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Meridian's Hartzog coaching in Sri Lanka

By By Will Bardwell/staff writer
Oct. 6, 2003
Rod Hartzog went looking for an adventure, and he has found it halfway around the world.
A 20-year resident of Meridian who coached tennis locally, Hartzog decided last month that he needed a change of pace. Now, Hartzog is the head coach for the Sri Lanka Tennis Association, the main governing tennis body in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is a small island nation in the Indian Ocean, just south of India. A former British colony that gained its independence in 1948, the country is only slightly larger than West Virginia.
The remnants of the British culture surprised Hartzog, but the prominence of the English language helped him adjust.
Hartzog said he decided earlier this year that he wanted to make a move. When no options presented themselves in the U.S., he looked abroad.
Having worked overseas before in places like Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Europe, Hartzog had few reservations about moving far away from home.
Hartzog is now in charge of students age 14-18, and finds himself with a wealth of talent.
Hartzog spends several hours per day with his students, many of whom may find their way on the International Tennis Federation tour.
Now living in Colombo, the nation's capital, Hartzog said he found it easy to learn to enjoy his surroundings.
Still, he looks forward to being able to come home next year when he gets a two-week vacation.