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Updates help Meridian Hills CC keep up with programs

Indianapolis Tennis Magazine Spring 2011

CITA Diversity Committee Volunteers join with Community Center to get kids on the tennis path

‘EntouRaj for Kids’ Inaugural fundraiser raises $13,000 for HCCTA reading program News & Notes


Rajeev Ram, Scott Lipsky Some recommendations on a doubles hot streak for ‘traveling food’


Zionsville boys’ coach Dan Layton

On Court

Don’t neglect your on-court warm-up before a match

contentsSpring 2011 VOLUME 5, ISSUE 3

On the Cover: Bridget Rielley (left) and Jennifer Moe of Tim Samons’ Indianapolis Racquet Club team compete during a Central Indiana Women’s Indoor Tennis League (CIWITL) ‘B’ League match against Columbus at the UIndy Tennis Center. (Photo by Scott Cooper)

kids get a start in tennis 12 Helping


The Central Indiana Tennis Association’s Diversity Committee has teamed with Shepherd Community Center to give underserved inner-city kids a chance to discover the game.



Inaugural ‘EntouRaj for Kids’ a success


Association serves as voice for high school coaches


Meridian Hills upgrades to serve growing programs


Group unveils plans for new downtown tennis facility


Jimmy Connors stops by IRC

Rajeev Ram and special guest Taylor Dent highlight a memorable evening of tennis while raising funds for the Hamilton County Community Tennis Association’s ‘Community Reads’ program.

Hundreds attend another successful Indiana High School Tennis Coaches Association conference.

16 18

A new tennis house highlights a recent upgrade to the facilities at Meridian Hills Country Club as it addresses its growing tennis, paddle groups.

After seven months of meetings, Save Downtown Tennis makes its plans known for replacing the former Indianapolis Tennis Center.

Plus… 4 5



Ad In – Jimmy Connors proves that some things never change News & Notes – Rajeev Ram, Scott Lipsky win

third doubles title


(pro)file – Zionsville High School boys’ Coach Dan Layton


On Court – The warm-up could be the most important part of the match


Nutrition – Going on the road? Here are some good nutritional tips


Members get a chance to hit with eight-time grand slam champion, former world No. 1 player.


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PUBLISHER’S COMMENTARY commentary After all these Publisher’s years, simple is still better


he strokes were crisp and clean, there were no major missteps in the footwork, and the occasional quips still got laughs out of the small gathering. All that was missing was the trademark Wilson T2000 when tennis legend Jimmy Connors stopped by the Indianapolis Racquet Club last month for a quick hit with a few of the members. In town on other business, Connors was invited by a club member to spend about 90 minutes hitting with a handful of members and junior players. The club was familiar ground for Connors, who won three U.S. Clay Court Championships on the outdoor courts in 1974, ’76 and ’78 before the tournament moved to the newly-built Indianapolis Tennis Center where, ironically, he also won the inaugural tournament in 1979.


An eight-time Grand Slam champion (five in the U.S. Open on three different surfaces), Connors got right to it going shot for shot with Michael Moe, who finished third in the state high school singles tournament last fall for Guerin Catholic High School. The contrast in playing styles was dramatic, as Connors returned Moe’s heavy topspin shots with smooth, steady and (relatively) flat balls, especially with his trend-setting two-hand backhand. At one point as a fresh hitting partner took his spot at the opposite baseline, Connors turned to the dozen or so spectators looking on from the sidelines and asked, “Does everyone have a two-handed backhand these days?”


Indianapolis Tennis Magazine PUBLISHER Scott D. Cooper Member, U.S. Tennis Writers Association EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTORS Tomas Johansson Lindsay Langford Linda Schroeder O’Neill PHOTO CONTRIBUTORS Shawn Barney Linda Schroeder O’Neill SAP Open GRAPHIC DESIGN Nardi Art, LLC Regina Nardi Bal-Bow Grafix Terri Balon-Bowden

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Indianapolis Tennis Magazine is published three times a year by Cooper Media Group, LLC Bargersville, Indiana Contact us at Indianapolis Tennis Magazine P.O. Box 21 Bargersville, IN 46106

Chalk much of that up to the several generations that both Connors and Chris Evert influenced during their rise to prominence in the 1970s. Even Moe, who was only three years old when Connors retired from the tour, still couldn’t believe afterward that he had the chance to hit with the former world No. 1.

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While hitting with one of the IRC regulars, Connors stopped several times to coach the player through his forehand, feeding balls while reminding him to slow down and hit smoothly through the ball. After several consecutive shots that met with his approval, Connors asked, “Isn’t that more fun?” Before leaving the club, Connors said that’s the one thing most players should think about when trying to improve their own game.

Copyright® 2011, Cooper Media Group, LLC

“They just try to hit the ball too hard,” he explained. “Speed doesn’t bother anybody. I’m almost 60 years old, and you can stand out there and hit the ball as hard as you want at me and it doesn’t bother me. It all enters into what you do with the ball.” Although some people over the years may have been turned off by Connors’ on-court antics and bad boy image, there’s still no denying the influence he’s had on the game for going on five decades. It’s one that continued on a snowy February afternoon at a local tennis club.

Material may not be used or reprinted without prior permission from Cooper Media Group, LLC.

Indianapolis Tennis Magazine and the Indianapolis Tennis Magazine logo are registered trademarks of Cooper Media Group, LLC. Indianapolis Tennis Magazine is the winner of Media Awards from the USTA/Midwest Section (2007) and Hamilton County Community Tennis Association (2008).

Ram, Lipsky team to win ATP doubles titles in San Jose, Delray Beach


AJEEV RAM AND SCOTT LIPSKY have enjoyed a successful start to the 2011 ATP World Tour season, winning doubles titles in San Jose and Delray Beach while also making the final of the event in South Africa. The pair reached three consecutive finals while winning 11 out of 12 matches and running their overall record together to 16-4. Their win in Delray Beach moved them to eighth in the world in the ATP doubles team rankings. Last July they won the inaugural Atlanta Tennis Championships in their first tournament together. Ram and Lipsky defeated Alexander Peya and Christopher Kas 4-6, 6-4, 10-3 to win at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships. Ram improved to a 62 mark in ATP World Tour doubles finals, while Lipsky is Carmel’s Rajeev Ram (right) and now 5-6. Rajeev also has one Scott Lipsky hoist the winners’ trophies after singles title to his credit, that taking the SAP Open doubles title in San Jose coming in 2009 at Newport, last month. (Photo courtesy SAP Open) Rhode Island.

Makeover to improve courts at 11 Indy Parks tennis facilities


OCAL TENNIS PLAYERS who enjoy a hit at their neighborhood park will need to seek an alternate location as Indy Parks has announced that the courts at 11 parks will be closed for the majority of the spring and summer to accommodate renovations. Thanks to a $1.5 million grant from the Lilly Endowment to the Indianapolis Parks Foundation, 58 courts will be resurfaced, equipped with new nets and fencing, and many will be lined to meet the new USTA/Midwest Section standards for 10 & Under Tennis. To allow for the construction, courts at the selected parks will be closed between April 1 and August 31. The parks affected are: Broadway & 61st; Broad Ripple; Brookside; Ellenberger; Garfield; Greene; Krannert; Riverside; Sahm; and Tarkington. During the renovation, players can find other places to play by checking

IHSAA looks to realign tournament


uring an appearance at the Indiana High School Tennis Coaches Association (IHSTeCA) annual meeting in February, Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) Commissioner Bobby Cox said coaches can expect changes to the annual team tournament beginning with the 2011-12 school year. With some of its 410 member schools either adding or dropping tennis, and with new schools being formed around the state, Cox said both organizations saw the need for some sort of realignment of the state tournament sites. “There’s a drastic difference between how alignment works in team sports and how it works in individual sports,” Cox explained, noting that schools competing in team sports, such as football and basketball, are aligned in classes according to enrollment. “But those enrollments are more volatile than ever, especially with the addition of private and charter schools.” However, he noted that such volatility and fluctuations don’t impact tennis, which the IHSAA considers to be an individual sport. “So, while we don’t realign tennis as frequently as team sports, we do occasionally go back and look at it because there are new schools,” he said, adding that the IHSAA has added 11 new member schools within the last four years, some of which do field tennis teams. “But, we’ve always tried to align our tournaments by geography.” Because of those issues, Cox said Assistant Commissioner Theresia Wynns and members of the IHSTeCA have begun meeting to study the various situations with a goal of attaining the proper balance of schools at each tournament site based on geography. Cox also said he embraced the new “Eight at State” initiative for the state finals, which had been recommended by the IHSTeCA, since it brought tennis more in line with the state championships for other sports.

IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox talked realignment and other issues during the annual IHSTeCA conference.



Photo by Scott Cooper

news & notes



Doubles are no trouble for the Zionsville boys under Dan Layton





By Scott Cooper


n the five seasons since Dan Layton was hired to help guide the boys’ tennis program, Zionsville has become perennial contenders to make it to the state team finals, including a runner-up finish in 2008. But, it’s been the doubles tournament where the team has made its greatest impact of late. Over the last three seasons, the Eagles’ number one doubles team has advanced to the final rounds of the tournament, winning it back to back in 2008 and 2009 with Joe Hammond and Nick Laconi. This past season, it was the team of Adam Mandel and John Sides that finished third in the state. Layton, who began playing tennis when he was 11 years old, actually preferred soccer, but Rossville High School didn’t field a soccer team, so he went on to play number one singles for the Hornets. “Zionsville was actually our sectional foe in tennis, and we never won sectionals,” he said, noting that a three-set loss to the Eagles in his junior year kept his team from winning the championship. Matt Walter, who was the varsity coach when Layton was first hired as an assistant, led Zionsville to the state semi-finals in 2007 before the team lost to eventual state champ North Central. Layton credits Walter as well as those who preceded him, for helping lay the groundwork that he’s been able to take advantage of as head coach of the Eagles over the last three seasons.

Zionsville head coach Dan Layton goes over the game plan with Adam Mandel (left) and John Sides prior to their consolation round match in last year’s boys’ state doubles tournament, which Mandel and Sides won.

(pro) “It’s about getting the guys you know can play together and can feed off each other’s energy,” he explained. “As a coaching staff, we’ve been able to find those guys who are compatible and have similar games. We had Nick and Joe, who just complemented each other so well, and then Adam and John have done the same thing.” Laconi and Hammond not only won Zionsville’s first doubles title as juniors, but then also backed it up with a second championship in their senior season. “That was pretty incredible,” Layton said of the pair’s second title. “They actually didn’t start playing

Though the Eagles lost in the first round of regionals to West Lafayette Harrison last season, their three-year run to the final rounds of the state tournament was a catalyst for the program as a whole, said Layton. “The first time we went to the state finals, we had a ton of fans there; our younger guys saw that, and it made them want to work harder,” he said. “Then you start having kids who say ‘I want to be there. I want to be that guy in the driver’s seat.’ We’ve had a really good run, but that’s only because these guys have worked incredibly hard.” Not only that, but Layton said he has always encouraged his players to play smart, highpercentage tennis.

“We always try to tell them to get better throughout the season, but not just improving their strokes or improving physically,” he added. “We also want to be able to better identify our strengths and weaknesses so we can get better as a team throughout the season. We’ve had some good runs here at the end, and we want to make sure we’re peaking at the right time.” The team also takes a cue from their coach’s low-key approach. “I’ve never been a really excitable guy,” Layton explained. “When we were in the state finals as a team, I started pacing back and forth a little, so they got to see me as what they thought was nervous. I don’t get too amped up; just try to keep steady the entire time.”


The success Zionsville has had on the doubles courts is as simple as finding the right chemistry, according to Layton.

(Photos by Scott Cooper)

together that second season, but we wound up having to tweak our system and we thought it was best with those two together again. It was really special to see them win again.”


“Zionsville has had a good program for the last decade or so, primarily because its proximity to Indianapolis has given the school the chance to tap into a lot of resources,” Layton said. “And a lot of the players work with other teaching pros around the area and have access to year ‘round tennis programs. These guys are really dedicated to the sport, and that always helps the team out.”



Using the warm-up period to get a read on your opponent By Tomas Johansson




veryone approaches the warm-up before a tennis match differently. Some prefer to begin with a little mini-tennis, rallying from the service lines before moving to the back of the court. Others may see it – incorrectly and unfairly – as the first opportunity to establish their authority over their opponent or intimidate them by trying to hit winners, running their opponent from side-to-side and booming their serves.

hand in the ready position. They’ll hold the racquet close to the body as if they’re scared to death to hit anything else than a forehand or backhand topspin groundstroke. If you’re able to pick up on this, throw in some slices in the warm-up to see what they do. If the return comes back as a topspin groundstroke, you have a player who can easily be taken out of his comfort zone on groundstrokes.

Even The Code reminds us that the “warm-up is not practice” and that each player “should make a special effort to hit shots directly to the opponent”. Besides, in addition to being discourteous to your opponent, that player is also missing an important opportunity to learn his opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. Remember too that, depending on the league, tournament or level of play, you may only have as little as five minutes to not only get loose and warm up your own strokes, but also learn as much as you can about your opponent before the first point of the match is struck. This is vitally important, especially against players you’ve never played before.

Find out if your opponent is more comfortable taking the ball on the rise or letting it drop when on the baseline by hitting a few high and deep balls. Although it’s only warm-up and he could change once the match begins, chances are he’ll still do what his comfort level and strength tells him. Most players will use their strengths and stay within their comfort zone even in the warm-up.

Volleys and Overheads

On volleys, figure out which side your opponent’s most solid contact is on and what type of grip he uses. So, if a big point arises later on and Whether your opponent is a regular hitting he’s at the net and you have a choice, you partner or a league or tournament player You can even learn should go for the side with the biggest swing from outside your area, use the following a great deal from the and the latest contact. Also, hit a few shots guidelines to learn as much about him or way a player holds the into the body to check his footwork and her before the match begins. racquet in the ready position. movement, or if he favors the one-handed backhand volley as a block. In the rare case Groundstrokes that he has a two-handed backhand volley, make sure to go at him on a crucial point. First, hit a few shots down the middle of the court to How does your opponent approach low volleys? Does he see if your opponent prefers his forehand or backhand. remain upright and drop his wrist, or does he maintain If he moves around his backhand to hit forehands, that a wide and low ready position, keeping his racquet head immediately tells me that he, presumably, has a strong above the level of his wrist? forehand, weak backhand, and has good foot movement. In spite of this, be careful not to keep all your shots When warming up the overhead, watch your opponent’s toward his backhand early in the match since you backward movement. See if he sets up the same way and wouldn’t want him to get into a comfortable groove. if he favors hitting most of his overheads to the deuce side or ad side. Although you’re most likely to return You can even learn a great deal from the way a player his overheads with another lob, hit a few lower balls holds the racquet in the ready position. Oftentimes you’ll back “by accident” to see how well he moves forward see players with two-handed backhand groundstrokes after his overhead. If he doesn’t move forward well, hold their racquets in the forehand grip on the baseline you’ll know how to approach a similar situation if it with the non-dominant hand close to the dominant comes up in the match.

Carmel RC celebrates 40th anniversary


on court

Study your opponent’s toss – in relation to where he aims the serve – to see if he gives anything away. If nothing seems apparent, keep an eye on how his slice and topspin come off the court. See if you can detect any changes in his grip for different serves. Even though such changes may be slight, some players tend to show a more open angle of the racquet face in their beginning of the serve from flat serves to slices, and sometimes even more on topspin serves. Also, take advantage of this time to gauge your own return of serve rhythm with your forward movement and split-step. This gives you an advantage in timing your usual return rhythm against your opponent’s service motion and contact.

On-court Demeanor I always like to know early on, especially if I’ve never seen or played my opponent before, what kind of a person I’m up against. Does my opponent seem focused on the match or are his eyes wandering up and down the surrounding courts, balcony or bleachers? Does he favor a fast or slow pace? Does he take a long time retrieving balls or does he get them retrieved and fed out quickly? Is he a “talker” or does he seem to be interested only in playing the match and keeping quiet? Is he mentally tough or do mistakes, even in the warmup, seem to bother him? Does he possess good footwork or does he seem heavy on his feet and lazy after strokes are executed?

While this may seem to be a lot to digest and process within a relatively short period of time, every bit of intelligence you can gain before the match is important. Remember, while you’re watching and getting a read on your opponent, he’s likely doing the same with you. And before stepping onto the court, be sure to get yourself both mentally and physically prepared by using visualization, rope-jumping and dynamic warm-up exercises. And, if playing doubles, be sure to share any relevant information that you’ve learned with your partner. Tomas Johansson is a teaching pro at the Westview Healthplex Sports Club.

Activities included on-court games, refreshments and prizes, with special awards going to the best dressed (circa 1971) and best memorabilia. All attendees received special commemorative gifts. The club features 12 airconditioned indoor courts, as well as six outdoor clay courts, two platform tennis courts, racquetball and squash courts, workout facility, indoor swimming pool and tennis pro shop. Shelbyville native Greg Griffey, shown in this 1980 newspaper photo, was the head pro at the club before becoming its manager in 1989. (Submitted Photo)

All Ability Levels Welcome

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Director: Randy Bloemendaal Boys Only, ages 10-18


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Director: Pawel Gajdzik Boys and Girls, ages 8-18 1-800-NIKE CAMP (1-800-645-3226)


The Serve

ormer and current members and staff gathered earlier this month during a public celebration to mark the 40th anniversary of Carmel Racquet Club.




On the Road Again

Traveling nutrition options to properly fuel your body By Lindsay Langford


HE FOODS YOU EAT HAVE A DIRECT LINK to your performance on the court. Frequent travel to and from tournaments greatly increases your chances of finding your next meal at a fast food joint or a concession stand.


When faced with the dilemma of eating most meals on the road, be sure you’re making good choices to fuel your body with high quality foods that will increase energy level, decrease recovery time, and increase overall performance and health.


1 2 3 4 5 6

Top Tips for Eating on the Road DESIGN A MEAL TO FIT YOUR NEEDS You are the customer and are able to determine how you want your food presented. Many foods on the menu could be “healthy” if prepared differently. Don’t be afraid to special order. CHOOSE BROILED, BAKED, STEAMED, OR GRILLED These preparation methods are much healthier options to the popular high-fat frying methods. START MEALS WITH A SIDE SALAD This will help curb your appetite, allowing you to fully assess hunger signals and prevent overeating. This will also add another vegetable to your goal of 3 servings per day. Always be sure to get dressings on the side to monitor the amount of this typically high fat salad-addition. TRIM OR PEEL ALL VISIBLE FAT When eating a meat source (steak, pork, chicken), cutting off visible fat can save serious calories. Removing the skin from a fried chicken breast can save you as much as 350 calories and 25 grams of fat! SUBSTITUTE SIDE ITEMS Choose grilled vegetables, fruit, salad, yogurt, or a baked potato for side options when possible. An average fast food meal can run as high as 1,000 calories a meal. Substituting the French fries drastically reduces the unhealthy trans-fat intake. BEWARE OF THE LIQUIDS A 32oz soda consists of 385 calories and over 100 grams of sugar (equivalent to 4 candy bars worth of sugar). Choose water, low-fat milk, 100% fruit juice, or unsweetened tea to prevent the “empty” sugar calories.



BEWARE OF CONDIMENTS Some items such as a single-patty burger can be a good choice, but it comes down to the condiments. Dismiss or go light on “white spreads” (mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese, tartar sauce, ranch). Ketchup, mustard, salsa, and cocktail sauce are all acceptable sauces that add no additional fats, but large amounts of taste. IF ANY AT ALL, LIMIT TO ONE FRIED FOOD At most fast food restaurants, you’re typically able to find some assortment of healthy options. If this is not the case or this becomes your “splurge” meal, limit fried food options to one item. So, if you decide on the chicken nuggets, substitute the French fries for something more nutritious. Keep in mind that fried foods can increase the time it takes you to recover, so stay away from these in between matches.

With these tips, I hope you find yourself making more cautious and nutritious choices to fuel your body like an athlete while traveling!

Lindsay Langford, MS, RD, CSSD, is a sports dietician with St. Vincent Sports Performance.


Court design wins industry award for Leslie Coatings


project built by Leslie Coatings, Inc., headquartered in Indianapolis, has been recognized as a winner in the American Sports Builders Association’s (ASBA) annual awards program. ASBA is the national organization for builders, designers and suppliers of materials for athletic facilities. Awards are presented each year to facilities built by ASBA members, which best exemplify construction excellence. The award-winning project entered by Leslie Coatings, Inc. is the Back Residence Tennis Court. Presentation of awards was made at the ASBA Technical Meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. A panel of ASBA members anonymously judged entries. Projects were scored individually based on considerations such as layout and design, site work, drainage, base construction, surface, amenities, innovation and overall impression. Winning entries were those whose cumulative scores meet or exceed the standard. Leslie Coatings was presented with an award for Distinguished Tennis Facility for its work on the Back Residence Tennis Court. The Back Residence Tennis Court, a new construction project, is a state-of-the-art tennis court that includes a new cushioned surface over An example of the Back Residence post tensioned concrete, new nets and fencing, as Tennis Court project, which well as lighting and a basketball goal. garnered an industry award for “Leslie Coatings is very proud to have its Indianapolis-based Leslie Coatings. work on the Back Residence Tennis Court (Submitted Photo) recognized by ASBA,” said Jerry Gray, Leslie Coatings president. A 60-year-old organization, Leslie Coatings designs and builds a variety of sports facilities, including tennis courts, basketball courts, playgrounds, running tracks and more. It also provides maintenance, repair, and upkeep work on facilities, and can provide consultations for owners with questions relating to their sports facilities.

Beckmann presides over Midwest USPTA


olly Card Beckmann is in

her second year as president of the Midwest Division of the United States Professional Tennis Association, which held its annual meeting in early February in Indianapolis. She succeeded Indiana Tech coach Dan Moster, whose two-year term ended in January, 2010. Beckmann, a teaching pro at Five Seasons Sports Club, said she has three goals for the remaining year of her term. “I’d like to increase the amount of new young members coming into our association,” she noted. “I’m really working on targeting college tennis players to plant the seed early for collegiate players to begin to think of tennis as a profession. I also have a passion to increase the number of women in the

profession. Our association is currently 20% women, and I think it should be higher. This is a great profession for women, especially moms. If I could convince one female college tennis player to get in the profession, I would feel I have achieved something.” Beckmann added she would also like to increase educational opportunities throughout the Midwest, as well as having the division win “Division of the Year” honors. “It has been quite a while since the Midwest Division has won this prestigious award and it would be great!” she said. Chris Chopra of the Indiana University Tennis Center is the USPTA president for Indiana.

Local wheelchair program gets USTA grant


he USTA announced late last year that it has awarded $45,000 in USTA Grassroots Wheelchair Program Grants to 21 wheelchair tennis programs across the country, including the Indianapolis-based Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana (RHI) Foundation. This is the third consecutive year grants were awarded to local organizations to promote and develop the growth of wheelchair tennis and use the sport of tennis to build stronger, healthier communities. Since the inaugural grants in 2008, the total pool of USTA wheelchair tennis grant money has increased each year. Grant amounts were based on each program’s existing budget and the future programmatic needs of the organization. Recipients can use the award to meet the USTA’s grant initiatives including coaching, court time, equipment, recruitment and events (tournaments, camps, etc.). Dan James, USTA National Manager, Wheelchair Tennis, said “These grants are just a part of the continued effort in implementing important programs that reach out to the wheelchair community through tennis.” Julie Fritz of the Indianapolis Community Tennis Association, who helps coordinate the wheelchair tennis program for RHI, said their grant application was for equipment only. It will be used to purchase one new adult wheelchair along with QuickStart equipment. The Indianapolis program was featured in the fall/winter issue of Indianapolis Tennis Magazine.


news & notes


Four years and counting… CITA - Community Center partnership brings tennis, opportunities to near-eastside students


his fall marks the four-year anniversary of a partnership between the Central Indiana Tennis Association (CITA) Diversity Committee and Shepherd Community Center to provide elementary, middle and high-school students on Indianapolis’ near-eastside the opportunity to participate in an after-school tennis program. “I love tennis! I love tennis!” chanted by a student, sums up their enthusiasm for the game.


“The kids are being exposed to a sport they would never have the chance to experience, and they are getting a lot of one-on-one attention with adults who care about them,” said Mimi Wacker, Student Ministries Team Leader for the center.


By LINDA SCHROEDER O’NEILL “There is no standing around time, no chance for them to get bored,” said Yas Matsumoto, CITA Diversity Committee co-chair, who, along with fellow co-chair and volunteer Bets Cooper, initiated the program in October 2007. Armed with two tools – love of service and love of the game – the volunteers are not only passing along their passion for tennis, but also transforming lives. For some of the children, the instructors are their only positive adult role model. But, adds volunteer and diversity committee member Buddy Bailey, it’s a two-way street. “It’s important to note what the volunteers get out of working with the kids. It’s not as simple as teaching them tennis,” he said.

The program started with a grant from CITA, some borrowed equipment, and donations from the Indianapolis Community Tennis Association, USTA/ Midwest Section and Indianapolis Racquet Club (IRC), and it continues to flourish through the help of 15 committed and energetic volunteers. The big volunteer base allows for one adult for every two children at each clinic.

The goal of Shepherd Community Center, located in the fourth poorest neighborhood in Indianapolis, is to break the cycle of poverty. The families of nearly 80% of the children in the area qualify for their schools’ meal programs. Around 100 children attend the center’s after-school programs, where they have a chance to get a snack, do homework and participate in an extracurricular program.

Using donated QuickStart equipment and racquets, students are put through various exercises.

On a fair day, which in Indiana is almost impossible to predict, the group is able to travel to the nearby outdoor courts at Ellenberger or Christian parks. “The kids are so excited when we get to go out and play on actual tennis courts,” said Matsumoto. All other times, QuickStart nets and equipment are set up in a multi-purpose room at the center, where painter’s tape, used for marking lines, has become a best friend. A lesson plan is developed for each week. The group gathers for warm-ups and stretching, and then has a lesson on stroke work. Each session concludes with a game or two. Some of the kids are becoming so comfortable that they now lead the warm-up, a sure sign that more than just tennis is being taught. “We measure success by the number of happy kids who are willing to come back,” said Matsumoto.

Each day is scripted with a lesson play, although the students get the chance to play at the end of the session.

For players at all levels, knowing the proper grip is essential.

Photos by Linda Schroeder O’Neill

The after-school tennis program continues to evolve. Last summer, thanks to a grant from CITA and the donation of 10 junior memberships from the USTA/ Midwest, the center shuttled 10 participants to Arsenal Technical High School for a National Junior Tennis League (NJTL) program. For a not-for-profit organization without a lot of transportation options, it was a huge commitment to the tennis program and the kids. “Transportation is tough,” said Cooper. “We would like to have something going in the winter, and we would have more options for free public courts in the summer if we were able to shuttle the kids by car around the city. But right now, that’s not possible.” Cooper has donated over $1,000 through her company’s matching funds program. Each hour she donates to Shepherd, including hours used on administrative tasks, her company donates $10. Five years ago, IRC loaned the program Quick Start equipment and since then has donated court time, full-sized used racquets and stringing as well as discounts on new racquets. Now that some of the students are more advanced, they need more specialized lessons, so volunteers are donating more of their time to attend coaching workshops. Exercise, fun, leadership skills – the program is beneficial to the children in many ways. “It means a lot that our teaching motivates them,” said Bailey. “We don’t walk in their shoes so we can’t pretend to know where they’ve been or what they go through every day – we’re there to have fun and be positive.” If you would like to make a donation to the Shepherd Community Tennis Program, or find out about this and other volunteer opportunities, contact CITA at (317) 846-4560.


Yas Matsumoto guides one of the students through a footwork drill.


EntouRaj for Kids Inaugural fundraiser a net gain for HCCTA programs By SCOTT COOPER THE GAP left in the Indianapolis tennis community by the departure of the Indianapolis Tennis Championships has been partially filled by a new annual fundraiser spearheaded by local ATP Tour pro Rajeev Ram. The inaugural “EntouRaj for Kids” fundraiser, held Dec. 4, drew 400 tennis enthusiasts from around the area to the Carmel Racquet Club and raised $13,000 to benefit the Hamilton County Community Tennis Association’s (HCCTA) “Community Reads” program. The event not only featured local favorite Ram, but also special guest and former ATP Tour player Taylor Dent. Dent, who retired from the tour just a few weeks before the fundraiser, was a perennial fan favorite at the former pro tournament in Indianapolis, where he was runner-up in 2005.


The event was conceived more than a year ago when Ram and Colin


Atkinson were talking about a way to give back to the community.

Bryan Smith, Mark Woldmoe, Spencer Fields and Kevin Gill. Honorary coaches for the two teams were Dianne Brown, Kathy Kinghorn, Rick Witsken and James Garner. An exhibition set of singles at the end of the event was won, appropriately enough, by Ram. “It was tough, but it was pretty fun,” said Kumar afterward. “(Dent’s) serve was almost impossible to return. I could hit it, but it’d go way out.”

“Raj and I did an event a few years ago, the Ashley Crouse Memorial, which was a very small event,” Atkinson explained. “Then Raj went to an end-of-year tennis event in But while Minneapolis, which was a similar type ‘Everyone’s commitment of fundraiser, and was just awesome...’ said, ‘Colin, we’ve - Rajeev Ram got to do something like this.’” “Everyone’s commitment was just awesome,” added Ram. “And Taylor said ‘yes’ right away; he basically came out here and said ‘whatever you need me to do, I’ll do it’”. The event was formatted as a “team” tennis concept, as Ram and Dent paired off against each other with local junior players and teaching pros serving as partners. Those included Sameer Kumar, Brooke Austin, Colin Atkinson, John Moorin,

there were a lot of smiles on the court, it wasn’t all fun and games as there were also some bragging rights on the line between some of the area’s best teaching pros. There was competition off the court, too, as fans were able to bid on several items during silent and live auctions, including ticket packages to the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati and racquets autographed by Pete Sampras and Roger Federer. Since it began in 2005, Community Reads has donated more than 500 books to schools and libraries with a goal of donating 3,000 books by 2015.

THE FUNDRAISER used a “team” concept; those participating were (front from left) Kathy Kinghorn, Dianne Brown, Brooke Austin, Sameer Kumar, John Moorin, Bryan Smith; (back from left) Colin Atkinson, Mark Woldmoe, Spencer Fields, Taylor Dent, Rajeev Ram, Kevin Gill, Rick Witsken and James Garner. (Photo by Scott Cooper)

RAJEEV RAM, TAYLOR DENT, SAMEER KUMAR and BROOKE AUSTIN meet at the net following their set. (Photo by Shawn Barney)

KEVIN GILL goes for the tweener against Dent and Spencer Fields. (Photo by Shawn Barney)

EVENT ORGANIZER RAJEEV RAM takes a few minutes at the end to thank the crowd and participants. (Photo by Scott Cooper)

BRYAN SMITH, who coaches Rajeev Ram, sets up for a backhand during their set. (Photo by Shawn Barney)

TAYLOR DENT jokes with a stretching Mark Woldmoe prior to the event. (Photo by Shawn Barney)


COLIN ATKINSON cuts in front of Taylor Dent to pick off a volley. (Photo by Shawn Barney)


Gathering together ‘Strong team’ pulls off yet another successful high school coaches conference By SCOTT COOPER


igh school tennis coaches from around the state gathered in Indianapolis early last month for their annual conference, an opportunity to learn the latest updates on rules, see the latest in equipment and apparel, and get suggestions on team and individual drills from their peers as they prepare for the spring season. For nearly 40 years the Indiana High School Tennis Coaches Association (IHSTeCA) has been the organization coaches could turn to for everything from implementing new rules and procedures to filling a vacancy on their season schedule.


“The coaches association is an advocate for high school tennis coaches from around the state, so we’re always looking for rules changes that might impact boys’ or girls’ high school tennis,” said IHSTeCA president Tim Cleland. “And we also have a responsibility to the game, which is why you’re seeing us devote more energy to the Hall of Fame.”


The annual conference has been a staple on the IHSTeCA calendar since the early 1980s, and Cleland said those earlier gatherings didn’t attract the several hundred that have attended more recent events. “The rule of thumb is, if you can take away something from each session, whether it is one new drill, one new tip or one new way of teaching something, then it’s a successful conference,” Cleland said. “If the coaches can go back home and have 10 new drills they can share with their teams, then they’re going to be happy.” Every four years, the IHSTeCA combines its conference with the Midwest division of the U.S. Professional Tennis Association (USPTA), which necessitated it being held at the larger Wyndham Indianapolis West hotel rather than its usual location at the Indianapolis Racquet Club. The influence of the IHSTeCA was demonstrated by the new “Eight

at State” format for both the boys’ and girls’ state finals, which was championed by the group and implemented for the 2009-2010 school year. Its members are frequently polled regarding their positions on various issues that could affect the future of high school tennis. For example, in results published in this year’s conference program, a majority of coaches disagreed with a proposal to implement class divisions in tennis. They also disagreed with two other proposals that would have modified the current match format of three singles and two doubles. “We do rules proposals (to the Indiana High School Athletic Association) every two years, and when we’re not presenting, we’re gathering info for the next time,” Cleland explained. “So, it’s a neverending cycle.” Members of the IHSTeCA also vote yearly for district and all-state honors for players and coaches; during the season, the group publishes a weekly top 30 poll of the top teams in the state. Cleland said all of the officer positions are volunteer, and it has helped to have had the same group of officers in place for the past few years. In addition to Cleland, those include vice presidents Sharon Rosenburgh, Joe Doyle, Mark Reilly, Mike Bostic and Bill Reed, as well as secretary/treasurer Don Wafer. “I get way too much of the credit, since I’m president, but it really is a team thing and it helps to have the same team in place,” he noted.

The newest class of inductees into the Indiana High School Tennis Hall of Fame included (from left) Stan Malless, Andrea Calvert-Sanders, Brian Fennerty and Steve Pittman.

Indiana University Tennis Center head pro Mike O’Connell conducts a drill during the 2011 IHSTeCA/Midwest USPTA conference. Conference planners turned one of the ballrooms into a temporary tennis court for use during demonstrations.

During most years the IHSTeCA conference is held at the Indianapolis Racquet Club, where attendees can browse the latest in tennis equipment while also keeping track on the demonstrations scheduled for the adjacent court.

IHSTeCA president Tim Cleland addresses attendees at last year’s conference. Photos by Scott Cooper


NE OF THE MANY QUESTIONS surrounding the closing of the Indianapolis Tennis Center was the fate of the Pearson Ford Open. The longrunning event, which evolved from the Indianapolis Open, had traditionally provided its men’s singles winner with a wild card entry into the Indianapolis Tennis Championships qualifier.

The answer came earlier this month when Tom Moore, director of racquet sports for The Woodstock Club, said the tournament would be held at his facility on June 23-26. As in years past, the tournament will continue to offer prize money to the winners of both men’s and women’s singles and doubles; however, the biggest difference will be a change of surface from hard court to clay.

Joel Kielbowicz won the men’s singles title last year and then teamed with Jon Tragardh to win the doubles. On the women’s side, Kara Cecil was the singles champion while also teaming with Christina Keesey for the doubles title. From a historical perspective, The Woodstock Club was the original home of the Indianapolis Tennis Championships. Entry information is already available on TennisLink (Tournament ID 855319811) For additional information, contact Moore at or through the tennis house at (317) 926-6505


Pearson Ford Open gets new home


Upgrades at Meridian Hills keep pace with growing tennis, paddle programs By SCOTT COOPER


recent upgrade and renovation to the tennis facility at Meridian Hills Country Club has added several new looks and amenities for players of both traditional and paddle tennis, as well as for the club’s ever-growing summer junior programs.

largest paddle court complex in the state), as well as creating a central gathering and viewing area adjacent to the new tennis house/pro shop. All of the construction was done without disturbing the existing six clay and two hard tennis courts.

“About five years ago I went to the board and said, ‘I think I can get something going with this program, with the membership that we have,’ so they basically hired me to get the program going,” said MHCC head pro Ludo Aaron.

The tennis programs currently include 200 juniors, about 120 ladies and 17 men, all members of Meridian Hills. “In fact,” Aaron said, “the paddle programs attract more men players than does tennis, mainly owing to the fact that golfing members are looking for ways to stay active during the colder months.”

The improvements, which were completed last year, included relocating the two existing paddle tennis courts, adding another one (making MHCC home to the

“The paddle program started with 20 guys, and now it’s up over 100,” he said. “And most of that is due to word of mouth. Obviously, we’d like to get more players involved in

this so we can do more inter-city and inter-club events.” A Butler graduate, Aaron first worked at Broadmoor Country Club before coming to Meridian Hills. “That first year we had, maybe, 30 players in junior programs with one or two assistants,” he pointed out. “Now, it’s grown to the point that we have eight assistants. And I think one of the main reasons it’s grown so much is because we’ve got such quality instructors who have built a nice rapport with the players.” Although Aaron tries to keep the tennis facility open as long as the weather permits, his short-term desire is to build an air structure over the two hard courts for year-round use, a plus in retaining and further developing the junior players.

Improvements last year to the tennis facilities at Meridian Hills Country Club included a new tennis house/pro shop (background) and the relocation and expansion of the paddle courts (right).

Under head pro Ludo Aaron and his assistants, the summer junior program at MHCC has grown to 200 players.

MHCC head pro Ludo Aaron puts some of his junior players through a doubles drill last summer. Photos by Scott Cooper


staying involved with tennis just got easier

usta/central indiana tennis association (cita)



tennis central indiana tennis association cita


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Washington Township Schools Community Tennis Program 2011 TENNIS CALENDAR OF SPECIAL EVENTS

Held at the BARBARA S. WYNNE TENNIS CENTER, 1805 East 86th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46240 Tournament Phone: (317)253-4526 - Tennis Program Phone: (317)259-5377

Tournament Chairman: Steve Wakefield

Tournament details: Web site: - Tennis Link: or Using the Searchable Schedule: Log onto or ^+QuickStart event; Junior event; **Adult event; **Both; @Invitational event; +USTA sanctioned; HS High School; C Collegiate

April 18-26

Spring After School Jr. Classes M&W or Tu&Th


Spring After-School Junior Daily Classes Spring Tournament Players Program M-Th Horizon Men and Women League Conference Championships 1ndianapolis Jr. and Adult Spring Open

5-6:30pm 5-7pm

C *+

April 18-26 May 9-26 April 22-24 May 6-9


May 13-15

Crossroads of America Open


May May May May

14 15 18-21 20-22

QuickStart One-day Tournament Spirit Dinner for Greater Indianapolis Tennis Families - 6pm 1HSAA School Girls Sectionals Barbara W. Wynne Junior Spring Open


May May May May

21-22 24-25 27 287-29

QuickStart Two-day Tournament IHSAA Girls Regionals Deadline for CITA Midwest Qualifier Tournament Race Weekend/No Hotel Jr. Open

HS HS *+

May 31 June 4 June 10-11 June 10-14

Summer Tennis Program Begins IHSAA Girls Team Championships IHSAA Girls Singles and Doubles Championships CITA Qualifications Qualifier

June 18-19 June 18 June 18-20 June 25-30 June 30-July 1 July 2-4 July 5 July 8-10 July 9 July 14-17

QuickStart Two-day Tournament Jimmy McClure Memorial Open Table Tennis Tournament June Satellite Tennis Tournament (Not ranked in top 15 in age group) Midwest Closed Junior Championship (Invitational) College Showcase ATA MidTac Championships Second Session of Tennis Classes Begins Indianapolis Super Junior Doubles Championships QuickStart One-day Tournament Indiana State Jr. Open which benefits Riley Hospital for Children

July July July July July

QuickStart Two-day Tournament July Satellite (not ranked in top 15 in age group) QuickStart One-day Tournament Tennis Program Pizza Party-Kids Helping Kids Presentation to Riley Hoosier Open

*HS *+ ^+ *HS

^+ * * ^+

*+ ^+ *+ ^+ * ^+ *+ ^+

16-17 22-24 23 28 28-31


July 29-30 August 1 August 2

QuickStart Two-day Tournament First authorized day of IHSAA Boys Tennis Practice Greater Indianapolis QuickStart Festival - 10am-4pm

*@ ^+ * * **@ @ *+

August 5-7 August 13 August 12-14 August 19-21 August 27 September 10 September 16-18

^+ *HS *HS *HS *HS *HS

September 17-18 Sept. 28-Oct.1 October 4-5 October 8 October 14-15 October 21-22

Midwest Junior Team Tennis Sectional Championships QuickStart One-day Tournament August Satellite Tennis Tournament (not ranked in top 15 in age group) Midwest Adult League Sectional Championships John Shirley Memorial Invitational Middle School Invitational Tennis Event Indian Summer Girls Tennis Open benefitting the Women’s Sports Foundation GoGirlGo! Program QuickStart Two-day Tournament IHSAA High School Boys’ Tennis Sectionals IHSAA High School Boys’ Tennis Regionals IHSAA High School Boys’ Tennis Semi-State IHSAA High School Boys’ Tennis Team Championships IHSAA High School Boys’ Tennis Singles & Doubles

Level 4(3); B(18-12)s, FIC; B(12-18)d,SE; M(Op)s,MFIC;M(Op)d,SE;NM(3.5)s, MFIC;NM(3.5)d,SE Level 4: B(18-16)s,FIC; B(18-16)d,SE 855323410 Singles and Doubles compass draw GB(8-10) Scholarships and Awards Level 4: B(18-12)s, FIC; B(18-21)d, SE;G(1412)s,FIC; G(14-12s)d,SE Singles and doubles compass draw GB(8-10 #855301011 Level 4;B(18-10)s,FIC; G(14-10)s, FIC; B(1810)d,SE; G(14-10)d,SE

Level 1: BG(18-12)s;FIC; BG(18-12)d, SE #855301011 Singles and Doubles compass draw GB(8-10) Northview Gym/Prize Money BG(18-12)s - Three rounds BG(18-16 )s FIC; BG(18-16)d;SE 855360311 A Midwest Event

BG(18-10)d;FIC 855314411 Singles compass draw GB(8-10) Level 3; BG(18-10)s FIC; BG (18-10)d,SE Mixed doubles (14&18)d, SE #855353111 Singles and Doubles compass draw GB(8-10) BG(18-12)s - three rounds Singles compass draw GB(8-10) Level 4; BG(18-10)s,FIC; BG(18-10)d,SE Mixed Doubles (14&18)d SE #855324611 Singles and Doubles compass draw GB(8-10) Round Robins and TeamTennis Competitions Ages 6-11; lunch and awards Singles compass draw GB(8-10) BG(18-12)s - three rounds

G(18-12s, FIC G(18-12)d,SE Singles and Doubles compass draws G(8-10)

Complete details about classes at the Barbara S. Wynne Tennis Center at


Committee releases report on possible replacements for former Tennis Center By Scott Cooper

he Save Downtown Tennis Committee issued its initial report at the beginning of March, citing three potential locations to replace the former Indianapolis Tennis Center, as well as a schematic of the planned complex. Having met since last summer, the committee identified existing city properties on Fall Creek Parkway south of 16th Street, Monon Trail and 26th Street, and the former Central State Hospital on the near Westside as the best available locations to host a 16-court (eight inside – eight outside) facility. Key to their selection was the locations’ proximity to downtown and the former tennis center on the campus of IUPUI.

“The focus will be on recreational, educational and competitive exercise opportunities that contribute to a healthy, active lifestyle for children, adults, seniors and the economically disadvantaged,” the report said. A non-profit volunteer organization, the committee is seeking for the city to either pay or help with bonds to cover the capital expense for the building and parking lot, as well as working with a Community Development Corporation on bond financing. The total base project value for the complex is estimated at nearly $3.5 million. In the report, the committee cites potential uses for the center beyond its membership, such as local high

schools, USTA recreational leagues and private tournaments, as well as the potential to again host a lower-tier professional men’s and/or women’s tournament. With the proper approvals and financing in place, the committee hopes to have the new facility open by the end of the year. The former Indianapolis Tennis Center, which opened in 1979 and served as home to the ATP Tour’s Indianapolis Tennis Championships, was closed and demolished last summer to make way for planned new construction on the IUPUI campus, as well as additional parking facilities and the expansion of the nearby NCAA headquarters.

The proposed new downtown tennis center would feature eight indoor and eight outdoor courts with four additional smaller permanent courts set aside for QuickStart tennis. Depending on the available finances, the complex is configured so it could be constructed in two phases.




‘Jimbo’ back at IRC Tennis legend stops by for a quick hit with club members

The eight-time grand slam champion won three times on the outdoor clay courts at IRC when the U.S. Clay Court Championships made its annual stop at the club during the 1970s.

By SCOTT COOPER ALL THAT SEEMED TO BE MISSING was the trusty Wilson T2000 racquet when Jimmy Connors made an impromptu appearance late last month at the Indianapolis Racquet Club. In town for a visit with friend Herb Simon (which also included a Pacers game), Connors accepted an invitation to stop by his old stomping grounds.

The smooth, almost effortless strokes Connors employed were in stark contrast to the “heavy” shots from both sides by his hitting partners. The former world No. 1 player said afterward that the problems with most players is that they try to hit the ball too hard. “Speed doesn’t bother anybody,” he said. “I’m almost 60 years old, and you can stand out there and hit the ball as hard as you want at me and it doesn’t bother me. It all enters into what you do with the ball. If you stand there and beat the ball as hard as you can and then hit the third one into the fence, that’s not tennis.” Still, the five-time U.S. Open champion left a lasting impression on those who were on the other side of the net during the 90-minute session.


“It was weird,” said Guerin Catholic School senior Michael Moe, who was third in the state in last fall’s boys’ singles tournament and also had the honor of being the first up against Connors. “I’ve never hit against anybody who’s that smooth. Here’s a guy who was number one in the world and I’m just a junior player from Indiana.”


Steve Pittman, who was recently inducted into the Indiana High School Tennis Hall of Fame, reminded Connors prior to their hit that he once served as a ballboy for a doubles match at IRC with Connors and Ilie Nastase. “It was awesome, because he was my boyhood idol,” Pittman said afterward. “Since he was left-handed I tried to model my game after him.” Although he’s influenced many generations of players, Connors said his influences were quite different when he began the game.

ALTHOUGH PUSHING 60 years old, the eight-time grand slam champion was still in good form, especially with his signature two-handed backhand.

“I respected a lot of players, but I’m family taught,” he explained, noting his mother and grandmother taught him how to play. “But I was lucky that my mother was great friends with Pancho Segura, who started coaching me when I was 15 years old. An opportunity like that comes along once in a lifetime, and it just happened to happen to me. And through him I met Pancho Gonzales. I was in the right place at the right time.” And the rest, as they say, is tennis history.

JIMMY CONNORS talks with IRC teaching pro Tim Samons during a short break. Samons helped facilitate Connors’ visit to the club.

WITH SNOOPY LISTENING IN, Connors talks with IRC teaching pro Tim Samons (left) after his hit with Michael Moe.

Photos by Scott Cooper


STEVE PITTMAN, who said he tried to model his game after the tennis legend, chats with Connors prior to their hitting session.



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Indianapolis Tennis Magazine - Spring 2011  

Indianapolis Tennis Magazine covers tennis-related events and personalities within the Indianapolis metro area. The spring issue contains f...

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