Any successful athlete understands youre never too young to get started in athletics. That fact is certainly on the mark for Eddie Jacques, who began his road to tennis success at age 2 using a sawed-off racquet. He would spend hours hitting tennis balls over the tennis net against a ball machine. By age 5, he was starting to make his mark on the world of tennis and setting the tone for what his future would be by winning a 10-Under club tournament. His prowess on the tennis court enabled him to not only be a winner in his youth, but propelled him as an adult to eventually become a successful tennis instructor and business owner. Today, hes the owner and tennis director at the two locations of the Athletic Club of Alabama in Huntsville. His inspirations to be involved in the sport are far reaching and came from several sources. My parents were certainly influences, and even though they divorced and lived in different cities, each made many sacrifices to help me be successful," said Jacques, a 1993 graduate of Huntsville High School. Another huge influence was a fellow Hall of Fame inductee (2015), Kelly Pace Wilson. Our practice sessions on a daily basis when we were young drove me to be a better tennis player. In college at the University of Georgia, Coach Manuel Diaz instilled in me life lessons that have carried me throughout my life." Jacques tennis talents shined like a beacon of light on a dark tennis court. By age 8, he was a No. 1 ranked player in Alabama. His top rankings continued through his teens in every age group, and he completed his Junior Tennis competition ranked No. 1 in the country. As a top-ranked player, he began traveling Europe with the U.S. National Team, winning tournament after tournament. Coming out of high school, Jacques was the heavily-coveted No. 1 recruit in the country when he signed an athletic scholarship with the Georgia Bulldogs. While attending college at Georgia, where he earned a marketing degree and graduated in 1998, he competed in Junior Grand Slams at the prestigious Australian, French, and U.S. Open Tournaments. In a two-year period in the 1990s he won seven of 10 mens open events, all while also playing in the Southeastern Conference for the Bulldogs. Even though he played throughout his college career with a finger and elbow injury, Jacques won three consecutive SEC singles titles and was ranked no lower than fifth nationally. In 1997, he was an NCAA All-American. With junior tennis you always receive individual accolades, but in college tennis its more of a team concept and that is not experienced very often by most tennis players," said Jacques. It was exciting to be a part of a team and I enjoyed that. I wouldnt trade my college experiences for anything. Those were some of the best memories I have in my life. The University of Georgia has had only two head coaches in tennis and they created this massive tennis family. I feel connected and so very lucky to be a part of that family." The 41-year old Jacques and his wife, Robin, have two children, Edward and Houston. He is a certified member of the U.S. Professional Tennis Association and a board member of the Alabama Tennis Association. As a local tennis complex owner, he has around 40 employees at two locations, all of whom work as a team in assisting the business while working to help other tennis enthusiasts enhance their enjoyment of a sport that dates back to the 12th century. Jacques took over the tennis facility six years ago. What an honor to be included in the Huntsville-Madison County Athletic Hall of Fame, where only a few tennis players are inducted," said Jacques. Ive received many congratulation messages and thats when you realize how special this honor is. I felt if I stayed in the game long enough, some special recognition would arrive. I played other sports as a youth just for fun, but for me, its always been tennis." Jacques easily gravitated to tennis since his father was director of tennis in Gadsden after his family moved to Alabama from Cincinnati, where Jacques was born. He was around the sport at such a young age it was only natural for him to pick up a racquet, hit a ball and enjoy it. Among the class of 2017 of the Huntsville-Madison County Athletic Hall of Fame, Jacques is a proven, perfect example that youre never too young to start your future.