Rob Gurden joined the Purdue coaching staff on Aug. 1, 2013, after spending 20 years as a private and group tennis instructor. The Michigan native is known for his high energy and creative approach to the game. He specializes in identifying a player's game style and maximizing their potential by teaching them to problem solve and to truly believe in their ability.
Gurden has been teaching tennis full time since 1994 and has coached over 50 players that have received Division I tennis scholarships. His players have won numerous titles including the U.S. Open junior girls singles title; United States Tennis Association (USTA) national, Futures and Challengers titles; and hundreds of local and sectional championships.
Most recently, Gurden was the Director of Tennis at Milford Indoor Tennis in Connecticut. There, he managed and developed the tennis program for adults, juniors, leagues, tournaments, and special events. Prior to his stint at Milford, Gurden spent a year at the Intensity Tennis Academy in Norwalk, Conn., where he was the Director of High Performance and Junior Development. There, he worked with over 100 players including more than 25 who traveled on the USTA/ITF national circuit.
From 2008-11, Gurden served as a full-time high performance coach on the ATP Professional Tour. While based out of Irvine, Calif., and Dallas, Texas. He worked with many players, including Takanyi Garanganga, Blake Strode and Tennys Sandgren. During his three-year stint as the high performance coach, he designed the players' entire training program: tournament schedule, travel management, training blocks and periodization. During that time he also worked with a group of top USTA/International Tennis Federation (ITF) players at the T Bar M Tennis Academy in Dallas.
Prior to working on the ATP Professional Tour, Gurden guided players at several tennis academies in California. In 2007, he was appointed as the head coach at the Advantage Tennis Academy in Irvine. Gurden was recruited to help legendary coach Jose Higueras establish his academy in Palm Springs in 2006. As the academy's director, he developed six nationally and internationally ranked players and several other ATP and Women's Tennis Association professionals, including: Shahar Peer (WTA No. 14), Alberto Francis (ATP No. 300), James Pade (ATP No. 350) and Coco Vandeweghe (US Open Girls' champion). Upon arriving in California in 2005, Gurden ran a top ITF group and the fitness program at Weil Tennis Academy located in Ojai. While there he worked with Grigor Dimitrov (Wimbledon and US Open Jr. Champion), Ksyusha Milevskaya (ITF No. 2 in 2007) and Kallim Stewart (USTA No. 1 in 2007) among others.
Gurden also spent eight years (1997-2005) working as the junior tennis director at the Midtown Athletic Club at Bannockburn just outside Chicago. He specialized in identifying and improving young talent as well as strength and conditioning. Gurden worked directly with one of the Big Ten's best men's tennis players in recent years, Evan King of Michigan. King was ranked No. 1 in 2009 for USTA Boys 18s and eventually played at Michigan where he left the program with the most combined wins in program history with 195.
An accredited ATP coach certified by the Global Professional Tennis Coaches Association, Gurden is a certified United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) Professional 1 and has gained the Professional Tennis Registry's Professional status. He is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and American Council on Exercise personal trainer.
He has been a guest speaker at the New England USPTA convention and has written articles on various topics. He has also been involved in the USTA's High Performance Program for 11 years.
A graduate of Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich., with degrees in psychology and film and video, Gurden played at the top singles and doubles spots all four years. He was ranked top-20 nationally in Division II and was the team captain and MVP as a senior.