JASON SPEIRS born and raised Rochester, has returned after 12 years in NYC developing his tennis professional career at the popular 12 court indoor facility, Roosevelt Island Racquet Club. He was the Director of Tennis at Roosevelt Island Racquet Club since 2009, and Adult Program Director for the four years prior. After 12 years of developing the Adult program, Junior Program, and all levels in between, he's really excited to be home and continue the legacy of the Dave Strebel Tennis Academy, of which he grew up in. Returning to Harley, of which he is alumni, class of ’99, means the legacy of  his mentor, Dave Strebel will continue on. Jason became a doubles player at the national level while studying at Assumption College, where he held a ranking of 24 for Division II, and #3 in the Northeast Region. Off the court, He is highly involved in the USPTA teaching organization as the 1st Vice President for the USPTA Eastern section and often presents at conferences throughout the region. In 2015, he won the prestigious USPTA Pro of the Year. In addition to volunteering for the USPTA, Jason also volunteers with the USTA, having served on the USTA Junior Competition Board and Adult Competition Board, and served on the USTA Metropolitan Board for four years. Now he serves on the USTA Western Board and he recently won the 2018 USTA Clinician of the Year. Giving back to the community is a big part of Jason’s life, which is why he volunteers for the USPTA, USTA, and his own charity foundation, Tennis Saves. You can email Jason directly at jspeirs@empiretennisacademy.com any time to say hi, or ask any questions.

Jason Speirs


Director of Tennis

USPTA Eastern President

USPTA Elite Professional

Tennis Saves Founder

USTA Eastern Western Regional Board Member

JULIAN DANKO picked up a racquet for the first time at the age of seven, and has loved tennis ever since his first day on the court. After playing junior tournaments throughout his childhood in Rochester, he began teaching tennis beginners as a teenager over his summer vacations. These first experiences in coaching made Julian realize that he enjoyed being on the other side of the net teaching as much as he liked improving as a player himself. Upon completing high school at Pittsford Sutherland where he was captain of their Section Five championship team and an All Region standout, he attended the University of Rochester, graduating in 2015 with a degree in Public Health. Julian started on U of R's varsity team in both singles and doubles all four years and served as senior captain in his final season. He then returned to his home tennis club to work with the next generation of young tennis players. Julian has coached for numerous programs in Rochester including Colombo High Performance, Advantage Rochester, University of Rochester Tennis Camps, and now Empire Tennis Academy where he serves as Head Pro and Junior Program Director. You can reach Julian at julian@empiretennisacademy.com.

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Julian Danko

Junior Program Director

Head Pro

USPTA  Professional

DIANA TOIA Born and raised in Rochester, and also a product of Dave Strebel’s Tennis Academy, Diana was one of the top junior players in the area growing up. She played collegiately at the University of Buffalo where she graduated with a Marketing and International Business degree and brings over 10 years of teaching experience at programs including Dave Strebel’s Tennis Academy, Billy Nealon Tennis at the Tennis Club of Rochester and more recently at the prestigious Roosevelt Island Racquet Club in New York City. She coached collegiality for two and half years at the Rochester Institute of Technology followed by two year at Saint Francis University in Pennsylvania, where she also earned her MBA. Diana is our Marketing Director, but you will also see her out on the court. Her knowledge of tennis on and off the court and her familiarity with the Rochester Tennis Community will surely prove invaluable. Reach out to her at diana@empiretennisacademy.com.

Diana Toia

Marketing Director

USPTA Certified

Maria Speirs

Social Media Director

Hitting Partner

MARIA SPEIRS grew up in New York City and played sports throughout her childhood including soccer, softball, basketball, tennis, and more! After a few injuries in soccer she chose tennis as her new main sport. She took private tennis lessons as well as a few group classes all throughout middle and high school. She attended The Dwight School and in 8th grade she made the Varsity Tennis team. However, in high school she and a friend had to revive the tennis program, and after successfully doing so they co-captained the team to great success in their district. She played 1st singles 9th, 10th, and 11th grade and 1st doubles all four years. She participated in USTA tournaments and held a #9 ranking within the Metro Girls 16's Singles regional section. She attended Boston University and received a bachelor’s degree in Health Science. She actively played intramural tennis and continued taking lessons when home for the holidays. Maria continued her education back home at New York University and received a Dental Hygiene degree to continue her passion in the dental field. She got married in May 2016 and moved upstate to establish new beginnings. She is excited to teach entry-level classes to children and adults alike as well as continuing her passion of playing tennis. Look out for her on the courts!

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1981 Clover Street   |   Rochester, NY 14618

(585) 697-7766  

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