Our Mission Statement

We will grow the game of tennis through transformative and engaging programs that positively impact children’s self-confidence, perseverance, sportsmanship, responsibility and healthy lifestyle.

Accomplishing Our Mission

We will achieve our mission by partnering with schools, clubs, existing tennis programs, non-profit organizations and other after school programs to provide access to tennis programs at a variety of locations throughout the valley.

Our programs will offer a comprehensive curriculum which will be fun, engaging and consistent wherever First Serve programs are offered. First Serve will also elevate the coaches in the valley with development and training programs to positively impact youth and the game of tennis.

In addition, we will:

  • Offer free extensive programs for schools, tennis clubs and other venues to expose as many children as we can to tennis in a fun and engaging format at a young age.
  • Create a unique and exciting curriculum and enthusiastic well-trained coaches to ensure children’s introduction to tennis inspires a lifelong passion for this great sport.
  • Provide comprehensive coaching education on how to implement our curriculum effectively to help students develop a love for the game, proper tennis skills, motor skills, core values, and healthy habits.
  • Fund other existing programs growing the game at the grassroots level.
  • Provide a vehicle for students to build solid core values: self-confidence, perseverance, responsibility, sportsmanship and a healthy lifestyle.
  • Identify and provide a pathway for players with a passion and the talent to pursue playing competitive national junior tennis and earn college scholarships, including a mentoring program and scholarships for travel and training.

Executive Staff

Dave Critchley

Dave founded First Serve Tennis Foundation in 2012 as a way to increase the awareness of the game of tennis, and to positively impact local children by introducing them to the sport and the many invaluable lessons the game offers.

Dave is a well-known tennis figure in Arizona who began playing at the age of four and worked his way to the top 10 in Canadian junior tennis. After earning a tennis scholarship to West Virginia University he transferred to Arizona State. After his collegiate career, Dave played professional tennis for four years, traveling around the world and achieving an ATP ranking in singles and doubles. He retired in 2001 and transitioned to coaching. His teaching quickly helped him grow his business into one of the Southwest’s largest and most consistent junior development academies. Over the past 16 years, Dave’s The Player’s Academy (TPA) has helped over 100 local juniors attain their goals of playing college tennis at top DI Universities such as Notre Dame, Cal Irvine, TCU, SMU, Marquette, U of Illinois to local community colleges.

Larry Funk

Larry serves as the Program Director of The First Serve Tennis Foundation. He has been involved in the tennis industry for over 40 years, acting as an owner, club manager and Head Teaching Professional at private tennis facilities in Illinois, Ohio and Iowa.

Larry was the National League Director for the United States Tennis Association (USTA) in New York and has also been employed by the USTA Southwest Section and the Phoenix Tennis Association. For the past ten years, he has been the Director of Tennis at the Kiwanis Tennis Center in Tempe, AZ. His expertise and specialized knowledge of tennis will provide coaches, physical educators and children with the necessary skills to create a happy and healthy environment.