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June 5, 2013 03:02 PM
DonTrellMoore.runningWhen you think of DonTrell Moore, the image is of a swift, strong running back slashing through the line for good yardage or plowing up the middle for touchdowns. Moore is one of the most lauded football players in the history of the University of New Mexico. An All-American honorable mention, he holds virtually every rushing record at UNM and in the Mountain West Conference.  At 5-foot, 10 inches and 210 pounds, he was a power back with blazing speed.  That led him to score 51 rushing touchdowns and 59 total TDs.  He rushed for more than 1,000 yards all four years he played at UNM.  A native of Roswell, Moore, 30, joined the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent in 2006. He later played with two indoor football teams.  His football career behind him, he now concentrates on tennis and can often be seen at the Lobo Tennis Club working on his game.
Are people surprised to find you on a tennis court?
[Laughs.] Well, I guess some are. But you know, tennis for everyone, even big ol’ football players.  You can play tennis all your life. Can’t do that with football.
When did you start playing? 
I tried tennis as a junior at Roswell High School.  I was just messing around the court one day but that was about 2000 and I did not really play it all.  I got back to it at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, where I went to train for the NFL Scouting Combine in 2006.
They trained you in tennis?
They put us on the tennis court as a way to increase mobility.  I was training with Tommy Haas’s coach, Red Ayme.  Nick Bollettieri was there too and he gave me some pointers. I spent four months there. I got a bunch of Prince rackets while I was there.
You’ve had some tough luck with injuries.
I have. I tore the ACL in my left knee playing football in 2004. but I came back.  Early this year I tore the quadriceps tendon of my left leg.  That’s worse than the ACL.  It holds all the muscles together .I just ripped it off. The ACL was not as hard to heal as this. 

How did this latest injury happen?
I was jumping at a trampoline park.  I can do it all, flips, back springs, handstands. I was just jumping around for about five hours. I had surgery on February 18.  I’ve been rehabbing for the last seven weeks.  I ride a bike, do the treadmill, rally a little bit on the tennis court.
DonTrell_Moore_001_(2)Are you completely done with football? 
I am. I played with the New Mexico Stars and the Amarillo Venom.  I did well at Amarillo.  I scored 22 touchdowns.  I hadn’t played football for three years.  But even before this injury, I thought of not playing again. 
Somewhere in there you went back to tennis, right?
The IMG Academy heightened my interest. In 2009, I played three to four times a month. A friend of mine, James Conklin, got me to hit with him at Jerry Cline. We’d play doubles or singles. I also played at Sierra Vista.
Have you taken lessons?
Not really. I hit with Eric (Hagenimana) at the Lobo Club. I used to hit with Johnny Parkes and Ryan Stotland when they were here.
You don’t have a USTA rating, then?
I have no clue what my rating is.  I would like to be 4.5 or 5.0.   I’m probably 3.5 to 4. My goal is to play in USTA leagues.
What do you like about tennis?
I love the cardio part.  I used to tell Johnny Parkes, “Run me around the baseline or up and back to the net.”  I can get to a lot of balls.
DonTrell_Moore_007_(2)Describe your game.
My forehand is improved. I have to remind myself to hit through the window, hit through the ball. I was super weak in the backhand. I tried a two-handed backhand because everybody hits it that way, but I could never figure it out. I am more comfortable hitting with one hand, like Federer.  I can hip topspin on my backhand.
What about your serve?
It’s inconsistent. My forehand and defensive skills would keep me in a match.  I am not ready yet for tournaments. I just hit.  Quickness and speed are my strong points. I can get a lot of balls back because I am fast. At least I was before this injury.
And your volley?
My backhand volley is good and that’s the harder shot than a forehand volley for most people. I’m good at net.  I’m like Serena. “Get to net.” people say to her. But she likes the baseline because she can win points there as well.  Eric showed me cardio volleying.  Something you can do to never get tired during a match. My friend Lily Meisner tells me, “When you get to net, it’s over.”  My overhead is good.  I have learned to brush the ball or I can crush it.
I’m guessing you follow professional tennis?
Oh, yes. I’d love to go to Flushing Meadow some day. I love Federer’s elegance and grace. He’s like a Rolls-Royce, so smooth and easy.  I try to do as Federer: Look at the ball. He looks at the ball and stays looking at it for, like, 45 minutes.  He makes it look easy.  Remember that singles final at Wimbledon, Federer against Roddick? Afterward, Roddick is a pile of sweat. Federer, he’s just dabbing his face.
What do you do when you’re not playing tennis?
I’m a youth program officer at the Juvenile Detention Center in Albuquerque. It’s a county job. I started there in 2009. I graduated from UNM with a degree in criminology in 2005. I work with juvenile delinquents, 11 to 17 years old.  It’s hard, but I love it.
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