New Marion Indoor Tennis owner promises high-level tennis
MARION — When he was four years old, Karsten Rathlev’s father handed him a tennis racket and taught him to play the game. Since then, Rathlev’s commitment to the sport has been unwavering.
He won three state tennis championships at Winchester High School and continued to prosper while at the collegiate level. Now an accomplished tennis player and the head coach of the UMass Dartmouth Men’s Tennis team, Rathlev has progressed to the next step in his career, becoming the owner of Marion Indoor Tennis.
It was announced on Sept. 14 that Rathlev bought the club from Chick Renfrew, the owner of Marion Indoor Tennis for the last eight years. Renfrew said Rathlev is already doing a “great job” teaching and called him the “perfect fit” to take over the club.
“I’ve always dreamed of owning my own tennis club,” said Rathlev. “Now that it has come to fruition, it’s very exciting.”
Rathlev, 28, began working at the club seven years ago as an assistant professional, teaching a variety of group lessons and clinics to members as young as four.
When he started the job, he was finishing his bachelor’s degree in English literature at UMass Dartmouth, where he would eventually go on to become the head coach for the Men’s Tennis team.
“I feel I am able to use tennis as a platform to help players,” said Rathlev. “To become not only better athletes or tennis players, but also to become better people.”
Continuing the tradition of the club, Rathlev aims to provide residents of all ages and skill levels the opportunity to learn and play tennis. He says that he takes pride in being able offer that service to the community.
Rathlev hopes to add more interactive teaching methods to the programs offered at the club, which are designed to teach more than just the basics of tennis.
He is also focused on teaching players to move better on the court, to work with peers at the same skill level, and to understand the mental component of the game. Some important elements of the game, he says, are often lost on younger American players because they are not always taught thoroughly.
“I think I bring a fresh, young perspective to the club,” said Rathlev. “I have so many ideas, but it is going to take some time.”
According to Rathlev, one of his goals is to bring more high-level tennis to the club. He suggested, for example, that he could invite skilled players from around the New England area to help teach clinics at Marion Indoor Tennis.
“I’m here to stay for the long haul,” said Rathlev. “I’m here to run a good business and I’m here to make the future of American tennis happen.”
The club, located at 26 Luce Ave., is open to all members in the community and recently added new Pro-Cushion courts, nets, and backdrops.