Our Pros

Our Tennis Pros

Mindy SheppardMindy Mettee, General Manager & Teaching Professional

Mindy Sheppard came to Asheville Racquet Club in the summer of 1998, working part time running the summer camps and assisting in the junior programs. She took on a full time role as a teaching pro in January 2002. In January 2005, she became the Director of Tennis. In this capacity, she is in charge of running all aspects of the tennis program, including tournaments, summer camps, private and group lessons, team league clinics and socials, and cardio tennis, as well as other member affiliated events.
Mindy grew up playing junior tennis in Wisconsin and played competitive tennis as a junior throughout the Midwest. She continued to play competitively at the University of Wisconsin – Madison for 4 years for a Division 1 tennis program.
As tennis pro, Mindy is passionate about catering to all levels of play and all types of players. She works just as effectively with young children, adult beginners, advanced level juniors and adults, as well as older adults. She is careful to learn the goals of every student and shapes her lessons accordingly. An accomplished athlete herself, Mindy is especially interested in fitness. She is a great believer in strong footwork and physical stamina in order to maximize one’s performance on the court. She is also very attentive to all aspects of the game, including timing, stroke technique, shot selection, and style of play.
As passionate as Mindy is about tennis, she ultimately believes tennis should be fun. In addition to her love of the game, Mindy cares deeply about the members and is always seeking new ways to add value to their membership experience!

AlexAlex Zaluzhny, Teaching Professional

Alex, a native of Lviv Ukraine, came to the Asheville Racquet Club in the spring of 2001 as a full time teaching Pro. Alex teaches individual, group lessons and clinics.
Alex was a top ranked international junior player and has won prestigious titles throughout Bulgaria, Germany, Ukraine, Poland, France and Finland. Alex graduated from the State Institute of Physical Education and Sports in 1980, specializing in tennis. He moved onto teaching in 1982 and worked as a tennis coach for young players, preparing them for various tournaments in the Ukraine. He worked for various tennis clubs in Germany for nearly four years before migrating back to the Ukraine to work as the Head Tennis Coach until March of 2001. In this role, he worked and prepared many young top tennis players for local and international tournaments, most of who were members of the National Junior Tennis Team.
Alex emphasizes tactics and classical technique. In addition to his love of tennis, Alex loves music, art and performances. He also loves to travel and has traveled throughout the Northeast, Midwest and the South.

KnoxvilleTransitCenter_0629Lawson Duncan, Teaching Professional

Lawson was formally ranked number 36 on the ATP tour and Career wins include Yannick Noah, Johan Kriek, Tim Wilkison, Guillermo Vilas, Jimmy Brown, Ivan Lendl. He played at Clemson University for one season, reaching the NCAA single final. He was named All-American that year and then turned pro. Lawson was NCAA rookie of the year and still holds the NCAA record for most singles wins in a season. He was Team Captain of the USTA Junior Davis Cup team in 1983 and in his first full year in 1985, he reached three European clay court finals within one month. He finished number 59 in his first full year.

Year-by-Year Highlights:

  • 1989- Runner-up at Charleston (l. Berger); Semifinalist at Florence, San Marino, Casablanca-2 Ch.; Quarterfinalist at Athens; RD 16 at French Open.
  • 1988- Runner-up at Boston (l. Muster), Vina del Mar Ch.; Winner at Hanko Ch.; Semifinalist at Charleston, Florence, Bari, Casablanca Ch.; Quarterfinalist at Bordeaux, Prague; Doubles Runner-up at Marrakech Ch. (w/Schwaier).
  • 1987- Winner at Agadir, Casablanca Challengers; Quarterfinalist at Palermo.
  • 1986- Runner-up at Vina del Mar Challenger; Quarterfinalist at Bari, St. Vin-cent; Doubles Semifinalist at St. Vincent (w/Pistolesi).
  • 1985- Runner-up at Bari (l. Panatta), Marbella (l. de la Pena), Madrid (l. Maurer); Quarterfinalist at Tournament of Champions-N.Y., Florence.
  • 1985- US Davis Cup Team USA vs West Germany team member

Jeff DuncanJeff Duncan, Tennis Professional

Jeff is an Asheville native and as a junior tennis player competed at the National Level which earned him a full tennis scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Jeff played Number One Singles and Doubles all four years achieving all-conference honors each year.
After graduating, Jeff played professionally; traveling the United States and eventually settling back in Asheville. Jeff became the director of the Gary Johnson Tennis Academy coaching nationally-ranked juniors from all over the United States and Internationally.
In 2000, Jeff became the Head Men’s and Women’s Tennis Coach at The University of North Carolina at Asheville. After thirty plus years of tennis experience both playing and teaching Jeff looks forward to working with adults and juniors at ARC.

IMG_0893Alex Appelt, Tennis Professional

A North Carolina native, Alex Appelt came to Asheville Racquet club in the summer of 2013 as a full time teaching pro. Alex’s six-plus years of prior teaching experience includes serving as the Assistant Tennis Professional for two of the most prestigious country clubs in the state: Biltmore Forest Country Club and Bermuda Run Country Club. Under the guidance and direction of his father, Bill Appelt, who has been the Director of Tennis at Bermuda Run Country Club since 1989, Alex has lived and breathed tennis his entire life.
Alex played NCAA Division 1 collegiate tennis for the University of North Carolina at Asheville. While there, he received recognition as an ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) All-Academic Scholar Athlete. Despite the fact that his college tennis playing days are over, he remains competitive in local and state adult tournaments. But even when he’s not on the court, Alex considers himself a bit of a health and fitness nut, placing importance on off-court training and nutrition.
Alex’s teaching philosophy was molded by his father, who taught under Grand Slam Champion, Don Budge, and former world #1 player, Stan Smith. Alex finds a way to be efficient while still having fun, emphasizing proper technique and strategy while creating a positive and uplifting environment. He looks forward to the opportunity of sharing his passion and enthusiasm for the game of tennis with kids and adults of all ages, through private/group lessons and clinics.
Bunny head shot 2

Bunnie Allare, Teaching Professional

Bunnie has been teaching tennis for 38 years, is certified USPTA P1, with college and professional playing experience. During her years of teaching, she has worked at a Nationally Ranked Junior Academy, has been a Zonals coach, was elected Coach of the Year in 2005, Family of the Year in 2008, was mother to Player of the Year in 2006, coached her two sons into Division1, Big Ten Tennis scholarships, was ranked #1 in the Nation in the Mother-Son Division and was the USTA 5.0 player/ coach for their national level team.

Pete Anderson, Teaching Professional

Pete has been teaching tennis for over 18 years to individuals and groups of all ages and all levels. As a PTR certified professional, his passion extends from ensuring 4 year olds have a great first experience to working with state and nationally ranked juniors to making sure adults have fun while improving their own style of play. Technique, footwork, positioning and how the game is played are some of Pete’s favorite topics of discussion. After having spent 10 years in Colorado, Pete is happy to be back on the east coast where he grew up playing his tennis. Pete and his wife, Kristen, love to snowboard, hike, camp and be outdoors with their two dogs.

Ben BaronBen Baron, USPTA, Tennis Teaching Professional

Ben Baron, a recent transplant from Baltimore, MD., is excited to continue his tennis career in Asheville, NC and joined the Asheville Racquet Club in May, 2016.

Ben, originally intending on a psychology career, was a natural fit for teaching tennis. Sport play evolved into a teaching career and, after receiving a psychology degree from the University of Maryland, he turned to tennis instruction full time. Fortunately, Ben benefits from his psychology degree and uses those skills toward motivating all levels of player. “I teach mental toughness, inner strength, and relaxation techniques during match play; tennis is 90% mental!”

Ben transitioned from private coaching to team sport as he served as The Johns Hopkins University Head Coach for the men’s and women’s teams from 1998 to 2004. Ben successfully developed a recruiting program that lead to nationally ranked division III teams.
Most previously, Ben was the Director of Tennis at The Hunt Valley Golf Club in Hunt Valley, Md. Ben was instrumental in the design and implementation of club tennis ladders, mixers, round robins, and inter-club. Annual junior summer camps and programs as well as adult programs provided play for all levels of player. Ben’s Boot Camp offered players a great workout while playing tennis and became a favorite of his clients!
“I love teaching players of all levels; my love for the game is evident through my teaching style, sense of humor, and ENERGY.”
When Ben isn’t on the courts, fitness remains his passion. Asheville is the perfect place for trail running and outdoor activities.  “Most matches are won or lost before you step on the court.” (Brad Gilbert, Tennis Coach).  Ben will never let his fitness level, or YOURS, hurt your chances of winning a match!