Solaris Sport & Racquet Club Tennis Staff
Roberto Bianco, Director of Tennis
Roberto is originally from Johannesburg, South Africa. His father, Francesco Bianco is originally for Venice, Italy. He was a former Olympic weight lifter and his mother, Margaret Bianco is a Ballet teacher. Roberto’s passion for tennis began at the age of 6 years old. Roberto left South Africa at the age of 17 and moved to Venice, Italy to train and compete in the futures circuit. At the age of 21, Roberto was offered a full tennis scholarship to further his tennis career and academic studies where he graduated from Fresno Pacific University, Ca. During his collegiate career, Roberto received an All American, All conference and National player to watch of the year awards. Roberto Graduated with a double major in Business Marketing and Management.
Upon his graduation Roberto has continued his passion for tennis through his tennis teaching career. Roberto joins us from Solaris Stamford location where he played a major role in leading various high performance programs. Roberto has a strong passion for health and well being and is in pursuit of furthering his expertise in both physical training and nutrition. He is a current crossfit competitor and enjoys just about any sport.
Mike Helmuth, 10 & Under Program
Mike joins the Solaris team bringing 15 years of coaching experience. He was a 4 year member of the varsity men’s tennis team at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where he captained the team his senior year and was named to the All-Conference Team. During his college years, he coached the college’s summer tennis camp and was a Head Professional for Embrace Your Dreams, a non-profit organization offering tennis instruction and mentorship for under privileged children throughout the Lehigh Valley. After school, Mike joined the staff at Newfield Swim and Tennis Club in Stamford, CT. Over the next 10 years, he worked at multiple clubs throughout Fairfield County including Fairfield Tennis, The Fairfield County Hunt Club, The Italian Center of Stamford, and, most recently, Solaris Racquet Club in Stamford. In his fifth season in Fairfield, he discovered a passion for coaching young players using low compression balls and adaptive court sizes and equipment. Mike has spent countless hours honing his coaching skills under internationally acclaimed 10 & Under coaches, attending workshops and coaching clinics whenever possible. He holds a USPTR 10 & Under Professional Coaching certification. In addition, Mike is a professional racquet stringer and has an extensive knowledge of equipment and how it affects a players development.
Gabriel Paulk, Staff Pro
Gabriel, born and raised in Norwalk, CT has coached tennis for 10 years. He started with Norwalk Grassroots Tennis, a non-profit program for children ages 5-18yrs who can not afford the luxury of tennis and support in their academics. He prides himself as being a mentor first and tennis coach second for the children. Gabriel has helped coach the NGTE program along with previous high school Brien Mcmahon H.S. tennis team where he played football and also captained his track team. He also has a very deep background in leading various tennis startup/summer programs in Norwalk, Stamford and other parts of the Fairfield county.
Most recently, Gabriel taught for a few years at Ivan Lendl’s Weston Racquet Club. Here he developed his craft and passion for teaching children, attending various workshops and clinics; such as learning from Mike Barrell and his evolve9 program. He is 10 &under and adult PTR certified.
Gabriel tries to be a student of the game and is always thirsting for more knowledge to learn and pass on. Currently, aiding NGTE still remains a priority as well completing his physical therapy B.A. degree. Additionally, Gabriel has his eyes set on pursuing a degree in professional tennis management. He also currently trains to hopefully attempt to make Olympic track&field team although he realizes how arduous and demanding that goal is.