WHEN a serious 2007 traffic incident cut short the playing career of Bryce Cunningham, the then rising star of Coffs Coast tennis packed his bags and headed to the USA to try his luck as a coaching professional.
Seven years later, 25-year-old Cunningham is employed by sporting entrepreneur Cliff Drysdale as director of tennis at the Omni La Costa Tennis Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, California.
Cunningham linked up with the Drysdale empire soon after heading to America and started out teaching at the Ritz Carlton Tennis Garden in Florida's Key Biscayne.
This led to his first executive appointment as director of the Bluewater Bay Tennis Resort in Niceville and the 2014 USPTA Tennis Professional of the Year award for the Florida Panhandle.
One of his students is the granddaughter of Aussie Grand Slam hero Rod Laver and this has led to Cunningham forming a strong friendship with the legendary "Rockhampton Rocket".
"Last June I transferred to California which is the first property that Cliff Drysdale Tennis has operated since gaining the leasing contract to operate the centres for Omni Resorts in the USA," Cunningham said.
"Also for the past six years I've been one of the teaching professionals at a yearly charity fundraising event in Arkansas run by the Walmart Corporation where I coach alongside other former Australian tennis players.
"I hope to stay here for some time yet as the area reminds me so much of the Coffs Coast with the lifestyle and surfing."