Former French Open doubles champion and one of the game’s most vibrant figures, Luke Jensen, has been named the new head coach of the New York Empire presented by Citi, the team announced last week.
Jensen, who was part of the U.S. Davis Cup teams that reached the finals in 1991 and won it all in 1992, teamed with brother Murphy to win the 1993 French Open doubles title and is currently the Director of Racquet Sports for the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, N.Y. Jensen is the most successful tennis coach in the history of Syracuse University, compiling a 106-57 while coaching the Orange from 2006 to 2014. He has also served as a tennis commentator for ESPN, Tennis Channel, DirecTV and World TeamTennis.
It promises to be an animated affair when the Empire face the Washington Kastles during the three-week summer season as Luke’s brother, Murphy, is the longtime coach of the Kastles. During their playing days, the Jensens displayed their popular brand of “Rock and Roll Tennis” on their way to a world No. 6 ranking and multiple ATP doubles titles.
“I’m very excited to be named the new head coach of the New York Empire and can’t wait for the season to begin,” said Jensen, who played WTT and provided commentary on several of the Empire matches last season. “Everyone knows how electric and exciting a tennis match in New York City can be, and we look forward to bringing that energy for each of our home matches this summer.”
Jensen – who has career wins over tennis greats such as Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker and Jim Courier – was an All-American at the University of Southern California and is also the founder of the Jensen-Schmidt Tennis Academy for Down Syndrome.
“Luke Jensen brings an infectious personality to the game of tennis that all of our New York Empire fans I’m sure will feed off,” said Empire General Manager Michele Cope. “During his playing days, Luke was one of the best doubles players in the world, and his passion for the game is still obvious as a tennis commentator and teaching pro. He’s just a great addition to the Empire family.”
Jensen replaces International Tennis Hall of Famer Gigi Fernandez, who served two seasons as Empire head coach. Due to time constraints, Fernandez and the Empire mutually decided to part ways.
“As a newly elected board member at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, my family and Gigi Fernández Tennis commitments, I am not able to give my full energy and effort to the team during the whole season,” Fernandez said. “Luke is a great choice as head coach for the Empire. Being based in New York City makes it ideal. His personality is perfect for the job. He will bring great excitement to the bench and the fans. I wish Luke and the team great success in 2019.”