Long Island Tennis Magazine May / June 2021

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LITennisMag.com • March/April 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine

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“...Above all, Parsa’s caring and understanding personality was something that we always leaned on; never pushy but always willing to give his expert opinion when we asked, we what was exactly right for us; we couldn’t be happier and would absolutely recommend him to anyone who is fortunate enough to work on their home search with him.” - Jeff C, Manhasset Buyer

“What a complete delight! Our words will not come close to expressing our deepest appreciation and regard which we possess for Parsa. Having come across several real estate agents in the last 2 decades, we wish we would have been represented by Parsa all along.” - Jocelyn V, Roslyn Buyer

Dedication. Motivation. Success.

time and patience. Thanks for helping our

home or sell my home. Simply The Best.”

Parsa Samii Compass Sports & Entertainment Division Licensed Real Estate Salesperson M: 516.965.7445 | O: 516.517.4751 parsa@compass.com 66

Long Island Tennis Magazine • March/April 2021 • LITennisMag.com

- Igor G, Glen Head

Compass is a licensed real estate broker and abides by equal


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THE LONG ISLAND

CHALLENGE 2021

SATURDAY

JUNE

12 2021

(Rain Date: June 13th)

Sportime Quogue 2571 Quogue-Riverhead Rd. East Quogue, NY 11942

Men's and Women's Doubles Tournament Check in: 12:30 p.m. l Tournament: 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. Round Robin Draw with Playoffs Men's Categories Men’s 7.0 - 7.5 (combined) Men’s 8.0 - 8.5 (combined) Men’s 9.0 - 9.5 (combined) Men’s Open 10.0+ (combined)

Women's Categories Women’s 6.0 - 6.5 (combined) Women’s 7.0 - 7.5 (combined) Women’s 8.0 - 8.5 (combined) Women’s 9.0 - 9.5 (combined)

Post Tournament Happy Hour Complimentary for players - 5:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Winners receive prizes and are featured in LI Tennis Magazine!

Catered Lunch Included!

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Long Island Tennis Magazine

MAGAZINE

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To register, go to LITennisMag.com/LITMSummerChallenge For more information, contact info@usptennis.com or call 516-409-4444


May/June 2021 • Volume 13, Number 3

litennis Long Island Tennis Magazine

Table Of Contents Roger’s Return

MAGAZINE

Federer is back on tour, can he win another Grand Slam title? By Brian Coleman—See page 30

Long Island Tennis Magazine 1220 Wantagh Avenue Wantagh, NY 11793-2202 Phone: (516) 409-4444 • Fax: (516) 409-4600 Web site: www.litennismag.com

Staff David Sickmen Publisher (516) 409-4444, ext. 309 david@usptennis.com Brian Coleman Senior Editor (516) 409-4444, ext. 326 brianc@usptennis.com

Photo credit: USTA/Darren Carroll

Highlights 6 10 14 24 38

Tennis in the Hamptons 2021 Parsa’s Picks 2021 French Open Preview Junior Player Spotlight: Kaitlyn Fleckner By Brian Coleman 2021 Long Island Girls’ High School Recap

Joey Arendt Art Director Francine Miller Advertising Coordinator (516) 409-4444, ext. 301 francinem@usptennis.com Emilie Katz Assistant Marketing Coordinator Barbara Wyatt Contributing Writer Rob Polishook Contributing Writer Luke Jensen Contributing Writer

Sidney Beal III Staff Photographer

Lee Seidner Staff Photographer Interns

Tyler Cohen Alex Drossman Phoebe Levitsky

Joanne Salloum Alexa Brecher

Advertising To receive any information regarding advertising rates, deadlines, and requirements, call (516) 409-4444 or e-mail info@usptennis.com. Article Submissions/Press Releases To submit any material, including articles and press releases, please call (516) 409-4444 or e-mail info@usptennis.com. The deadline for submissions is the first of the month preceding the target issue. Subscriptions To receive subscription information, contact (516) 409-4444 or e-mail info@usptennis.com or check out our Web site: www.litennismag.com. Fax subscription changes to (516) 409-1600. Statements of fact and opinion in Long Island Tennis Magazine are the responsibility of the authors alone and do not imply an opinion on the part of United Sports Publications Ltd. Long Island Tennis Magazine reserves the right to edit, reject and/or postpone the publication of any articles, information or data.

PG 10

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Features 4

18 19 20 23 27 34 36 37 47 48 50 51 52 54 55 56

Across Long Island…News and Notes from Across the L.I. Tennis Community Long Islanders Impress at 2021 Easter Bowl Smash Into Summer With Slinger Bag Forehand Folly By Chris Lewit Tennis History Meets Cutting-Edge Private Club Concept at The Hamlet Your Next Opponent is a Duck…Wait, What? By Ricky Becker USTA Eastern Long Island Region Update Keep Momentum Alive and Bring Racket Pets Into Your Game Strike a Pose By Mike Puc Silent Partner Tennis Ball Machines: The Machine With Muscle Should Parents Sit on the Court During Their Children’s Lessons? By Steve Kaplan The Tennis Guru: The Oracle By Dr. Tom Ferraro Adult League Wrap-Up By Kathy Miller Five Focus Points to Improve Your Game Quickley By Steve Annacone Settling into a Match: All the G.O.A.T’s Do It By Rob Polishook The Luckiest Recreational Doubles Player on the Planet By Barbara Wyatt The Jensen Zone By Luke Jensen

Long Island Tennis Magazine is published bi-monthly by United Sports Publications Ltd. • Copyright © 2021 United Sports Publications Ltd.


LITennisMag.com • May/June 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine

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Across Long Isl Sportime Roslyn Team Reaches Nationals

our team came in 5th place, missing the semi-finals by one match. All in all it was a wonderful experience”.

National Tennis Center, Point Set Host Collegiate Matches The college tennis season resumed this spring, and many programs competed in matches away from their campuses at local clubs and facilities here on Long Island. Programs such as Adelphi, Hofstra, NJIT and more have played some of their regular season matches at Point Set Tennis and at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The NTC also hosted the opening round match of the Northeast-10 Conference Championships between Adelphi and Bentley. Photo credit: AUPanthers.com

While Sectionals were cancelled earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was still a National Invitational held in Surprise, Ariz., and the Tri-Level team out of Sportime Roslyn were there to compete against the country’s top adult teams. Captain Seema Imberman said: “Our team won local playoffs, but the Eastern division out of an abundance of caution, decided to forego sectionals this year. We luckily were chosen to attend the National Invitational via a lottery. Although many of our team members could not join us, we had enough players at each level who were extremely grateful to attend a national competition during this uncertain time…Out of 13 teams,

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Long Island Tennis Magazine • May/June 2021 • LITennisMag.com


land

… News and notes from across the L.I. tennis community

Glen Head’s Amarghioalei Commits to Hofstra

RSTA Wins JTT Event

Ada Amarghioalei, who trains at Glen Head Racquet & Fitness, has committed to play her college tennis, and its here on Long Island. Amarghioalei will be playing for Hofstra University starting next fall.

Some of the top young players from the Ross School Tennis Academy (RSTA) teamed up to win the 10U Green Dot Spring Bowl at Sportime Lynbrook. The RSTA team won the competition by beating out teams from Christopher Morley Tennis & Sportime Lynbrook.

Bethpage Park Hosts Charity Event Leogrande Reaches Emma Sarner, a Orange Ball Finals junior on the Hills East girls’ tennis team, decided to combine her two passions, science and tennis, and created a charity event to raise money for the Memorial Sloane Kettering

Lilah Leogrande, who trains at Park Avenue Tennis, finished in second place at an Orange Ball tournament held at Sportime Syosset.

Cancer Center (MSKCC). She organized a doubles tournament, which was hosted by Bethpage Park Tennis & Education Center, and raised nearly $4,000 which went towards research and treatments for metastatic cancers at MSKCC.

LITennisMag.com • May/June 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine

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TENNIS IN THE HAM n the summer, people from across Long Island and New York City flock to the Hamptons, to enjoy the sun, while sitting by the pool or ocean, and taking part in an array of outdoor activities. One of those activities, and perhaps its most popular, is tennis. It may be the favorite activity for Hamptons-goers, and there is no shortage of tennis courts or opportunities to play out on the East End, from hitting around at local parks or lacing them up and playing on a private court in a luxurious Hamptons home. Below are just some of the places you can find your game out east this summer:

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Places to Play Annacone Tennis Management AnnaconeTennis.com info@annaconetennis.com 865-300-7323 Annacone Tennis Management provides an array of services in the Hamptons, and can help produce programming and consulting for your neighborhood courts, country clubs, tennis clubs, resorts and more. One of the programs offered is MyHamptonsPro, which is a concierge tennis company specializing in providing the highest quality offsite tennis services in the Hamptons. This

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service is available on your private court, at one of our private courts, or at your tennis facility. Focused specifically on creating the utmost in customer satisfaction, MHP provides comprehensive tennis services from world-class tennis professionals to fit all of your needs. MHP tennis pros specialize in private tennis lessons that are customized to your specific tennis goals, with flexible times and days available to meet your needs. Steve Annacone, Director of MyHamptonsPro, has been a tennis professional and coach for over 45 years. Originally from Sag Harbor, NY and a graduate of East Hampton High School, Steve has been very involved in the tennis community in the Hamptons. By understanding that each player has specific needs and creating a customized tennis experience to accommodate these needs, Steve and the MHP staff will help you get the most out of your time on the court.

Ross School Tennis Academy 18 Goodfriend Drive East Hampton, N.Y. (631) 907-5162 Ross.org/TennisAcademy

Long Island Tennis Magazine • May/June 2021 • LITennisMag.com

The Ross School is a unique and dynamic tennis program for both national and international junior players. It combines an


MPTONS 2021 engaging and global curriculum with the highest level of competitive tennis training. The school is the first in the New York City area to have a full academic program with a complete physical and mental conditioning program. The small, intimate program is designed for USTA/ITF players in grades seventh through 12th, and is tucked away in beautiful East Hampton.

Sportime Amagansett 320 Abrahams Path Amagansett, N.Y. (631) 267-3460 SportimeNY.com/Amagansett Located in the heart of the Hamptons, Sportime Amagansett has it all. Sportime Amagansett features 33 outdoor Har-Tru tennis courts, one Deco-Turf tennis and multi-sport court, a 1,500-square-foot outdoor swimming pool, a minibasketball court and playground, three natural turf sports fields, two club houses and a camp house, in addition to a pro shop and snack bar. Sportime Amagansett offers dynamic programming and instruction for both juniors and adults, as well as a wide range of tennis and social events.

Sportime Quogue 2571 Quogue Riverhead Road East Quogue, N.Y. (631) 653-6767 SportimeNY.com/Quogue Sportime Quogue is a year-round, full-service tennis, fitness, summer camp and sports facility located in East Quogue, N.Y., but serves the surrounding towns of Westhampton, Remsemberg, Quogue, Southampton, Hampton Bays, Eastport, Riverhead, the Moriches and the North Fork. The facility features four indoor Har-Tru clay courts and 22 outdoor Har-Tru courts, in addition to an outdoor pool, full-service health and fitness club, a multi-sport court, child care, locker rooms, a full-service spa and wellness center, and café. Sportime Quogue serves tennis players starting at the age of three, and features junior pathway programs, as well as adult tennis.

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TENNIS IN THE HAMPTONS 2021

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Places to Stay Baron’s Cove 31 West Water Street Sag Harbor, N.Y. (844) 227-6672 CapeResorts.com/Barons-Cove The newlyrenovated Baron's Cove Hotel is the Hampton's preeminent AllAmerican resort destination. With 67 charming village and harbor-facing guestrooms, gorgeous lofted suites boasting sweeping harbor views, village rooms featuring intimate private gardens, and cozy dog-friendly accommodations, Baron's Cove caters to every discerning traveler seeking a relaxing getaway on the East End.

Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa 290 Old Montauk Highway Montauk, N.Y. (631) 668-2345 GurneysResorts.com/Montauk Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa is a Hamptons icon and the only yearround resort in Montauk. Providing guests with direct access to a 2,000-foot private sand beach, Gurney’s features 146 rooms, suites, and beachfront cottages, all delivering dramatic ocean views. With five unique dining and drinking venues, Gurney’s presents an array of food and beverage options, from elegant seasonal cuisine to casual fare to craft cocktails. Gurney’s also offers over 25,000-square-feet of meeting and banquet space, for hosting a wide range of business and social events. Its acclaimed spa is renowned for its healing treatments and ocean-fed seawater pool, the only pool of its kind in North America.

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Long Island Tennis Magazine • May/June 2021 • LITennisMag.com


TENNIS IN THE HAMPTONS 2021 Long Island Tennis Magazine Challenge Returns to The Hamptons

In addition to luxury homes with private courts and an array of tennis clubs, The Hamptons also features first-class tennis events, and that continues this summer with three Long Island Tennis Magazine Challenge tournaments out at Sportime Quogue. “We are happy to once again be able to put on the Long Island Tennis Magazine Challenge. It's become an annual tournament that people in the community look forward to,” said Tournament Director David Sickmen. “And now more than ever, our community needs events that bring us together through tennis. It’s a fun day of tennis, food, drink, music and friends." Saturday, June 12 Sportime Quogue—Men’s and Women’s Doubles Saturday, July 17 Sportime Quogue—Mixed Doubles Saturday, September 11 Sportime Quogue—Men’s and Women’s Doubles The LITM Challenges are more than just your average tennis tournament. In addition to the competitive yet friendly tennis that hits the courts all-day long, there is social aspect to the events. The events feature a lively atmosphere with a catered lunch and post-tournament happy hour in a beautiful setting in the Hamptons. When you are off the court, you can sit on the poolside deck that overlooks the facilities main courts and relax as you wait for your match to start. "I've been a part of the LITM Challenge since the beginning, and there really is nothing like these events," said Michelle Stoerback. "There is great yet friendly competition, plus catered food, music, and a happy hour in a beautiful Hamptons setting which elevates it from a tournament to an event." The first of these three events is set for Saturday, June 12 with a Men’s and Women’s Doubles tournament.

There will be eight total divisions of play: Men Women 7.0 -7.5 (combined) 6.0 – 6.5 (combined) 8.0- 8.5 (combined) 7.0 - 7.5 (combined) 9.0 – 9.5 (combined) 8.0 – 8.5 (combined) Open 10.0 + (combined) 9.0 – 9.5 (combined) The events will be held outdoors across Sportime Quogue's 22 courts, and the club's COVID-19 protocols will be in place. All three LITM Challenges will run from 1:00-5:00 p.m., with catered lunch and happy hour included for all players. There will be prizes and winners will be featured in LI Tennis Magazine. Registration for all three tournaments is now open. You can register, and learn more about the Challenge, by visiting www.LITennisMag.com/LITMSummerChallenge. The Challenge Series will then shift to a Mixed Doubles event on Saturday, July 17, after a successful Mixed Doubles event took place at Sportime Quogue last year. “There was never a Mixed Doubles event like this,” said Casey Schnabel, who won the 9.0 – 9.5 (combined) Mixed Doubles tournament alongside Jackie Clark a year ago. “We really enjoyed playing this format.” Emily Yang, who won the 6.0 – 6.5 (combined) division with Barry-Glenn Gloria, agreed: “This was great,” she said after winning. “The tournament was run perfectly, and we couldn’t have asked for better weather. We had a lot of fun.” And to close out the series, the tournaments will shift back to a Men’s and Women’s Doubles event on Saturday, September 11, setting the stage for the perfect way to wrap up the summer: by spending a day out in the Hamptons with great tennis and wonderful people. You can learn more about all three of these events by visiting LITennisMag.com or contacting info@usptennis.com. These tournaments have only continued to grow over the last several years, and it should be an exciting summer with three different ones scheduled to take place at Sportime Quogue with the beautiful backdrop of the Hamptons.

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PARSA’s picks eal estate in the Hamptons is some of the most sought after property in the world, and many of them are perfect for the tennis lover. With gorgeous landscapes, modern design and private tennis courts, among other amenities, these properties are truly one-of-a-kind. With the help of Parsa Samii of Compass Real Estate, we’re showcasing three of these beautiful homes for sale. Parsa is a former professional tennis player and coach who has transitioned into real estate, with a strong understanding of both the tennis aficionado and the home buyer. As Compass puts it, “Parsa is the ideal professional to navigate the evercompetitive real estate market.”

R

8 Hither Lane East Hampton This move-in ready home is just moments from ocean beaches, the Maidstone Club and world-class shopping. Featuring eight beds, nine baths, two ½ baths, this 11,600 sq. ft. home sits on two acres of land on one of the most coveted streets in East Hampton Village. Meticulously built with interiors designed by Tony Ingrao, the main level features a beautiful foyer that flows into the living room and is complete with an entertaining bar area, which is separated by a marble floor-to-ceiling double-sided fireplace. The professional chef's kitchen opens up into a large dining and entertainment room where wall-to-wall glass brings the outdoors in. Under the covered patio sits a state of the art outdoor kitchen, dining space, and separate sitting area with views of the 20x60 pool and the north/south facing tennis court. The court offers a reclusive setting with comfortable chairs to rest up in as you wind down those summer afternoons. Back inside, the large master bedroom features another stunning double-sided marble fireplace, dual showers and closets and its own private outdoor deck. Right off the

master is a modern office to suit anyone's needs. The lower level includes one more en-suite bedroom, game room, wine room, movie theatre, gym and a play area that walks out to a sunken courtyard garden. Radiant heat flooring is throughout all of the bathrooms along with the kitchen and the garage. This home is traditional, yet modern and offers everything that the Hamptons is known for. From the house itself to its close proximity to the beach and the village, 8 Hither Lane is a true East Hampton Gem, one you will never want to leave. Listed by Lori Schiaffino, Compass. Asking $25,995,000

For more information, photos or to see more listings, email parsa@compass.com or call 516.965.7445.


PARSA’s picks

63 Duck Pond Lane Southampton This 16,000 sq. ft. home memorializes the spirit of classic Hamptons elegance while teeming with modern amenities. This luxury home resides on a spectacular two-acre Southampton estate with nine bedrooms and 12 bathrooms, nestled privately in a prestigious neighborhood. Featuring lavished landscaped gardens and ocean views just up the road from Cooper’s beach, this Southampton residence possess unparalleled craftsmanship and intelligent design. The home’s gated entry access opens to a stately view with the limestone fountain at the center of the home’s motor court welcoming you to an impressive traditional Hamptons-style shingle-faced exterior. The grand foyer leads to a majestic great room with soaring ceilings and Venetian plaster featuring an enchanting double-height arabescato fireplace with a wet bar and handmade SICIS mosaic art. This estate is perfect for private enjoyment and to host sophisticated soirees and grand fêtes. The crown jewel is an extraordinary outdoor cinema experience; a 15’ x 9’ LED screen emerges from an in-ground vault. This grand display can be enjoyed from every angle, for day and night entertainment, viewable from the entirety of the expansive backyard patios and multilevel terraces. An

octagonal Hollywood-style sunken tennis court with aged stone wall surround and covered stadium seating viewing area provides recreation and entertainment possibilities, making it perfect for one-on-one playing, doubles action, or even hosting your own tournament with fans. The option for winter ice skating is yet another enjoyable feature. The scintillating heated outdoor pool with transparent glass wall offers a dramatic view of the sunken lounge & firepit area. Open Listing, Asking $35,000,000.

For more information, photos or to see more listings, email parsa@compass.com or call 516.965.7445.


PARSA’s picks

136 Bishops Lane Southampton This 2019 home from renowned developer Josh Guberman is an impeccable estate that delivers turnkey Hamptons’ luxury with sophisticated interiors, expansive grounds, pool, spa, tennis court and much more. Featuring eight bedrooms, eight-and-a-half bathroom main house plus a bright three-room pool house, this 8,000 sq. ft. estate is just minutes from the beach and Southampton Village. A soaring double-height foyer draws you into a sprawling open-plan living room, kitchen and dining room. The adjacent den features a gas marble fireplace and a well-stocked wet bar. West of the family room, you'll find a powder room and a bedroom suite with a touchscreen, high-security walk-in closet and spacious en suite bath. The stunning chef’s kitchen impresses with handcrafted cabinets, 2-inch marble counters and a ten-foot-long island. The press-worthy home has been featured in The New York Times for its remarkable, expansive lower level which integrates large walk-out patios to bring light, air and lush landscaping into the spacious lounge, state-of-the-art fitness center and three bright bedrooms: one en suite and two served by a Jack-and-Jill bath. Along the entire back of the home, an oversized bluestone deck offers two seating areas and a professional

outdoor kitchen overlooking a large lawn and over an acre of meticulously landscaped grounds. Bluestone steps and stacked-stone walls lead to the magnificent 50-foot by 100foot herringbone brick pool deck with a six-jet spa and a 20-foot by 50-foot Gunite saline pool regulated by a stateof-the-art Jandy Aqualink system. Beyond the pool, a large lawn ideal for soccer and field sports is flanked by a HarTru hydro tennis court which also features a professional-grade Porter basketball court. Listed by Matt Breitenbach, Compass. Asking $8,995,000.

For more information, photos or to see more listings, email parsa@compass.com or call 516.965.7445.


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2021 French Open Preview 202

Photo credit: Seth Sarelson

he second Grand Slam of 2021 gets underway in late May in the City of Love as the best players in the world arrive in Paris for the French Open. The event is being held near its normally scheduled time on the calendar after being played in September last year, but because of another COVID-19 lockdown measure in France, the event was pushed back one week from its original start date, and is now set to begin on May 24. The weather should be more suitable for players this year, competing in the French summer as opposed to the fall. Long Island Tennis Magazine broke down some contenders (not including Rafael Nadal, as we can all agree the 13-time French Open champion is always a contender), pretenders and sleepers for the men’s and women’s singles events at the world’s premier clay-court tournament:

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Contenders Simona Halep Already in possession of one French Open title in her career, Simona Halep is one of the event’s favorites in 2021. She has always been successful on clay, reaching the finals three times at Roland Garros, including her 2018 title, and nine of her career titles have come on clay. Halep clearly enjoys 14

playing on this surface, and has the mental strength to compile a Grand Slam run. Having not played a lot of matches in 2021, she should be fresh physically for Paris. Garbine Muguruza The Spaniard is one of those players that no opponent hopes to see when they look at the draw sheet. Like Halep, Garbine Muguruza is a former champion at the French Open, claiming the title in 2016. The following year, she won her second major title at Wimbledon, but injuries halted her progress over the next couple of years. Muguruza has since returned to that previous form and is once again a contender at any major, reaching the Aussie Open finals in

Long Island Tennis Magazine • May/June 2021 • LITennisMag.com


021 French Open Preview 2021 French Open Pr 2020, and is a big-hitter who is successful on clay, making her a very dangerous opponent. Stefanos Tsitsipas The fifth-ranked player in the world is still in search of his first career major title, but he is on the verge. Earlier this year, Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas reached his second Australian Open semifinal where he recorded an epic comeback win over Nadal, and a year ago he reached the semifinals at the French Open. Tsitsipas has the all-court game to be successful on clay and has backed that up with two of his six career singles titles coming on clay. Having defeated him already this season, Tsitsipas could challenge Nadal in the late stages of this tournament. Dominic Thiem A motivated Dominic Thiem will be at the French Open this year, as the Austrian has indicated that winning the event this year is his main goal. After playing a significant tournament schedule a year ago, Thiem admitted to a bit of burnout and has not been as active in 2021. He has also been dealing with some nagging injuries but will be ready

for Roland Garros. In addition to being one of the best players in the world overall, he is perhaps the second best clay court player, and with fresh legs and strong motivation, Thiem is a legitimate contender.

Pretenders Ash Barty It is tough to label someone who has won this event in the past as a “pretender”, but Australia’s Ash Barty is in that category for the 2021 installment of the French Open. She won the Miami Open title earlier this year, a hard-court event, but lost to Spain’s Paula Badosa in a surprise exit from the Volvo Car Open in Charleston, a clay event. Barty’s clever tactical game and unique playing style can present opponents with a lot of trouble on clay, but her serve can let her down at times, and the lack of success on that shot could play a major factor in her getting upset. Sofia Kenin The American has shot up the rankings and rightfully so as Sofia Kenin has been one of the best players in the world over the last couple of years. But 2021 has not been as

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LITennisMag.com • May/June 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine

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2021 French Open Preview 2021 Frenc kind to the 22-year-old thus far. As she attempted to defend her Australian Open title, she lost in the second round, and since that event she has won only one match. She lost in the opening round of her first two clay-court events in preparation for Roland Garros, and that trend may continue as we head into the French Open. Daniil Medvedev Few players are more honest than Daniil Medvdev, and he is often very forthright when speaking to the media, which is why you should believe him when he says he hates

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playing on clay. He said recently, “There is nothing I like on clay”, and his track record bears that out. He has never made it out of the first round at the French Open, and despite being ranked second in the world, could be on upset alert early at Roland Garros. As a player who hits a flat ball, Medvedev has never been successful on the clay surface, and doesn’t like playing on it, not a good combination for success. Diego Schwartzman In contrast to Medvedev, Diego Schwartzman is someone who does enjoy competing on the clay, but don’t look for the Argentine to make a deep run in Paris this year. He reached the semifinals at the French Open a year ago, his best showing at the event in his career, but has been upand-down so far in 2021. He lost in his first clay court match of the season, a straight-set defeat at the hands of Casper Rudd in Monaco, and his inconsistent play in 2021 coupled by a lack of a huge offensive weapon means Schwartzman could be due for an early exit at the French Open.

Long Island Tennis Magazine • May/June 2021 • LITennisMag.com


nch Open Preview 2021 French Open Preview Sleepers Petra Kvitova One of the feel good stories in tennis in recent years is the return of Petra Kvitova to the tour, and her return to the form she had before she was attacked in her home in 2016. That return to form led to Kvitova reaching the semifinals at the French Open last year, and look for the 10th ranked Kvitova to still be competing into the late stages of the 2021 event. She is a two-time major champion, and has the type of all-court game that makes her a frustrating player to play against. Of her eight career titles, three have come on clay, something that should inspire confidence in the Czech lefthander. Amanda Anisimova Checking in at 38th in the WTA rankings, Amanda Anisimova is the true definition of a sleeper heading into the French Open. Still just a teenager, the American burst onto the scene in 2018, and the following year she

Play. Di over. Disc Create.

powered her way to the semifinals at Roland Garros. That same year, she won her first career title. Last year can be viewed as an anomaly and injuries, plus the pandemic, resulted in Anisimova not playing as many matches as 2019. But just one year removed from reaching the final four in Paris, Anisimova is a threat to make another deep run at the French Open. Jannik Sinner The young Italian has climbed his way inside the Top 20 and is one of the sport’s most promising young stars. He reached the Miami Open final earlier this year, and has already defeated the likes of David Goffin, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev in his career. Sinner has what it takes to compete on the biggest stage and defeat the toughest opponents. Last year, he reached the quarterfinals in Paris and is primed to build on that performance this time around. Andrey Rublev Russia’s Andrey Rublev has been one of the top players on tour in 2021 and has risen up to seventh in the world rankings. He has posted 24 wins on the tour this year which included a stunning victory over Nadal in Monaco, a clay event that Nadal has notorioiusly dominated in his career. Rublev is the owner of two claycourt titles in his career, and was a quarterfinalist in Paris last year. Look for the 23-year-old to build on that showing at this year’s event and he’s a serious threat to claim the title when when all is said and done.

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Long Islanders Impress at 2021 Easter Bowl

he 2021 Easter Bowl took place earlier this spring out on the west coast at the Barnes Center in San Diego, Calif., where the local tennis community was well-represented at one of the nation’s most prestigious junior tournaments. Many players from the Eastern Section competed across the 12s, 14s, 16s, and 18s Singles and Doubles events, including three from Long Island who came away victorious. Sebastian Bielen did not drop a set throughout his run in San Diego, winning five sets by the score of 6-0, as he powered his way to a Gold Ball and the title in the Boys 12s singles division. Bielen notched a 6-0, 6-2 victory over ninth-seed Kimi

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Basamakov in the championship match. “I was very consistent, had great energy, a great attitude and I moved very well,” said Bielen about his performance. “Through the whole tournament I had great support from the national coaches I work with when I go to the USTA facility in Orlando. My goal was to win the whole tournament so I was trying to stay focused and do the right things on order to compete well.” Bielen knocked off fellow Long Islander, Huntington’s Jack Kennedy, in the semifinals. “When I saw the draw, I had a feeling we would both be in the semifinals,” said Bielen. “We have

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played each other many times over the last four years in both singles and doubles. We became rivals, but also very good friends, while competing on the court, and we hang out and have fun off the court.” Kennedy would not let that defeat in the semifinals deter him, as he would go on to earn the Bronze Ball by finishing in third place in the singles draw, and earned the Gold Ball in Doubles alongside partner Trenton Kanchanakomtorn of Oklahoma City, OK. The duo took down the top-seeded pairing of Colin McPeek & Navneet Raghuram 6-4, 6-2 in the finals. “It was a great experience playing at the Easter Bowl!” said Kennedy. “I loved being with my JMTA family and loved competing against different players from around the country. I'm proud of my accomplishments and am thankful for the support of my coaches, friends and family.” Thea Rabman did not drop a set in her run to the title in the Girls 16s Division. The Port Washington native secured her second career Gold Ball by taking out fourth-seed Tatum Evans 6-2, 6-1 in the finals. Rabman was granted a Wild Card into the event and took full advantage. “This win is so special for me as I have been working so hard day in and day out at JMTA to win another Gold Ball,” she said. “I would like to thank all the coaches and friends I have who have helped push me to achieve my dreams.”


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Forehand Folly Eight common forehand mistakes that coaches and players (shockingly) still make By Chris Lewit

he forehand has become the premier dominant shot in modern tennis, especially in the men’s game. Toni Nadal, the legendary Spanish coach, even goes so far as to describe the forehand as “the most important shot in the game.” Most coaches and players would probably disagree with Uncle Toni, and argue that the serve or return is more important than the forehand. Regardless of your position in that debate, the forehand is a critical shot to develop and a weapon that must be maximized. The forehand is also a shot on the pro tour that has biomechanically and technically evolved tremendously over the past 40 years. Open stances have become more prevalent and swings have become more compact to save time. Players frequently leave the ground with explosions, hip rotation has become more extreme and swing shapes have been modified to create more racquet speed and power, among many other technical adaptations.

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Unfortunately, what I see in the junior development trenches with countless young players are forehands that are poorly built, and oftentimes designed with technique that is antiquated. Coaches are still teaching kids the forehand from the 1980s Handbook—which is crazy! I often see stiff or flat forehands. And I see footwork and balance that limits the player’s ability to develop a strong forehand weapon for his or her career. Here are some of the most salient and common mistakes that I see from players and from coaches too: 1. Staying on the ground This is a common one. Coaches teach players to stay grounded. Why? Most modern players leave the ground frequently on the forehand due to good lower body and hip explosion. Kids can be taught to use their legs and jump up into shots, and it’s a healthy technique to learn. The key is teaching kids how to jump and land with balance, rotating the body in midair under control.

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2. Closed stance obsession Related to the “staying grounded” mantra, coaches often insist on always stepping forward into the ball. While the closed stance is good for middle and short court balls, kids should be taught open stances, especially for wide balls when the players are moving laterally. The open stances should be linked to good recovery footwork as well, which is another area that players struggle with. Players need the entire panoply of stances, not just the old closed stance. 3. Follow through around the neck If I see one more player choke themselves around the neck with a stiff swing and finish, I’m going to lose my mind! Can’t coaches and players wake up and stop the insanity? The technical game has evolved and most players windshield wiper the forearm (discussed below) and finish lower than the neck or top of the shoulder. Pro players usually finish with more wiper action and end the motion


with the finish around the biceps, side of shoulder, or lower around the hip. 4. Stiff arm, lower arm and wrist As alluded to above, the wipering action (pronation of the forearm at the humeroulnar joint and internal rotation of the humerus at the glenohumeral joint) typifies the modern forehand. Elasticity in the entire arm structure is another hallmark of the modern swing. Why don’t coaches teach kids to be relaxed and whippy like the pros all hit nowadays? Too often I see forehands that are tight with little rotation in the joints and a slow moving racquet head (discussed below). The wrist should lag and move, rather than be locked! 5. Poor spacing and positioning I see countless students obsessed with

their grip and swing, but clueless about how to position their bodies to receive the ball well—with good spacing. Positioning is super important, but most coaches are not teaching it! Instead, players are being bogged down with an obsession about grips and other technical minutiae. While grips are important, how the player reads with the eyes and positions the feet are perhaps the most important aspects to hitting a good consistent shot. 6. Balance and body control Related to positioning is the control and balance of the body. Why do I see so many forehands where the player is off balance, flailing, and out of control, especially when trying to accelerate near maximum velocity? Player need to be taught how to swing fast and not lose control of their head position, to maintain control of their base of

support, and avoid tilting too far forward or back. These skills are not being commonly taught U10! 7. Flat focus Too many players hit the ball flat and straight. That’s a good skill to learn, but what about spin and shape? I want my players to have BOTH. They should be able to spin the ball, shape the ball, and also rip the ball more powerfully. I don’t understand how coaches can teach just one or the other, especially in the Northeast. I see a lot of flat ball strikers who don’t have a clue about topspin. That would never happen in Spain! 8. Lack of acceleration The holy grail on the modern forehand is racquet speed. Whip. Acceleration. Why don’t coaches teach that? Even with the kids who continued on page 22

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forehand folly continued from page 21

The technique and footwork you will see there is a joke. If you are a player, evaluate yourself based on the eight areas above. If you have fallen into bad or habits, work hard to improve and modernize your stroke. For developmental coaches out there, let’s start teaching the game the way it is played in the modern era, and let’s move away from teaching outdated skills that are biomechanically inferior to the new ways. In other words, it’s time to EVOLVE!

are taught to hit hard, they are often muscling the ball with stiff swings— not ripping the ball with a relaxed, elastic arm. There is a healthy way to teach elasticity and racquet speed to young children. There is a way to teach powerful swings with good control of the body segments and with relaxation. The swing should not be gigantic either, another common error I see. Players should be taught how to accelerate in a compact way. These priorities define the art of teaching the modern forehand!

through my door, many from Red, Orange, Green systems where they are supposed to have developed higher-level technical skills. That’s not the case. In fact, I see a disturbing trend that many kids graduating from the typical 10-and-under program have terrible footwork and forehand technical deficiencies. These faults have to be fixed in the 10-14 age range or else the player will have limitations or underachieve throughout his or her entire career. Don’t believe me? Go to a local orange ball tournament in New York.

Conclusion These eight areas are so commonly flawed in the forehands that I see that I am sometimes shocked at how many kids come to me with these mistakes. Numerous players come

Chris Lewit is a former number one for Cornell and pro circuit player. He is a highperformance coach, educator, and the author of two best-selling books: The Secrets of Spanish Tennis and The Tennis Technique Bible. He has coached numerous top 10 nationallyranked players and is known for his expertise in building the foundations of young prodigies. Chris coaches in NYC and year-round at his high performance tennis academy in Manchester, VT, where players can live and train the Spanish Way full-time or short-term. He may be reached by phone at (914) 462-2912, e-mail Chris@chrislewit.com or visit ChrisLewit.com.

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Tennis History Meets Cutting-Edge Private Club Concept at The Hamlet une 2021 marks ten years since ClubCorp, "The world leader of Private Country Clubs," purchased the Hamlet Golf and Country Club in Commack, N.Y. and immediately began a multimillion dollar renovation, including improvements to the clubhouse, golf course, tennis courts, fitness center and pool area. Renovations to the Club's bar, dining area and new patio are complete, and the new beautiful Empire Grille recently opened, offering an upscale, cutting-edge menu in an inspired atmosphere. ClubCorp's refreshing philosophy of what the modern Country Club looks like is drawing attention from Manhattan to Montauk. The Hamlet's tennis history is a rich one. For years, The Hamlet hosted the prestigious Hamlet Cup Tennis Tournament, the event that was used as a warm up for the U.S. Open for more than 16 years. The eight Hamlet tennis courts have been graced by such world renowned players as Martina Navratilova, Pete Sampras, Stefan Edberg and Michael Chang, to name a few. Though the Hamlet Cup Tournament is now a fond memory, The Hamlet can boast new exciting traditions that are being cultivated today through programming for its

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members and their guests. This programming includes weekly Adult Cardio and Tennis Zones, Saturday morning Kids Tennis Zones, a new Tuesday Night Tennis Ladder and Sunday morning Concierge Tennis. Men’s and Women’s USTA tennis teams have been added as well as fabulous holiday events and tournaments and finishing the season with the annual and highly anticipated Club Championships. All these programs and events will be played on the Club’s six immaculate hard courts, as well as the two HarTru courts, all of which are lit for evening play. The Hamlet is pleased to announce that Pickleball will be a new featured addition at the Tennis Center. The Hamlet's history and current tennis programming make it one of

the most popular destinations for tennis enthusiasts looking for great amenities in a private country club setting. With such a beautiful environment in which to enjoy the game in mind, The Hamlet has developed new Social Memberships, catering to tennis and pool enthusiasts, as well as young professionals who are just starting to add golf to their busy lives. The Hamlet continues to be top of mind for the most discerning golfer of every skill who are looking for the Country Club lifestyle. If you are interested in learning more about the new, exciting Hamlet Golf and Country Club, please contact Membership Director Hillary Epstein by calling (631) 499-5200 or e-mail Hillary.Epstein@ClubCorp.com.

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junior player spotlight junior player spotlight junior player spotlight junior player spotlight junior player spotlight junior player spo

Junior Player

spotlight By Brian Coleman

Kaitlyn Fleckner ennis is the sport for a lifetime. That creed gets right to the heart of what is so great about our sport, and goes to show that there is no cookie-cutter approach to picking up the game. Kaitlyn Fleckner is a perfect example of this notion as the West Islip senior’s tennis timeline differs from many of her peers. “I started playing tennis in ninth grade,” said Fleckner. “My family and I moved to West Islip from Manhasset before my freshman year, and my parents pretty much told me that I had to do something so I said, ‘Okay, I’ll play tennis’. Prior to high school, I only played a little when I was younger at camp and for fun, so I tried out and made the Junior Varsity team. The commitment to playing tennis was an important one for Fleckner, who was navigating the difficult world of being a high school freshman while also adapting to a new school. “I felt like when I first started playing, my confidence, and not just in tennis, was really low,” she recalls. “I didn’t really know who I was. I was just this little ninth grader in a new school, and I felt like tennis helped me to not only acclimate, but also develop as a person. I made a bunch of friends

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through tennis and made more friends through those friends. It’s weird to think about how different things could have been if I hadn’t decided to play tennis.” Despite being new to the game, Fleckner quickly picked it up and rapidly improved to the point where she now plays first singles for the Varsity team. That quick progression does not come as a surprise to her first ever coach, Emilie Katz, who says starting tennis at that late of an age can actually work to her benefit. “Kaitlyn has a huge forehand and good footwork. She needs work on her backhand which will help her overall consistency, but the progress she has made in the past three-and-a-half years is remarkable,” said Katz, who played Division I tennis. “I also became serious about tennis at a later age than most. I played casually and enjoyed many sports but going into ninth grade I was ready to put my full focus on tennis, and I couldn't get enough. Many other junior players were burning out or had already hit their peak, while my game was getting

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er spotlight junior player spotlight junior player spotlight junior player spotlight junior player spotlight junior player spotlight junior

better daily, and I was eager to learn.” The summer after she started playing, Fleckner headed down to Florida and trained at the academy of famed tennis coach Rick Macci which is when her game really started to flourish. Being in an academy-setting with other top players and under the tutelage of Macci, Fleckner took her game to the next level. “I spent the summer down in Florida and I think that’s when my game really started to develop,” she recalls. “That’s when I really got serious about my tennis. Rick was such a great coach and person. He helped my serve a lot. When I first went to him, my serve was shaky and weak. He was always constructive when I had a lesson with him and always knew the right corrections to make.” So just four years after she began playing tennis, Fleckner became a high-level varsity player with aspirations of playing collegiately. That can be attributed to her unwavering work ethic, something all of her coaches have raved about, including Macci. “The best thing I can say is that she’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever worked with, and I’ve been doing this for 40 years and worked with some of the best of the best,” he said. “As far as the work ethic and commitment to excellence, this girl is at the top of the food chain. The effort, the attitude to want to get better, is unsurpassed. And to me,

that’s a starting point. Her work ethic and desire to get better is what jumped out at me first and foremost.” That work ethic extends beyond her success on the tennis court, as Fleckner is also a top student in the classroom and does her part to give back to the community. In 2020, she led the charge to create a tennis program for children with autism, and brought that program to the 2020 New York Tennis Expo at Nassau Coliseum. “My older brother is autistic, and I wanted to incorporate the two biggest aspects of my life which are my family and tennis,” said Fleckner. “It was a really cool event. My whole team came down and we taught the tennis basics. It was nice seeing the kids having so much fun. I know how much tennis has helped me in so many different ways, including dealing with life, so it was nice to be able to bring a smile to their faces. There were a bunch of different high school teams that came and helped out. I hope we can do it again in the future and I’m sure we will. It was a really great experience and I’m glad we were able to do it.” Fleckner is headed off to college next year where she hopes to continue her charitable work. “It’s definitely something I hope to continue in the future, and while I may be away at college, maybe I can start a continued on page 26

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program there, or join an organization that does something similar,” she says. “I’d be so grateful to be a part of anything like that.” That college experience will take place at Washington University in St. Louis, the school that Fleckner was eager to attend and where she hopes to continue her tennis career. “I am beyond excited to be a part of the Wash U community next year. I am still in shock that I got in. It’s been my dream school for quite some time now, so I am glad that it all worked out. I am looking forward to continuing my academic and athletic career at such a great institution,” said Fleckner. “I’m excited to be learning what I want to learn about, and be around people that are enthusiastic about what they’re learning. For tennis, I want to continue playing. I hope I can walk-on to the team at Wash U. I really love playing as part of a team, and I hope I can continue to do that.” In order to do so, Fleckner will continue her training and work on improving her overall game which includes some specific fixes she is currently focusing on. “My backhand is something I have been working on,” she said. “I reconnected with Emilie this year, and told her I wanted to work on backhands, and we literally hit only

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backhands for an hour during one session. It was to the point where I had blisters on my hand but I could see the improvement. I’m trying to incorporate that shot into my game more. My forehand is pretty good but there are little things with it that could be better. I’m also working on getting more spin on my second serve and being more accurate with those shots. So there are tiny things that need to be corrected with my shots, but the main focus has been my backhand.” Tennis has been a major focal point of Fleckner’s life, and has helped her navigate her high school years. She got to compete one last time for West Islip this spring which was an ideal way to conclude her high school career. “I think we were crossing our fingers that we’d be able to play, but in the beginning of the school year I didn’t think we were going to,” said Fleckner. “I’m obviously really glad it worked out and I was able to play one last year, and that I’m able to see everyone again and have that camaraderie with the team one last time. It’s a really special thing to be a part of, so I’m glad we got to do it one last time.” Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for Long Island Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at brianc@usptennis.com.

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Your Next Opponent Is A Duck. Wait, What? By Ricky Becker f you are like most tennis players, there is probably a specific type of opponent that you don’t like to play. I am not just talking about game style; I’m talking more about personality. It might be a loud fist-pumper, someone who plays at a slow pace, a cheater, a good friend, someone you hadn’t met who is acting like a good friend, etc. The easiest but most ineffective way to handle it is to deal with it on a personal level and let it affect your emotions, “I hate this guy/girl!” Now think about it, when was the last time you played really well when you invested your emotional energy toward your opponent on the other side of the net? Probably not too often. And this is why your next opponent is a duck. Some ducks are tall, some are short. Some are loud, some are quiet. Some have yellow beaks, others have orange. Some approach you aggressively if you have bread in your hand while some others stay behind their friends. It doesn’t really matter. Each one might be different but at the end of the day, each is a duck. If you are looking for a fun activity as a little kid or older adult, they serve their purpose. This is how you should view your opponents. Each opponent brings a different personality, physical presence and game style to the table, but at the end of the day, they are an opponent. They serve their purpose. If you are a competitive tennis player, you didn’t start competing just to beat the cheaters or just the people who don’t say the score loud enough. You started competing to push yourself, gain confidence and gauge

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your improvement, while also hopefully winning matches along the way, use it for college, or maybe make a living by playing professionally. Who you are playing is inconsequential in the big picture. Growing up, the top players in the world all played different opponents from one another. They weren’t enamored with all their opponents but they didn’t let an opponent get them so angry that sidetracked them from the bigger goal of say winning a national tournament for example. Next time you play someone who yells “Come on!” and fist pumps at 15all in the first game, don’t look at them as annoying or emotionally draining. You are letting this person, who is

really inconsequential to your tennis, get in the way of your tennis. Look at this person as someone who is a loud duck that is lacking confidence. This is just one type of duck you have to figure out during your lifelong tennis journey. If you are playing someone who pushes every ball deep without much pace, don’t start thinking that this is boring and annoying. Challenge yourself to think this is one feisty duck and I’m going to get dirty myself and enjoy this challenge. One of my students was nice enough to give me the gift of a shirt with a duck on it shortly after I shared this anecdote with her. I won’t verbally tell my next opponent this is how I view him!

Ricky Becker is The Director of Tennis at the prestigious Pine Hollow Country Club for his ninth year, coaches high-performance juniors throughout the year and has been the Director of Tennis at three of Long Island’s biggest junior programs. As a player, Becker was the Most Valuable Player for the 1996 NCAA Championship Stanford Tennis team and ranked in the top-five nationally as a junior. He can be reached at rbecker06@yahoo.com, 516359-4843 or via juniortennisconsulting.com.

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Roger’s Return By Brian Coleman

ennis fans were given a present in the early part of the 2021 season as Roger Federer made his long-awaited comeback to the ATP Tour. For the first time in more than a year, the 39-year-old Swiss returned to the court in Doha, Qatar back in early March. “I never thought it was going to take this long,” said Federer. “I am very happy to be back playing a tournament again.” Federer would win his opening round match against Great Britain’s Daniel Evans before falling to Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia in his ensuing match, with both matches going the full three sets. But Federer’s results were hardly important, to either his loyal fans or the Swiss Maestro himself. “No, no, no. This one is super easy. I’m already over it,” he said when asked how long it would take him to move past the defeat. “I would have loved to play tomorrow, don’t get me wrong. But at the same time, I’m also happy to get a rest. I’m happy with how I played today. I’m happy how I did yesterday. I’m happy I am back on the Tour. I’m pleased I came here to Doha. So it’s really a positive return for me. I’m really happy.” While Federer made no hints at retirement or gave any indication his time on the tour could be over during those 13 months off, at 39-years-old and coming off an injury, nothing was guaranteed. He subsequently withdrew from the Dubai event soon after his ouster in Doha, and he announced he would only play one clay event (Geneva) ahead of the 2021 French Open. The Geneva tournament was his first on clay since he competed at the 2019 French Open. It’s a tough spot in the season for Federer to return in as clay has never been his best surface; only one of his 20 Grand Slams has come on the clay. After two arthroscopic knee surgeries last year, it will be interesting to see how his body holds up. And the question on the minds of most tennis fans is: can Federer win one more title to bolster his count to 21? Last year, Federer’s longtime rival Rafael Nadal equaled his mark of 20

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Grand Slam singles titles as he won the French Open in the fall. His first attempt at a major title in more than two years will be on the red clay courts of Roland Garros, the place that Nadal has so famously dominated at over the last two decades. “I want to celebrate great victories again,” Federer said earlier this year. “And for that, I am ready to go the long, hard road.” At 39-years-old, Federer can look across the sports landscape for inspiration, and can find examples of athletes playing late into their careers and being successful. Earlier this year, 43-year-old Tom Brady led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a win in Super Bowl LV, his seventh Super Bowl title. Prior to that, 36-year-old Lebron James carried the Los Angeles Lakers to the NBA Championship. There is precedent for older athletes still remaining successful when they are supposed to be “over the hill”. Tennis presents a different challenge than those sports, however. The obvious one being it is an individual sport as opposed to a team sport; there is no substitutes

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Photo credit: USTA/Mike Lawrence

to check in for Federer when he gets fatigued during a match (like in basketball), and he doesn’t have time to rest on the sideline when his defense is on the field (like in football). Compiling consistent results and remaining physically fit

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over the course of two weeks is a difficult task for anyone, let alone a player on the verge of turning 40years-old coming off two knee surgeries. But the greatest players in their respective sports are built differently


than other athletes, and Federer possesses the motivation and desire to continue writing chapters in the book that is his career. “There are question marks all over. When you come back from an injury, the biggest challenge is to trust yourself 100 percent again in the capabilities of your body,” he said. “I just feel like the story’s not over yet.” Federer can also look to Nadal as an example of someone up there in age that has fought back from injuries to return to the top of the game. Between the two of them, plus Novak Djokovic, the Big Three have won all but one of the Grand Slam titles since the start of 2017, and Federer is eager to return to competing for majors just like his two peers. His last Grand Slam came Down Under at the 2018 Australian Open, when he outlasted former U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic in five sets. “I’m so happy, it’s unbelievable,”

said Federer. “I’m happy it’s over, but winning is just an absolute dream come true. The fairytale continues for me. After the great year I had last year, it’s incredible.” In that quote he was referring to 2017, a year when Federer won both the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles, as he looked to put some significant distance between himself and Nadal and Djokovic on the all-time Grand Slam list. “I’ve won three Slams in 12 months,” he added at the time. “I can’t believe it myself.” Since that title, Nadal has added four Grand Slam titles to his collection, and Djokovic has won six, as Federer’s place atop the alltime list is not as secure as it seemed just a couple of years ago. But it may be unfair to place the expectations of winning a Grand

Slam title on a player on the verge of 40-years-old who is still working his way back from injury. No matter what results he compiles in his early matches back on the tour, the tennis world is better for having Federer back competing, and fans hope to see his greatness displayed inside those white lines once again. “I know that people will think that the measuring stick will only be titles, trophies, finals and semifinals and I am happy that people think of me that way but, honestly, the expectations are in a completely different place for me,” said Federer. “I might surprise myself. I actually already have done in practice the past three weeks. I was surprised with how well it actually did go. But we know matches are a different animal, so right now I just take it day by day. I am happy I am back on the tour again.”

Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for Long Island Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at brianc@usptennis.com.

Photo: Ryan Loco

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USTA Eastern Long Island Region USTA Long Island to Host High School Tennis Championships

The USTA Long Island Regional Council has invited this season’s All-New York State & All-County girls’ players to represent Nassau and Suffolk County high school tennis in the 2020-21 Long Island USTA High School Tennis Individual Championships. In this one-time event, the top placing four singles and four doubles teams that accept their invitations— representing their respective counties—will play in this tournament, which will feature a main draw and a consolation draw; each participant will be guaranteed at least two matches. The tournament is scheduled for Saturday, June 5 (rain date of June 6) beginning at 9:00 a.m. at the Hofstra University tennis courts in Hempstead. A similar boys’ tournament will be held in late June. “The USTA Long Island Council recognized how hard the last year has been on our high school players due to the pandemic,” said Jonathan Klee, regional director, USTA Long Island. “The New York State High School Championships were cancelled this year and, for the boys, it will be two years in a row. For our graduating seniors and those players who may have missed out on two state

championships, we wanted to bridge the gap and give them an opportunity to play for a USTA Long Island High School Championship. Our volunteers really stepped up, and with coordination from the USTA Eastern staff, we were able to make it a L6 sanctioned event.” The girls’ event will be a USTA Eastern Sanctioned L6 Girls 18 and Under Long Island Invitational Tournament. The main draw will consist of a first round eight game pro-set, with the semifinals & finals being two-out-of-three sets. All matches will be no-ad scoring, and third sets will be a 10-point super tie breaker. All consolation matches will be 10 game prosets with no-ad scoring. All-State singles and doubles teams will be guaranteed entry. Doubles players must register individually but must play with their county partner to be eligible. All County winners are encouraged to enter and will gain entry through a draw process with preference to grade seniority and an all-factors method if a spot becomes available. There is NO entry fee for this event. An awards presentation recognizing all the participants in this special tennis event will take place immediately after the last match. The winners will also be recognized at the annual USTA Long Island Awards ceremony.

Klee Starts Third Term Jonathan Klee started his third term as Regional Director for the USTA Long Island Council in January. “It has been a pleasure to serve the community for the past four years by leading the LI Council,” Klee says. “The next two years will be challenging as we return to outdoor play. Last year, we had the challenge of indoor facility closures. We responded with an education campaign 34

showing that the scientific data supported that tennis could be played safely, both indoors and outdoors. That led to indoor and outdoor courts reopening. Pandemic permitting, we plan to have many of our usual USTA programs in 2021, starting this spring and summer. We also plan to form a Long Island Junior Council to gain the perspective of our youth players.”

Long Island Tennis Magazine • May/June 2021 • LITennisMag.com


USTA Eastern Long Island Region Coming Soon!

The USTA Long Island Regional Council looks forward to bringing back its summer Kids’ Days, which last took place in Nassau and Suffolk Counties in 2019 The USTA Long Island Region Council is excited to announce that Nassau and Suffolk Kids’ Days will be back this summer! Stay tuned to these pages, to our “On the Ball: News from LI” newsletter and to our Facebook pages (USTA Long Island and USTA Eastern-Long Island Region) for details about dates and locations.

The Council is also pleased to announce that the popular Long Island Awards Ceremony is returning! The pandemic may have delayed the festivities, but we intend to recognize the best and brightest in the Long Island tennis community in September. More information will follow.

Locals Represent Within USTA Long Island is well represented at the National and Sectional USTA levels with local volunteers being selected to join committees: l Mike Pavlides, USTA Long Island past Regional Director and longtime Scholastic Representative on the LI Council, joins the USTA National High School Tennis committee. l Jonathan Klee, LI Regional Director, begins his fourth term on the USTA National Constitution & Rules Committee

l Tito Perez, who serves Long Island on the Diversity and Inclusion and Junior Team Tennis Committees, will now also serve on the National Junior Team Tennis Committee l At the Sectional Level, Klee serves as Chair of the Eastern Regional Directors Committee l LI Region Council members Scott Axler and Clark Ruiz have joined the Eastern nominating committee l Pavlides was reappointed as the USTA Eastern Awards Chairperson for a third term.

USTA Eastern Long Island Regional Council Executive Committee • Jonathan Klee, Regional Director • Michael Pavlides, Past Regional Director • Sunny Fishkind, Vice Regional Director • Randi Wilkins, Secretary LITennisMag.com • May/June 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine

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Keep Momentum Alive and Bring Racket Pets Into Your Game n compliance with USTA's guideline for players to avoid sharing equipment, Racket Pets presents our new bundle packs that includes a Gamma Junior Tennis Racket. Racket Pets are the first dampener and overgrip set that brings a racket to life by turning it into an adorable pet! The dampeners' enthusiastic facial expressions combined with matching overgrip is the perfect way to accessorize a new racquet just in time for summer camp! Racket Pets has been helping put more fun into tennis since it launched in 2018. Creator and founder, Maria Maddock, a mother of four with a huge love for tennis, has purchased countless dampers and overgrips throughout the years and realized that players love using shock absorbers and overgrips to personalize their racket. With this idea, Racket Pets was born. It is the only matching dampener and overgrip set on the market that accessorizes a tennis racket and gives it an identity as a “pet”. Racket Pets’ dampeners have a distinctive look in the facial expressions to evoke a sense of joy and enthusiasm, while the matching overgrip is patterned after the body of the animal. Great detail was given to designing the dampeners’ facial

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expressions to evoke joy and enthusiasm. They are made with premium quality PVC for maximum performance as a shock absorber. The matching overgrip is patterned after the body of the animal and has a light tacky feel while offering long term durability. This accessory is the perfect blend of fun, performance and fashion for a tennis racket. Our current animals are Alligator, Dragon, Elephant, Giraffe, Lion, Snake, Tiger, Unicorn and Zebra. Since its launch, Racket Pets has gone into over 100 pro shops and clubs and are being sold in retail outlets at the following ATP/WTA Professional tournaments, Cincinnati Open, BNP Paribas Indian Wells Open, Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, Citi Open and Winston-Salem Open. By turning a tennis racket into a Racket Pet, the ultimate goal is to increase the FUN element in a tennis game and get more kids onto the courts. We also offer wholesale pricing to pro shops, teaching professionals, tennis events and academies. Send inquiries to Maria Maddock at info@racketpets.com or call (480) 766-6797.

Long Island Tennis Magazine • May/June 2021 • LITennisMag.com


Strike A Pose By Mike Puc he single most crucial factor for a good hit in tennis is contact. If you start with a goal of exactly where you would like to hit the ball in relation to your body, you may focus on efforts to get into this position. While the preparation and finish for different players will vary, the contact is remarkably similar. Slightly in front of your body, knee to waist high, is the ultimate strike zone for groundstrokes -- with a two-handed backhand being stuck slightly later than the forehand. The same is true on volleys, overheads and serves. Getting too close to the ball is one of the most common errors for club players, often resulting in a condensed “chicken wing” finish and a short ball, shank or even arm pain.

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The goal is to find your ideal contact point and strike zone to produce a firm hit. A simple drill to create a longer hitting zone and solid shot is to pose on your back toe after the shot. Work with a Coach, friend, or ball machine to toss balls to you on the baseline. Concentrate on aligning your body with the ball for the proper contact and visualize an exceptionally long swing where you carry the ball extending 24 to 30 inches on your racket. No chicken wings! Posing on

your back toe will lengthen your hitting zone with the wonderful byproduct of properly transferring your weight for an effortless swing and solid result. Try this drill even if you are an open stance player, to reinforce hitting out and through the ball. Posing on your toe is great for volleys as well. Strike the ball in front of your body with attention to your back foot, and you will be hitting solid deep shots in no time.

Mike Puc has been the Director of Tennis at Gleneagles Country Club in Delray Beach, Fla. since 1998. A winner of 15 national titles and an ATP world ranking, Mike directs 25 teams with 350 players in nine leagues, while offering the most extensive Calendar of Events in South Florida that includes tournaments, lectures and social round-robins.

LITennisMag.com • May/June 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine

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2021 Long Island Girls’ High Ho, Tiegerman Seal Syosset’s County Championship

eading into the Nassau County Championship between Port Washington and Syosset, most people knew it would be a tightly-contested match. The county’s two top seeds had been on a collision course throughout the season, and squared off with a county title on the line. And the match did not disappoint. In the end, it was the Braves of Syosset who came out victorious, defeating Port Washington 4-3 at Eisenhower Park to earn the program’s second county title in the last three seasons. “I give the girls and the parents all the credit. This was not your normal season,” said Syosset head coach Shai Fisher. “They were so dedicated from the beginning. It was a completely different season than we’ve ever had, but they just hung in there and kept building with each match. We have an ultra-young team, but they stuck together and it paid off. I’m so happy for them.” The Vikings jumped out to the early lead as Dasha Perfiliev won 6-0, 6-2 over Eesha Kaushik at first singles, and Ellie Ross notched a 6-0, 6-0 against Rachel Lin at second singles.But from there, the Syosset comeback was on. Elsie Ho & Amanda Huang defeated Grace Ain & Yazmeen Deyhimi 6-1, 6-1 at third doubles to put the Braves on the board, and, soon after, Alexa Brecher scored

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Liv Tiegerman and Alex Ho came back to win at first doubles to clinch the county championship for Syosset a 6-0, 6-3 victory against Katie Kors at third singles to knot the overall team match at two-all.Iris Ho & Mia Silverman held on to win 6-4, 6-1 over Yasmeen Munoz & Joanne Salloum, bringing Syosset within one win of the county title, with first and second doubles remaining.

Long Island Tennis Magazine • May/June 2021 • LITennisMag.com


h School Recap On the first doubles court, Alex Ho & Liv Tiegerman found themselves in a comfortable position: down a set. In their semifinal against Hewlett, Ho & Tiegerman also dropped the first set, only to come back and win to help push Syosset into the county Dasha Perfiliev won at first singles to put Port championship. Washington ahead early “In our semifinals against Hewlett, we were also down a set and came back to win, so that helped our mentality,” said Ho. “We really wanted to stay positive and be more consistent. We figured that since we were down a set, we had nothing to lose and we’re the underdogs anyway…we just left it all out there.” The duo did just that, fighting back to win 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 and sealing the county title in front of the fans that gathered to watch the last two matches on court.

“The cheering helped a lot,” said Tiegerman. “It really makes us stay positive, and I think it worked in our favor.” To round out the scoring, Port Washington’s Chloe Fanous & Gaby Sorin won 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 over Sara Gao & Zia Mukherjee at second Alexa Brecher notched a key win at third doubles. singles for Syosset The match was the culmination of a unique season in girls’ tennis in Nassau County, one that was pushed back from last fall and began this year in early March. “I was not expecting a season at all, if I’m being completely honest,” said Alex Ho, a junior co-captain. “The fact that we were able to have one, plus playoffs and a county championship is amazing. It’s such an honor to be a part of this whole collaboration.”

TENNIS CAMP

For boys and girls entering grades 2-10 (specialty camps) and 7-12 (Pasion Tennis Camp) Want to improve your tennis skills this summer? Net Generation is designed for beginners and teaches the fundamentals of tennis in fun and engaging ways. Elite Tennis is a full-day program for experienced players entering grades 6-10. The Jason Pasion Tennis Camp is a one-week intensive program designed for players competing or striving to compete in USTA Regional, Sectional and National Tournaments, and those interested in playing tennis competitively at school.

For more information, visit hofstra.edu/camp or call 516-463-CAMP. LITennisMag.com • May/June 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine

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2021 long island girls’ high school recap continued from page 11

Suffolk County League Champions here was no Suffolk County Team Tournament this spring. Below are the regular season champions for each of the county’s leagues:

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• League III – Sayville • League IV – Deer Park • League V – Bayport-Blue Point/Ward Melville • League VI – Mt. Sinai • League VII – Westhampton Beach • League VIII – Mattituck

• League I – Half Hollow Hills East • League II – Hauppauge

Enjoy Tennis, e Pickleball, Swim mming and More at Long Island’s pre emier private club, The e Hamlet Golf & Countrry Club. New Members enjo oy access to the follow wing amenities: • • • •

Pickleball - the fun new paddleball sport Six lighted outdoorr hard courts Two lighted outdoo or Har-Tru courts Leagues and tournaments

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Join the fun to oday! Hillary Epstein, Membersh hip Director 631.499.5200 | hillary.epsttein@clubcorp.com | One Clubhouse Drive Commack, NY 11725 ©ClubCorp USA, Inc. All rights reserved. 47928 0320 AC

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Long Island Tennis Magazine • May/June 2021 • LITennisMag.com


Hewlett's Arbitman Wins Third County Singles Title

eading into her freshman year at Hewlett High School, Rachel Arbitman made the decision to play high school tennis. Four years later, she concludes her high school career as the most decorated player in Nassau County history after winning her third county singles title, and her fourth overall as she won the doubles title in 2019. “As I said from the beginning, since freshman year, playing high school tennis was the best decision I ever made,” said Arbitman. “I loved bonding with my team and representing my school. Tennis is such an individual sport, but for me to be able to be part of this team, and then win four county titles has been awesome.” Arbitman added the Hewlett’s Rachel Arbitman won her third fourth title to her county singles title, her fourth overall, to collection by defeating conclude her high school career Isabella Sha of Friends Academy 6-1, 5-7, 6-0 in a tight match that spanned nearly three hours. “I think she played really well. She was moving me around and kept the ball deep,” Arbitman said of Sha. “I went down 2-5 in the second set and got it back to 5-5, but couldn’t close it out. She was playing really well on the key points and was able to convert them to finish those games.” To start the third set, Arbitman and Sha played a long game that would eventually go in Arbitman’s favor, giving the senior a key break point. “I fell behind 15-40 in the first game of the third set and I

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said, ‘Rachel, you have to come back’, and I knew that I could,” she said. “Winning that game really set the tone for the rest of the set.” From there, Arbitman was able to pull away from Sha and close out the set and the match, putting the finishing touches Friends Academy sophomore Isabella Sha on arguably the celebrates after converting on break point to greatest four-year-run force the county final into a third set in Nassau County’s high school tennis history. What she has done on the court speaks for itself, but her impact has extended well beyond her individual achievements, according to Hewlett head coach Abby Samlin. “What Rachel has meant to the Hewlett program is just extraordinary. For one person to turn around a while program is incredible, and she has made everyone on our team feel like they belong,” said Samlin. “We’re a south shore school, so we’re always competing with the top north shore schools, and it can be tough with the long bus rides and the level of players they have up there. But Rachel has turned this team into one of the best in Nassau County, and we’re up there with those teams now…She’s my leader on the court, and when her matches are over she is the first one cheering for her teammates. She has just been a coach’s dream.” In the third-place match, Hewlett's Nyla Gershfeld defeated Ava Scordo of North Shore 7-5, 6-3.

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2021 long island girls’ high school recap continued from page 11

Port Washington's Perfiliev, Ross Claim Nassau Doubles Title

asha Perfiliev & Ellie Ross had to wait a week to find out who they would play in the Nassau County Doubles Final. The sophomore duo from Port Washington won their semifinal against Roslyn’s Anika Tolat & Ava Veneziano, but rain suspended play for a week. Upon resumption, Perfiliev & Ross had to wait to see who would win in the other semifinal, which had been paused in the second set. When the pair finally got on court, they picked up right where they left Port Washington sophomores Dasha Perfiliev & Ellie off, and Ross did not drop a set en route to the county defeated the doubles title Syosset pairing of Alexa Brecher & Rachel Lin 6-2, 6-4 to claim the county title. “It was definitely a little frustrating, especially with the fact that they were already warmed up from their previous match while we were just getting started,” said Ross. “But we knew we could do it, and were able to play well in the finals.”

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The on-court chemistry was the key factor in their victory as they complement each other extremely well. “I think we have really good teamwork. We really know how to set each other up,” said Perfiliev. “Ellie is Syosset’s Alexa Brecher & Rachel Lin battled hard but great from the baseline and came up short in the county final allows me to be up at the net, and we were just able to put away the shots we needed to put away.” Their victory is another indicator of the strong program that Port Washington has built over the last several years under head coach Shane Helfner. He credits the success of Perfiliev & Ross to each of their competitive spirits. “They stayed focused. The thing with those two girls is they are big competitors,” said Helfner. “They’re always hungry to try to be the best they can be, and that always shows and helps carry them for sure.” In the third-place match, Tolat & Veneziano defeated Manhasset's Diane Durante & Evangelina Vases.

Long Island Tennis Magazine • May/June 2021 • LITennisMag.com


Hayes Wins Third Straight Suffolk Singles Title s the two-time defending Suffolk County singles’ a bit with nerves, I champion, Westhampton Beach junior Rose think she feels Hayes is used to getting everybody’s best shot pressure to beat when they compete against her. Hayes has played with everybody 6-0, 6-0, that burden since her freshman season but has yet to be and that pressure tripped up, and this spring she captured her third can work both ways. consecutive county title. Sometimes it “I was excited just motivates you and to have a season. I other times it brings love all the girls on your level down. But my team so it was Rose’s endurance exciting to come and physical size back,” said Hayes. has improved over “In terms of counties, the years, and while it’s always very I don’t think she stressful for me when played her best you come back and match, she managed you’re expected to to win her third Longwood sophomore Victoria Matos played win, and everybody county title.” some of her best tennis to reach the county is out to get you.” Still a junior, singles final Despite that, Hayes will attempt to Hayes added to her win a fourth county county title collection title later in her senior season later this year, but is more by defeating excited about continuing to be a part of the growing Rose Hayes of Westhampton Beach has now Longwood’s Victoria Westhampton Beach tennis program. won three consecutive Suffolk County singles Matos 6-3, 6-1 at “Westhampton is a really strong team,” she said. titles the 2021 Suffolk “We’re losing a couple of seniors which is always sad, County Girls’ but we have some really good young players, and I Individual Championships. think we’re going to be a strong team for at least "She was definitely more aggressive than some of the another couple of years.” other players I’ve played recently," said Hayes, a junior at Westhampton. "You can’t give anything to her, and that really made me elevate my game.” Matos presented Hayes with her biggest challenge this season, The POP-iTs are the only tennis accessory equaling her pace and keeping that goes on your racquet and makes ball the ball deep as the majority of pick up effortless and safe during these the exchanges between the two happened from the baseline. times of COVID concerns. Hayes pushed ahead with a late break in the first set, and used her The POP-iT Program makes stellar defense to pull away from ball pickup fun, Matos in the second set. finally! “Today she was on the defensive more than she was on Contact Jeff at the offensive, and that was an asset she really needed to rely 443-801-7565 on,” said Westhampton Beach or visit PopitPickup.com head coach John Czartosieski. “It was rare that she was able to go Available on AMAZON on the attack. She was struggling

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Tannenbaum Sisters Roll to Suffolk Doubles Title efore her final season playing high school tennis, Commack senior Emily Tannenbaum and her sister, freshman Kady, talked about playing doubles together at the end-of-the-year championships. The duo made good on that pact, and compiled a dominant four-match run to win the 2021 Suffolk County Girls’ Doubles title, culminating in a 6-0, 6-0 victory over another sister pairing, Julia & Katelyn Stabile of Westhampton Beach, in the finals.

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Westhampton Beach’s Julia & Katelyn Stabile celebrate a point during the county doubles final

Emily & Kady Tannenbaum are the 2021 Suffolk County Girls’ Doubles Champions “We wanted to play at states together, but even though there wasn’t a state tournament, getting to play counties together was really fun,” said Kady. The Tannenbaums, the tournament’s top-seeds, did not drop

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a single game in any of their matches. They attributed their success to the inherit connection between the two, which is key when they are competing alongside one another on court. “We have a sister bond so the chemistry we have together is stronger than we could have with any other partner,” said Emily, who is heading to Annapolis to join the United States Naval Academy. “We spend so much time together, work well together, communicate well, and just have a lot of fun on court together.” Commack head coach Jackie Clark added: “I am so proud and a little emotional right now because this is Emily’s last Commack match,” she said. “We’ve been together since she was in seventh grade. Both the girls’ work ethics are unbelievable, their respect for the program and others is unparalleled. It’s been a pleasure and honor to coach players of this level. They have represented Commack incredibly and they did it with their game. They let their rackets do the talking…I’m looking forward to more journeys with Kady, and it’s been an amazing journey with Emily. She is such a great person and has a bright future ahead of her.” While Kady hopes to be back competing for county titles in her next three years at Commack, Emily concludes her decorated high-school career with a county title next to her sister. “We’re just grateful for the opportunity to play together,” she said. “It creates great memories. To end my career and all my years here with a win is everything you could ask for.”

Long Island Tennis Magazine • May/June 2021 • LITennisMag.com


Hills East’s Ferrantello, West Hempstead's Hovanec Named Coaches of the Year he 2021 Girls’ High School Tennis season on Long Island was a unique one, and presented more challenges to coaches and players than in previous years. Two coaches who rose above these challenges were Michael Hovanec of West Hempstead, the Long Island

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Tennis Magazine Nassau County Coach of the Year, and Steven Farantello of Half Hollow Hills East, the Long Island Tennis Magazine Suffolk County Coach of the Year. Long Island Tennis Magazine spoke with Hovanec and Farantello about their respective seasons:

Michael Hovanec, West Hempstead LITM: What was the hardest part of coaching in the pandemic? MH: The hardest part about coaching this season was having less players come out for the team with the pandemic going on. This made practices different from the past and we had to go play matches shorthanded. The team handled it all in a positive way. They also did a wonderful job following the safety protocols and made it easy on my part.

LITM: What does it mean to you to be honored with the Coach of the Year Award? MH: It feels great winning this award. There are so many excellent tennis coaches in Nassau County and I would be happy even being considered for it. Thanks to everyone that thought I was deserving of this award.

LITM: Were there any special moments this season that stand-out? MH: There was a moment the first week of the season when we were practicing and it started to snow. We all just started laughing because the typical season usually begins in late August and here we are in March getting snowed on. LITM: What was your favorite part of coaching this year’s team? MH: I feel so thankful just having the opportunity to coach this year’s team with all the question marks that were going on with the pandemic. Every player on the team was respectful and hardworking. It was a pleasure being able to get out on the courts and work with such a nice group that all have bright futures ahead. LITennisMag.com • May/June 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine

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2021 long island girls’ high school recap continued from page 11

Steven Ferrantello, Half Hollow Hills East LITM: You took over the Girls' program this season, following in the footsteps of such a great coach in Tom Depelteau. Did you feel any added pressure coming into the season because of that? SF: I am well aware of the expectations that come with coaching at Hills East so maybe a little bit, but overall I felt pretty comfortable stepping in as the new coach here. From day one, the girls bought in and adapted to my coaching style, which has made it very easy for me to do my thing. I would say it has been a very smooth transition in regards to them having a new coach. LITM: What was the key to your team's success this season? How were you able to handle all the challenges that the pandemic presented? SF: The key to our success was our depth and dedication. This is the deepest team I've ever coached and that certainly helped, because similarly to every other team in the county, we all dealt with students being quarantined or positive cases, etc. and it was sort of a

next person up mentality this year. In 10 matches we had nine different lineups which is the epitome of a full team effort. In a time with so much uncertainty and challenges, the dedication they all showed to the team was a huge part of why they did so well. LITM: While there are no team championships this year in Suffolk County, how proud are you of your team for compiling an undefeated record in the county's best conference? SF: Results aside I am so proud of these girls, I think I speak for everybody when I say I'm just so happy for them that they were able to get back on the courts, play this season and have some much needed fun. From the extreme cold weather, to wearing masks, to social distancing procedures, etc. they didn't complain at all and came to the courts each day with a smile and put in the work. They 100% earned this league championship and undefeated season that is for sure, this was just an added bonus to being able to play this season. Honestly, I couldn't be prouder of all of them. LITM: How excited are you to lead the Hills East tennis programs in the years to come? SF: Very excited, it's a privilege to coach at Hills East and I genuinely appreciate the opportunity given to me here. The interesting part about coaching a high school sport is that it is sort of bittersweet because each year you typically lose seniors, yet at the same time new students then come up. That is also what makes it exciting though, because every year is a different experience with its own set of ebbs and flows. I can't wait to see what is in store for the future here; I'm really looking forward to it.

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Long Island Tennis Magazine • May/June 2021 • LITennisMag.com


Silent Partner Tennis Ball Machines: The Machine With Muscle ilent Partner Tennis, a division of Deuce Industries Ltd., was founded in 1989 by Dr. John Bassili. A recreational tennis player and psychology professor, Dr. John had a dream. He sought a reliable tennis partner. One that would play on his schedule and help improve his game. Meanwhile, John's son was progressing through the ranks as a junior. His son needed a partner that could amp up the pace, but was also consistent enough to groove his strokes. So John built a tennis ball machine. Today, Silent Partner Tennis is a leading ball machine company in North America. It has served the U.S. from Buffalo, N.Y. for over 30 years. The company remains independent and family-owned.

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With advanced features catering to all levels, from beginner to pro, the machine’s portability allows players to put them in their cars and bring them to their local court. The machines are also great for clubs and coaches, who can position themselves right beside their students and control the machine by remote. The machines are especially useful for group lessons, as several lines of players can be fed at once. Some machines come with programmable sequence settings and even match simulation. Because Silent Partner only sells factory direct, it offers a wide selection of machines for the best deals on the market, and service is provided by the people who know the machines best. Check them out at SPTennis.com.

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Should Parents Sit on the Court During Their Children's Lessons? By By Steve Steve Kaplan Kaplan

ll parents want what is best for their child, and some believe that being an active part of their child's development during tennis lessons is the best path to ensure success. In contrast, other parents choose to sit at arm’s length and trust the process by being passive during lessons. Undeniably, there are both positives and negatives of each and, of course, we are all unique in many ways so no one set of behaviors will definitively be best. But be careful because providing supervision to your child while on court requires a delicate balance of support and watchfulness

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that can easily cross over into undermining, helicopter parenting. You will decide the right course of actions that best satisfy individual, cultural and circumstantial differences but, as a caveat to this discussion, it's important to honestly evaluate this one main criteria: Are you doing what is best for your child, or are you focusing on your own needs first? Here are some guidelines if you choose to sit on the court during a lesson: 1. Be Patient Avoid interrupting the instructor from

teaching because it will distract your child from learning. Of course your child may be subject to learning from many different voices, but there is a right time and place to instruct your child and more than one voice at a time is not effective communication, rather its disruptive noise. 2. Be Noncompetitive If you do choose to communicate with your child about the information being given, be reinforcing instead of adding to the message. We all have a limited capacity for assimilating new information. A narrow message that is reinforced is more powerful and more valuable than a broad, diffused message which "buries the lead". 3. Be a Team Player Parents often explain to me, "I know my child better than anyone." It's a reasonable statement, but equally reasonable is the concept that if I didn't know tennis technique, tactics and strategy better then the parents, then I'm not a very good fit as your child's instructor. All voices are not equal on the court during a lesson. A hierarchy of information is important. I don't provide technical advice to the surgeon in the operating room and if I do think that I know better, I would get out of there in a hurry.

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4. Be a Parent, Not a Fan or Coach Studies suggest that providing attention to your child will have an enormously positive impact if that attention is given in a supportive matter that provides judgment only on expectations of behavior and not achievements of performance. Sure, you can motivate a child by encouraging and judging their performance, but the risk is that you weaken their tolerance for failure which is guaranteed to limit their growth. If you don't sit on the court, communicate with your child and with your child's instructor by asking some or all of the following questions. l Did you work hard? l Were you positive? l Did you enjoy yourself? l What did you think the instructor was trying to teach you? l What would you like to learn? l What did you struggle with?

l Were you prepared for the lesson? l What did you do well? l What would you like to do better? l What are your goals for the next lesson? Next month? 6 months? One year, etc.? A modified frame of these questions is also appropriate to ask your child's instructor. Your child might not immediately have a great answer to all the above questions but that's fine because the goal of asking these questions is to stimulate thoughtful introspection and promote

open and honest communication between you and your child. Of course your child's instructor should have a formed ability to answer questions about your child's potential, performance, progress and plan. So back to my original question: should you sit on the court during your child's tennis lesson? Yes. If you want to, if they want you to and if by doing so you stimulate and promote their growth, enjoyment and independence. If your presence doesn't meet all of the above criteria, then consider backing off and providing more by doing less on court and more off court.

Steve Kaplan is the owner and managing director of Bethpage Park Tennis Center, as well as director emeritus of Lacoste Academy for New York City Parks Foundation, and executive director and founder of Serve &Return Inc. Steve has coached more than 1,100 nationallyranked junior players, 16 New York State high school champions, two NCAA Division 1 Singles Champions, and numerous highly-ranked touring professionals. Many of the students Steve has closely mentored have gone to achieve great success as prominent members of the New York financial community, and in other prestigious professions. In 2017, Steve was awarded the Hy Zausner Lifetime Achievement Award by the USTA. He may be reached by e-mail at StevenJKaplan@aol.com.

• 2018 USTA Long Island Private Tennis Club of The Year • Run by former Stanford University MVP and Roslyn High School MVP Director Ricky Becker and his staff of 13-pros including Long Island Icons Karl Sommer and Carrie Strum • Free Weekly Member Practices • Free Bi-Weekly Sunday Events • Multiple Women's and Men's Club North Shore Long Island Club Championships • Very welcoming membership with players at all levels • Appropriate coaching for players at all levels ranging from adult beginners and tots to high-ranked juniors and serious adult players • Many extra special tennis events throughout the summer

We have so much going on “on the courts” - it is no surprise that our court usage has increased by 1000% over the past 9 years. Schedule a tour with Heidi today! Contact Heidi Stanya, Director of Membership at 516-922-0300, x115 or heidi@pinehollowcc.org LITennisMag.com • May/June 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine

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The Tennis Guru: The Oracle his is the ninth installment of Dr. Tom Ferraro’s “The Tennis Guru” series. To read the first parts, visit www.LITennisMag.com. The trio awoke the next morning, cleaned up camp and continued on their trek up the mountain to meet The Tennis Guru. Yin felt strong and happy. He had met a wise mentor in Virgil who had helped him along and he had also met the beautiful Rebecca who he had fallen in love with. This had indeed been a wonderful journey, and now he was excited to get to the top and meet The Tennis Guru who was sure to be of help to him and cure his tennis troubles. As he sped up his pace he looked back at Rebecca and Virgil and yelled to them, “Hurry up you slow pokes, we’re almost to the top!” As he looked back, he was surprised to see that they were no longer walking his way. He stopped in his tracks and ran back to them: “What’s up? Why aren’t you coming?” Virgil looked up and said, “Yin, this is as far as we will go. It is up to you to travel the rest of the way alone. We must say goodbye to you.” Yin was shocked by this and didn’t know what to say or do. Virgil looked at him with a smile and said, “You have learned enough from us. Go forward on your own. And when you get to the gate you will need to give The Oracle something. Her prophecy is valuable and you’ll be allowed to ask her one question. Her answer will always be truthful and wise and accurate. She is the only one who can see the future and

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her prophecy is of great value. But she will answer in rhyme so make sure you recall what she says as she will only say it once before she disappears. You must give her an offering for her to speak. What do you have to offer her?” Yin looked down at his golden ring and said, “I could give her this ring I received from Charon.” Virgil smiled and said, “Yes that will work. Gold rings are of great value to her. She will be pleased. She will then give you her prophecy upon receipt of that ring, I am sure.” Yin was not at all happy with this but he could see that Virgil and Rebecca were serious about this and he hugged

By Dr. Tom Ferraro

them, thanked them and waved good bye to both. With a tear in his eye he went forward up the cliffs and before long he spied the giant castle of The Tennis Guru with 99 steps that led up to the gate. He climbed higher and higher and the steps became steeper and more dangerous. As he reached the top step he noticed that strange vapors were seeping from the steps and he became a little sleepy and dazed. Then he saw a beautiful woman dressed in a flowing white gown float towards him and say to him “Who is this lowly creature who stands before me? And where is your gift?” Yin was frightened but managed to say, “My name is Yin and I have come to see the Tennis Guru.” He held out his golden ring and gave it to The Oracle. “Good” said the Oracle, “Now tell me what is it you wish to know of your future?” Yin thought for a moment and then said, “I want to know how to become a champion.” And the Oracle spoke as follows: “You have come for my counsel, so this I shall say Practice and focus and often do play But the tried and true secret all champions possess, An inner belief they hold close to their chest.” With that, The Oracle vanished and the gates to the Tennis Guru’s castle slowly opened. To be continued…

For consultations, treatment or on-site visits, contact Dr. Tom Ferraro Ph.D., Sport Psychologist, by phone at (516) 248-7189, e-mail DrTFerraro@aol.com or visit DrTomFerraro.com.

Long Island Tennis Magazine • May/June 2021 • LITennisMag.com


Adult League Wrap-Up By Kathy Miller STA Adult League teams are registered, courts are booked, schedules are distributed and play began in early May! After a very rough year, which brought shut downs and new rules, we are happy to see players are coming back to the league. Long Island will have 187 teams compete this summer in various divisions which include the 18 & Over Men’s league at the 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5 and 5.0 levels and at the 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0 levels, and the new Open level for women! The 40 & Over league has teams at the 3.0, 3.5, 4.0 and 4.5 levels for both men and women. The 55 & Over league has women playing at the 6.0, 7.0 and 8.0 levels, while the men have teams at the 7.0, 8.0 and 9.0 levels. Last, but definitely not least, we have both men and women’s teams in the 65 & Over league, both with teams at the 7.0 and 8.0 levels. USTA Eastern will have the Sectional Championships this year for all leagues. The schedule is:

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• August 6-8: 18 & Over 2.5, 3.0, 4.0 & 5.0. • August 13-15: 18 & Over 3.5 & 4.5 and the 40 & Over 3.0 • August 20-22: 40 & Over 3.5, 4.0 and 45 levels.

available soon. The 55 & Over and the 65 & Over will have their Sectional Championship sometime in September. Details are still being worked out. National Championships are as follows: October 1-3 • 18 & Over 3.5 – Surprise, AZ • 18 & Over 5.0 – Phoenix, AZ • 18 & Over 3.0 – Oklahoma City ,Ok October 8-10 • 18 & over 4.5 – Surprise, AZ • 18 & Over 2.5 – Scottsdale, AZ • 40 & Over 4.0 – Oklahoma City, OK October 15-17 • 18 & Over 4.0 • 40 & Over 4.5 • 40 & Over 3.5 • 55 & Over 7.0

Surprise, AZ Scottsdale, AZ Oklahoma City, OK Orlando, FL

October 22-24 • 40 & Over 3.0 Surprise, AZ • 55 & Over 8.0 Orlando, FL October 29-31 • 55 & Over 6.0 & 9.0 Orlando, FL The Open division advances to an Invitational in Las Vegas the weekend of

September 23-26. The 65 & Over league also advances to an Invitational with the date and location to be determined. The Long Island 40 & Over Mixed Doubles league is still playing with winning teams to be soon be determined. They will advance to a Sectional Championship in September. The National Championship is scheduled for the weekend of November 12-14. Our 18 & Over mixed winning teams are advancing to the Sectional Championship the weekend of June 11th in Schenectady, NY. Winning teams from this event advance to the National Championship the weekend of October 29-31 for the 6.0 and 8.0 levels and the weekend of November 5th for the 7.0 and 9.0 levels. Good Luck to the 18 & Over Mixed teams at the Sectional Championship on June 11: • 6.0 Sportime Lynbrook - Captain Donna Healy • 7.0 Point Set - Captain Lori Sarnelli & Melissa Thomas • 8.0 Point Set - Captain Paul Schnabel & Jenn Jaeger • 9.0 Sportime Lynbrook - Captain Shanon Blue

Kathy Miller is the manager at Carefree Racquet Club and is also the Adult League Coordinator for USTA/Long Island. She may be reached at kathym65@aol.com.

The location for all three weekends are still being finalized and will be LITennisMag.com • May/June 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine

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Five Focus Points to Improve Your Game Quickly By Steve Annacone

ummer is upon us and the opportunity to improve your tennis game waits. There are a number of potential areas of your game you can work on now. Hitting the ball, having a good strategy, being in good shape, and learning how to compete better, are key. Many of my students ask me to recommend some things to focus on so that they can improve quickly. I recommend the five areas outlined below.

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Practice your forehand and backhand swings This can be done off the court and almost anywhere with a little space. Start from the ready position, turn your shoulders and take a nice smooth swing with your hand or hands finishing near your front shoulder.

Make sure you practice both shots and try doing some randomly (not just ten forehands in a row). Once you feel pretty automatic off the court, hit some balls with the same idea emphasizing the same swing each time. Practice going from forehand to backhand and vice-versa. Keep the swings a similar speed and try taking a few steps each time after the shoulder turn. This will help simulate what you face during an actual point. Remind yourself that even when the opponent hits a variety of different shots, you are going to try to keep your swing as close to normal as possible. Practice watching the ball This can be done during your normal warm-up by reminding yourself to follow the ball with your eyes, all the

way from your opponent’s contact with the ball, through the air, as the ball is bouncing, and, finally, as your strings make contact with the ball. Get ready after the hit and repeat the same thought process. Although this seems like an obvious point of emphasis, our minds tend to drift away from these ideas during a rally or a point. Hitting the ball solid as a result of watching the ball very closely is the key to a consistently good shot. Practice your serve This is probably the most under practiced shot. Work on keeping your motion nice and smooth, releasing the ball at the same point each time, and keeping all of your focus on the ball and the racquet meeting at impact. Once you feel good about the timing

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and rhythm, and your toss is going to the same spot, work on placing the serve in one of three areas in the service box: the half of the box that would make the return of serve a forehand, the half of the box that would make the return of serve a backhand, or right in the middle of the box so the serve ends up heading right towards the opponent. The location of your serve is more important than how hard you serve. Practice your return of serve This is the second most important shot in the game. The key to a good return is hitting the ball solid and early which allows you to use the pace that the opponent has hit on the serve. Use your watching the ball skills to track the ball from the opponents hand to

their racquet, following it to the bounce on the court, and ultimately, to the contact of the ball with your strings. Try to make contact in front of where you are standing and keep the backswing slightly shorter than you would on a normal groundstroke. Adjust your ready position and cover the areas that the opponent tends to serve more to. Play points, sets, and matches If you practice the ideas above but have not been able to test yourself in

competitive situations, it may seem challenging. Trying to win the point tends to take a player away from the basic things that give them a better chance to be successful. Practice the ideas under pressure and with consequences in order to become more confident about your ability to execute the shots in a match. Playing actual matches makes it much more likely that you can repeat the practice ideas discussed above, resulting in more instinctive play and more success!

Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis and MyHamptonsPro based in Sag Harbor, NY, and Tennis Professional at Ventana Canyon Golf and Racquet Club in Tucson, AZ. For details on lessons, clinics, or coaching, contact Steve at info@annaconetennis.com or call 865-300-7323.

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Settling Into a Match All the G.O.A.T.’s Do It By Rob Polishook

any in the tennis community know that Roger Federer has won 20 Grand slams, Rafael Nadal also has won 20, and Novak Djokovic is close on the trail with 18 slams. Similarly, on the woman’s side, Serena Williams has won 23 Grand slams and is on the heels of Margaret Court who has won 24 Grand slams. Behind Serena and Court are Steffi Graf, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, who have won 18 slams. Now, maybe you’re thinking this article is going to be a greatest of all time (G.O.A.T) debate. Actually, no, I’ll leave that for others. You may also be thinking that these slam titles are what make the players great and puts them in consideration to be the G.O.A.T? Well, yes and… no. It’s just not that simple, there is another dimension that I believe must be considered. This dimension is equally, if not more, important than winning Grand Slam titles. It is often forgotten or overlooked because we tend to only look at the finals. Our focus inevitably shifts to the end result, the trophies, the awards and the records, but not the journey and how the player progressed to the finals. The dimension I’m talking about is being able to win the early round matches when players are heavily favored. While some may think this is easy, most players know the extra weight of expectations they must shoulder when favored. From my experience as a mental training coach, I see how the junior players and weekend warriors struggle with playing in the moment. They usually get caught up in the end

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result; the win; the expectations. They get caught up in what their friends are saying. Things such as “you got this; you’ll beat this player easily.” Or, “you beat them last time; it should be a lay-up to win this time.” Or simply, “you’re better; you’re going to crush them.” However, the G.O.AT’s know better, and we can learn from them. They know it’s sometimes harder to play an opponent when you are supposed to win! Inevitably, in this situation, the favored player often feels more vulnerable, threatened and distracted because of these expectations. The G.O.A.T’s do what I call “Settling into the Match”. This can be broken down into getting into a set, a game, a point or even a changeover. It means to stay present in the moment and don’t get ahead of yourself. Don’t try to rush and speed things up. In truth, the only way to win a match is one shot, one point, one game, and one set at a time. The G.OA.T’s brace themselves for a competitive situation no matter the opponent and understand the match will take time and their task is to play their game, breathe, and adapt to the current situation. Their mindset is on the challenge, competing and what they can control. This shifts the focus

off the vulnerability, expectations and outcome. Now you may not be a G.O.A.T at this moment. However, the next time you are favored in a match. I suggest thinking about how you can settle into the match. Here are five ideas which may help you. 1. Feel: notice your feet on the ground and the sensation of stability, balance, and rhythm as you walk to the court and even between points. 2. Breathe: take a few breaths and embrace the challenge rather than looking at it as a threat 3. See: Allow your eyes to take in the surrounding. Take a moment to just be aware. Feel, breathe, and see is a great way to help the nervous system slow down and settle into the moment. 4. Treat opponent with respect: they are someone trying to improve themselves just like yourself. 5) W.I.N.: you might still be focusing on the “WIN” rushing, trying to get off the court in a single shot or a game. Try reframing WIN to W.I.N (What’s. Important. Now.) This will help shift your mindset into the present moment and allow you to separate from the outcome. Next time you are heavily favored, make it your intention to settle into the match.

Rob Polishook, MA, CPC is the founder of Inside the Zone Sports Performance Group. As a mental training coach, he works with the whole human athlete helping them to unleash their mental edge (heart.energy.spirit) through mindfulness, somatic psychology, animal wisdom and mental training skills. Rob is author of 2 best-selling books: Tennis Inside the Zone and Baseball Inside the Zone: Mental Training Workouts for Champions. He can be reached by phone at (973) 723-0314, by e-mail rob@insidethezone.com, by visiting insidethezone.com, following on Instagram @insidethezone

Long Island Tennis Magazine • May/June 2021 • LITennisMag.com


Luckiest Recreational Doubles Player on the Planet By Barbara Wyatt

I am the luckiest recreational doubles tennis player on the planet. When I step on a tennis court with Noel, our opponents’ knees are already knocking because of his ability to deliver a ball one inch over the net which then drops like a cannonball. On another USTA team, I partner with Kathi, a tall, slender player who can wind up her forehand or backhand like the great baseball pitcher Dennis Eckersley, and deliver a formidable cross-court. My partner Frank has a wingspan like the Northern Royal Albatross, able to cover nearly the entire net (normally, I would say Frank’s span is like the Wandering Albatross with its slightly wider span, but Frank deserves the title, “royal”, with his booming laugh and joy having a racquet in his hand.) If an opponent pops a return to my partner Sheila, their only option is to run away. Jeff is the partner who flies about the court with the winged sandals of a Greek God. Misaat at the net? WHAM. Point over. We win. Lee’s slice? It is a wonder-to-behold from my perspective, and a brutal weapon against opponents. How did I become so lucky to have these partners and others? These are the traits I look for in a partner:

match. They will slam, poach, lob, and throw in a drop shot they practiced in a recent drill or lesson. If that new skill is not quite working, they go back to the game of consistency. They know just what to do when a stroke is not working well at that moment in the match. 3. They balance me out. My tennis game is not perfect, but I have a few strengths. My partners bring their talents, which make us a formidable team. They recognize my weaknesses (there are a few) and gracefully support me. 4. They share observations. We will share quick notes during a match: “she’s a leftie”, “his forehand is weaker than his backhand”, “lob her, because

he’s not running”. Only about the opponents, never about each other. 5. They forgive me; and quickly. After I slam another ball into the net, my partners forgive me without hesitation. We move onto the next point, when I will deliver the ball over the net and inside the white lines. 6. They work on their game. Together or separately, we practice shots in drills or at lessons to build our tennis talent because we love the game of tennis. Interested in discovering if you and I would get a kick out of a fun, competitive match as a solid pair? I collect good people.

Barbara Wyatt is a Writer, Photographer, USTA Official, and Mobile App Developer of iKnowTennis!, the tennis rules app. Her poem, Ode to Tennis, an amusing poem on the joys and frustrations when learning tennis, is available at Amazon. She can be reached by email at BarbaraW@iKnowTennis.com

1. They enjoy the game of tennis. Players’ personalities come out on court. I observe how they handle the ups and downs in a match. Nothing I love more than accidentally running into my partner as we both charge to a ball. There is a burst of laughter and we agree that more communication is needed. 2. They use new weapons in a LITennisMag.com • May/June 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine

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JensenZone By Luke Jensen

Understanding the Strengths and Weaknesses of You and Your Opponent ttention fellow tennis super fans! It seems like we are trying to pull out a massive five-set match over the last year-plus. Like any tough match, there are ups and downs but the world kept chipping away and continued to just chop the wood. It’s nice to be able to think we are getting close to beating this virus once and for all. Tennis participation was up 26 percent in 2020 because of natural social distancing, but I hope that these new players who picked the game up continue to play as we move through 2021. Most tennis players know their strengths and weaknesses. Even at the basic level, players figure out what shots they hit that stay in the court, and the shots that couldn’t hit water if hit from a boat! It’s so important in competition to know what shots are your money makers. It is also extremely critical to learn as much as you can about your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses starting during the warm-up. I

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see so many matches where players are playing right into the strengths of your opponent, but it’s important to learn as much as you can about your opponent’s game prior to the start of the match. Being aware of the situation you are in, especially under pressure, is vital. Keeping a clear mind and focus can win more pressure points than you may think. Players who tell me they are overwhelmingly nervous or are thinking too much while on the court never seem to reach their true potential. My response to that is that I need you to think constantly on the court. Make proper adjustments to the ever-changing situations that arise, but to make sure you are thinking of the right things. Be the problem solver you were when you were a student taking a test. Break down the problem and find solutions. This way you are thinking of the right methods to finding full potential under pressure.

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Long Island Tennis Magazine • May/June 2021 • LITennisMag.com

I am going to share something with you that is going to come off extremely arrogant, but I promise I don’t mean it that way. I lost critical matches from being over confident; I never thought I was going to lose. I had put in all the prep work and had sound thoughtful game plans so I always trusted my training prepared me to go into the arena with confidence. I airballed a chance at a perfect season in college, and two Grand Slam Mixed Doubles finals that I was absolutely SURE I was going to win. Overconfidence was my greatest weakness on the court. I always knew the odds, whether I was playing Roger Federer or Roger Rabbit, but my parents trained all of us in the family to have a strong confident streak that helped us win more than we lost. Sometimes it’s a good thing to have some butterflies and nerves. It keeps you focused and locked into the battle. As long as those nerves don’t overwhelm your decision-making during the competition, that little nervous edge can help you. Now if you are like me and lose from overconfidence, well, stop high- fiving the fans and hitting fancy shots and just go win the match! Go have fun this summer and always go for the tweener! Born in Grayling, Mich., Luke Jensen’s resume includes 10 ATP Tour doubles titles and singles victories against Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg and Jim Courier. Jensen and his brother, Murphy, won the 1993 French Open doubles title. Luke is currently director of tennis at Sea Island Tennis Center in Georgia. He may be reached by phone at (315) 443-3552 or e-mail lukejensen84@yahoo.com.


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