Player Profile - Tomas Christian

November 3, 2022


Learning from the best

In only his third year of playing and his second year of competing, Tomas Christian found himself playing tournaments with four-time National Champion Drew Broderick. Obviously playing with a former national champion is guaranteed to accelerate the learning process. Christian’s wisdom beyond his years, his willingness to play a certain style of the game, and his mellow approach to life all contributed to the team’s success. It will also stand him well as he moves up the ranks, regardless of who is on the court with him.

So far this season, Christian has partnered with Dan Hansen at the Montclair Open (11th place) and Anton Protsenko at the Philly Cricket Classic (5th place). He is paired up with Marek Czerwinski for the 2022 Chicago Charities Grand Prix and currently ranked 19th in the country.


Christian grew up outside of Philadelphia in Abington and played a great deal of junior tennis in the Middle States section and at Abington High School. He majored in finance at La Salle College in Philadelphia and competed for four years on the tennis team. He explained, “I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my degree. In the summers, I worked for JC Cotto as a seasonal summer tennis pro at Manufacturers’. JC’s assistant left so he offered me the job when I graduated.

There weren’t any indoor courts there, so I had to learn how to teach paddle. That's how I got exposed to it. I started playing in September of 2018 while learning how to teach it. I have to give a lot of credit to Drew Broderick for showing me how to teach. He taught camps with Guy Moore at our club. I learned the basics of teaching positioning, shot selection, and all types of things. It ended up being perfect for me. I was just okay at tennis. Paddle is great because I like doubles. I like volleying. I like being part of a team instead of just being out there by myself. I really got into it.”

2022-Tomas Warm up-600

When he first started, “A lot of the guys on the top team—Ryan Jones, Joe Cagnoli—helped me out but everyone at the club was great and thought that I had potential,” he said. “I was kind of looking for the next thing. I wasn’t enjoying tennis as much as I had before. All those skills that you develop for tennis are necessary to find this game. In the summer I still play a lot of men’s and mixed doubles tennis. I enjoy the season of paddle and being outside in the winter. It is a long season, so it's fun to transition over to tennis and then back again to paddle in October. It is still a relatively new challenge for me.”


Cotto motivated Christian to compete. “Part of the job is playing league matches. But I have to give all the credit to JC. He said, ‘If you're going to do this, you’ve got to get out there and play tournaments. You’ve got to lose.’ What I love about paddle is that during my first full year of playing tournaments, I could sign up and play against some of the better players in the sport. That is unique. It's definitely not like that in tennis. The first very good team JC and I played was Marco Grangeiro and (the late) George Wilkinson. I looked up to them. Afterward, Marco took us aside and gave us advice and was really good to us.”

Moving forward, he said, “I played a lot of tournaments, lost a million matches, and then just started getting better and figuring out what I should and shouldn't do. I’m still figuring it out. There are so many different ways to do it. Everyone has a different style—as people have noticed how Drew and I played. That worked for us to a degree.”


Christian prides himself on his volleys and overheads and likes being at the net. At the baseline, he prefers his forehand. He said, “I used to play the ad side with JC. When given the opportunity to play with Drew, I was going to play the deuce side. I've learned to like that more now. I think it's more in my comfort zone at this point. It was definitely hard to adjust to playing with a lefty. The upside is that we could pick on both sides, we could cover each other on the overheads, but the tricky part was that we didn't necessarily know whose overhead is whose at all times. When two righties play together, say JC hopped in front of me and hit a backhand overhead, I know that was mine,” he laughed. “With Drew, it was hard to say one way or the other. It comes with its own advantages and challenges at the same time. Overall, I'd say a lefty/righty team has a big advantage if they can figure it out.” He admits that he uses his spin shots more when he plays with a righty, and his spin overhead is one of his favorite shots, but he made sacrifices to play with one of the best in the game.


Broderick reached out to Christian in 2021, looking for a partner for one of his ProFlight tournaments. Christian laughed, “Of course, he had a couple of follow-up questions, like ‘How’s your deuce side game?’ He knew John Hughes was going to be there so he wanted to know whether I felt good about dealing with Hughes’ spin. I said ‘Yes, I'll be fine.’ I've always looked up to him. He’s a four-time national champion so he's proven that it can work. That’s his style and we embraced it. That’s why we gravitated to each other because I'm not necessarily one of his peers—I’m a bit younger—but I'm willing to play the way that he wants to play. It wasn’t always perfect but it was good for the most part.”

The team’s success was based on Christian’s confidence in all things Broderick. “I trusted that everything specifically that he told me to do was going to work. He’s a good competitor and he’s intense. What I learned from him is that he doesn't just go out there and play. He always has a game plan based on who we played and what we did well. He never goes into it blindly and just hits balls in play,” Christian said.

He understood that playing with Broderick was an unusual and unlikely blessing. Christian immediately went to a higher level. “This is the first season I’ve been able to play against the top players consistently. I think what changed for us, especially with how well we played in Boston, is just belief. When I first started playing, I would see those guys on TV and think, ‘They seem untouchable.’ When you get out there, you realize everybody is human. That was a big part of it for me. Drew has had so much success against everyone because at some point he believes that he should win. I started to believe that I belonged a lot more.”

Christian and Broderick never practiced together due to geography. At tournaments, they might have had a chance to hit the night before. “We got better as the season went on but other teams made adjustments, too. Philly Open was a match where we were up 6-4, 5-2, against Tyler Fraser and Adam Morgan. I think Tyler knew he had to find a way to win points. He realized what he was capable of, and I think that's what carried them to their success the rest of this season. He realized that as good as he is, he was capable of even more. They’ve had crazy wins. His cutter drop shot influences the match more than anybody I've ever seen. Even if you get the ball back, you're not really in a great spot for the next shot. He’s really good in transition. It’s kind of a double whammy and I think we helped him realize that, unfortunately for us,” Christian explained.

2022-Tomas and Nolan Bacchieri-600
Tomas and Nolan Bacchieri


Broderick and Christian’s first APTA TOUR tournament together was The Witch, where they earned seventh place. They placed second at the Atlantic Classic, then eleventh at the Chicago Charities Grand Prix. All impressive outcomes considering the depth of the draws. The Boston Open Grand Prix final, however, was one of those matches that will go down in paddle history.

The duo worked through three talented teams—Fraser/Morgan, Hughes/Marc Powers, and Chris Humphreys/Felipe Osses-Konig—to face top seeds Johan du Randt/Stephen Mitchell in the final. The first three hours resulted in split sets, both down to tiebreakers. It was perceived to be a typical Broderick match, long and a bit laborious, not a typical du Randt/Mitchell match. The crowd didn't know who Christian was, yet. The third set lasted less than 20 minutes.

Christian said, “I’m glad we are talking about this. Specifically, Drew and I don’t play like Tyler or someone that puts a lot of pressure on opponents, but we made it difficult for them to win points. I think Johan felt that. If he was capable of finding a way to hit to win points, I don't know why he wouldn't do it. I think strategically [tagging an opponent] is fair as long as the ball isn’t out of the air. I think it was perfectly legitimate. I think Johan created transition, which is what he's best at, which is what we tried to avoid. That's more of what happened than it was him hitting us, as much as people think it was. We were tired after a long weekend of long matches, and I don’t think we knew what was going on at that point.”

Christian concluded, “You can't control everything out there so if you control what you can and you're not having any regrets about what you did before you got in there, then that's enough. You can live with it even if you lose.”

2022-Tomas and Macie Elliott-500
Tomas and Macie Medeiros


Work I am the Assistant Director of Racquet Sports at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, working alongside my friend and former partner JC Cotto, the Director of Racquets. We also worked together at Manufacturers’ Golf and Country Club in Fort Washington.

Teaching I like being on the court. I like connecting with people. It's fun and it's better than sitting at a desk, even though I’ve never really done that. The key is to make sure the students are having a good time and getting an education. They should think that their money is well spent. I like to keep it light; it depends on the person if he or she wants it to be more serious. I always want it to seem like I don't mind being out there. I want the students to feel the same way.

Hardest I’ve Laughed The Paddlepro video about us getting hit by Johan in Boston. That might be my fondest memory.

2022 Nationals We lost to Fraser/Morgan in the Round of 16. 6-3, 6-2. We made it as difficult as possible for them. We executed just fine. I think they were willing to do whatever it takes. Nationals brings that out of people. They just played lights out. I don't have any regrets about it.

Free Time As all the racquet pros reading this know, there isn’t a lot of free time. Paddle and teaching have been most of my life. If I’m not working, I like to stay at home and relax. I’m not a big partier. I would like to travel more.

Sneakers I wear my Stan Smiths after the matches. For practice matches and teaching, I like to have a more durable shoe. When I compete, I value performance more and wear a lighter shoe, regardless of how durable it is. I wear Adidas and Babolat.

Routines I like to wear the same outfits over and over again. I think you see that a lot with other pros, too. I like to wear the same pair of pants. I change my socks after every match. Fresh grip every day. Stuff that you can control.

What's Next? I think playing with Drew opened a lot of doors for me. I’ll continue to keep learning and getting better and play with people who think about the game differently.

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