USTA Player Development today announced that former Head of Women’s Tennis Ola Malmqvist has been promoted to be its new Director of Coaching, while former Team USA Lead National Coach Kathy Rinaldi and Director of Player ID and Development Kent Kinnear will take over as Head of Women’s and Men’s Tennis, respectively.
Malmqvist will assume the position previously held by Jose Higueras, who transitioned into a consultant coaching role with USTA Player Development in 2017. With Higueras’ guidance, Malmqvist will focus on continuing to develop and improve the USTA’s philosophy for player development and its alignment with private-sector coaches throughout the country.
Rinaldi and Kinnear will lead and manage the USTA’s women’s and men’s coaching staffs and programming based at the USTA’s three national training centers – its headquarters at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla., the Training Center – West in Carson, Calif., and Training Center – East in Flushing, N.Y. – and ensure that all teaching, training, coaching and programming on both sides is aligned with Player Development’s philosophy. Additionally, they’ll each help oversee the allocation of resources to ensure optimal support for American junior, college and pro players, as well as manage relationships with America’s top pro players and their teams in order to maximize every American’s potential.
The U.S. currently leads all countries with 14 women in the Top 100 and had a world-leading 12 men in the Top 100 on October 1.
“As the overall performance of American pros and juniors continues to trend upwards, and as USTA Player Development has firmly established its headquarters at a state-of-the-art facility in the USTA National Campus, we’re at a point where we need to align our development program for juniors, collegians and pros and re-focus on a comprehensive pathway of development that is informed by one philosophy,” said USTA Player Development General Manager Martin Blackman. “Ola, Kent and Kathy represent the knowledge, commitment and leadership that we need at this time to ensure that we continue to move, driven by a culture of excellence, towards our goal of dominating the global game with consistent success at Grand Slams and in Davis Cup and Fed Cup.
“We could not hope to have three more qualified individuals in these important leadership roles, and their accomplishments, knowledge and credibility in the tennis community give us a unique opportunity to achieve our goals.”
Rinaldi will continue in her role as U.S. Fed Cup Captain. Her successor as Team USA Women’s Lead National Coach and Kinnear’s as Director of Player ID and Development will be announced at a later date.
Malmqvist has been the USTA’s Head of Women’s Tennis since the job was created in 2008, when there were only five Americans in the year-end WTA Top 100. There are now 14 American women in the Top 100 of the latest WTA rankings, and American girls have won five of the last nine junior Grand Slam singles titles.
A native of Falkenberg, Sweden, Malmqvist was an all-American player at the University of Georgia in 1982-83 and later completed his Bachelor’s Degree at UNLV, where was also the head women’s tennis coach from 1993-98. Additionally, he coached Petr Korda, Chanda Rubin and Mikael Pernfors prior to joining the USTA coaching staff for the first time in 1999.
Rinaldi, now in her second year as Fed Cup Captain, has led the U.S. team to its second consecutive Final, after captaining the U.S. to its first Fed Cup title in 17 years last year. Rinaldi joined the USTA as a National Coach in 2008 and was elevated to the Team USA Lead position when it was created in 2016. Rinaldi has coached the U.S. to multiple junior international team competition titles, including the 16-and-under Junior Fed Cup (2012, 2014) and the 14-and-under World Junior Tennis (2009-10), and coached the U.S. women in the Pan-American Games in 2015. Rinaldi has also coached a multitude of American junior and pro women on either a primary or supplemental basis, and was named the U.S. Olympic Committee’s National Coach of the Year for tennis in 2011.
As a player, Rinaldi was ranked as high as No. 7 in the world in singles (May 1986) and No. 13 in the world in doubles (February 1993). In 1981, she became the youngest player to win a match at Wimbledon (14 years, 91 days), a record that stood until 1990. She also reached the quarterfinals of the French Open in 1981, at age 14, and again in 1987. Rinaldi advanced to the singles semifinals of Wimbledon in 1985 and reached the doubles semifinals of the 1985 US Open, the 1987 French Open, and the Australian Open in 1991 and 1993.
“Kathy was a great player, but she is an even better coach,” Malmqvist said. “Her knowledge and experience in the game is second to none. She brings an amazing passion for the game, and she is an even better person. The U.S. women’s tennis program couldn’t get a better leader.”
Kinnear has been with USTA Player Development full-time since 2007, first as a Men’s National Coach before taking his current position of Director of Player Identification and Development in 2012. In that role, Kinnear has annually overseen more than 200 early development, sectional, regional and national training camps for players ages 8-14 years old, working closely with all 17 USTA Sections, their Player Development managers and Coaches’ Commissions. Kinnear also oversaw USTA Player Development’s relationships with its Regional Training Centers and helped form the Team USA initiative to focus on increased collaboration with private-sector coaches.
A native of Greenwood, Ind., Kinnear was a standout player at Clemson, where he was named an all-American (1987) and the ACC’s Most Valuable Player (1988), and ranked as high as No. 24 in the world in doubles over a 12-year pro career. Before joining the USTA, he was an assistant men’s tennis coach at the University of Illinois from 2005-07.
“Besides Kent’s knowledge and understanding of the game — which are very high — his integrity and high moral values will make him great leader for the men’s program,” said Higueras.