James Creek Staff

Stewart Russell

Stewart Russell is originally from Northport, New York and graduated from Roanoke College in Salem, Va. with a degree in Sociology. Stewart directs the junior and adult programs at James Creek Tennis Center and he also oversees the junior program at Lost Mountain Tennis Center.

Stewart is a USPTA Certified Level 1 Professional who is working towards becoming a Master Professional. Stewart is a USTA National Junior Player Development coach who participates in Regional and National events hosted by the USTA. Before joining Universal Tennis Academy, Stewart was the Head Men’s Tennis Coach at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia for 5 years. He was also the Director of Tennis at Brookstone Country Club in Acworth, Ga. He has a comprehensive and extensive background in teaching players of all ages and ability levels.

Stewart and his wife Penny have two children. Their daughter, Taylor, is a certified personal trainer in Savannah and their son, Justin, plays baseball at Kennesaw State University.

David Stolle

David is a founding partner at UTA and is originally from Sudbury, Massachusetts. He helps organize the programs at Chastain Tennis Center and James Creek Tennis Center. David earned his bachelors in psychology with a religious studies minor from the University of Virginia. He is a former number #1 singles player for the Cavaliers and was USTA/Georgia’s Junior Coach of the Year in 2002.

In addition to assisting with the tennis programs at Chastain Park and James Creek, David manages the UTA College Placement Program which helps connect UTA tournament players with universities. David also leads the UTA involvement in ‘Serve and Connect’ which offers free tennis classes Friday afternoons in the Fall and Spring to the students of Washington Park Tennis Center.

David and his wife Ashley, have been blessed with three energetic children: Livi, Kate, and Lex.

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. 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 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).

As a junior, Cem played on the 14 & Under Turkish National team and he maintained a top 10 national ranking in both the 14’s and 16’s. He attended Cag University where 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.

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 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 is USPTA certified and enjoys teaching players of all ages, especially high performance tournament players. Artemiy’s other interests include ice hockey and basketball in his free time.

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. Clement has coached tennis for over ten years and is USPTA and GPTA Certified. In his spare time, Clement enjoys playing soccer and working out in the gym.

Ellen Young

Ellen grew up playing in Marietta, GA. She played for Walton High School and then went on to play at Jacksonville State University where she earned Freshman All Conference. She then transferred to Georgia State University and played the remainder of her eligibility there earning a degree in Business Management. Ellen is married and has 3 children who play competitively. She enjoys running, traveling and spending time with her family.

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.

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.

Gabrielle started to teach tennis while she was in high school years when she coached children ages 3-12 years old. She enjoys coaching younger children as well competitive juniors. She also works with adults of all ability levels. Gabriella still enjoys competing and continues to play in 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.

Klara Dohnalova

Klara, originally from Trinec, Czech Republic, came to the United States in 2013. Klara was ranked in the top 10 in the Czech Republic throughout her junior and adult competitive years. She played ITF Juniors and ITF Pro Circuit tournaments before she started college.

Klara started as a student athlete at South Carolina State University (SCSU). She was named Rookie of the Year in 2013; she was voted the Most Valuable Player in 2013 & 2014; and she was 2 times MEAC Champion in 2013 & 2014. After 3 semesters Klara transferred to Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) where Klara earned NAIA Women’s Tennis All-America First Team in 2016 & 2017. Klara was 2 times NAIA Women’s Tennis National Champion in 2016 and 2017. Her highest NAIA ranking was #5 nationally in Spring 2017. Klara graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science (Exercise Science – Wellness Promotion).

Klara’s other interests include alpine skiing, interior design, and she loves dogs.