Aug. 13, 2012
LOS ANGELES - Head UCLA men's tennis coach Billy Martin announced the additions of two new members to his coaching staff on Monday, as Grant Chen has been elevated to the position of assistant coach, while former collegiate standout Rikus de Villiers joins the Bruins as volunteer assistant coach. Chen replaces Kris Kwinta who, after five very successful seasons on staff, has decided to pursue other opportunities.
Chen recently capped off his fifth season as the team's Director of Operations. He was named Director of Operations following graduation from UCLA in 2006, serving in that capacity for one season before leaving to work in sports management, where he assisted with a handful of prominent tennis professionals in the Los Angeles Area. Chen returned to UCLA in 2009 to work with both the men's and women's tennis programs. Several of Chen's duties included logistics, travel, equipment, as well as managing all home events. He has served as tournament manager for a number of UCLA hosted events, such as ITA Kick-Off Weekend, NCAA Regionals and the Southern California Intercollegiate Championships. Chen has also played an instrumental role in helping Martin run the highly successful UCLA Tennis Camps and Bassett/Martin Tennis Camp in Big Bear, Calif. In his spare time, Chen has organized several tennis charity events around the country.
On the coaching side, Chen served as head coach of the UCLA Club Tennis Team from 2007-10. He coached the team to a pair of Southern California Regional Championships in 2007 and 2008, including a third-place national finish in 2010. Chen was a member of the club tennis team from 2005-2006, winning both the Fall and Spring Intramural events at UCLA while leading the team to a regional title and a top 5 finish at nationals.
"We are just really excited about having Grant stay with our team as an assistant coach," said Martin. "Nobody knows how UCLA men's tennis runs better than he does so I'm certainly looking forward to having him help us move toward our goal of winning the national championship. We are sad to see Kris leave. He has done so much for this program as both a player and a coach. We wish him the very best in whatever he decides to do in the next phase of his career."
de Villiers, a native of South Africa, was a top player from 2009-11 at Fresno State, where he earned a degree in physical therapy. Prior to his arrival in Fresno, he played one season at Pepperdine before transferring following his freshman year. During his time in Fresno, de Villiers earned All-Western Athletic Conference (WAC) honors in each of his three seasons. He was named to the conference's first team in both singles and doubles as a senior. He helped Fresno State to a WAC Championship his senior year, securing the Bulldogs an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament, where they reached the second round. In addition to ascending to a career-high No. 83 in the ITA Singles Rankings, de Villiers was also a standout doubles player, twice earning a place in the NCAA Doubles Championships with teammate Remi Boutllier. The duo ended the 2011 season listed at No. 18 in the Final ITA Doubles Rankings. As a junior tennis player in South Africa, he twice won the African Championships in singles and doubles. He earned his first ATP point when he was just a 14 years old.
"I had the opportunity to watch Rikus play collegiately for four years so I know what a great players he is," said Martin. "We have been fortunate to have him work our summer camps for the last two years and I've come to see that he's very knowledgeable about the game of tennis. I know that the guys on our team are really going to enjoy working with him. I think once our guys get to see how much he enjoys the game and the amount of energy he brings to the courts, it's only going to be a positive for us."