For brothers Jim and Andy Paley, tennis has taken them to championships on all levels, on the pro tour and has let them train with some of the world's greatest players.
Now, they're bringing their knowledge and coaching ability to the North Shore by opening their own tennis center.
Jim, 42, and Andy, 36, plan to open the Paley Tennis Center, 2916 W. Vera Ave., Glendale, in early July. There, they'll coach and train children and adults with any level of experience.
North Shore connections
The Paleys grew up in Bayside and attended Nicolet High School. Jim, who lives in Milwaukee, graduated in 1982. Andy, of Shorewood, graduated in 1989.
Both have been playing tennis since they were young. Their father had played, and got Jim into playing,
"We joined a club when I was about 9, and all my friends played," Jim said.
Soon their other brother Bobby joined in the family sport, and the older two got Andy interested.
"They just threw me on the court," Andy said about his brothers. "If you see it long enough, you're going to want to do it."
Both continued playing and entered, and excelled in, state, regional and national tournaments. They played for Nicolet, where they were both state champions, and then at their respective colleges.
"They had huge contributions at Nicolet," said Cary Bachman of Whitefish Bay, who coached the Paleys at Nicolet. "They were very coachable as players."
"I have a hard time thinking of a time when they Paleys weren't a big help to the team," he said.
As coaches, Bachman said, Andy and Jim are organized and conscientious.
"I'll be very surprised if it (the tennis center) isn't a big success," he said.
After college, Jim and Andy both went on to participate in the pro tour, and later, after playing and working with some of the world's best players, turned to coaching.
"Doing all these things made me a better teacher," Andy said.
The brothers coach children on the Stormonth Courts in Fox Point, which they will continue.
"I think it's important to have opportunities out there," Jim said about training and lessons. "At a young age, if you're introduced with a good coach, you're in for a lifetime."
For the last two years, the Paleys have been coaching kids on outdoor courts in New Berlin, too. Although they have students from the Brookfield area, their client-base comes mostly from the North Shore. With the new tennis center in Glendale, they'll be better able to serve those customers.
"We've been coaching some of the most outstanding junior tennis players in the country from North Shore," Jim said.
The building that will house the Paley Tennis Center was formerly the first indoor tennis club in Milwaukee, which opened in the mid- to late 1960s. It hasn't been a tennis club for 20 to 25 years.
The Paleys gutted the inside and are starting new.
"Just the shell is the only thing still existing," Andy said.
The building will have four indoor courts and a cross training room, and the Paleys will hire pros to help coach.
"We're basically gearing ourselves toward teaching tennis and that's it," Andy said. "We're trying to be different from other clubs."
"We think we'll have trend-setting ideas throughout the courts," Jim said.
Owe a lot to their parents
The tennis center will be geared toward both children and adults at all ability levels.
Aly Coran, 12, of Mequon is one of Jim and Andy's students who will be coached at the Paley Tennis Center. She has been with the Paleys for about eight years.
Aly, who is in the top 25 of the country's players age 12 and under, takes tennis lessons a few times a week with the Paleys, and goes to drills and private lessons.
"They tell you what you need to work on, they're very honest and have told me a lot of tips to help me improve," she said. "They have really good drills and a lot of good pointers."
The facility will be open seven days a week. The hours of operation have not been established.
Andy and Jim said they owe a lot to their parents, Phil and Dorene - who still live in Bayside, for their success both on the court and with their newest project.
"Without them, without their support, I don't know we would've been able to stay in the sport and excel," Jim said.
"Because of them, we named the tennis center after them," Jim quipped.
At a glance
Andy Paley's tennis accomplishments:
• 10th or 11th in state at age 7
• high school state champion
• ranked second in the country for singles and in the top five for doubles while at University of St. Thomas
• played on the pro tour
• trained in Florida and Minnesota with the world's top players
Jim Paley's tennis accomplishments:
• at a young age, competed in state, sectional and national tournaments
• high school state champion
• Big 10 champion at the University of Minnesota
• played on the pro tour
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