James Creek Coaching Staff
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  • Stewart Russell
  • Artemiy Nikitin
  • Cem Gurkaynak
  • Clement Darko
  • Evgeny Silitski
  • Gabrielle Kovacs
  • Kevin Tan

Stewart Russell

One of the six managing partners at Universal Tennis Academy, Stewart Russell is originally from Northport, New York. Russell graduated from Roanoke College in Salem, Va. with a degree in Sociology.

As a USPTA Certified Level 1 Professional, who is working towards the completion of criteria to become a Master Professional next year. Students working under Stewart’s watchful eye grow tremendously both on and off the court. Stewart is a USTA National Junior Player Development coach and participates in Regional and National events hosted by the USTA.

He was the Head Men’s Tennis Coach at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia for 5 years and also Director of Tennis at Brookstone Country Club in Acworth, Ga., before beginning Universal Tennis Academy. He has a comprehensive and extensive background in teaching players of all ages and ability levels.

He is a member of both the Wilson Advisory Staff and the Nike Club Pro program. Stewart and his wife Penny have two children, Taylor, who played collegiate soccer at Armstrong Atlantic St. University and Justin, a local baseball standout. Taylor currently teaches elementary school in Savannah and Justin currently plays baseball at Abraham Baldwin college in Tifton, GA.

Artemiy Nikitin

Artemiy (Archie) Nikitin, a native of Omsk, Russia came to the United States in 2011. He played his junior tennis in Russia. As a junior player, he was #350 in ITF juniors (2010). His highest achievement(s) include – winning a Grade 3 ITF Tournament in Kazakhstan and a silver medal in the Russian Tennis Championships – U18. He was also a member of the Omsk National Tennis Representation. Artemiy is USPTA certified.

Artemiy attended both South Carolina State University (SCSU) and University of Idaho on full tennis scholarships. His collegiate playing experience included Rookie of the Year and Best Newcomer in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (2011), and Most Valuable Player at SCSU (2013) and at University of Idaho (2014). He led his teams to Conference Championship wins (2011-2014), going undefeated his junior year (24-0). His highest NCAA ranking was #20 in Mountain Region and #86 nationally in Fall of 2013. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in General Studies with a minor in Business.

Artemiy joined the UTA/James Creek staff in December 2014 and will be working with both Adults and High Performance Southern/National level Juniors.

Artemiy’s other interests include ice hockey and basketball in his free time.

Cem Gurkaynak

Cem, a native of Turkey, has been a teaching professional for 9 years. He enjoys coaching and developing players of all ages. From 1998-2003 he was responsible for training many of the top nationally ranked juniors in Turkey. His easy going personality makes him a club favorite with both juniors and adults.

Cem started his coaching career in Turkey, as an assistant coach, at the Ankara Tennis Club. He then became Co-director of Junior Programming at the Adana Tennis &Yacht Club, where he helped develop a successful and thriving junior program. In 2003 he moved to Rome, GA where he took a position as Head Tennis Professional at Cartersville Country Club.

Cem’s coaching experience includes: Professional Coaches Diploma from the Turkish Tennis Federation in conjunction with the ITF; Coaches Diploma from the Ankara Tennis Club (1997); United States Professional Tennis Association (2004); PRT – European USPTA (2006).

Playing Career: As a junior Cem maintained a top 10 ranking in both the 14’s and 16’s. As well as playing on the 14 & under national team. At Cag University he was ranked 7th in the nation. He also received freshman, All-Region and MVP honors. He played division 1 club tennis and competed on the ATP and ITF professional tours. In 2004, he had a Georgia doubles ranking of 2. He currently is an active player on the USTA/Nike Pro Challenge.

Clement Darko

Clement was born in Accra, Ghana where he learned to play tennis. In 1998, he was named to Ghana’s Davis Cup team and he competed professionally on the men’s tennis circuit. He was consistently ranked Nationally in the top 5 and achieved a top 80 ranking on the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Junior Circuit. He won two junior doubles tournaments with partner Lleyton Hewitt. As a junior he was brought to the United States on a tennis scholarship to the world famous John Newcomb Tennis Ranch in New Braunfels, Texas. He has coached several highly ranked junior players and is USPTA and GPTA Certified. He has over 10 years working experience and prior to that he played professionally. Clement is USPTA certified and enjoys playing soccer in his free time.

Evgeny Silitski

Evgeny is from Minsk, Belarus and attended Drake University (earned a BS in Psychology) and Georgia Gwinnett College. He was also a USTA state champion in winter 2016. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife & daughter and playing hockey. He enjoys working with all ages and levels.

His email address is: evgenysilitski@utatennis.com

Gabrielle Kovacs

Gabriella is originally from Szazhalombatta , Hungary and attended Armstrong State University in Savannah, Ga.

Gabriella played on the Pirates Tennis Team from 2006 – 2010. During those 4 years the team won 3 National Championships and Gabriella was named All American 5 times. She received a degree in English – communications and in Public Health.

Prior to joining UTA’s coaching staff Gabriella worked with kid’s ages 3 – 12 (back in her hometown), throughout her high school years. She enjoys coaching younger children as well competitive junior(s). She has also worked with adults of all ability levels.

Gabriella still enjoys competing and plans on playing in some professional ITF and Challenger tournaments.

Kevin Tan

Kevin is from Manila, Philippines but grew up in Athens, GA.

He attended NCAA D-1 Alabama State University then D-2 Lee University on tennis scholarships. He won 2011 SWAC Freshman of the Year and Most Outstanding Freshman at Alabama State (All Sports). Kevin was also selected as First-Team All Conference, 3x Academic All-American, 3x GSC Academic Honor Roll, All-American Student Athlete Award- 3.6 GPA majoring in Health Care Administration. Kevin also served as Tennis Director and Athletic Director for Nike Sports Camp in New England in the Summer of 2016.

He enjoys working with all ages and levels. When Kevin is not on the court, he is busy with acting/modeling and writing/directing for films, TV shows, and commercial work. Aside from the entertainment industry, he enjoys hiking, learning about other cultures, and reading a good book.