Tennis retraining : The incredible success story of "Toño Carreno"

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Full Tenis and its funder, Antonio Carreno have an amazing story. Over the past years, Antonio and his team have reached great successes in Chile.
In 2017, Full Tennis received the award of the best tennis retail store in Chile.
Today, they are among the Top 15 distributors of Tecnifibre and Antonio Carreno prepares his biography.

A passion for tennis

When i was 7 years old, I left the city of Parral inn 1988, which was a turning point in my life, with the beginning of my dream, based on hard work and passion. I moved to the city of Santiago where I lived with my sister Maria Lopez.

After working during 2 years at the “Feria de Santiago”, came the moment to enter the closed world of the “tennis family”. Some neighbors of the neighborhood of Santa Adriana invited me to join them as a ball kid in Santa Rosa de Las Condes.

At first, it was not really an invitation: “They charged me for the bus, drinks & some food to get this new job. The pay was 500 pesos for 1h on court. The first day, I made 5 000 pesos!

I worked really hard and became the best ball kid so I got invited the 3 ATP tournaments of San Carlos de Apoquindo and the Davis Cup.

I was lucky enough to be a ball kid for Francisco Clavet, Gustavo Kuerten, Mariano Puerta, Younes El Aynaoui o Marcelo Rios.”

At 5am, i use to take the first bus from Santa Adriana to be the first ball kid at the club and take the court #3 which was the best one

One day, Eleanor Roosevelt said “Future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”. That inspired my story with Tennis.
Antonio Carreño
Full Tennis Founder

One of my best memories of that time is to coincide with the program “Camepones para Chile” and to meet players like Julio Peralta, Hermes, Robinson Gamonal and Juan Felipe Yanez.

I remember that one day Felipe Parada gave me his Dunlop shoes which made me really happy as it was a great present for a kid like me.

From time to time, I would also play with members of the club Universidad Catolica. I learnt tennis with coach “Lelo” Lizana. Thanks to him, I started playing tennis even though I never wanted to be a tennis player. It was not for me. I wanted to be in the tennis business.

My job as a ball kid was during my 10-14 years. Then I use to go the the Prince retail shop of Providencia, one of the few companies which would string racquets. While I waited for the member’s racquets, the stringers teached me how to string. I learnt a lot from the manager Fanny Auad who was always really kind to me.

After a few weeks, I started working with them. It was around 30-40 racquets per day. The fastest I strung a racquet was 8 minutes. I would help in everything at the store, from stringing to bringing racquets to the club.

I was not really concerned about money, I was proud of this new job and great experience.

At 17, i did my first investment: I decided to buy my first stringing machine. I would carry it on my shoulders and string at home for the club members during the week.

Every week ends, I would go to a Country Club of San Bernardo where they organized tournaments.

Antonio Carreno

 

Chris Gardner said “Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something”. The same way the Guru of happiness walked the streets of San Francisco, I would walk the “Panamericana Sur” to the club to string as many racquets as I could. I used to do that every Saturday and Sunday, carrying my 40kg stringing machine on my shoulders.
Antonio Carreño
Full Tennis Founder

From the streets to the success

When i was 18 years old, I found a great opportunity at the club Eugenio De La Maza in Penaloen, with its 21 courts. I worked hard and saved money to buy my first house. It was a tiny house in Santa Adriana where I lived with my wife Siria Sanchez  with whom we had our son, Martin Carreno (14 years old now).

Until that time, I didn’t look like a successful businessman but I knew I was on a good track. With no possibility to work in the club, I started my shop on the sidewalk on the club. I set up a small booth with my stringing machine and some other items. This was completely unusual in the traditional tennis world.

This “store” had a great location. It was in the same street as the Club De La Maza, also close to other tennis centers: La Araucana, Colegio Mayor, Banco Santander or Liga amigos del Futbol.

No one did what I did at that time. I spent 4 years really tough working in the street. Hot summers, cold and rainy winters.

I would open at 7:30am and close around 7:30pm. Then, I had to take the booth down and store all my equipment in one of the neighbor’s house, before driving home in my first car, a Nissan Sentra.

I never had a permission to be there. A few times, police came and forced me to take everything down. Fortunately, when I was in trouble, I could call the police commander who was a tennis player and a client of my “store”
This is when I became friend with the owner of the house where I use to store my equipment at night. I told him my story and he offered me to set my store in a corner of his house. I couldn’t pay any rent but he still offered me this great opportunity.
Antonio Carreño
Full Tennis Founder

I didn’t know much about how to organize a store. Even the name “Full Tenis” was suggested by one of my clients when I told him I was about to start my own business. The first thing I did was to check on google if I could register the name, and that’s how Full Tenis started.

We did a big opening of the store on October 13-15 in 2005. Unfortunately, a few days later, I got assaulted in the store. They stole all my equipment and money. It was a tough experience.

In 2018, Full Tenis has more than 2 000 customers in the country, 150 pros under contract and clubs with whom we developed strong partnerships.

We represent important brands in the country like Tecnifibre with great racquets and the best strings. We also distribute the german brand kirschbaum.

My dream was to have my own store. Now that I made is, I want to develop the business of the brands I represent in Chile (Tecnifibre, Kirschbaum, Tourna etc..) and continue growing being the best specialized retail in the country

Full Tenis provides a unique service. A full range of products and a great staff who will make you feel at home. Our service is always personalized. We care about our clients and they know they can trust us. Apart from the store, we also travel on tournaments every week end with our truck and tournament’s booth. Bringing the store to the club makes us different.

Full Tenis is out of the bow. Our strategy has been recognized in the last years with numerous prizes. We play an active role in the support of tennis in Chile, working in collaboration with all the actors of the market (Coaches, clubs, players, federation etc…)

I strongly believe in god who helps me in every project. I put my best efforts, passion and hard work in everything I do in business. That’s the key of my relative success in business. I love what I do. I play tennis, I know my brands and the product we offer to the market.

Antonio Carreno 2