On and off the court, David “Macca” Macpherson has enjoyed success at the highest level of men’s tennis.
He racked up 16 ATP tour doubles titles in a decorated 19-year pro playing career, and in 2005, went on to coach Mike and Bob Bryan – one of the best American duos the sport has ever seen – for more than a decade.
This summer, Macpherson decided he wanted to try something new. The 49-year-old was named GW men’s tennis coach in August, taking over a program that has won three consecutive Atlantic 10 titles and opened its 2017 season last month.
“It was a time for me to try something new in my life and I was very excited when I heard the GW position was available,” Macpherson said. “I kind of fell in love with the city and the program.”
While Macpherson has lived in Sarasota, Fla. – where he founded his own tennis academy in 2004 – since he was 20 years old, he learned the game in his native Australia.
The Tasmania native grew up during a tennis boom in the land down under, watching Australian greats like Rod Laver, Tony Roche and John Newcombe win Grand Slam titles in the 1960s and 70s.
“I just picked up a racket at four or five years old and never put it down,” he said.
In 1984, Macpherson began his professional career on the ATP tour. He quickly became well-known as a doubles player. He reached a career-high ATP individual doubles ranking of No. 11 and a doubles team ranking of No. 8 to go along with 288 career tour victories.
The GW hire said the doubles game came most naturally to him.
“As a player, my skill set suited doubles better,” Macpherson said. “I had a good volley, quickness around the net, anticipation – the sort of things you need for doubles. In singles my ground strokes weren’t too strong, so as a player it suited me well.”
Two years after retiring, Macpherson started coaching the Bryan Brothers, who were in the midst of a breakout phase in their career.
He helped lead the pair to 15 Grand Slam titles, a 2012 Olympic gold medal and a record 10 year-end world No. 1 rankings.
“[Coaching the Bryan Brothers] was an amazing privilege,” he said. “They were great, great champions. There are so many incredible memories I couldn’t even describe it all. Just so many incredible battles and triumphs.”
Macpherson also guided singles stars Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka to a 2014 Davis Cup doubles title en route to being named World Team Tennis Coach of the Year.
Men’s tennis junior Chris Reynolds said he learned that the elite coach would be filling the vacancy at GW while scrolling through Instagram over the summer. He saw a post by the Bryan Brothers announcing the end of their partnership with Macpherson a few days before the official announcement.
“As tough as it is to part ways, it is also an exciting time for him as Macca has accepted the head coaching job at George Washington University,” Bob Bryan’s post reads. “Mike and I are extremely grateful for not only his loyal friendship, but for his tireless effort and dedication to our careers.”
Macpherson now helms one of the best rosters in the A-10, led by seniors Julius Tverijonas and Fernando Sala and anchored by a core of juniors in Reynolds, Chris Fletcher, Christos Hadjigeorgiou and Jabari Stafford.
This spring, the program will look to win the league crown for a fourth straight year, but Macpherson said hopes he can push the program to even greater heights.
“They are a very talented bunch of guys and their terrific fellas as well,” Macpherson said of his new team. “Trying to make our schedule tougher and tougher each year is my goal. Not only be competitive with A-10 but with other power conference schools too.”
A few weeks into the season, Reynolds said the transition has been smooth. GW is currently 4-2 overall and most recently took down Morgan State 4-0 last Thursday.
“So far it’s been an amazing experience,” he said. “[Macpherson] brings such a great energy to the courts, to the practices and on top of that he’s just a really nice guy.”
Men’s tennis continues its non-conference schedule this weekend against Florida State and Monmouth.
Jack Borowiak contributed reporting.