Long Island Tennis Magazine November/December 2021

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LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine


November/December 2021 • Volume 13, Number 6

Table Of Contents

litennis Long Island Tennis Magazine

Teenage Dream


Emma Raducanu’s rise to stardom

Long Island Tennis Magazine

See page 10

1228 Wantagh Avenue, Suite 203 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 Joey Arendt Art Director Francine Miller Advertising Coordinator (516) 409-4444, ext. 301 francinem@usptennis.com

Photo credit: Pete Staples/USTA

Highlights 6 14 20 30 38 58

LITM Challenge Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles Event Puts a Bow on Summer 2021 Coaching Spotlight: Jason Pasion, Sportime Lynbrook Sha Wins Nassau Singles Title; Perfiliev, Ross Repeat as Doubles Champions Guide to the Top Tennis Travel Destinations 2021 Long Island Tennis Magazine’s Coaches Roundtable Discussion 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

Emilie Katz Assistant Marketing Coordinator Barbara Wyatt Contributing Writer Rob Polishook Contributing Writer Luke Jensen Contributing Writer

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Interns Tyler Cohen Alex Drossman Phoebe Warshauer Joanne Salloum Alexa Brecher

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Taylor Bracone Liv Tiegerman Ellie Ross Katie Kors Alex Ho

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.

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Racquet Sport Report presented by All Racquet Sports Across Long Island…News and Notes from Across the L.I. Tennis Community Slinger Serves a Successful First Year An Athlete Needs a Rival By Dr. Tom Ferraro USTA Eastern Long Island Region Update All it Takes is a Racket and a Dream By Steve Kaplan New York Beach Tennis Hits the Sand This Summer USTA Eastern Inducts 2021 Hall of Fame Class You are Good Enough By Rob Polishook My Tennis Tribe, My People By Barbara Wyatt Pine Hollow Country Club Hosts End-of-Season Championships Adult League Wrap-Up By Kathy Miller Moonballers! By Chris Lewit Jensen Zone: The Amazing Return in New York By Luke Jensen Mythbusters: Not All Coaching Advice is Based on Facts By Ricky Becker

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

Racquet Sport

Report presented by

All Racquet Sports

One-On-One With Whitney Kraft, All Racquet Sports Managing Director


n recent years, racquet sports have become more and more popular throughout the country and across the globe. Pickleball and Padel Tennis have become two of the fastest growing sports, and are played by not only tennis players, but other athletes as well who find them an ideal way to pick up a racquet sport, remain active and try something new. Long Island Tennis Magazine sat down with Whitney Kraft, Managing Director of All Racquet Sports, to learn more about this trend, and how All Racquet Sports continues to be at the forefront of growing these games.

1. Talk about your new role and what you do at All Racquet Sports? ARS belongs to a network of experienced Padel court builders worldwide and our US based team is dedicated to promoting complementary sports in North America. Our 360 degree approach includes facility design, court sales and installations, certification of coaches, programming and bringing the best products to market in padel, pickleball, beach and pop tennis with our Adidas partnership. 2. Are we currently in a racquet sport boom? Why do you think that is? Yes, the silver lining of Covid

provided a safe and healthy opportunity for folks to be introduced, return to, and play more frequently tennis, pickle, beach, pop and padel. The growth of pickleball in the US has been incredible and the growth of Padel in Europe is off the charts. Now we are seeing both sports cross migrating across the pond. 3. What makes sports like pickleball an attractive sport for people to pick up? The quick adaptation and immediate perceived competence to serve, rally and play for pickleball is huge. The sweet spot closer to the hand is key along with the smaller dimensions of courts creating more social interaction, bridging levels and mitigating mobility limitations. The sport did everything right in its drive for participation. The recruitment of local ambassadors and leveraging technology to network players made finding a game easy. Plus the sport is fun! Pickleball is like tennis “used to be” in tennis boom 1970s; drop-in style, players rotate in/out of doubles, so more fun and less commitment 4. What does All Racquet Sports do in terms of promoting and encouraging the growth of these sports? We support athletes, events and work

with facilities, clubs, universities, and private owners to provide information on the best practices and most innovative programming recommendations. Our certification for Padel professionals in partnership with the USPTA also helps ensure the growth of Padel, as new and existing players develop and improve. Play more and play better! 5. What should clubs/ academies know about these sports, and how can they implement them into the programming at their facilities? Cross training in racquet sports develops athletes and prevents burnout/boredom of over play in one discipline. People love choices and to have a menu of racquet sports available increases visits, time spent at facilities leading to bottom line profits and member satisfaction. Multiplex facilities help allow players to migrate to the best sports with the highest retention potential, along with more play incidences, particularly if active on multiple racket/paddle sports. To learn more about these sports and how All Racquet Sports is at the forefront of this trend, visit AllRacquetSports.com.

LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine


Across Long Isl Serve & Return Hosts Charity Event at National Tennis Center

Serve & Return Inc., the non-profit created by Bethpage Park Tennis & Education Center’s Steve Kaplan (pictured right), hosted its annual Charity Fundraiser, a high-level tournament featuring current and future college tennis players, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The event was won by Long Island junior Sebastian Bielen (second from right), and Columbia’s Victor Pham (third from right).


Ziets-Segura Wins Girls 18s Doubles Title

Linda Ziets-Segura, who trains at Glen Head Racquet & Fitness, partnered with Shannon Lam to win the Doubles Title in the Girls 18s Division of the L2 National tournament in Midland, Michigan. The victory came soon after Ziets-Segura won a doubles title at an ITF event in Managua, Nicaragua.

Tannenbaum Wins Doubles, Mixed Doubles Titles at Empire Cup

Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com

Kady Tannenbaum (pictured right), who trains at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy Long Island, was victorious in both the Girls’ Doubles and Mixed Doubles divisions at the L4 Empire Cup at


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

CourtSense Bogota in New Jersey. She paired with Michelle Ryndin to win Girls’ Doubles, and Ivan Nikolovski to win Mixed Doubles.

Carmo Wins “Little Mo” Regionals

Ross School Tennis Academy student Luanna Carmo competed in the “Little Mo” North Regionals at the Cary Leeds Center in the Bronx, and came away victorious. Carmo won the 9U Green Ball division, winning a tight championship match 7-6, 3-6, 107, to advance to the “Little Mo” Nationals.

have success on the court as a program, but it’s even more important to give back to the community and make a difference!” said Helfner.

EPIC LI Puts on Annual Golf & Tennis Fundraiser

Port Washington Hosts Free Community Event EPIC Long Island, an organization that provides premier treatment, care, education and support to those with epilepsy, and to individuals with The Port intellectual or Washington tennis emotional team hosted a free challenges, held its clinic for kids in the annual Don community, Luneburg Golf & providing instruction Tennis Classic at the and lessons for a Mill River Club in number of local Upper Brookville on kids. Led by coach Monday. Tennis Shane Helfner and professionals from his Vikings’ team, the Mill River Club dozens of kids put the participants came out to learn through a variety of from one of the best drills and games, for high school teams a multi-hour clinic. The event featured a raffle auction, wine on Long Island. and cocktail tasting, breakfast, lunch and dinner, and more. “It’s one thing to LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine




LITM Challenge Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles Event Puts a Bow on Summer 2021


o close out the 2021 summer, Sportime Quogue hosted the third Long Island Tennis Magazine Challenge of the summer. The event was the final installment of this summer’s Challenge Series, and brought together 70-plus players for a Men’s Doubles and Women’s Doubles tournament, culminating with a viewing of the 2021 U.S. Open Women’s Singles final on the club’s pool deck. The matches were spread out across the 22 outdoor courts at 6

Sportime Quogue, beginning with pool play between the teams which led into knockout rounds. In between matches, players and spectators could watch others from the deck and enjoy the catered lunch provided. Towards the latter stages, a bar was set up for Happy Hour and the U.S. Open final between Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez was shown. Off the court the atmosphere of the Challenge events are social and friendly, but the tennis on the court can get pretty competitive. This most

Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com

recent tournament featured six divisions of play based on combined level. In the Women’s 6.0-6.5 division, Anne McConville and Tanya Mattera entered the event with a simple strategy, but one that worked out. “We had a very good, yet simple strategy,” McConville explained. “Try to put the ball onto the other side of the net, and get it past the opponent.” Using that strategy and the chemistry they developed practicing

David Maher & Thiago Dualiby, the Men’s 9.0-9.5 Division Champions

Maureen Ganiaris & Kalinka Maroones, the Women’s 8.0-8.5 Division Champions

Arrwin Yip & Junji Nakamura, the Men’s 8.0-8.5 Division Champions

together for the last couple of weeks, McConville and Mattera came out victorious in their division. “We played really well together,” said Mattera. “There were some great teams, but we were able to play well and stay positive throughout.” Kim Onorato and Sarah Kull were the winners of the Women’s 7.0-7.5 division, and their success has them thinking of moving up a level at the next Challenge. “No doubt we would play together again,” said Onorato. “And I think we’ll try to bump up to the 8.0-8.5 level for the next tournament. It was a great event and a beautiful day for tennis.” The partnership between Maureen Ganiaris & Kalinka Maroones only began a couple of weeks ago, but the quick-developing chemistry catapulted them to the win in the Women’s 8.0-8.5 division. “We just had fun, and played with no pressure,” said Maroones. “She was there for me and I was there for her. We’ll absolutely be back.” “This is the first time we played together, and we just clicked,” added Ganiaris. On the Men’s side of things, Matt

Jacob and Stephen Weiss played their best tennis to come away with the title in the Men’s 7.0-7.5 division. “Matt is a great partner and it was a great day out here,” said Weiss. “We played a few times before this, but it all came together today. The competition was tough, but at the end of the day we tried to do the same things that were working. Our consistency paid off. I was setting him up and he kept putting the ball away.” Arrwin Yip & Junji Nakamura defended their title from earlier this summer in the Men’s

8.0-8.5 division by claiming the championship on Saturday. The duo got off to a slow start in pool play, but found their rhythm as the tournament went on. “We lost our first match, but once we got going things started to pick up for us,” said Nakamura. “We play with each other a lot and I think that was the key. Yip added: “It was a great time. The weather was perfect, and the amenities and set up was fantastic. This is our second time playing and our second time winning, so we’re going to keep coming back until we lose. The food, the people and the competition on beautiful courts: It’s always a great continued on pag e8

LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine


litm challenge series recap continued from page 7

Kim Onorato and Sarah Kull, the Women’s 7.0-7.5 Division Champions

Matt Jacob and Stephen Weiss, the Men’s 7.0-7.5 Division Champions

Anne McConville and Tanya Mattera, the Women’s 6.0-6.5 Division Champions

time here.” Unlike the 8.0-8.5 winners, David Maher & Thiago Dualiby paired up for the first time and found their form as a duo to win the 9.0-9.5 division. “We live in the same house, but this was our first time playing together,” said Mar. “It was a bit rough in the beginning, I shanked a few balls and got a bit frustrated, but towards the end it was easy sailing.” The key for them was improving as the day went on, and figuring out what strategies worked for them against the competition. “We had to make adjustments.

Things weren’t going the way we wanted them to go in the beginning, but we kept trying to make them play a few more balls, and I think we improved with each match,” added Dulaiby. “In the finals, we did very well. It was our best match.” The competition and camaraderie of the Long Island Tennis Magazine Challenge series make the event series special, and we are excited to see the events continue to grow yearto-year. We look forward to putting more events together as we close out 2021, and look for an even more

expansive LITM Challenge Series in 2022. “With the help of our great sponsors, we were able to make each event this summer special in its own way. At the first event, we had professional chefs making hot food for lunch, at the second event we had a charitable component for kids with special needs, and the third event the bar opened while screening the U.S Open Women’s final,” said the tournament’s founder David Sickmen. “Every event feature catered food and happy hour, all of this combines to make what we do stand out and


Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com

try to keep building the event series as something players look forward to annually. We’ve always found it important for the community to work together and we thank the players that regularly join us, and we look

forward to seeing everyone at the next event.” The LITM Challenge Series was made possible due to the support of all the players, plus our sponsors: BTIG, Chris Savino, Compass,

Cowen, inPhorm, KeyBanc Capital Markets, L’Antista, Plado Tasting Bar, Sportime/John McEnroe Tennis Academy, Town Bagel, Virtu Financial, Vite Vinosteria and USTA Eastern.


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nytennis New York Tennis Magazine



LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine


Teenage Dream

Emma Raducanu’s Rise to Stardom By Brian Coleman


s Emma Raducanu fired an ace, her third of the match, past Leylah Fernandez inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, she dropped her racket and put her hands over her face in disbelief. The 18-year-old girl from Great Britain was now a U.S. Open champion after compiling a dream-like run in New York, becoming the first British woman to win a Slam title in nearly five decades. “It's an absolute dream," said Raducanu. "I've always dreamed of winning a Grand Slam. You just say these things. You say, 'I want to win a Grand Slam.' But to have the belief I did, and actually executing, winning a Grand Slam, I can't believe it." Raducanu’s stay in New York was longer than the typical fortnight that most champions spend at the majors. Her journey started the week prior to the commencement of the main draw: qualifying. Raducanu had to win three qualifying matches in a row just to earn a spot in the main draw. “As for this three weeks in New York, I would say having such a supportive team, the LTA, my agent, and everyone back home watching on TV, thank you so much for your support over the years,” she said. “Thank you for making me feel so at home from my first qualifying match, you have spurred me on in some difficult moments.” Seemingly overnight, Raducanu was a global superstar. She made the usual rounds that players do after a major victory, making appearances on morning talk shows and partaking in countless photo shoots. Just days after her win, Raducanu was also invited to the Met Gala, where she mingled with the biggest names in fashion, pop culture and sports. Recently, she was at the movie premier for the newest James Bond film. Her social media pages have jumpred to more than 2 million followers, and sports apparel companies and other brands are foaming at the mouth hoping to land Raducanu and have her promote their products. Marketing guru Mark Borkowski says that she could potentially be the first billion dollar female athlete. continued on page 12


Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com

Photo credit: Darren Carroll/USTA

LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine


teenage dream continued from page 10

"This is the start of something epic. She is a billion-dollar girl, no doubt about it,” he said. “She is the real deal. It’s not just that she plays extraordinary tennis, it’s also her background, her ethnicity, her freedom of spirit. People also love the fact that she is vulnerable, but laughs the pressures away.” It’s a truly meteoric rise for a girl who had temporarily put tennis on hold so she could focus on her academics during the pandemic. In fact, last month, she completed her studies at the famed Newstead Wood School in Orpington, England, where she received the highest grades possible in Math and Economics. While her on-court tennis skills, including a blistering two-handed backhand, are to be marveled at, perhaps the most impressive thing about Raducanu is her unflappable confidence and composure. Teenagers aren’t supposed to win major titles without dropping sets, and they aren’t supposed to seem unfazed competing in New York and on the biggest stage. But here she was in Queens in front of tens of thousands of spectators, and millions more watching on television, delivering a master class performance.


Photo credit: Darren Carroll/USTA

Just a couple of months before, Raducanu burst onto the scene at Wimbledon, where she reached the fourth round as a Wild Card. She had never played at a WTA Tour event prior to Wimbledon, but won three main draw matches at the tournament in her

Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com

home country. But in her fourth-round match against Ajla Tomljanovic, she began to have problems breathing and felt dizzy, forcing her to retire from the match. Her retirement was met with a mixed reaction, with some claiming she was

overwhelmed by the moment and could not handle the pressure. Whatever the reason was, the teenager put any notion that pressure was too much for her to bed with her run in New York. That unwavering poise comes from how she was raised, she says. Born in Toronto, Canada to a Romanian father and Chinese mother, Raducanu and her family moved to London when she was just two-years-old. Although her parents were unable to join her in New York and witness her accomplishment in person, they were certainly there in spirit. “I think the confidence comes from just inner belief,” Raducanu said in Vogue. “My mom comes from a Chinese background, they have very good self-belief. It’s not necessarily about telling everyone how good you are, but it’s about believing it within yourself. I really respect that about the culture.” She added: “I think that the calmness and the mental strength definitely comes from

my upbringing. I think my parents have both instilled in me from a very young age to definitely have a positive attitude on court, because when I was younger, it was definitely an absolute no-go if I had any sort of bad attitude. So from a young age, I definitely learned that, and it’s followed me until now.” In addition to playing tennis as a kid, Raducanu also did ballet, horse riding, swimming, go-carting and motocross, contributing to forming a well-rounded person and athlete. This, coupled with her focus on academics, has helped her avoid the tennis burnout many junior players face when their lives are solely dedicated to the sport. Raducanu’s composure allowed her to be successful on the tennis court, and it’s her charming demeanor that has transformed her into a global icon almost instantly. After her win, she

delivered a message in Mandarin to her friends and family in China, thanking them for their support. The next step for Raducanu now is to manage her stardom and fame which she now has to deal with. It can be a daunting task to handle the pressure of maintaining an image while remaining successful on court, and as we have seen over the past year, the mental health of athletes and the pressures they face can take a toll on a person. But Raducanu seems to be taking everything that comes her way in stride, and enjoying the fruits of her labor rather than running from them. “I don’t feel absolutely any pressure,” she said. “I’m still only 18years-old. I’m just having a free swing at anything that comes my way. That’s how I faced every match here in the States. It got me this trophy, so I don’t think I should change anything.”

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




LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine


By Brian Coleman

Coaching Spotlight 14

Jason Pasion Sportime Lynbrook


s the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the world at the beginning of last year, Jason Pasion, who at the time was the head coach of the Hofstra men’s and women’s tennis teams, decided to help out. Armed with a medical degree and a desire to contribute, Pasion wanted to do his part. “I remained in touch with a lot of my classmates from physician assistant school, and as I heard about the healthcare worker shortage and the obstacles they were facing every day, I decided, ‘You know what, I have the degree, I’m trained. Why not put it to use instead of doing nothing,” recalls Pasion. “Our season at Hofstra was cancelled, and I was only able to communicate with my team through Zoom. We weren’t allowed to practice, and a lot of them went back to their home countries. With everything that was going on, I really thought I could be of better use to the community.” Pasion began volunteering at local hospitals, and re-connected with old colleagues and classmates as he helped in the fight against COVID-19. While doing so, he continued to work part-time at Sportime Roslyn, something he had been doing off and on throughout his time as the full-time coach for Hofstra, and NYIT prior to that, as a tennis pro. Returning to the world of medicine, combined with an increasing role at Sportime, led Pasion to the decision to resign from his Hofstra coaching position and into the next chapter of his life. "Going back to work as a physician assistant during the COVID-19 pandemic made me realize that I want to return to the healthcare field," said Pasion. "I also wanted to stay involved in the sport I love, which made the position at Sportime appealing. Ultimately, I will

Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com

be able to spend more time with my wife and two sons.” Moving on from collegiate coaching was not an easy choice to make for Pasion, who says he will miss interacting with all his players, with whom he is still in touch, and traveling for matches or tournaments. But Pasion has embraced his new role as the Director of Tennis at Sportime Lynbrook, where he hopes to have a similar impact, like he did while coaching a college team and in medicine, on the lives of people he interacts with. “The biggest thing is I miss interacting with my team every day, on the court or off it,” said Pasion. “It’s definitely been a bit weird, and an adjustment. But I still do stay in touch with a lot of the players I recruited who are still there at Hofstra. They’ve been great, and they continue to keep me in the loop with what’s going on.”

That collegiate coaching experience is a valuable resource that Pasion is bringing with him to the Sportime community. For the last several years, he has served as a panel speaker at the annual JMTA College Recruiting Combine, and will now take on a bigger role for the

event which was created and run by another former college tennis coach in Jay Harris. “I’m really looking forward to taking on a role in that event moving forward, and bringing my insight into the recruiting process to help as many players as I can,” he said. In his new role with Sportime, and increased presence helping out in the medical field when he can, Pasion’s two loves are now intersecting. He is part of a family of medical professionals, including his wife who is a maternity ward nurse, and has always enjoyed giving back to others, something he does on the tennis court with the players he is coaching, and to patients when he is in the hospitals. “Tennis is my first love, with medicine coming in at a close second,” he says. “Tennis has continued on page 16

Why create a college recruitting video? To op Benefits: S S-ACE-Tennis.com e

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coaching spotlight continued from page 15

always, personally, helped me sort of free my mind, and it truly makes me happy. I loved helping the players that were on my teams, and now enjoy doing so at Sportime as well.” Tennis has always provide a cathartic-like outlet for Pasion, who first fell in love with the sport towards the end of seventh grade. He grew up a baseball player, but after hitting one day with his father, brother and sister, all of whom were tennis players, he knew tennis was what he wanted to continue to do. Bolstering this love was a trip to the U.S. Open one summer with his then-coach Dennis Christofor, who he remains in touch with and who he credits for introducing him to the game. “Watching Pete Sampras and

some of these other great players on the practice courts and in the matches, it was amazing,” said Pasion. “It really changed my whole outlook on the sport. I was like, ‘I want to be like that guy.’ It got me wanting to play competitive tennis, and I went on to play collegiately at SUNY Oswego.” Following Oswego, Pasion was set to head to medical school in the Philippines, but when his father got diagnosed with cancer, he decided to remain in the United States to help take care of him. As he did so, he also became an EMS worker, and was a first responder on 9/11 and at Ground Zero in the days following the September 11 attacks.

Soon after, he went on to become a physician’s assistant, and worked in family medicine before returning to his true love, as he says, which is tennis. It wasn’t until the pandemic struck last year that Pasion returned to the medical field, and now as he has found a home at Sportime Lynbrook, Pasion hopes to continue to be able to help out all those who he comes across, no matter what the endeavor. “I really want to have a positive impact on people’s lives, and that includes on and off the court,” said Pasion. “That’s what I like to do, and I’ve really taken a lot of pleasure in that.”

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

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Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com

Slinger Serves a Successful First Year


linger Bag is the ultimate tool for all tennis players and has disrupted the sport over the past year with its portable, affordable, and versatile tennis ball launcher. Slinger has executed on its aggressive growth strategies to become a leading connected sports company in tennis and eventually in new sports verticals.

Deals & sponsorships Slinger has a mission to make ball sports more accessible and fun for players of all levels. To propel this mission forward, Slinger has on boarded numerous professional players and top coaches over the past year to create a world-class ambassador team that includes worldrenowned players and coaches such as the Bryan Brothers, Nick Bollettieri, Tommy Haas, Dustin Brown, Patrick Mouratoglou, Eugenie Bouchard, and Darren Cahill. These ambassadors love using the Slinger Bag themselves for coaching or play. Slinger has also partnered with numerous brands throughout the year including Mouratoglou Tennis Academy, Dunlop, Peter Burwash International and UTSA, and has sponsored key events such as the US Open and Miami Open. To get the Slinger Bag in the hands of players across the globe, Slinger has established over 60 distributor agreements throughout this year, spanning across six continents. These areas include Brazil, China, India, Europe, Malaysia, South Africa and more—estimating over $250 million in distribution deals. Recent acquisitions In Slinger’s ongoing effort to become a leading connected sports company, Slinger has acquired a SaaS technology platform—Foundation Tennis. This platform is a pioneer in tennis software applications covering tennis club and facility administration

and encompassing highly functional user and CRM experiences. Foundation Tennis has a reach of over 17,000 US tennis facilities, One million registered current users and over 30 million transactions and court booking completed on its platform. It is also the only tennis company to be an official platform partner for the payment service, Square. The acquisition of Foundation Tennis gives Slinger the ability to successfully meet the specific needs of tennis players, member clubs and tennis facilities and begin providing new services to tennis facilities around the world. Slinger has also recently acquired an award-winning Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology provider for sports, GAMEFACE.AI. This leading AI company has developed the AI capabilities for Slinger’s upcoming app, which will be launching later this year. GAMEFACE.AI provides instant analysis of groundstrokes and biomechanics as well as event recognition from match play situations, all captured through a phone’s camera. GAMEFACE.AI’s technology, combined with pro player tips, drills and a community space for Slinger

Bag users will make up Slinger’s new app coming soon. To round out the year, Slinger most recently acquired PlaySight Interactive as its third acquisition of 2021. PlaySight is a pioneer and leader across sports video technology, data capture, high performance analytics and automated video production. Coupled with the recent acquisitions of Foundation Tennis and GAMEFACE.AI, this most recent acquisition of PlaySight Interactive will immediately expand Slinger’s footprint in the global tennis market and significantly enhance its AI capabilities. Growth by the numbers To close out a successful first full year of operations, Slinger generated gross revenues of $11.2 million on sales of over 20,000 Slinger Bag tennis ball launchers and accessories. This strong first year signifies the impact Slinger has had across the industry, with monthly sales topping $1 million in the U.S. in April 2021. To continue its growth, Slinger recently raised $11M in an oversubscribed funding round as they continue to rapidly move forward as an immersive sports company.

LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine


An Athlete Needs a Rival By Dr. Tom Ferraro


ust like a dancer needs music, or an actor needs an audience, an athlete needs a rival in order to grow and develop. There are many wellknown rivalries in sports. We have the Boston Red Sox versus the New York Yankees, which pitted Ted Williams against Joe DiMaggio and climaxed in the 2003 ALCS when Boston’s Pedro Martinez ran across the field during the brawl in Game 3 and tossed New York bench coach Don Zimmer so violently that good old Don Zimmer spun in the air and landed on his back. Golf has had many a mesmerizing rivalry including Sam Snead versus Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer versus Jack Nicklaus. In more recent times, and as Gary Smith of Sports Illustrated pointed out early on, Tiger Woods would ultimately have but one rival which was fame itself. And unfortunately for Woods, fame


proved to be a sinister foe indeed, resulting in all sorts of interesting addictions for Mr. Woods. Rivalries are very good for the sport since it brings out the best in both players, it guarantees close endings and exciting matches and it draws in screaming fans like bees to honey. When I was younger I remember being at the Belmont Stakes to witness the great rivalry between two of the greatest thoroughbreds in history, Affirmed

Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com

and Alydar. The crowd was so large that I was unable to see a single step as Affirmed beat Alydar by a nose. Baseball, basketball, soccer and golf have had great rivalries but tennis, as it pits individual against individual, is made to foster great rivalries. This fact was not lost on Andy Roddick’s father who wisely located and imported the best young player in Florida to live with his young son Andy. Mardy Fish was the import and as Andy played against him, they both developed their talent. This strategy worked well for both with Roddick ascending to #1 in the world rankings and after he retired, Fish climbed to the top of the United States rankings. Richard Williams, father of Venus and Serena Williams, also knew a thing about rivalry. They lived on the tough streets of Compton, Calif. and he started them young, pushed them hard and encouraged their sibling rivalry, all of which served to catapult them to the top of tennis. As is often the case, the youngest of the the sibling pair developed greater drive and ambition. Thus, the world watched as Serena became the dominant player in the world for many years. The sibling rivalry has been around for as long as the Old Testament, starting with the infamous story of Cain killing Abel out of envy. Science began considering the importance of rivalry when the psychoanalyst Alfred Adler, a peer to Sigmund Freud, began writing about birth order and sibling rivalry at the beginning of the 20th century. His theories still hold true today, some 120 years later.

The power of sibling rivalry was seen in the family of the artist Jackson Pollock. Most people know Pollack as the guy that gave birth to abstract expressionism with his action splatter paintings. But what people do not realize is that two of his older brothers were far better painters. In fact, Jackson Pollock flunked out of more than one art school and was told to turn to tennis or plumbing as a profession. But Jackson had the one thing that his siblings did not have: something to prove. And that is exactly how he came to dominate the world of art. Great tennis rivalries include Connors versus McEnroe, McEnroe versus Borg, Sampras versus Agassi and more recently Federer versus Nadal versus Djokovic. I recall when McEnroe defeated Borg at Wimbledon, it was painful enough to prompt Bjorn to quit tennis for good. One can wonder why it is so

important to wind up on top as #1 with second best not good at all. Maybe this comes from the family dynamic of siblings wanting to be the most loved in the family, the best of all the kids; mom’s favorite. The 1970’s comedy team of The Smothers Brothers capitalized on the theme of sibling rivalry as Tommy Smothers would angrily complain to his older brother at the end of every joke that “Mom loved you best!” The Three Stooges and the Marx Brothers also used the theme of sibling rivalry to get laughs. In sibling rivalry, the younger sibling often winds up feeling low, mean, small and defeated, and the older sibling feels bigger, better,

stronger and more confident. The ultimate irony is that it is usually the younger sibling that goes on to great heights. They have a burning need to prove that after all is said and done, they are good, big and strong. The early childhood experience of pain, shame and humiliation is the necessary fuel which an athlete must possess in order to persevere along his or her climb to the top. Only when an athlete feels they have something to prove, will they persevere against all odds and finally wind up on top. So if you had a childhood as the middle child, or had older siblings who tormented and beat you down, do not be discouraged for that is the fuel you will need to win the race.

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.

Get Your Game On ROSS SCHOOL TENNIS ACADEMY EAST HAMPTON, NY • Integrated academics and training program during the school year • Summer Multi-Sport Programs • Private lessons and court rentals • Adult programs for all levels

See details on seasonal programs at ross.org/tennis 631-907-5162 TENNISCENTER@ROSS.ORG

LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine


Dasha Perfiliev & Ellie Ross celebrate after the duo won their second-straight county doubles title

Sha Wins Nassau Singles Title; Perfiliev, Ross Repeat as Doubles Champions


eading into this season, Isabella Sha was motivated to get back to the Nassau County Individual Championships, and win one more match than she did last season. The Friends Academy junior, who lost in the county final in a three-set championship last season, did just that, as she defeated Nicolette Loeffler of Cold Spring Harbor 6-4, 6-1 at Eisenhower Park. “This was my goal, just to get back to this point, and it feels great to be able to do it,” said Sha. “It definitely feels surreal. I was here last year and a lost a tough match, so to come out here against some great competition and win it feels great.” Sha and Loeffler battled hard in the opening set, with the two splitting breaks of serve in the early games, and the set would then remain on serve until Loeffler served to stay in it at 4-5. Sha was able to secure the break to take the opener 6-4, and seize control of the match. In the second set, Sha made a conscience effort to be consistent yet aggressive when the opportunity presented itself. “She was really consistent,” said Sha. “So in the second, I tried to get one more ball back into the court than her, and then be aggressive. It worked out.” Friends Academy head coach Owen Kassimir added: “Isabella wasn’t moving as well as she normally does in that first set, so I just told her to go for her shots and try to move Nicolette around the court.” Sha will now look to build on this victory when she heads 20

to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Championships in Schenectady, an event that was cancelled last season due to the pandemic. “I don’t have any expectations for states,” she said. “I’ve never Isabella Sha of Friends Academy tracks down a been before, so I forehand during the 2021 Nassau County Girls' am just going to Singles Championship take it one match at a time and see what happens.” Loeffler, in addition to third-place winner Nyla Gershfeld of Hewlett, and fourth-place winner Angel Walia of Herricks, also earned All-New York State honors. In the doubles final, Port Washington’s Dasha Perfiliev & Ellie Ross were seeking to become the first doubles duo to repeat as Nassau County champions since Oyster Bay’s Courtney Kowalsky & Celeste Matute did so in 2014-2015. “We were definitely motivated to come back this year,” said

Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com

Perfiliev. “We felt like we were expected to win, so we did feel some pressure but we tried to embrace it.” After downing Eesha Kaushik & Alex Ho in the semifinals, Perfiliev & Ross squared off against Roslyn’s Anika Tolat & Ava Cold Spring Harbor’s Nicolette Loeffler is headed to Veneziano in the states after her runner-up finish finals. Despite a long layoff in between their semifinal and the finals, the Port Washington pair won 6-1, 6-0 to claim the county title for a second straight season. “They were playing two-back in the beginning, so we had to find a way to work around that,” said Ross. “We tried a lot of angled volleys and drop shots in the beginning to win some points early.” Perfiliev added: “Our game plan was to have Ellie at the baseline, and myself at net, and it was a formation that really worked for us. It was a strategy that worked, and we thought, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” Port Washington head coach Shane Helfner has seen Perfiliev and Ross develop their games over the last several years, and echoed the sentiments of their in-game strategy. “They both have a competitive spirit on the court and complement each other so well. Ellie is one of the most consistent players from the baseline I have ever coached and Dasha can finish with ease at the net and take over a court any day with her aggressiveness,” said Helfner. “They both don’t have weaknesses and so it’s hard to string points and games against them. They have both been a huge reason why our program has flourished over these last five years. I’m grateful they represent our program!” Perfiliev and Ross will now look to parlay their county title into a state title, an opportunity they also missed out on due to the pandemic last season. “I am extremely excited to be representing Port Washington and Nassau County at States this year,” said Perfiliev. “It was disappointing last year to qualify but not be able to go because of the pandemic. But I’m so ready to go this year and represent my school.” “I remember participating my freshman year and had such a great time,” Ross added. “I am so glad that both Dasha and I are able to represent our school together, and I know we will be ready to go." At the time of publishing, this was the only high school event to be completed. A full recap will be included in the January/February 2022 issue.

Singles Tournament (All NY State & All County Honors) From left to right: Angel Walia (Herricks), Nicolette Loeffler (Cold Spring Harbor), Nyla Gershfeld (Hewlett), Isabella Sha (Friends Academy • • • •

Champion – Isabella Sha – Friends Academy Runner-up – Nicolette Loeffler – Cold Spring Harbor 3rd Place – Nyla Gershfeld – Hewlett 4th Place – Angel Walia – Herricks

All County Honors (Quarterfinalists) • Zia Mukherjee – Syosset • Ava Scordo – North Shore • Alex Raikos – Mepham • Andrea Vases – Manhasset Doubles Tournament (All NY State & All County Honors)

From left to right: Eesha Kaushik & Alex Ho (Syosset), Ava Veneziano & Anika Tolat (Roslyn), Ellie Ross & Dasha Perfiliev (Port Washington), Alexa Brecher & Rachel Lin (Syosset) • Champions – Dasha Perfiliev & Ellie Ross – Port Washington • Runner-up – Anika Tolat & Ava Veneziano – Roslyn • 3rd Place – Eesha Kaushik & Alex Ho – Syosset • 4th Place – Alexa Brecher & Rachel Lin – Syosset All County Honors (Quarterfinalists) • Diane Durante & Evangelina Vases – Manhasset • Katie Kors & Phoebe Levitsky – Port Washington • Sara Gao & Olivia Tiegerman – Syosset • Mia Silverman & Manami Wakazono – Syosset

LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine


USTA Eastern Long Island Region USTA Long Island Celebrates With Annual Awards

Lori Sarnelli, manager of Point Set Indoor Craig Fligstein (second from left) , recipient of the Hy Zausner Racquet Club, received the Vitas Gerulaitis For Lifetime Achievement Award, is joined by Jenny Schnitzer, USTA the Love of Tennis Award Eastern Executive Director (left), Amy Fligstein, and Jonathan Klee, USTA Long Island Regional Director


ore than 150 people turned out to celebrate the best of local tennis at the 31st Annual USTA Long Island Awards Dinner in September. In an event that had been delayed from the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the USTA LI Regional Council recognized individuals and organizations for their on and off-court achievements. In his opening remarks, Long Island Regional Director Jonathan Klee recapped the past months since the last awards dinner and recounted some recent successes. “We have had quite a year and a half in Long Island tennis since we last met in 2020,” Klee said. “COVID, the shutdown of indoor and outdoor tennis, the reopening of safe outdoor and then later on indoor tennis, and the growth of tennis as a ‘safe sport’ to play.” He pointed to some recent successes: ++the return of Summer Kids Days with four events in Nassau and Suffolk ++the return of USTA Adult Leagues including several LI teams that won Eastern Sectionals, qualifying for National Championships this fall ++participation in several community events ++with the cancellation of the 2020 high school state championships, the LI Council ran a full-draw tournament of girls' individual singles and doubles All State and County Klee also congratulated the recipients of the 2021 Tennis Club of the Year honors: “It was awarded to all of 22

The family of Daniel Burgess gathers with Greg Balk (center, holding plaque), recipient of the inaugural Daniel Burgess Sr. Community Service Award. The waard was presented to Balk by Agnes Burgess (center, pink dress), widow of Daniel

our clubs that stayed strong through the pandemic and supported indoor tennis. Without you and your perseverance, none of us would be able to play the game we love,” he said. Additional highlights of the evening included: Longtime LI Council member and treasurer Craig Fligstein received the Hy Zausner Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his lifetime of achievement both on and off the court. Fligstein is Chief Development Officer at United Way of Long Island. He has actively brought tennis to and supported tennis for U.S. Veterans at the Northport VA Hospital and was instrumental in helping renovate the courts there. He also coordinates United Way programs that provide desperately needed funding to tennis pros and others. Lori Sarnelli, the longtime manager at Point Set Indoor Racquet Club in Oceanside, received the Vitas Gerulaitis “For the Love of Tennis” Award. This award honors an individual who demonstrates her love of the game through volunteering, supporting tennis programs and helping grow tennis throughout Long Island. Sarnelli has played an important role in the success of Point Set, which, in 2021, celebrated its 50th year. Sarnelli also captains many USTA League teams. The Arthur Ashe MultiCultural Award, given to a tennis player who embraces diversity, serves as an ambassador for the game of tennis, exhibits unmatched sportsmanship and shares his or her love of tennis with others, was presented to husband and wife Gil Bernardino and Sara

Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com


USTA Eastern Long Island Region USTA Long Island Celebrates With Annual Awards

Members of Circulo de la Hispanidad celebrate the Arthur Ashe Multicultural Award which was presented to Gil Bernardino and Sarah Brewster]

Brewster. The pair run the Circulo de le Hispanidad, whose mission is to improve lives by providing services, education and more. Circulo, located in Hempstead and Long Beach, participates in USTA LI kids’ days and runs tennis programming for children and adults. In loving memory of longtime USTA Long Island volunteer, board member and three-term president Daniel Burgess, the LI Regional Council renamed its community service award as the Daniel Burgess Sr. Community Service Award. Burgess passed away in 2020. He had been a fixture on the local courts for many years and devoted his life and career to helping his community through tennis. The award was created to recognize an individual, group or organization whose dedication to serving the tennis community is

Rose Buck Scalamandre Family of the Year: The Fehrs Family

outstanding and unique. Agnes Burgess, Daniel’s widow, made a heartfelt presentation about the importance of community service to her husband, and then presented the inaugural Daniel Burgess Sr. Community Service Award to Greg Balk. Balk has volunteered many hours at the VA center in East Northport, working and running clinics with the veterans there and playing tennis with the children in the day care center. In addition, he volunteers with United States veterans at Sportime in Kings Park. For a complete list of award winners and to see photos from the event visita www.longisland.usta.com Photos can be downloaded, saved, printed and shared. If you do share any photos on your social media, please tag #USTALongIsland.

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 • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine




C O N G R AT U L AT I O N S to All Award Winners from The USTA Eastern Long Island Region’s 31st Annual Awards Ceremony

Anabelle, We are so proud of you. Putting in a lot of hard work and sacrifice reflects your accomplishments. Congratulations on your success. We can’t wait to watch you continue to grow! Your Grandparents, Dorota & Grzegorz

Anabelle, You have shown what you are made of: hard work and not giving up. We are truly happy for you and your wonderful achievement. Congratulations and all the best, for everything your future holds. Your Grandparents, Aurelia & Andrzej 24




For a full list of winners, please scan the code or visit our website at www.sportimeny.com

Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com



C O N G R AT U L AT I O N S to All Award Winners from The USTA Eastern Long Island Region’s 31st Annual Awards Ceremony

Thank you for being so generous with your time, it is always much appreciated, Adult Volunteer of the Year Jason Wass.

Your dedication to the sport of tennis makes The Fehrs family special to the LI Tennis community.

Carefree Racquet Club proudly congratulates their 40 & Over Men's 4.5 team who represented us well at Nationals lead by USTA/Long Island Captain of the Year, Scott Chesney!

LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine




C O N G R AT U L AT I O N S to All Award Winners from The USTA Eastern Long Island Region’s 31st Annual Awards Ceremony

Sebastian, You have always worked at everything you do with your whole heart, and it shows. We wish you continued success in all you seek to achieve. Congratulations.


The Janczyk Family Congrats to our intern team members, proud of you girls! Sami Schilling Junior Tennis Volunteer of the Year Dasha Perfiliev and Ellie Ross Nassau County Girls Doubles Champ

Point Set congratulates our own Lori Sarnelli on being honored with the Vitas Gerulaitis "For the Love of Tennis Award." Your dedication and commitment to tennis make this award well-deserved!


litennis Long Island Tennis Magazine



Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com


Distribution scheduled for 01/04/22 This edition will feature: • Guide to Top Clubs/Programs • Australian Open Preview • Girls’ High School Recap • 2022 Long Island Tennis Landscape Distribution across Long Island at 300+ locations: • Indoor tennis clubs • Country clubs • Tennis camps • Retail stores • Gyms • Restaurants and health food stores • Supermarkets and • Many more!

Don’t miss the advertising opportunities in the next edition of Long Island Tennis Magazine January/February 2022! Facebook-www.Facebook.com/LongIslandTennis Instagram-@LITennisMag • Twitter-@LITennisMag

Submissions for both advertising and editorial are due by December 3, 2021 LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine 27 For more information, please call 516-409-4444 or e-mail Advertise@LITennisMag.com

All It Takes Is A Racket And A Dream By Steve Kaplan

Photo credit: Darren Carroll/USTA


widely circulating news story and USTA post reveals that a teacher once told U.S. Open Women's Singles finalist Leylah Fernandez to quit tennis and focus on school because she would never make it. Fernandez used this teacher’s skepticism as rocketfueled inspiration to drive herself to succeed. Fernandez clearly is a winner, and winners turn lemons into lemonade. The meteoric rise of both Fernandez and champion Emma Raducanu is truly inspiring, but is this aspect of Fernandez’s story the healthiest area for the industry to focus on to inspire young players? The superficial take away from this anecdote is that we should rise above those who doubt us and follow our dreams, but when we dig deeper, is there more to this story? I went to High School with a 28

young man named "Doug" who, to be kind, was not the highest academic achiever.In our High School Yearbook he wrote, "I'm going to win the lottery." Doug didn't go to college, but instead he worked at a local bar. Two years later, to all our amazement, Doug actually won the lottery! His quote in the newspaper after winning was classic: "Two million dollars sure buys a lot of beer and pretzels." Imagine a New York State Lottery post featuring Doug which reads: "A teacher told me to stop playing the lotto and focus on school. I'm glad they told me this because I used these words to motivate me to buy more tickets to prove them wrong. Lotto: Follow Your Dreams!" Is Doug's story more unlikely than Leylah's? Maybe not, and before

Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com

dismissing this idea consider, as Arthur Ashe pointed out, that the odds of a tennis player getting to a Slam Final are probably greater that the odds of winning the lottery. Ashe famously said, "The world over 50 million children start playing tennis, five million learn to play tennis, 500,000 learn professional tennis, 50,000 come to the circuit, 5,000 reach the grand slam, 50 reach Wimbledon, four to the semifinal, two to the finals...” This is not to suggest that Leylah or Emma are lucky to have their success, they earned it through hard work, dedication, self-belief and a great support system. They are very lucky. however, to have the rare talent that could make their efforts pay off in such spectacular fashion. Many try to get to where they have gotten, but

very few succeed. Maybe the teacher advising Leylah should not have been so absolute and said the dream crushing words "quit tennis." Perhaps saying, "enjoy tennis, dream big but focus on school because you never know what can happen" would have been a better way to frame this message. Despite the teachers poor word choices, the USTA's promotion of this story is a little ironic when you consider that Fernandez played her finals in Arthur Ashe Stadium and Ashe was such an outspoken critic on society’s emphasis on sports achievement over classroom achievement . Arthur Ashe once said, "I have become convinced that we blacks spend too much time on the playing field and too little time in libraries." How many former juniors today, upon reflection, are happy they focused LESS on school

and MORE on tennis? Compare this with the number of former junior players that have regrets that they focused MORE on school and LESS on tennis. It is rare for the cost of focusing on tennis ahead of school to be worth the risk and further, it is clear that tennis and academic achievement are not mutually exclusive. What you learn in the classroom can be taken to the tennis court and what you learn on the tennis court can further

you in the classroom. Tennis is the best sport in the world for a young person to use to further themselves off the court, in the classroom, in the workforce and in life. Indeed, Leylah's and Emma's story is the stuff of dreams and young players should be encouraged to dream big. However, there is a time for dreams to be tempered with a large dose of reality because for 99.99 percent of all players it is education, not dreams, that pay the bills.

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. 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.

LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine


Long Island Tennis Magazine’s

Guide to the

Top Tennis Travel Destinations Evert Tennis Academy 10334 Diego Drive S l Boca Raton, Fla. l (561) 488-2001 The Evert Tennis Academy is located in the beautiful town of Boca Raton, Fla., nestled in a beautiful residential neighborhood. Evert Tennis Academy’s convenient location is only a short drive from the beaches of Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale and Miami, and is roughly 30 minutes away from Palm Beach (PBI) and Fort Lauderdale International (FLL) airports. The Miami International Airport (MIA) is also only 45 minutes away. Chrissie, John and their father, Jimmy Evert, established the Evert Tennis Academy in 1996. The Evert Tennis Academy quickly became, and continues to be, the home to countless national and international junior players, best college players and some of the world’s finest pros. Evert Tennis Academy offers personalized and individualized programs the all year-round for junior players worldwide, including Holiday Camps, Summer Camps, Pre-Tournament Training and Full-Time Programs (year/semester). If you are a basic player looking to get instruction that is more technical or if you are a highly-ranked national player looking for some intense competition, Evert Tennis Academy has a program for you. The Evert Tennis Academy campus contains 23 courts, which offer two types of playing surfaces, including 12 hard courts and 11 clay courts. Moreover, the Evert Tennis Academy has two secondary sites with over 25 courts to conduct its program, including a private club which is only minutes away from the Academy. Our campus also has one girls dormitory and one boys dormitory, a cafeteria, a strength and conditioning room, a massage and athletic training room, a clubhouse. ETA also hosts on campus Grandview Prep, a fully accredited, NCAA-approved, college preparatory high school, who was the sole recipient of the 2019 and 2020 Best of Boca Raton Award in the Private Schools category.


Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com


Long Island Tennis Magazine’s

Guide to the

Top Tennis Travel Destinations Fisher Island Club One Fisher Island Drive l Fisher Island, Fla. l (305) 535-6000 Reservations@FisherIslandClub.com Fisher Island Club’s Mediterranean-inspired Racquet Club offers play on 17 courts, and four newly added pickleball courts. Members have access to four types of playing surfaces (two grass courts, three Decocushion hard courts), seven Har-Tru clay courts, and five European red clay courts as well as an array of tennis clinics and private lessons led by top tennis professionals. The Club’s courts are also a favorite place for pre-tournament practice by visiting pros. Lessons at the club are available daily for those wishing to refine their tennis and pickleball skills. The club boasts a total of 10 tennis and pickleball professionals certified by the most recognizable tennis and pickleball organizations in the country: USPTA Elite Professional Certified, Professional Tennis Registry (PTR), Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and the International Pickelball Teaching Professional Association, and are active within tennis and pickleball industry events and conventions. Hailing from around the world, including Italy, Brazil, Cuba, and the U.S., our pros are sure to raise your level of experience. Experience the distinctive, luxurious amenities that make Fisher Island the ultimate private island destination and lifestyle club. Fisher Island feels a world apart, while also being a short ferry ride away from Miami Beach and premier theaters, art galleries, museums, shopping and nightlife.

LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine



Long Island Tennis Magazine’s

Guide to the

Top Tennis Travel Destinations Round Hill Hotel and Villas John Pringle Drive l Montego Bay, Jamaica l 1-800-972-2159 1-876-956-7050 l Reservations@roundhill.com Round Hill Hotel & Villas is an award-winning, historic resort nestled on a 110-acre peninsula just west of Montego Bay, Jamaica. Boasting a guest list of world leaders, cultural icons and Hollywood A-listers, this classic resort continues to attract a jet-set from around the world who enjoy timeless glamour and understated luxury along with pristine natural beaches and the inimitable Caribbean waters. Award-winning accommodations include 36 Ralph Lauren-designed oceanfront guestrooms, 96 luxurious villa rooms and suites, or a selection of 27 private 2 - 6bedroom Villas – most with private pools. Other highlights include open-air terrace dining and The Grill at Round Hill, rousing family programs and a dedicated Pineapple Kid’s Club, an infinity pool, and a world-class, award-winning Elemis spa located in a beautifully restored 18th century plantation house. One of the few Jamaica hotels with multiple tennis courts, enthusiasts can balance leisure amenities with rousing match play on one of Round Hill’s five tennis courts, including three Har-Tru green clay courts. Not just for day use, two courts are lit for exhilarating nighttime matches. Round Hill’s tennis center offers racquets for daily use, in-house professionals to provide lessons for adults and children, and leisure or tournament play with other guests. To enhance the on-property tennis experience, guests may opt for the Stay & Play Tennis package, which is designed to maximize time on-court throughout their stay. Inclusive of lessons, balls, unlimited court use, and use of racquets, mixed with additional relaxing resort amenities, the package provides the ideal resort experience for anyone seeking to perfect their game or simply enjoy some free-spirited play. Guests can also enjoy a set of new luxury experiences and partnerships created for travelers’ privacy and comfort, and with new safety and social distancing protocols in place. The Villa Retreat package offers premium accommodations in one of the resort’s award-winning private villas coupled with special in-villa amenities to limit face-to-face interactions and enhance safety. In response to the demand for private travel, Round Hill unveiled an exciting new partnership with evoJets, one of the most trusted names in private travel. As part of this partnership, the Ultimate Private Luxury in Jamaica package includes round trip private charted flights by evoJets, luxury accommodation, and private chef led tours and dining, as well as additional VIP amenities. Book a stay with Round Hill at www.roundhill.com.


Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com


Long Island Tennis Magazine’s

Guide to the

Top Tennis Travel Destinations Sea Colony Resort SeaColonyTennis.net l (302) 537-8888 l HelpMe@SeaColony.com

Located just south of Bethany Beach, Delaware, Sea Colony is “The Premier Family Beach & Tennis Resort Community.” The Sea Colony Tennis Center is the hub of tennis activity at the beach - year round. In addition to its world-class instruction, Sea Colony is home to USTA League teams, tournaments, world-class instruction on 34 courts (six indoor, 14 Har-Tru, 14 outdoor hard courts), including weekend tennis camps, clinics, tennis programs and private tennis lessons. There is even a $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event—The ResortQuest Pro Women's Open at Sea Colony. Lush landscaping, hiking and biking trails, playgrounds, picnic areas and around the clock security make Sea Colony an oasis of peace and tranquility; just minutes to championship golf, tax-free eclectic shopping, water sports, family amusements, natural treasures and so much more. Quiet relaxation and robust activities for all ages make Sea Colony the ideal place to create memories that last a lifetime. Consisting of more than 2,200 condominiums, spacious town homes and private single family homes, the resort offers an unparalleled array of amenities. Sea Colony was ranked the number 18 resort in the country by Tennis Resorts Online in 2019. For more information about Sea Colony tennis and to learn more about all of the resort’s amenities, please call (302) 539-4488.

LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine



Long Island Tennis Magazine’s

Guide to the

Top Tennis Travel Destinations Tennis Holidays Croatia - Biograd +385 99 332 5235 l info@tennisholidayscroatia.com Once the city of Croatian kings, now one of the most interesting tennis destinations on the Mediterranean, Biograd is a perfect getaway for singles, groups or families. The city, tailored to suit everyone’s preferences, lies on the peninsula surrounded by a promenade and contemporary marinas from which a memorable view can be seen all the way to the Pasman Channel and islets scattered in it. The beaches are packed with content for both young tourists and families with children. Thanks to its location, you can choose from many available day trips. There are four National Parks in the vicinity—Paklenica, Kornati, Krka and worldwide famous Plitvice Lakes. Near town is the biggest lake in Croatia—Vrana Lake, home to 256 bird species, perfect for bird watching. Not only is it rich in stunning natural surroundings, in Biograd you’ll also find some of the best possibilities for nautical tourism and sailing on the Mediterranean. You will play on one of the biggest tennis centres in Dalmatia, with stunning 14 clay courts plus six brand new artificial grass courts, conveniently located five minutes walk from your hotel. The courts are set in idyllic location amidst a forest of pine trees. They are equipped with locker rooms, toilets, club house bar, and court lighting is available at night. The city has a distinct atmosphere all its own. With its winding stone streets, buzzing atmosphere and varied sports offerings it's one of the most rewarding holiday destinations in Croatia, not to mention its location is absolutely perfect for day trips all over Croatia.


Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com


Long Island Tennis Magazine’s

Guide to the

Top Tennis Travel Destinations Tennis Fantasies with John Newcombe and the Legends (513) 489-9700 l SteveC@TowneProperties.com Enjoy the best tennis vacation of your life! Tennis Fantasies with John Newcombe and the Legends, the original tennis fantasy camp, is your chance to play tennis and rub shoulders with the all-time greats of the game. Join host three-time Wimbledon Champion John Newcombe and his "mates" at the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch in New Braunfels, Texas for a most memorable tennis event. The legendary staff will include International Tennis Hall of Fame Members John Newcombe, Roy Emerson, Owen Davidson, Mark Woodforde and Charlie Pasarell, as well as Grand Slam winners Ross Case, Dick Stockton, Brian Gottfried, Rick Leach, Luke and Murphy Jensen, plus Johan Kriek, Mikael Pernfors, and Dani Visser. Together, more than 150 Grand Slam titles and hundreds of other major championships are assembled under one roof! Learn, play and mingle with tennis royalty. Tennis Fantasies 2022 offers two great programs: • March 3-6, 2022: Tennis Fantasies (Men and Women) • October 16-21, 2022: Tennis Fantasies (Men Only) On-court activities include clinics, team competition, and "fantasy" pro-am matches. After tennis, guests will enjoy the "Aussie-style" hospitality of the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch. The Ranch is located just outside of New Braunfels in the rolling Hill country of central Texas, 30 minutes from the San Antonio airport. The crystal clear water of Canyon Lake, the Guadalupe River, and the Comal River are just minutes from the Ranch. Accommodations at the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch are one- or two-bedroom condominiums or a courtside room. The Ranch has 32 deco-turf and four Har-Tru courts, eight lighted and four all-weather covered courts for guaranteed tennis every day. You don't want to miss this magical tennis adventure. Join John Newcombe and his "mates" for the best tennis vacation of your life!

LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine




Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com

LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine



Coaches Roundtable Discussion T

he local tennis community boasts some of the top coaches in the world, and with this wealth of talent available, Long Island Tennis Magazine took the opportunity to pick the brains of some of these coaches. These coaches share their thoughts on a wide variety of tennis topics and issues, ranging from junior tennis to the professional game.

Meet the participants … Gabriel Balestero is a tennis professional at Generation Next Tennis in Great Neck. He is a former number one singles player at Adelphi University, where he was an allAmerican student-athlete. A former Top 20 player nationally in Brazil, Balestero has experience competing in international and professional tournaments, and has now transitioned into coaching. Ricky Becker is The Director of Tennis at the prestigious Pine Hollow Country Club for his tenth year. He also 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. Alex Bessarabov is a Tennis Professional for the NTC Tennis Programs at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Bessarabov played high school tennis at Lindenhurst High School before playing collegiately at Farmingdale State University, where he was named first-team All-Skyline Conference during his senior year. Earlier 38

this year, he was honored with USTA Eastern's Junior Team Tennis Award. Jared El Gayeh is the U10 Director and Camp Director at SPORTIME Syosset. He has served in a variety of teaching and management capacities in his 10-plus years at SPORTIME, and has an infectious energy and ability to motivate children on the court. He was a star goaltender on the Marywood University soccer team. 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 nationally- ranked junior players, 16 New York State high school champions, two NCAA Division 1 Singles Champions, and numerous highly-ranked touring professionals. In 2017, Steve was awarded the Hy Zausner Lifetime Achievement Award by the USTA. Ed Krass coached the Harvard Women’s Tennis Team to four consecutive Ivy League titles from 1986-1990. Ed is the founder and director of

Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com

the Annual College Tennis Exposure Camps, which are taught exclusively by all head college coaches for high school-aged players (15-18). Ed is also the founder of One-On-One Doubles tournaments, which have been played at USTA, ATP, ITA and USPTA national events. Adam Lee is the Director of Junior Development at Glen Head Racquet and Fitness. He was a threeyear captain at Wake Forest where he still holds the program record for singles victories, and achieved an ATP ranking. He has worked with Top 500 ATP Tour players as well as top nationally-ranked juniors, and has USPTA, ITPA, Certified Tennis Performance Specialist and GPTCA coaching certifications. 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 nationally-ranked 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,


Coaches Roundtable Discussion where players can live and train the Spanish Way full-time or short-term.

experience has become instrumental in developing the program.

Ben Marks is Director of Junior Tennis at Carefree Racquet Club, and Director of Tennis at Cold Spring Harbor Beach Club. He previously worked at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy, and was the Cold Spring Harbor Varsity Head Coach for three years, earning Nassau County Coach of the Year Honors in 2014. He played number one and number two singles for Norfolk State University, and number one doubles—reaching a career-high regional ranking of ninth in the Atlantic Region. He is a 2015 National Open Doubles Champion. In 2018, he was named USTA Long Island’s Tennis Professional of the Year.

Conrad Singh is the Chief Operating Officer of Tennis & Director of Coaching at Centercourt Club & Sports. He has held Head Coach and Director positions in Australia, England, Japan and China, and has been involved in professional tennis player development for well over two decades. Singh came to Centercourt from Shanghai, China, where he helped to develop a top high-performance player program, which saw more than 200 athletes train under his system.

David Nisenson is the director of junior development at Point Set Tennis. With more than 25 years of playing and coaching experience and an unmatched competitiveness, David has quickly become one of the driving forces behind Point Set’s junior development program. Ognen Nikolovski is the general manager of CourtSense and director of tennis at Bogota Racquet Club. He is a former top junior from Yugoslavia who went on to play college tennis at Rollins College where he became an all-American. He went on to become a world-ranked singles and doubles player on the ATP Tour and was a captain of the Macedonia Davis Cup team. He joined CourtSense in 2008 where his passion and

Michael Smookler is the Club Manager & Tennis Director at West Orange Tennis Club, as well as the USPTA Eastern 1st Vice President. Coaching and directing tennis since 1989, Smookler was the 2019 USPTA Eastern Pro of the Year,


and the 2017 USPTA Eastern High School Coach of the Year. He has trained with retired pros Guillermo Villas, Mats Wilander, Rod Laver and more. Jason Wass is the Director of LuHi Summer Programs, he spent over 20 years as a Director of Tennis for Sportime Clubs. A USPTA and USTA Net Generation Certified Coach, Jason has a passion for youth sports development. Jason believes in developing strong foundational skills in all young athletes. He strives to provide positive athletic and camp opportunities to families to encourage healthy habits and lifestyles. Coach Jason lives in Massapequa with his wife, Julie, son, Daniel and dog, Shelby.

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Coaches Roundtable Discussion The roundtable ...

How do you find the right balance between training and rest/recovery for junior tennis players? Ben Marks: I think it's important to listen to our bodies as athletes. A high level athlete can feel what condition they are in and how much they can push themselves. At a young age it is important we help to guide juniors with figuring this out. Are they a little sore because they are working hard and they can 'push through it' or is it time to take a rest day or two and recharge? The top professionals in the world have this down to a science but obviously that comes with a big expense. For me, although I never really felt like I needed much rest when I was playing in college, we always had a day off to try and keep us fresh and after a long tournament or series of matches we would have a full two days off before hitting the courts hard again. Ricky Becker: The answer is different depending on how serious the player is. Overall, I like the four weeks a year formula. A very serious player who is building their schedules around their tennis should take a rest week after their biggest 1-4 peak events. A player who is less serious and not building their schedules 40

around their tennis will probably get rest organically through family vacations, finals, events, etc. but shouldn't take these breaks before their most important events. For young players who start out at an early age, how can they avoid burnout from the sport as they get older? Conrad Singh: The Golden rule is to listen to your child. If they are starting to show promise but are giving you the fatigue signals, it’s time to pull back. Balance is key—the ultimate way to find that balance is to mix in team sports and other interests into the weekly schedule. If heavy weeks are occurring you might need to manipulate the following week. Never forcing a player to the court and letting them ask for more or less is one key that has never let me down. It is then essential that a positive relationship is in place between player, coach and parent. Chris Lewit: Burnout risk can vary relative to the individual, so there is no perfect prescription to prevent it. It’s a much longer discussion and I have devoted entire podcasts and articles to this subject. In general, however, junior players should strive to have an off-season during the

Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com

tournament year—just like the pros do. Sometimes this is referred to as preseason in a periodized development plan. This is a time to play less tennis and focus on physical development and injury prevention. Players should also be certain to rest one day per week. Typically top level juniors will train about six days on/one day off schedule. I have had some top national kids push these limits and train more than 10-14 days straight, which I don’t recommend. The more consecutive days straight you train, the higher your risk of overuse injury and burnout. Remember that some kids can burnout playing five days a week/only afternoons and some can play seven days a week/twice daily sessions and survive, and even thrive. Every player is different. The key is for the parent and coach is to monitor the player carefully and be ready to adjust the plan as needed through the junior years. The flip side of burnout, which is often not discussed, is that if you are too cautious and don’t train hard enough, your kid will never become a great champion. You’ve got to take some burnout risks to become great. Ed Krass: Players can avoid burnout from playing tennis by participating


Coaches Roundtable Discussion in other sports like baseball, track, soccer, lacrosse, basketball—as all will help with furthering the athletic skills developmental process. I remember playing Little League baseball in St. Petersburg when I was 11 and 12-years-old, along with flag football. I wanted to stay away from tackle Football, as I knew what could happen there! I also enjoyed watching other sports live and on television to keep my competitive mind healthy and full of dreams! Adam Lee: First thing players and coaches need to understand is to make sure the training is quality and not just quantity. With too many hours on court, players can be drained physically and emotionally causing them to dread their next practice. Shortening practices, increasing the intensity, and incorporating non tennis drills for five-to-10 minutes before or at the end of practice. I personally have my kids play soccer tennis or how many volleys can they hit on a wall in 60 seconds. Sometimes, stepping away

from the tennis court till the player misses the sport is useful so they come back with lots of energy and motivation. Alex Bessarabov: Younger athletes need to be on a long-term development path. For that, playing a multitude of sports can be extremely beneficial. When kids are young they are seeking activities to be interested in and if they are limited to playing one sport that creates the potential for future burnout. Finding other sports that kids can participate in, or any other athletic activities, can help develop a better foundation for tennis. For example: having them take up dancing to practice footwork and staying lighter on their feet, or trying boxing to help them develop good hand eye coordination and judgment of proper spacing as well as better core strength. In addition to those, soccer can also be very helpful; playing for a team working on leg strength as well as all kinds of footwork patterns are aspects that are highly translatable into tennis. There

are many more benefits to playing other sports, everything between cardio development, less fatigue in different muscle groups and most importantly they will have this wide range of activities to enjoy so they don't have to be overwhelmed by just playing tennis. Mental health is an important topic that has been brought to the forefront of athletics recently. How often and how do you engage your players on their mental well-being, both on and off the court? Steve Kaplan: COVID-19 has brought about a mental health crisis in this country among young people as their normal lives have been disrupted with anxiety, isolation and uncertainty. Now more than ever it is vital to coach mental health as part of a coaching plan. I try to set clear expectations and goals for players to give them a sense of purpose and routine. Next I ask them about their experiences off the tennis court to

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Coaches Roundtable Discussion give them the opportunity for expression and social interaction. I try to be especially aware and accommodating of each student’s unique learning style and I further try to structure each lesson and practice to accommodate their emotions. Finally I emphasize and encourage students to find a sense of acceptance and positive community through tennis. The bottom line is that in these difficult times each student must be viewed as a person first and tennis player second. Adam Lee: The key here is staying on top of the development of the player by prioritizing the player as a person. Paying close attention to the changes in school grades, pre and post puberty, behavior, pressure from parents, pressure from school. Having anxiety and depression is something we should look out for right away. David Nisenson: My approach with my students regarding mental health is always being positive, encouraging, and always trying to

create dialogue. As a long time practitioner of yoga and seeing it’s benefits physically and mentally I talk to my students about some simple meditation techniques and disconnecting from the 24-hour social media world that we live in. How do we continue to expand the sport of tennis in our area and make it more accessible to everyone, regardless of economic status? Chris Lewit: This is a tough question that I get asked frequently. Playing tennis in the NYC area is very expensive—too expensive. There are some excellent programs like the NYJTL that are doing a good job helping underprivileged youth get in the game. The Cary Leeds facility is a prime example of a wonderful outreach program/center for inner city kids. We need more places like that. On the high performance side, I would like to see more recruitment of athletically talented inner city kids into the game—from a very young

age. We need to get kids very young before they choose other sports. The USTA could spearhead this type of scholarship program. There is just no way the typical family with modest means will choose tennis over other less expensive sports. There has to be a lot of money and scholarships thrown at the problem. I love tennis a lot, but it is an expensive game to love—especially in NYC. David Nisenson: There needs to be more of a push to introduce tennis in the local elementary schools and to educate the parents of the benefits of playing tennis. With support from the USTA, local tennis clubs and professionals need to continue to promote the sport. Michael Smookler: We have seen a spike in participation throughout COVID. We need to continue to promote the all around health benefits of Tennis from Fitness, Mental Health to Social Distancing. There are more and more people also playing on town and city courts.

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Coaches Roundtable Discussion The USTA has wonderful grass roots programs which are affordable and in some cases, offer grants to help make Tennis accessible to everyone. Alex Bessarabov: Growth can only happen with a constant influx of new people, as well as the retention of the majority of triers. The more people who can participate, the further word can travel, just like a ripple effect. One aspect that can have a positive impact on attracting and reducing the entry barriers for new participants is offering free courts at local parks. Often, such places feel like a backyard for locals and it can encourage people to try out tennis with friends and family. Open park courts take away one of the major expenses that prevents people from taking that first step into our tennis world as well as help diminish the stigma of a "country club" only sport. The more we can expand and maintain local free tennis courts throughout the country, the easier this sport can grow. Additionally, if these parks can also have partnerships

with local Clubs, so these new players can seek instruction and other additional involvement, the higher the chances they'll continue to play for years to come. How do you integrate off-court training with on-court training for junior players? Steve Kaplan: Junior players should be strongly encouraged to undertake off court training to stay safe and to progress. Tennis coaches need to have a basic understanding of off court training fundamentals to help students on the court, as well as to advise them how to find the best resources off the court. In order to integrate off court training with oncourt training for junior players it is first necessary to speak the common language of training. There is a difference for example, between fitness and conditioning, strength and power, speed and acceleration and flexibility and mobility. As a coach it's vital to communicate with trainers and that starts with clear and precise

language. Next you must access, before you progress. I wouldn't feel comfortable getting medical treatment before I was examined and tested and similarly, players shouldn't be trained before they undergo a basic functional movement screen to evaluate their fundamental movement patterns. Finally, limitations in players movement patterns should be understood and recognized in the development of strokes otherwise the risk of injuries are greatly increased. As these limitations are addressed and corrected off the court, on court progressions should be made to further the players development. Conrad Singh: Looking at the overall schedule from a bird’s eye view is important. Players need all key areas to be developed including time for mental skills as well as the obvious ones. Finding a consistent time weekly early in the week is often best as it allows time for those skills to also be practiced. I have developed the TPU schedule which means: Teach (Mondays, Tuesdays), Practice

LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine



Coaches Roundtable Discussion (Wednesdays & Thursdays and, finally, Use (Fridays and Weekend). So its Mondays to Thursdays where that court work fit in nicely. Michael Smookler: This is always the challenge. Players putting the time on the court is usually not an issue. It's motivating the juniors to understand what it takes off court to get them to the next level. Coaches need to promote this more and come up with off court training curriculums to provide for their students. There is great Netlix documentary called Untold: Breaking Point featuring Mardy Fish. It addresses all the challenges he faced on and off court and what it took for him to raise his level. When he lost some momentum, what he did to get it back. This is a must watch for every player and coach. It is relatable in so many ways. Gamesmanship and cheating are always controversial topics at the junior level. How do we begin to try and

eliminate those sorts of things from the game? Adam Lee: Let's be honest, cheating happens in every tournament due to the added pressure from parents as well as the stress of falling in the ranking systems. Players are doing anything they can to win. Cheating will never go away so that's something we have to understand. Playsight with video review is something every club should have, and we don't have enough officials to be focused on each match. Cracking down on player suspensions is something we can be stricter about. Gabriel Balestero: Tennis is a personal development tool. On the court we teach values that can be applied into every aspect of life. With an atmosphere of love and respect for the game there is no reason for a kid to cheat during a match. Therefore, the key is creating the right atmosphere during practice. Ricky Becker: I think this is the most underrated deterrent to our wonderful

game. As a coach, this is the one area that I have found it tough to have a bigger voice than the parent when it comes to influencing the child between being a tough competitor who wants to win and being a jerk. I definitely know examples of good athletes at a young age going towards other sports because the other sports aren't the Wild West and success is more about performance. I wish the USTA would take money from U.S. Open revenue away from some of the other things it has done or is doing and put it towards having more copetent officials at junior events to help grow the game. How do you think the tours should handle the exploitation of the “bathroom break” rule? Ben Marks: I personally think there needs to be a time limit in place. We are seeing players complaining they needed time to change their whole outfits and use the bathroom etc but I don't believe this is really a part of

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Coaches Roundtable Discussion the game that we should be catering to. If a player really needs to do it, it should be a quick process and they should have to hustle. Until there is a clear structure to it then players will continue to abuse it and try to use it to gain an advantage by stopping or slowing their opponent's momentum. Gabriel Balestero: The Tour can make the rules clearer by giving a time frame for the athlete to get back on the court, for example four minutes. Jason Wass: Rules will always be tested and "stretched". More rules will be added to counteract. I think anytime a rule begins to be taken advantage of, it should be evaluated and corrected. Ultimately rules should be put in place to protect players and preserve the integrity of the game, unfortunately that won't always happen. With Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer all tied at 20 Slams each, who do you consider to be the greatest male player of all-time? Ed Krass: I would say that Roger Federer is still the most impressive of the three due to his athletic, all-court and serve-and-volley Singles game. Roger may just put a Tom Brady like stamp on his career if he actually comes back from his injury and wins one last Slam! I do think that Nadal and Djokovic are both super special, legendary players in their own right. Both are beyond athletic and mentally tough with amazing shot making skills! The greatest of all time is still a work in progress! Gabriel Balestero: The most complete in my opinion is Djokovic. He can play in any surface and developed his mental strength in a way that makes him an incredible athlete.

Michael Smookler: There is an argument for all of them. However if I am choosing from this group, Roger has done it longer throughout his career. What I liked about him the most when he was dominating the sport was his ability to change his game plan to exploit his opponent's weaknesses. For example, if that meant he had to serve and volley more, he would. His ability to change his game at the highest level was what always impressed me the most. What is the current state of tennis on Long Island? How do we continue growing and improving? Ricky Becker: While COVID-19 sucks, being a socially distant sport, I do think a lot of people have played more tennis or have picked it up as a sport and it seems to be thriving from where I sit. On the street where I live alone, I know of nine people who have started playing tennis more frequently or picked up tennis. I also see more adults playing at the clubs I

go to and manage, more junior players taking lessons and very high numbers of players going out for their school teams. The one area where numbers seem to be down is kids participating in tournaments, which is definitely a shame Hopefully, as the pandemic starts to pass and families get used to the new formats and website that the USTA put in place, the "intermediate" level of tournament participation will increase. David Nisenson: I think the popularity of tennis on Long Island differs from community to community. Tennis will grow provided local clubs continue to offer quality coaching, innovative programs and an opportunity for all children regardless of economic backgrounds to be exposed to the sport. Jason Wass: Tennis participation has been growing here on Long Island and everywhere. I think the important part for Tennis Professionals to remember is that we need to continue to provide great tennis experiences

LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine



Coaches Roundtable Discussion for players. As an industry, we need more trained coaches to help develop new players and keep them engaged in the game through leagues, clinics and casual play. We cannot be lulled into a false sense of security that tennis will continue to be popular moving forward. Providing opportunities for players to socialize in addition to getting a fun workout is important to keep players in the game. We should also keep an eye on our tennis infrastructure on Long Island, many tennis courts were built during the tennis boom in the 1970's and 1980's and not all have been kept in great condition, it is important for new players to have a safe and enjoyable tennis experience if we want them to keep coming back. What is missing from the development of American tennis on the professional stage? Alex Bessarabov: Ever since tennis became more globalized and people

from all over the world are able to participate it opened up the vast differences in cultures and how players develop from a young age. We are able to open up and learn on what works around the world and what doesn't. It feels like American tennis has a focus on hitting harder or going for bigger shots and we are missing a key element of how to construct points based on other factors, such as spin, variety, and depth. This is often a consequence of the limited number of clay courts in the US, when compared to most European countries. Learning how to "grind" while figuring out how to develop points in a multitude of ways, is often a differentiator between American players and most other prominent tennis countries. The tendency to play as aggressive baseliners is common in most players, regardless of their origin, but we seem to be missing more all court styles. "All court" teaches you to develop how to play behind the baseline as well as inside the court,

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and also shows you timing on when to put away a ball instead of going for more risk. We need to develop more styles and play on different surfaces, while expanding the player's ability to win points in more than one or two ways. Chris Lewit: American tennis on the female side is amazing, and we have one of the best development pipelines and a high percentage of the best female players in the world are American compared to other countries. I wrote an article about this trend a few years back. American women are kicking butt. On the men’s side, however, it’s a sad story. We have a low percentage of men in the top 100 compared to other countries and we haven’t had a men’s grand slam winner since Andy Roddick in 2003. That’s an 18 year drought—incredibly sad! The main reason is probably that our most talented American boys are choosing other sports. In addition, and it’s controversial to say this, but for some reason, our best male prospects have not been as fierce or as willing to suffer as their female counterparts. We have not had the male equivalents of Venus and Serena for example. We have good coaching and a good development system in the US. Our federation is wealthy and offers lots of opportunities for young boys. I believe the tide will turn and some of the lack of success among men is simply cyclical. We need a fierce, breakout player to chase grand slams. Being satisfied with the Round of 16 or quarters at a slam simply isn’t enough—but unfortunately for many of our top guys today—it seems to be plenty. Ed Krass: It seems like American players need to relearn how to make their inside backhand a weapon, like


Coaches Roundtable Discussion Agassi did. I see 95 percent of American players wasting a lot of time running around their backhand to hit a Forehand. This disallows players to be able to truly take time away from their opponents; Forget about approaching the net when running around the backhand all day! I visualize a future of American players taking that inside backhand and forehand and displacing the opponent and closing the points out with a volley. This all-court play needs to be implemented in practice matches, and events like One-OnOne Doubles, which is now UTR-sanctioned, help players develop these skills, which can be translated onto the tennis court. In order for American tennis to keep on improving, developing an all-around game is crucial. Ben Marks: I think first it's important to point out the success on the women's side of the game. Seven players are currently in the top 30 in the world and we have seen Kenin crowned as a Slam champion and made another final, Brady making two finals and obviously Serena Williams although hasn't won a slam for a couple of years still made two finals in 2019. I think it is just a matter of time before we see Coco break through with a slam win. The men on the other hand is a little more disappointing with the last American male to win a Slam being Andy Roddick in 2003. We are seeing a wave of young players coming through and who still have plenty of time before they 'peak'. I think one player breaking through on the men's side will be the catalyst the American men need to take it to the next level. Keep your eyes on Korda. Conrad Singh: This is a tough subjective question considering how

many Americans are in the top 100; most countries would dream for that number! However, for me it’s the desperation and willingness to go through struggles that often creates the top competitors. Life is pretty good in the United States, hence players may be less likely to travel to the difficult places to compete, or to stay on the road for longer periods. Time on the road especially early in a career can mean the difference in the speed at which they transition. Many skills are learnt when life is less easy! How has COVID affected things in terms of your coaching, business, or how you advise your players? Steve Kaplan: COVID has put greater awareness on the many valuable qualities of junior tennis, such as its safety, physical and mental health enhancements and opportunities for social interaction and educational advancement. During the pandemic, it seems that college admissions have

become more competitive and standardized tests less emphasized. This combination brings other criteria for admission such as athletics and school and community involvement to the forefront and, as a coach, I advise all players to recognize and seek out both greater performance and service opportunities. As a club owner, I can't help but notice two trends during the pandemic. First, some players are preferring to play outdoors for longer and next tennis teachers are increasingly leaving their affiliations with clubs to teach as freelance instructors. Jared El Gayeh: COVID has changed our landscape in everything we do as well as how we interact with others. Personally while I am on the tennis court, I am more aware of personal space, and finding ways to connect to our players in a socially distanced environment. From a business stand point, we had to take all necessary precautions to ensure the safest atmosphere for our members to enjoy their tennis

LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine



Coaches Roundtable Discussion experience. As a company, we invested heavily in our air filtration systems, sanitizing stations as well as tweaked our schedules to ensure safe pickup and drop off. Ognen Nikolovski: Overall COVID has had a positive effect on tennis, as the reality is that due to tennis being one of the sports that “social distancing” can easily be applied, tennis has been very popular and the tennis courts in the US have not been busier in a long time. I think all the stats from the retailers show that as well, as the demand for tennis balls has increased, and in the business aspect tennis has recovered pretty fast after the initial two-month shut down in March of 2020. As far as coaching, I believe that the not much has changed prior to COVID, other than the extra precaution that each coach has been taking by applying the social distancing guidelines. The impact on the players has also been minimal, as for those that decided to keep on playing during COVID, we can possibly see that their engagement has been even bigger, especially with the adults who seem to appreciate being on the court even more than before COVID. What impact will the success of young players like Raducanu and Fernandez have on other young junior players? Jared El Gayeh: It is always amazing to have a youth resurgence in tennis. Young kids always need people to look up too and emulate. These two incredible young athletes brought amazing energy to the tennis world and showed so many, that with confidence and hard work anything is achievable! Ognen Nikolovski: It is always very 48

positive to have young players like Raducanu and Fernandez have success on the world stage, as that only helps inspire more players from the younger generation to strive and do the same. Juniors feel connection to these young stars more than to the older generation, and I can foresee more young girls and boys get on the courts and try to do the same. I also think that this is great for women’s tennis in general as tennis remains to be the #1 sport for women in many aspects. How has UTR changed the landscape of junior tennis? Jared El Gayeh: I tend to always tell my players not to get caught up in rankings or ratings as we are developing their games. Too many times, kids walk onto the court with a result already planted into their minds before a point was even played! UTR is a very useful tool to gauge someone’s level, especially if you are playing out of state or even internationally. But like I always tell my players, matches aren't won or lost on paper, you have to go out and execute. Ognen Nikolovski: In general, UTR has been great for tennis in many aspects, especially in helping players establish their own level and match them with players of similar level. There is no question that the technology behind UTR is great and the fact that it keeps evolving will most likely make it become a mainstay in the industry, and maybe with time become the main world rating in all categories of play. I also think that it has had great impact on junior tennis, however at the same time it has further exposed some challenges for the coaches that work with younger juniors, as a large

Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com

percentage of juniors and their parents are more focused on what is the UTR of the player rather than on the overall development of the player that would actually give them a better opportunity to have the chance to reach a higher UTR in the future. However this is a different conversation, and at this time I just hope that UTR is committed to keep investing in tennis and also in improving its algorithms, so they can really help players engage more with the game and with that grow the sport. Jason Wass: Ultimately, UTR levels the playing field by creating a rating system that measures everyone in the same way. For juniors, college coaches can now get a much more information about players than ever before, and the trickle down begins from there. Although I do not think it has fully happened as of yet, the idea is for UTR to create more level based competition, which should keep players more engaged in competition and allow for a larger pool of developing competitive players which is a great thing for the game. Ideally, the UTR, USTA and other tennis organizations would work together to create a system that everyone agrees on and helps to develop young players and the sport for betterment of tennis.

New York Beach Tennis Hits the Sand This Summer


ew York Beach Tennis (NYBT) had a successful summer on the sand with an array of different events and tournaments at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury in a continued showcase of one of the fastest-growing racket sports. There were multiple International Tennis Federation (ITF) and International Federation of Beach Tennis (IFBT) sanctioned tournaments, with both rankings points and prize money up for grabs. While the

competition is fierce, the beach tennis events are also about fun and a lively social atmosphere. There is music, other beach games, food and drinks, plus access to the beautiful amenities of Crest Hollow, including their delicious food, gorgeous pool and a first-class locker room. Look for more information on NYBT events heading into 2022, as we continue to grow the game of beach tennis. LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine


From left to right: Ilana Kloss, Billie Jean King, Dr. Emily Moore, Dr. Harold German

Photo credit:Christine Ashburn

USTA Eastern Inducts 2021 Hall of Fame Class


STA Eastern and the Junior Tennis Foundation (JTF) inducted tennis icons and trailblazers Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss, esteemed entrepreneur Freddie Botur, tennis historian and former USTA Eastern president Dr. Dale Caldwell, former Eastern Men's No. 6 player Dr. Harold German, and youth tennis advocate and activist Dr. Emily Moore into its Tennis Hall of Fame at the 34th Annual Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame Ceremony at The River Club in New York City. Emmy-winning sports commentator and fellow Eastern Tennis Hall of Famer Mary Carillo will host the celebration. "These six inductees have dedicated much of their lives to growing the game at the grassroots level and represent the best of what our sport has to offer," said Junior Tennis Foundation CEO Mark McIntyre. "Their service has enriched our community over decades. Beyond a tennis court, these six individuals are exemplary citizens whose advocacy and activism has transformed our world. We are thrilled to formally recognize each of them for their remarkable achievements and lifetime of service with USTA Eastern's highest honor.” 50

More about the six 2021 Eastern Hall of Fame inductees: • Billie Jean King & Ilana Kloss: 39-time Grand Slam Champion King led the “Original 9” tennis players to form what would eventually become the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) in reaction to unequal pay and opportunities compared to their male counterparts. For over 40 years she has been partners with fellow former player Kloss, who captured two major doubles titles and was ranked as high as No. 1 in the world in doubles and No. 19 in singles. Together, King and Kloss have dedicated much of their lives to championing gender equality and LGBTQ rights. • Freddie Botur: Botur survived both German and Russian occupation during and after World War II. When he was 26 years old, he fled the country to escape an oppressive Communist regime, seeking refuge in Germany and Australia before eventually arriving in New York in 1952. In New York, he found work as a tennis pro and went on to live out a true American dream, establishing five facilities in New York

Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com

City at the height of the tennis boom in the 1960s and 1970s. • Dr. Dale Caldwell: A graduate of Princeton University, Caldwell has tirelessly promoted Black tennis history in the United States. In 2006, he conceived of and curated Breaking the Barriers–an exhibit at the International Tennis Hall of Fame– which honors the American Tennis Association and the Black pioneers of tennis. Following the success of Breaking the Barriers, Caldwell founded the Black Tennis Hall of Fame. Caldwell was elected the first Black president of USTA Eastern in 2006, and later became the first Black Section President to serve on the USTA National Board. • Dr. Harold German: A standout athlete with a top-notch forehand, German was ranked as high as No. 6 in the Eastern Men’s division. From 1963-1967, he was a major contender on the Eastern Men’s Clay Court Circuit, reaching the final stages of multiple tournaments and winning the Park Lakes Invitational. During this period, he played Arthur Ashe three times and captured wins over future Grand Slam semifinalists

Inductee Dale Caldwell with JTF CEO Mark McIntyre Sandy Mayer and Dick Stockton. He later served as a Navy physician during the Vietnam War and was awarded the Bronze Star for his service. • Dr. Emily Moore: Moore has spent over five decades introducing tennis to children through the Long Islandbased Alliance Junior Tennis

McIntyre with inductee Freddie Botur Development Program, which she established in 1975. Beyond her accomplishments in the sport, Moore is a lifelong activist who stood on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement. Proceeds from the induction ceremony benefit the JTF, which

provides grants and other financial assistance to hundreds of worthy tennis programs and organizations that focus on underserved and at-risk youth and people with disabilities. Since its incorporation in 1982, JTF has provided more than $2 million for programs and scholarships in the Eastern Section.

www.pinehollowclub.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 hstanya@pinehollowclub.com LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine


You Are Good Enough Nothing is missing, you don’t have to be perfect By Rob Polishook


magine this: you just turned pro. In the first year you win two and lose three matches. OK, fair enough…you’re just getting into things. In your second year as a pro, you win 12 matches and lose 14. You play two Davis Cup matches and lose both, and then lose in the first round of all seven outdoor tournaments you entered. You also fail to reach the main draw of the U.S. Open and Australian Open due to losses in the qualification rounds. Ok, you think to yourself, this is going to be hard. Then, in your third year as a pro, you lose in 21 out of 38 first-round matches! Your season ending record is 27 wins and 30 losses. In your first three years as a professional, cumulatively you compile 41 wins and 47 losses. OK, now this is hardly what you expected. If these results happened to you, how would you feel about your game? What would you think of


your prospects in terms of making a living? Would you think reaching the top is possible? When I share this story and ask my clients how they would feel if their first three years started this way, most say, “Wow…it would be rough!”, others chuckle and say, “I’d look for another job!” Well, thankfully this player didn’t look for another job. This is the story of how Roger Federer began the first

Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com

three years of his professional tennis career. Federer clearly knew the journey would be full of obstacles and setbacks. He and his camp must have believed during these three years what others didn’t: that he was “good enough”. They understood the biggest challenge was about trusting his process, playing his game, and staying mentally balanced. Now clearly, during these initial three years, he was not good enough as a player, otherwise he would have been winning more matches. However, he was good enough as a person. He and his team had the perspective to know it was more about time, experience and staying the course. The rest is history; Federer has notched 20 Slam victories and countless tournament wins and awards. Similarly, if we look at other great athletes like Stephen Curry

and Tom Brady, both of them were not good enough early in their college careers. Curry played midlevel Division I basketball at Davidson College, and Brady was not a full-time starter at University of Michigan. At that time, it would have been impossible to have predicted that they would become the superstars they currently are. No matter the competition or level, Federer, Curry and Brady placed their focus was on what’s important now and prioritizing the present. Their focus was on being their best and embracing the challenge, and only worrying about what they could control. They didn’t push or force their process trying to be something or someone they weren’t. The real game was about accepting where they were, adapting to the situations, and learning from the experiences. The results did not determine their future and more

importantly their worth and value as a person. They stayed the course. Now I know, you’re not Roger, Stephen or even Tom. However, just like them, you are good enough! Nothing is missing; you don’t have to be perfect. The key is finding that balance to how you can be your best. Letting go of trying to prove, expectations, and what you cannot control. Instead focusing on what you need and

what you can do to develop as both a person and an athlete. You are a Whole Human Athlete; it’s imperative to bring who you are to what you do. No matter whether you win or lose in that competition, match or game, you are good enough as a person, continue to persevere and bring your heart, energy and spirit! Just like Federer, Curry, and Brady did. They were good enough. So are YOU!

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

LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine


My Tennis Tribe, My People By Barbara Wyatt


arran emailed and asked, “So exactly how many tennis teams are you on?” I sensed a disbelieving inflection in his question. Knowing Darran as well as I do, I suspect he typed the question with one eyebrow arched up. I asked myself, “Why?” Why do I choose to play on more than one team? Why do you find me, and others, on a neighborhood tennis court one day, then play competitively on an indoor court the next? I am (significantly) past the age to qualify for Wimbledon and can hit mind-blowing mis-hits that cause my opponents to double-over in laughter. I play because I am with friends; members of my chosen tribe. They accept me for who I am, unforced errors and all. On my next ball hit beyond the baseline, I wince, they cringe, I promise to do better, and we

start the ball in play again. We are born into families. We have no choice on which family or where. Brothers, sisters, and nonbinary peoples, related by blood or adoption, become our first tribe. In a few years, we set out into the world and walk in social circles built on friendships discovered on school yards and sports teams, and in activities that range from chess clubs to Guardians of the Galaxy fans. By our early twenties, we open our arms to someone sitting next to us in a university class or a church pew, looking for like-minded people and possible friendship. A random drawing by a college software program assigns names to the same dorm room. That random pairing could develop into the strongest and longest friendships, a bonding like a tribe. Then an upward career move rips


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us away. Days are spent with some people that we would never hang out with—co-workers, friends of your significant other, and parents of your children. This all brings us to today and your tennis tribe. How do you find tennis mates? You can follow a vetting process to find good people and avoid the drama queens and manipulators. Run from captains that play weaker players because they are friends. Roll your eyes at the egomaniacs and gossipers. Shake your head at captains that announce, “I will only play the 4.5 players, and not the lowly 4.0 players”—a decision that breaks apart stronger pairings. Avoid teams with ringers because those teams may dissolve into bickering prima donnas. Move on. You are worth it. Over time, you discover your people, your tennis tribe. “Darran,” I responded, “The number of teams I play on is based on the published match dates, my work schedule, and the charm and likeability of the players. I seek out like-minded players, as well as proven tennis skills. I discovered hundreds of people with whom I hope to build lifelong friendships. I will see YOU, and the rest of my tribe, on the court.” 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 e-mail at BarbaraW@iKnowTennis.com

Pine Hollow Country Club Hosts End-of-Season Championships

Jessica Grossman and Alli Schwartz prior to The Grossman Family won all five Club the Women’s Singles final Championships in their first summer at Pine Hollow t the end of every summer, the best singles and doubles players who play at Pine Hollow Country Club compete in the Club Championships. This yearly tradition goes back decades, but this summer saw history made, with husband-wife Matt and Jessica Grossman sweeping all five events. "What's awesome about both Matt and Jessica winning the Triple Crown is that they have kept up the tradition and culture here of our strongest players being even better people." Ricky Becker, Pine Hollow's Director of Tennis. It began with Jessica Grossman & Jen Shuster defeating Alli Schwartz & Amanda Porlnutter to win the Women’s Doubles division. Later that same day, Matt Grossman & Neil Shmuely paired together to win the Men’s Doubles event, beating Ricky


Matt Grossman comes to net to hit a volley during the Men’s Singles final

Spike & Steve Soifer in the championship. The Grossmans then defeated Shmuely & Schwartz to win the Mixed Doubles final, leaving just the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events left to be one. Grossman would square off against Schmuely in the Men’s Singles final, and won 6-0, 6-1, although the scoreline did not reflect how competitive the match was. “Neil and I played and won the doubles event together, and we’ve been playing a lot of tennis the last few days,” said Grossman. “This was a real fight. If a couple points in that first set go the other way, we’re going to have a very different scoreline. I was happy I was able to come through.” Becker added: “I thought our men’s singles division

Neil Shmuely sets up for a forehand shot in the championship match

this year was easily the strongest men’s singles tournament we have had since I’ve been here.” To close out the Championships, the Women’s Singles final saw Grossman take on Schwartz. Grossman completed the sweep for her and her husband, notching a 6-1, 6-1 victory to become the first couple to win all five Pine Hollow Country Club Championships. “For us, we try to keep our home life separate from the court, but to have that competitive fire amongst us, it’s a great help. I’m really proud of her,” said Grossman. “It’s awesome. This has been our first season at the club, and it’s been fantastic. The people are wonderful and we’ve enjoyed immersing ourselves in the community. There was some great tennis as well, and we’re really happy about it.”

LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine


Adult League Wrap-Up By Kathy Miller

55 & Over 7.0 Men Sectional Champions

18 & Over 3.0 Women Sectional Champions

65 & Over 7.0 Women Sectional Champions

40 & Over 6.0 Mixed Sectional Champions


nother summer of Men’s and Women’s USTA League Tennis is in the books! Long Island did very well with quite a few teams qualifying for the National Championships! Below are the teams from Long Island that advanced to the Sectional Championships. Teams in bold won their Sectional event and advanced to Nationals: 18 & Over Women’s League • 2.5 Carefree Racquet Club captained by Mani Strazzera & Sharon Rothstein • 3.0 Sportime Lynbrook captained 56

by Rosalynn Steele & Julie Davidson • 3.5 Point Set captained by Patty Siler and Melissa Thomas • 4.0 Sportime Roslyn captained by Seema Imberman • 4.5 Sportime Lynbrook captained by Katie Figgie & Suzanne Markowitz • 5.0 Sportime Syosset captained by Hali Katz & Meredith Steigman • Open Sportime Lynbrook captained by Sarah Landsman & Daria Sekerina 18 & Over Men’s League • 3.0 Deer Park Tennis captained by David Ng

Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com

• 3.5 Christopher Morley captained by Adam Moramarco • 4.0 Point Set captained by Dan Bindler • 4.5 Long Beach Tennis captained by Fayez Malik • 5.0 Robbie Wagner’s captained by Jeff Snow 40 & Over Women’s League • 3.0 Christopher Morley captained by Jaeeun Lee • 3.5 Sportime Lynbrook captained by Nayana Brahmbhatt • 4.0 Huntington Indoor captained by Lisa Newell & Tracy Kleinberg

40 & Over 4.5 Men Sectional Champions

18 & Over 4.5 Women Sectional Champions

65 & Over 8.0 Women Sectional Champions

40 & Over 3.0 Women Sectional Champions

55 & Over 8.0 Women Sectional Champions

40 & Over 9.0 Mixed Sectional Champions

• 4.5 Christopher Morley captained by Pam Sorin & Nancy Greeley

captained by Russ DiFazio • 9.0 Carefree/Nassau Indoor captained by Adam Kolenberg & Lawrence Lehman

40 & Over Men’s League • 3.0 Long Island Health & Racquet captained by Robert Kronenberg • 3.5 Sportime Kings Park captained by Bill Carson • 4.0 Port Washington Tennis captained by John Rau & Ed Gold • 4.5 Carefree Racquet captained by Scott Chesney 55 & Over Women’s League • 6.0 Port Jefferson Country Club captained by Nancy Knapp • 7.0 Sportime Lynbrook captained by Nayana Brahmbhatt • 8.0 Sportime Lynbrook captained by Anna Aviani Wilson 55 & Over Men’s League • 7.0 Sportime Kings Park captained by Tim Consiglio & Dalmain Fenton • 8.0 Sportime Kings Park

65 & Over Women’s League • 7.0 Garden City Tennis captained by Pat Molloy & Leslie Wecksler • 8.0 Sportime Syosset captained by Katrina Clifford & Gail Schor 65 & Over Men • 7.0 Bethpage State Park captained by Bob Nathan & Robert Morgillo • 8.0 Tennis King captained by Al Silverstein & Ken Luba 40 & Over Mixed Doubles • 6.0 Christopher Morley captained by David Ng & Youngmi Seo

• 7.0 Point Set captained by Lori Sarnelli & Melissa Thomas • 8.0 Sportime Lynbrook captained by Donna Healy • 9.0 Park Ave Tennis captained by Roslyn Chua Mcalonie Congratulations to all the teams going to Nationals, and congrats to the Long Island tennis community in general for a successful Adult League season. The Tri-Level leagues are up and running, as is the 18 & Over Mixed Doubles. I will be reaching out to captains regarding the 40 & Over mixed doubles for the 2022 season shortly. Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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.

LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine


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Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com


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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE Designs By Rachael Custom Jewelry Info@JewelryDesignsByRachael.com Feminine. Classy. Unique. Striking. A Lariat Necklace is a simple yet elegant statement piece that should be an Everyday Go-To. They accentuate any outfit for any occasion. The beauty of Designs By Rachael is that you can choose one of the designs, and together you can customize and create your very own Eye-Catching lariat necklace. You decide the color of the chain and the color of the gems. Your piece will be *Individualized and Special* • Each Beautiful lariat necklace has 24 inches of Diamond Cut chain • 14k Yellow Gold, White Gold, Rose Gold, or Sterling Silver • Vivid and Sparkling gem stones • Can come with a matching bracelet to go with it A Designs By Rachael custom piece can be the Perfect gift to Spoil yourself or someone else. Find Designs By Rachael on Facebook and Instagram: JewelryDesignsByRachael

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LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine



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(214) 749-0300 inPhorm, the tennis, golf and active brand known internationally for its “simple elegance and classic” outfits, is adding a camouflage pattern to its holiday collection — aptly called “Holiday Camo.” We asked the creative director, Saad Hajidin, what inspired his color palette this season? “Camouflage is always popular,” he noted. “Every time we include a camouflage print in our collection, people respond positively. My thought for this Holiday was to elevate the patterns and colors for camouflage. I’ve combined Aubergine with Blush Grey, Dark Grey and Black, making it more sophisticated and appropriate for the taste level that inPhorm’s customers have come to expect from us. “I was very careful to scale the patterns so that each color variation blends and compliments the others tastefully. In addition to the Camouflage Pattern, we also have Slate Grey, Black and White — colors that work well on their own or pair with the pattern pieces.” inPhorm’s Holiday 2021 collection is replete with styles that transition from the daytime court and course to the evening’s activities — stylish tennis and golf looks that easily blend in at any occasion. In the last few months, inPhorm’s team has been engaged in conversations with its customers, gathering reviews of products, fits and functionality. “We like to say that by listening to our customers, we ‘Stay inPhormed,’” Saad says You can learn more about inPhorm by visiting its website, www.inphormnyc.com


Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com


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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE Ode to Tennis by Barbara Wyatt BarbaraWyatt@yahoo.com The Gift of Humor

For the holiday stockings, give the gift of humor with the book, Ode to Tennis by Barbara Wyatt, featuring the delightful rhyming poem of a player in a tennis lesson. It’s the perfect little gift book for tennis players. The illustrated poem highlights a player's joy and frustrations during a tennis lesson, capturing the euphoria and struggles of players who take up the game of tennis later in life. “I chase the ball in tournaments, I compete in the USTA Yet my strokes leave players laughing, I’m more comical than Tina Fey! Reviews: • “A great work to be ready by anyone who likes the sport of tennis!” • “It is a feel good book, well-written and illustrated. Made me smile the whole time I was reading it.” • “A great gift! So much truth in a fun wonderfully illustrated book. Enjoy.” Ode to Tennis is available on Amazon for $9.95 (paperback) and $2.99 (Kindle).


LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine



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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE Silent Partner Tennis

(800) 662-1809 l SPTennis@on.aibn.com Give the gift of a Silent Partner Tennis Ball Machine this holiday season! Silent Partner Tennis has been independently owned and operated since 1989. Check us out online at SPTennis.com. Our ball machines make great holiday gifts. We have a range of portable machines to match any budget with features for beginners and experts alike. Oscillation with topspin and backspin capability comes standard on all of our machines. Our SMART model machine includes advanced features such as Match Play mode, which simulates playing points in a match, and Select-A-Drill, which allows you to input customized drill sequences. Feature-for-feature, we are the best deal around. Plus, shipping from our factory to your front door is free. We pride ourselves on our customer service, so if you have any questions before or after buying your machine, feel free to give us a call! Here’s to your best tennis yet. Wishing everybody all the very best of the holiday season and a safe, healthy 2022.


Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com


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Support@slingerbag.com Slinger Bag Provides a Tennis Partner 24-7 and Is Light Enough for Santa’s Sleigh Tennis enthusiasts of all skill levels have a reason to rejoice during the holidays this year because tennis is alive and well courtesy of Slinger Bag, the first truly portable and affordable tennis ball launcher that provides a tennis partner 24-7. Slinger Bag may be wheeled like carry-on luggage and can easily be tossed in the trunk of car, like a set of golf clubs. It is always available whenever and wherever you need it most and is light enough for Santa’s sleigh at 33 lbs. Why is Slinger Bag the best tennis ball launcher on the market? It does so much more than challenge your skills. For the price of two tennis rackets, Slinger Bag is a multifunctional tennis bag with storage to transport 72 tennis balls, wallets, keys, towel sand water bottles. Oh, and it can even charge your cell phone. Ideal for Santa’s elves, Slinger Bag may be set up in one minute, enables players to control the launch speed and frequency of balls, is priced at approximately 50% lower than competitors and is perfect for beginners just discovering the sport. Lastly, in today’s new normal, Slinger Bag is the ideal social distancing practice partner Bonus Points: Slinger Bag will be sure to put smiles on tennis lover faces as they begin their New Year’s fitness regimens to work off all that excess turkey, and chocolate and holiday trimmings.

LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine



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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE Tennis Inside the Zone

32 Mental Training Workouts for Champions Available on Amazon We have seen firsthand how Robs work has positively impacted players, both as a person and tennis player. His program is a must for anyone who wants to break through to the next level.” Tim Mayotte, former #7 Professional in the World and Coaching Professional. What if one book could change everything? Tennis Inside the Zone is the perfect holiday gift for the player that is looking to take their mental game to another level. It’s the first book of its kind that empowers the player to be the champion of their own game. This highly interactive journal book offers players of all levels mental training workouts, quotes from the pros, key principals, and mental strategies to stay focused on what they can control, embrace adversity, and increase their resiliency while facing obstacles. If you have ever wondered, how do I get the mental edge? (workout #1), Why can’t I play matches like I practice? (workout #13), or How can I relax? (workout #22), this books for you. Or have you ever said? I suck!? (workout #20), or I’m better, how could I lose? (workout 29), or even I can’t believe I choked (workout #32), then this book is definitely for you! Tennis Inside the Zone is intended to help you uncover and solve the mystery of the mental game. It can help you to identify your unique strengths and make them even more potent, while allowing self reflection and awareness as a person and player. For Golfers and Baseball players (or anyone playing team sports), please check out Golf Inside the Zone and Baseball inside the Zone also available on Amazon. Rob Polishook is author and Mental Training coach, he can be reached at at rob@insidethezone or cell (973) 723-0314. Happy Holidays.


Tennis Inside the Zone

Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com


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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE The Art and Science of Ball Watching By Dr. Paul Hamori, M.D. Dr. Paul J. Hamori M.D. is a physician practicing internal medicine in the greater Indianapolis area. He has been a lifelong tennis enthusiast and student of the game for the last 55 years, having started tennis at the age of 5. Professionally, he has always had a side interest in neuroscience. He decided to combine these two passions to produce a book about the neuroscience of tennis ball watching. The Art and Science of Ball Watching takes the reader through the scientific principles involved in tennis ball watching, with a focus on those aspects of Physical and Biologic science that facilitate the ability to see ball contact. It then analyzes the techniques used by the greatest ball watcher of all time. Subsequently it demonstrates simple exercises that can be done by any player to develop these same techniques. It contains interesting diagrams and pictures that will facilitate the reader’s understanding of these principles and techniques. While the focus of the book is on tennis, its concepts are applicable to other racquet sports including pickle ball, and squash. Inside Tennis editor Bill Simons wrote: “Dr. Paul Hamori has written a revealing, groundbreaking book: The Art and Science of Ball Watching–Learning to see contact. The book teaches us the neuroscience of hearing, vision and touch–and how to apply it to playing better. Hamori offers an intriguing study of the greatest of all ball watchers, Roger Federer, and gives us a bounty of brain exercises.”

The Art and Science of Ball Watching LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine





recently recorded a podcast for my show, Prodigy Maker, in which I discussed the topic of Moonballing, especially in junior tennis. The topic got a lot of commentary online and I wanted to share some thoughts from the show with the Long Island Tennis Magazine readership, and my experience coaching many world-class juniors.

Moonballing is a legitimate strategy In the “Little Mo” Regionals and Nationals there was some controversy about kids moonballing and whether it should be allowed, or if the tournament should try to limit this strategy. The controversy unfortunately flared up online in an ugly way between some parents. From my vantage point, people need to stop complaining about players who hit the ball high up in the air. This is a legitimate strategy, just like hitting the ball very low is a legitimate strategy. Parents—stop complaining. Students— stop complaining. Coaches—stop complaining. Stop whining and start learning how to win. It’s hard and painful to watch a kid lose to a 66

moonballer—or pusher—for that matter. It’s a painful lesson, but that kid needs to learn how to deal with different types of tactics. Many players, especially young ones, don’t like receiving high balls above the shoulder. It’s foolish to penalize and/or criticize a kid for exploiting this fact. Players who hit moonballs have developed a tactic that is legal and smart. It may not be the best approach for their own long-term development—and I will discuss this below—but hitting the ball high or lobbing the ball can be a very smart play to win. Don’t complain—improve your brain! Players who moonball are demonstrating that they have a good brain. They are demonstrating that their tactical computer is turned on, and the kids who complain about it need to try to improve their own brains. They need to learn how to deal with this approach, and learn how to mitigate and counter a high lob; more on this later. Generally the players who lose to moonballers don’t have a great tactical mind and haven’t learned to problem solve.

Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com

By Chris Lewit

Pretty technique doesn’t win matches Some parents, coaches, and players seem to think that pretty technique should earn the win—like a tennis match is a beauty contest. It is not. A tennis match is a lot more like a cage or a street fight. The sooner a kid figures this out, the better. In a cage fight, there are limited rules. In a street fight, there are no rules. Tennis has some limited rules. There is no rule, for example, that limits the height at which you are allowed to hit the ball. You can hit it as high, or as low, as you want. You just can’t hit any obstructions like the roof, of course. Exploring the limits of the rules is good problem solving. If your opponent doesn’t like high balls, by all means, hit them more of those. If your opponent doesn’t like low balls, give them more of those. If your opponent is slow, give them short balls like drop shots. This is just common sense and good strategic play. But for many people, lobbing someone is viewed in a negative way, frowned upon, criticized, and even vilified.

The cousins of the moonball: pushing and dropshotting The same opprobrium is reserved for kids who use too many dropshots or kids who “push” the ball. I call pushing shots and dropshots the cousins of the lob or moonball. Contrary to what you may have heard, hitting the ball softly is also a legitimate strategy. Some people don’t like soft balls as they can disrupt the rhythm and timing of many players. Dropshots are also a wonderful strategy against players at all levels, particularly those who are not fast or struggle with their fitness or movement. If you want to make yourself or your players dumb on the court, by all means limit the shots allowed to be hit instead of exploring all the variety of shots in tennis. It’s critical to develop the tactical mind of a young kid and experimenting with different effects on the ball is part of good tactical learning and problem solving. Winning without power in Spain is a badge of courage Sometimes I think it’s funny when I hear people complaining about how pushers, dropshotters and moonballers win so many matches and tournaments. They win a lot of trophies, but they don’t play “real tennis.” What is real tennis anyway? Tennis shots can be slow or fast.

Strokes can be pretty or ugly. With some caveats, what matters is who holds the trophy at the end. There is a stigma in the United Statesa attached to winning without power. In Spain, where I have studied intensively, that stigma doesn’t exist. There, players who run, bunt, lob, dropshot, etc. are praised for their grit and intelligence. But not here. Here in the States, we mock and vilify these types of players—it’s crazy. In Spain, if a player is solid and consistent and wins with endurance, they are lauded, not lambasted. If pushing and moonballing win so much, how come in the U.S., we don’t teach that as a strategy? If these slower ball tactics win so many tournaments, why wouldn’t we want our kids to use them. After all, the goal is winning tournaments, not looking pretty, right? I’m all for teaching power and acceleration. In Spain, the coaches are obsessed with acceleration too, but they also value grinding and soft shots. Toni Nadal has a great saying about the importance of power and touch: “velocidad y habilidad,” he likes to say. I want my players to have big powerful weapons, but sometimes a little knife can be just a deadly as a gun in a street fight. A shard of glass

in well-trained hands can be just as deadly as an assault rifle. I want my players to have a variety of weapons and tools to win a match—not just power. A player who wins with all the tools available demonstrates guile and resourcefulness, which are the traits we want to develop, right? How I teach players to use high balls on the attack First of all, it’s important to explain to kids the different options available to them when attacking their opponent above the shoulder. For me, a moonball is really high. It’s a very high lob with little spin. My friend likes to call them cloud touches—big lobs that touch the sky. In general, I prefer that my players use spin to hit a heavy topspin ball up above the shoulders. Heavy topspin attacks are high ball attacks with spin and racquet speed. This is my favorite strategy to teach players. Online, it’s sometimes referred to as the Spanish Armada play. Spanish players love to play high and heavy with whip and spin. If my players hit an occasional cloud touch as a change of pace, I’m ok with that, but I don’t really want them to overuse that super high ball strategy. I want that heavy ball, and for that the players needs to have good technique, continued on page 68

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moonballers! continued from page 67

good acceleration and good footwork and balance. These are the key technical areas that I want my players to develop. If they are sending up high and slow cloud touches too much, I fear they won’t develop their footwork, technique and racquet speed enough. I don’t want my players out there slapping the ball to the sky flat and developing bad habits. That’s a redline for me. But at the end of the day, I respect a kid for understanding that a high ball can win points and disrupt the game of his or her opponent. How to deal strategically with a moonballer The best way to deal with a moonballer is to stay calm and take the ball out of the air with a topspin volley. Be patient and don’t let the ball get too high above your shoulders. Other


alternative strategies are taking the ball on-the-rise or moving back deep in the court and playing a heavy topspin back to the opponent. I teach all three of these strategies to my players so that they are ready for any moonballer! Conclusion—Long-Term Development Remember that hitting high balls is something we want young players to experiment with tactically. Encourage kids to do it. It’s better for their longterm development to learn to do it using the Spanish Armada style, than

cloud touches. That way, players are fostering better technique, footwork and balance, and acceleration. My longtime mentor, legendary Spanish coach Luis Bruguera likes to say, “Don’t destroy your opponent—disturb him, disrupt him.” When players experiment with hitting high balls, they are learning how to do just that. They are learning to disrupt and win without power. It’s an important lesson to learn on the junior pathway. The key is to learn that tactical lesson while not developing bad technical habits along the way.

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.

Long Island Tennis Magazine • November/December 2021 • LITennisMag.com

The Amazing Return in New York By Luke Jensen Tennis fans, did you see the amazing U.S. Open? At the beginning of the last major of the calendar year, it seemed with Federer, Serena, Nadal, Venus, Thiem (last year’s champion) and other notables not playing, it would bring down the energy of what is traditionally a powerhouse event. I will never again underestimate what new faces and storylines can emerge when there is enormous opportunity. The new kids on the women’s side did not disappoint with two teenagers reaching the final and British phenom Emma Raducanu bringing home the beautiful trophy. Going into the Open, she had only won seven matches at the tour level in just two events. Raducanu was awarded a last-minute wild card entry into Wimbledon and made the most of it by reaching the Round of 16. After that run she did not do much in minor league events and then got hot as she reached the finals at a WTA event in Chicago before heading to the Big Apple for U.S. Open qualifying. I want to stress just how extraordinary the accomplishment by Raducanu was and is. She is the first qualifier to win a major in tennis history, and she did not drop a set in her ten matches in New York. The closest set was in the

second round of qualifying and that was 7-5. So let’s break down how a teenage girl, who just finished high school in Great Britain right before Wimbledon, has such a massive rise to the top of the game? As an ESPN tennis analyst I was able to interview Emma at both Wimbledon and the Open. The first thing that jumped out at me was her ability to embrace the pressure of being a main draw player against this level of competition. I have always believed there are a large number of talents that have the ability to win majors but few that have the mental approach to actually win it. Raducanu would consistently say how much fun she was having and how much she enjoyed playing on the biggest stages in the world. I think with this win you will see more youngsters see the Raducanu win and say, “It’s my time!” To do so, they need to accept the challenge mentality, emotionally and tactically when they step into that arena.

The ATP saw this in the 80s and 90s when Michael Chang won the French Open out of nowhere, then Pete Sampras won the 1990 U.S. Open, followed by Jim Courier and Andre Agassi winning majors by 1992. On a separate note, having fans back at the U.S. Open was so much fun to be part of. The noise they make and energy they bring is unmatched. Let’s hope that can continue as we enter 2022. The Australian Government is mandating players to be vaccinated to compete in the 2022 Australian Open, which is another step towards global safety and a path forward towards normalcy. Keep an eye on the teenagers that are in your area winning tournaments who are about to use the Emma example to what can happen with tremendous personal confidence and hard work. Maybe, just maybe, the Cinderella glass slipper will fit once again!

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 email lukejensen84@yahoo.com. LITennisMag.com • November/December 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine


Mythbusters Not All Coaching Advice is Based on Facts, But You Should Certainly Believe In Your Coach ... Part Two By Ricky Becker


here’s a saying in coaching that even the best coaches don’t invent anything new. Coaches take the experience of what they have heard, seen and played against, and form their own coaching preferences based on what they think is best. There are many coaching opinions that are just that: opinions. While good coaches feel strong in their convictions, there are many instances where top players have taken different paths on a myriad of topics. In the last issue of Long Island Tennis Magazine, I discussed: 1. Should the net player look back in doubles? 2. When should junior players start to learn a continental serve? 3. Is it better to play Orange Ball USTA tournaments, or wait until the age you are allowed to play fullcourt tournaments? My opinions are: 1. Yes 2. Once the player can get 75 percent of their serves in with their natural grip 3. Play Orange Ball These are not facts though, and no level of confidence by any


coach makes them so. Below are three more items that I have heard coaches differ on and have seen great players do differently. While I will give my personal opinion and communicate how strongly I feel about it, I realize there are other good coaches out there who think differently than I do on some of these issues. Additionally, many, if not all, the answers to the below topics depend on the student. In future articles I will address more of these “debatable topics.” As hard as it is, to admit…they are debatable.

get lazy on the open stance with spacing and not placing as much importance on the proper height to take a shot because it is easier to “wing it” in open stance. In my experience, I have found that students who learn open stance first have a harder time getting competency in closed stance rather than vice-versa. With that said, if the coach/player knows that the junior player will be using a western grip and intends on being a running, counter-puncher then I am ok with open stance first since almost all shots will be hit with that grip down the road.

When to learn open stance This probably depends on the child’s grip and focus but I would say as a rule of thumb it is better to teach closed stance first. Transferring weight forward into shots is certainly an important component to understand early and this is easier to understand right off the bat in closed stance. It is also a bit more precise as far as spacing, will require better footwork downthe-road and helps students understand the importance of rotating the shoulders. It is easier to

How much technique is important for the volley, and how much is just confidence? I’m not saying technique on the volley is unimportant, and hand-eye coordination/athleticism probably is the most important, but what I truly believe is that attitude, confidence and enjoyment of being at the net is the most important. At the club level, I have seen countless times where the non-tennis playing spouses dominate net play against their lesson-playing, proper-form volleying wives. Meanwhile, the husbands cannot

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hang from the baseline. Why? Because one could have great technique but if they are not naturally comfortable at the net and are volleying while subconsciously leaning back in a defensive position, they aren’t going to volley well. Another thing to keep in mind is there is so much variety when it comes to volleys. There are balls that float to the volleyer, balls coming really fast to the volleyer, stretch volleys, half volleys, etc., that what might apply to one type of volley doesn’t always apply to all. What happens when you teach a beginner to keep their racquet face open on the volley and they get a high volley close to the net? They hit it long! What happens when you step across your body to volley a ball that’s hit really hard? You are late on the volley! That’s why I think that getting your student comfortable at the net with different games, exercises and situations is

more important than perfecting volley technique. With that said, I’m sure there are coaches I respect who disagree and others who agree with me. Is it better to keep my feet apart (platform) or slide my back foot up (pinpoint) when I serve? I may be stretching when I say there is a debate on which is better. Coaches may have their own personal preference but any reputable coach would not impose one stance exclusive to every one of their students. There are

legendary servers who have used pinpoint, and others who have used platform, and it really depends on what the student is more comfortable executing. What I do feel strongly about is that a coach should not introduce pinpoint as a serving option until the student is passed the beginner stage. There are just too many body parts moving around to really get the basics down on the serve and in my opinion balance and the ball toss are the two most important things for a beginner to gain some aptitude on in the early stages of development.

Ricky Becker is The Director of Tennis at the prestigious Pine Hollow Country Club for his tenth year. He also 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, 516-359-4843 or via juniortennisconsulting.com.

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