsity league at Tustin High School. Giuliano also competed in national G1 tournaments in Argentina before playing collegiate tennis at California State University, Fullerton. Continuing to compete in Men’s Opens, he brings unmatched energy and expertise to elevate any player.

Giuliano’s inspiring on-court presence motivates young players, and he excels at bringing out their hard work. He currently coaches several high-performance young players who compete in top-level tournaments, including levels 4 and 5. As a JTT coach, Giuliano aims to impart the values of teamwork and leadership he learned as a junior player. He emphasizes the importance of stepping out of comfort zones and building community through competition.

Now a coach at the Racquet Club of Irvine (RCI), which hosts one of California’s largest junior tennis programs, Giuliano is recognized for his organizational skills, sportsmanship, and effective communication. The Orange County Area League Coordinator (ALC), Steve Riggs, nominated him for his exceptional contributions to the tennis community.

Ray Fisher (Inland Empire, Temecula – Great Oak High School)

Ray Fisher has been a dedicated high school tennis coach since 1989. His journey began at Diamond Bar High School, where he played varsity tennis. Over the years, Ray climbed the ranks in NTRP tournaments, progressing from 3.5 to 5.5. His dual role as a Social Studies teacher and Varsity Tennis Coach at Great Oak High School has defined his career for the past 18 years.

Ray became a JTT coach to fill a void in his community, driven by his love for tennis and coaching. With support from his assistant coach, Slav Elenkov, and his wife, Laurie Fisher, Ray manages to juggle multiple responsibilities while fostering a vibrant tennis culture. His commitment to early and frequent communication ensures that his teams always have the opportunity to play. For Ray, coaching JTT is about increasing tennis participation and giving kids the chance to compete and enjoy the game.

Ray was nominated by the Inland Empire ALC, Tony Chatfield: “Ray consistently utilizes the JTT program to help his athletes gain additional match experience for the boys/girls in the Temecula area. Additionally, he is a transparent communicator who helps organize dual matches in advance and makes every effort to ensure all players who show up get to play on match day.”

Joseph Lizardo (Rolling Hills Estates, Jack Kramer Club)

Joseph Lizardo, a Filipino former professional tennis player from Manila, competed in the junior draws of Wimbledon and the US Open before earning a full scholarship to Temple University in Philadelphia. He won the A-10 singles championship in 1987 and graduated with a business/marketing degree in 1991.

Representing the Philippines in the Davis Cup and regional events, including the 1994 Asian Games, Lizardo won six medals at the Southeast Asian Games. He participated in 14 Davis Cup ties from 1992 to 1999, winning 12 singles matches, with his most notable victory against Japan’s former top-50 player Shuzo Matsuoka in 1995.

In 2009, Joseph founded his own tennis academy, Lizardo Tennis Academy. Today, Joseph coaches out of the Jack Kramer Club, representing the South Bay Section. He was nominated by the South Bay/Long Beach ALC Jeanette Lee: “He is a leader in organizing teams at one of our biggest JTT clubs (Jack Kramer), inspires others to do the same in the area and goes to great lengths to support the program. He organizes WTN events specifically for JTT players and even creates apparel for JKC JTT players.”

Victor Lozano (Ventura, Simi Valley Royal High School)

Victor Lozano‘s tennis journey includes participating in JTT in Ventura County, playing college tennis, and over a decade of coaching at Division I and II levels. He founded TennisLozano and coaches a wide range of players, from young beginners to competitive juniors and USTA league adults.

Victor became a JTT coach to introduce his novice students to competition and provide advanced players with ongoing opportunities to compete. His long-term relationships with his players make their participation in JTT especially rewarding. Victor’s goals are for his players to have fun, learn sportsmanship, and understand how to handle competitive pressure. He loves JTT for its ability to offer learning, competition, and new friendships to kids of all levels and ages.

Victor Lozano was nominated by the Ventura ALC, Geoffrey Oliveros

Rafael Martinez (San Diego, Balboa Tennis Club)

Rafael Martinez, a former junior player in Mexico and the USA, brings a wealth of experience to his coaching role at Balboa Tennis Club. He played community college tennis in San Diego, transferred to a Division II NCAA school, and even participated in professional tournaments. As a former NCAA college coach, Rafael now directs the junior program at Balboa Tennis Club.

Rafael became a JTT coach to provide his players with more competitive opportunities that he didn’t have growing up himself. He explained, “I want to be able to be the person that encourages them and inspires them to follow their dreams, whether it is at the college level or professional. My first priority with all my players is to develop leaders to be able, in the future, to make an impact in their environment.” Rafael loves seeing the joy and confidence his players gain from competing and being outstanding teammates: “Nothing beats seeing a kid smile because they feel everything is possible in their career and life. Always leading by example.” 

For him, JTT is about making tennis a beloved sport through the team experience. He loves JTT because “I can see the impact that makes in a player’s career to fall in love with the sport. As tennis players, we don’t get to play as a team until we are in college or if you are good enough as a Davis Cup member. So having this at a young age, I believe, is amazing.”

Rafael Martinez was nominated by the San Diego ALC Conan Lorenzo.

Gerald Mathews (San Fernando Valley, Lanark Rec Center)

Gerald Mathews is a beacon of inspiration in the San Fernando Valley tennis community. Having started tennis at 15, Gerald didn’t have the chance to participate in JTT as a youngster as it did not exist at the time. Now, he coaches players from beginners to collegiate athletes, including Jacob Bullard at Arizona State, Julian Steninhausen at SMU, and Dominique Rolland at UCSB. His journey includes playing varsity high school tennis, Division 1 tennis at Lamar University, and competing on the professional tour.

Becoming a JTT coach was a natural progression for Gerald, inspired by parents who wanted their kids to experience team camaraderie and match play. He emphasizes enjoyment, teaching his players to approach the game without anxiety while developing strong habits and tactics. For Gerald, coaching is about fostering teamwork and friendships, making tennis less of a solitary sport and more of a communal experience. His passion is evident in the joy and success his players find on the court.

Gerald was nominated by the San Fernando Valley ALC, Josh Tchan.

Joseph Reyes (San Diego, Mountain View Club)

Joseph Reyes‘s passion for tennis began at the Ramos Academy at Eastlake High School. Now, as the director of the R and O academy, he coaches players like Genesis Navales. Joseph participated in USTA tournaments and JTT as a junior and later coordinated ITF and USTA events as the head pro at iTennis Arcadia.

Joseph believes in giving kids the opportunity to compete, balancing practice with the enjoyment of competition. His coaching philosophy centers on providing positive outlets for children, building their confidence, and helping them excel on and off the court. For Joseph, JTT is enlightening, offering invaluable experiences that keep juniors motivated and improving.

Joseph was nominated by the San Diego ALC, Conan Lorenzo.

Katya Welborn (Ventura County, Lower Libbey Park Ojai)

Katya Welborn began playing tennis at age seven, competing in junior tournaments across Southern California and participating in Junior Team Tennis (JTT) in Ojai. In high school, she excelled as the number one player on her varsity tennis team, helping them reach the CIF championships twice. 

After graduating in 2008, Katya attended her local community college, majoring in Communication of Arts and playing number two singles and number one doubles. She then transferred to Sonoma State University, where she majored in Graphic Design and played for their Division II tennis team. 

During her college summers, Katya worked as an assistant tennis coach at her local Athletic Club in Ojai, a role she has continued since 2010. Now the Head Tennis Pro for the City of Ojai, she runs the Recreation Department’s tennis programs and coaches the 14U and 12U junior teams. Katya loves the team atmosphere of JTT, valuing camaraderie and support among teammates. Her coaching philosophy focuses on sportsmanship, teamwork, mental strength, and fun: “At the end of the day it’s more than just playing tennis and having fun. It helps the kids build life long skills on and off the court.” She is also a member of the Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament committee and still enjoys playing tennis in her free time.

Katya was nominated by the Ventura ALC, Geoffrey Oliveros, who explained, “She gets her players ready to compete at their highest level and other coaches recognize the kids show no quit. Ojai is an area that has lacked JTT programming over the past few years and Katya has taken it upon herself to reintroduce it and shown the benefit of having it part of her Junior program.”

These dedicated coaches exemplify the spirit and values of Junior Team Tennis, fostering a love for the sport while teaching important life skills. Their commitment and passion continue to shape the next generation of tennis players in Southern California.

Have Questions About JTT?

If you have any questions about Junior Team Tennis in your area or need help finding a team, please reach out to the ALC from your area!

Orange County

Steve Riggs (ALC): jttorangecounty@scta.usta.com
Giuliano Coria (JTT Provider): giulianocoria00@gmail.com, 714-866-8601

Inland Empire

Tony Chatfield (ALC): jttinlandempire@scta.usta.com 
Ray Fisher (JTT Provider): fishtennis66@gmail.com, 951-805-0544 

South Bay/Long Beach

Jeanette Lee (ALC): jttsouthbaylongbeach@scta.usta.com
Joseph Lizardo (JTT Provider): lizardotennis@gmail.com, 818-536-3024

San Diego County

Conan Lorenzo (ALC): jttsandiego@scta.usta.com, 619-846-3094 
Rafael Martinez (JTT Provider): rafamtzalvz11@gmail.com 
Joseph Reyes (JTT Provider): josephreyes220@gmail.com, 619-292-1306 

San Fernando Valley/Santa Clarita Valley

Joshua Tchan (ALC): jttsfvscv@scta.usta.com
Gerald Mathews (JTT Provider): teamGtennis@gmail.com 

Ventura County

Geoffrey Oliveros (ALC): jttventuracounty@scta.usta.com 
Victor Lozano (JTT Provider): tennislozano@gmail.com
Katya Welborn (JTT Provider): katyawelborn@gmail.com


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email