A Georgian woman who used to be the US First Lady’s tennis coach - who is Jino Dollini and how is she related to Anna Dolidze?
11 March, 2019
A Georgian woman who used to be the US First Lady’s tennis coach - who is Jino Dollini and how is she related to Anna Dolidze?
Jino Dollini is well known in Georgia and not only as a tennis player. she was the best tennis racquet in Georgia for 6 years and as a promising tennis player, though she had to give up her sports career, because of the crisis in the country, and went to study abroad…

Tennis, sales, and music - these are fields she has already tried herself in and has been successful. Currently, she is in private business and holds
the position of the director of the company. She wants to try acting now.

Jino Dollini’s sister is a well-known Georgian attorney, a former Parliamentary Secretary of the President of Georgia, a member of the High Council of Justice of Georgia – Anna Dolidze. Jino Dollini tells AMBEBI.GE readers about her family, her life in the USA and her career.
jino_dollini
- I have been very sportive from my childhood and my mother wanted me to try myself in some fields other than tree climbing. That is how I ended up in Tennis. I was 7 years old when I started playing tennis, after two years I proved to be good at playing tennis and I decided to pursue a career in sports.

When I moved to a higher level, I had to either choose to pursue professional tennis or continue my studies. From 9 am to 8 pm I was on the court playing tennis so I had to move to a sports school. At that time there was a difficult economic situation in the country, but my family tried their best to help me pursue my career in tennis: I had great coaches, I would like to mention one of them - Rena Abzhandadze, who taught me many things that I found very helpful later, when I became a tennis coach myself. Apart from sports, playing tennis and the atmosphere there in the courts has given me a lot of interesting experience.

- But why tennis?

- I had no one around me playing tennis. Just like all other Georgian men, my father used to play football and my mother was a volleyball player. My mother gave up her career in sports after she got married. My mother was fond of tennis and she did her best to help me become a tennis player. As you might already know, this kind of sports is quite expensive, and in the 1990's it was literally unaffordable and as my family was an average one, we found it difficult to cover the costs. I remember my parents saying that they couldn’t afford to pay for my tennis classes as we needed food more than tennis, but with the support and effort of my mother and my coaches I managed to achieve a lot. I was the best tennis racquet in Georgia for 6 years.

I had my first big success at the age of 12. It was during the Atatürk Festival in Turkey, hosting sportsmen from different spheres of sports who had arrived from different countries around the world. I won first place there. I was offered there to pursue my career in tennis in different countries but my mother wouldn’t let me live and work in a foreign country. Then I could not fully realize what a success the winning of that tournament was. Only later was I able to realize it.
jino_dollini
After that, I went to Moscow, where I was trained where Anna Kournikova was being trained. It was the period when she was making her first steps as a tennis star and it was a great honor for me to see her play tennis. Just like me, she was always accompanied by her mother. I was always sure that my mother was fond of tennis, but tennis was the life of Anna Kournikova's mother.

I moved back from Russia to Georgia, I participated in a number of championships in Georgia, but then I realized I couldn’t go forward, I did not have any sponsors, I even failed to participate in one tournament per month, so I left tennis. The first three months were very hard for me. I did not know how to live without tennis, I did not even go out. Then I started working at Leila Meskhi’s Academy where I trained diplomats in tennis and got paid 10 dollars per hour. This was a very good experience for me.

- How old were you when you went to the USA?

- I was 18 years old when I left for the USA to live there and I felt as if I belonged there; I felt at home.

I worked in one of the VIP clubs in the USA. I trained many successful people, businessmen, real estate tycoons and so on. The most popular “celebrity’’ among them was Melania Trump. When Melania came to the Club, the manager recommended me as her tennis coach. I trained her for about 6 months. She is a very nice and open woman. Otherwise, you won’t be able to play tennis, she followed all my instructions, when I was telling her to move, she would do it. It is like that in tennis, the role of a coach is very important.
jino_dollini
I had a lot of good trainees in the USA, my trainees received scholarships from leading colleges in the world because they play tennis very well. I even ran a camp in Brooklyn, where the children of two and a half years old were brought by their parents, they only knew two words – “Jino’’ and “Tennis’’.

After that, I decided to try myself in another field and I started working in sales, where I worked for two years. I came back to Tbilisi because of my grandmother’s death. One month I had to stay here for a month and I realize that I Tbilisi had changed a lot. It was not the city I left. I couldn’t leave from the United States altogether like that; therefore, I went there and soon came back to Georgia to live here.

I set up Cardio Tennis classes in Tbilisi. This is a high energy fitness, which helps trainees burn 900 calories per hour and learn how to play tennis simultaneously. We set up groups, we worked for three-four month, but then I realized that it was not a stable business and I gave up. After this, I ended up in a Golf Club and Hotel Management, and now I work for a private company. Every time, I try myself in a new field, which makes me happy. We started the company from scratch and only last year, were we able to launch the company. We have already found out that it is a successful and growing business.

- When did you become Jino Dollini?

- In America, when I went to a camp, I had to choose a nickname, I chose Jino and it happened so that I was called Jino even after leaving the camp. When I moved to New-York, my name on the cheque I received was Jino. When I got the US citizenship, I realized that I had to keep this name and that’s how I became Jino Dolidze Dollini.

- Music appears to be your major hobby. You are a DJ - when did music enter your life?

- I always wanted to try myself as a DJ, but I was not sure I had the right talent to make a good DJ. One day, I decided, I will just try, I went on YouTube, ordered some equipment, installed it on my iron pad and tried. I absolutely loved it. Hotel “Ambassador” was celebrating “Tbilisoba” and I said, why not? I’ll DJ and when I started, some 500 people started dancing. It was such a pleasure, it gave me a great incentive and decided to learn how to DJ and to get more practice.
I play twice a month in different places. Every evening is successful. But the music I play is more appropriate for open space.
jino_dollini
- Don’t you have time for tennis?

- I often dream that I am playing tennis, but I met some of my old friends – tennis players and we arranged to play tennis once a week, but we haven’t seen each other since. Parents are contacting me, they want their children to learn playing tennis, but being a tennis coach means that I have to dedicate my life to it and give up everything. Maybe, when I finish doing other things, I’ll be able to find a child and train him or her, a promising child, who will make me want to invest in.

- It’s true, you are always trying to avoid talking about Anna, but you will find it difficult to avoid now. What can you tell us about your sister – Anna Dolidze?

- I don’t talk much about Anna. She has never been sportive and was always studying and learning something. We have chosen different roads, since our childhood: I chose sports, she chose studying. Our mother used to quarrel with Anna and used to tell her that she shouldn’t spend so much time studying. She even tried to play tennis and she played pretty well, but then she gave up as she preferred books. Despite all this, she likes doing sport.
jino_dollini
When we were children we used to quarrel because neither of us wanted to share their chocolate with the other. Whenever I did something wrong, she was doing everything to make me apologize. Despite a difficult period, we had a good and happy childhood. Anna is four years older than me and she would always take care of me and forgave me.

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