Long Island Tennis Magazine September / October 2021

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IN MEMORIAM: DICK ZAUSNER he Long Island tennis community lost one of its gentlest souls and impactful persons this summer, as Richard (Dick) Zausner passed away at the age of

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87. Zausner was one of the most renowned and longesttenured members of the local tennis community here, running the Port Washington Tennis Academy (PWTA) for the last 40 years. Born in Manhattan in 1934, Dick played and excelled at many sports growing up, and attended the Bronx School of Science and then Syracuse University before serving two years in the United States Navy. His father, Hy, founded PWTA and upon his retirement, Dick took over. The club flourished and soon became home to some of the country’s best junior tennis players, including John and Patrick McEnroe, Vitas Gerulaitis, Peter Fleming and Tracy Austin. “Devastated by the loss of Dick Zausner who owned/ran Port Washington Tennis Academy,” Austin tweeted. “Like a second father to me during my career. Dick mentored SO many to successful college scholarships and lives.” Patrick McEnroe added: “Dick Z was the man who made us love going to PWTA…I have such fond memories of growing up and learning the game there.” While Zausner was proud of the tennis champions he and the club produced, his mission was always to have an impact beyond the tennis court. “The accomplishments of the kids outside of tennis are certainly more significant to me than the pros we’ve helped produce,” he said in 2020. “I certainly don’t give us 100 percent credit for that, but it’s just very rewarding to see that your hard work has paid off.” He supported many local Port Washington charities including Port Washington Youth Activities, The Children’s Center, Parent Resource Center, Police Athletic League, and numerous other organizations. In 2016, Zausner was honored with the Vitas Gerulaitis “For the Love of Tennis” Achievement Award in 2016, and elected to the USTA Eastern Hall of Fame in 2017. Dick is survived by his son, David Fischbach, his brother Martin Zausner, his sister Susan Kominski, his brother Michael Zausner, his nieces Madison Kominski and Isabella Kominski, and his nephew Nicholas Kominski. Dick was predeceased by his beloved wife Madeline Zausner and sister-in-law, Adrienne Zausner. In lieu of flowers, tax deductible donations in Dick’s honor can be made to the Port Washington Tennis Academy, 100 Harbor Road, Port Washington, NY 11050.

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September/October 2021 • Volume 13, Number 5

litennis Long Island Tennis Magazine

Table Of Contents 2021 U.S. Open Preview

MAGAZINE

Fans return at full capacity for final Slam of the year—See page 22

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

Staff David Sickmen Publisher (516) 409-4444, ext. 309 david@usptennis.com Brian Coleman Senior Editor (516) 409-4444, ext. 326 brianc@usptennis.com Joey Arendt Art Director Francine Miller Advertising Coordinator (516) 409-4444, ext. 301 francinem@usptennis.com

Photo credit: Mike Lawrence/USTA

Highlights 6 14 18 34 40 44 52

Mixed Doubles Pairings Hit Quogue for LI Tennis Magazine Challenge Coaching Spotlight: Adam Lee, Glen Head Racquet & Fitness By Brian Coleman Kids’ Days Return with Three Free LI Tennis Events 31st Annual USTA Eastern Awards Program 2021 Long Island Girls’ High School Preview Junior Player Spotlight: Luma Monteira Teixeira, Ross School Tennis Academy By Brian Coleman At The Net with Giuliana Olmos

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

PG 40

PG 44

PG 52

Features

Interns Tyler Cohen Alex Drossman Phoebe Warshauer Joanne Salloum Alexa Brecher

PG 14

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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In Memoriam: Dick Zausner USTA Eastern Hosts College Week Odds and Ends By Steve Kaplan Across Long Island…News and Notes from Across the L.I. Tennis Community When Superstars Collapse By Dr. Tom Ferraro Mythbusters: Not All Coaching Advice is Based on Facts By Ricky Becker Kushnirovich Wins Long Island One-On-One Doubles Event Cardio is King By Chris Lewit Adult League Wrap-Up By Kathy Miller LITM’s Literary Corner: Doubles Domination: The Best of the Best by Bob Allcorn USA Delegation Ready for 21st Maccabi Games Your Grading System Determines Your Effort By Mark Savage Weathering the Storm: The Key to Bouncing Back By Rob Polishook Let The Racquet Talk By Lonnie Mitchel Thrive With a New Tennis Partner By Barbara Wyatt Jensen Zone: Remember to Have Fun By Luke Jensen

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


USTA Eastern Hosts College Week

Flight 1 Boys arlier this summer, USTA Eastern rolled out its inaugural College Week to provide valuable information, resources and exposure to high school tennis players in the Section. The Week consisted of various Webinars on topics such as: Journey From College to the Pros, Nuts and Bolts of College Recruiting and How to Succeed in College Tennis. These webinars featured acclaimed speakers such as Eric Butorac, the former D3 College Player who went on to play in Grand Slam finals, and is currently the Director of Pro Tennis Operations and Player Relations for the USTA and

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Flight 1 Girls

Flight 2 Boys

Scott Treibly, the USTA Collegiate and Infrastructure Consultant. There was also a Showcase Tournament where some of the Section’s top players competed in front of college coaches. During that tournament, there were two in-person College Coaches Panels held, featuring both Men’s and Women’s head coaches, including Princeton’s Billy Plate, St. John’s Dillon Pottish, Columbia’s Ilene Weintraub, Rutgers’ Hilary Ritchie and Farleigh Dickinson’s Tom Battaglia. The tournament and panels were held at East Brunswick Racquet Club in New Jersey. Below are the results

Flight 2 Girls

from the tournament: Flight 1 Boys • Champion - Sacha Maes • Finalist - Donovan Spigner Flight 1 Girls • Champion - Laila Fishman • Finalist - Liliana Malinowski Flight 2 Boys • Champion - Nicholas Siforov • Finalist - Ajay Kartik Flight 2 Girls • Champion - Hailey Stoerback • Finalist - Ines Roti

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THE LONG ISLAND

CHALLENGE 2021

Mixed Doubles Pairings Hit Quogue for LI Tennis Magazine Chaallenge he second installment of the 2021 Long Island Tennis Magazine Challenge Series brought Mixed Doubles pairings to The Hamptons for an event at Sportime Quogue. The day featured competitive tennis with a fun and social atmosphere as players enjoyed themselves on the pool deck in between matches. Towards the end of the tournament, the bar opened up for a perfect way to wrap up the afternoon, and a catered lunch was provided for all players.

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“We chose a Mixed doubles tournaments for our July event because it brings a different type of camaraderie and competitiveness to the courts,” said Co-Tournament Director David Sickmen. “There was fantastic weather on a beautiful Hamptons Saturday, and we were able to bring all of the aspects that have become staples of LITM Challenge events, such as catered food, open bar, competitive tennis and a professionally-organized tournament.”

Long Island Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • LITennisMag.com

There were four divisions of Mixed Doubles action that all began with


round-robin play that led into the knockout rounds. Christine Ghan & David Blank, who were partnering for the first time, quickly developed the chemistry needed to win, and captured the title in the 6.0-6.5 division. “We met for the first time right before we started playing, and she was fantastic,” said Blank. “We had a lot of fun playing together; we were able to ignore the sun and the heat, stay concentrated and keep our focus.” “The competition was really great today, and teamwork was the key to our success,” Ghan added. Another team competing together for the first time was Gregg Dukofsky & Kim Oranato, who walked away as champions of the 7.0-7.5 division. “This was our first time playing together,” said Oranato. “We can’t believe it…this event was so welldone, it was a great time and having happy hour right after our win is amazing.” Dukofsky explained the duo’s key to success: “My partner always kept us positive and helped us remain calm,” he said. “We always believed in each other, picked each other up, and kept the ball between the lines.” One team that did not have to

develop chemistry quickly was the mother-son pairing of Dan Tacco & Susan Smith, who won the title in the 8.0-8.5 division. “We played once when I was younger, and it didn’t work out,” Tacco said jokingly. “But I think we had good communication, and just made sure to work together. Both of us have different strengths and it worked out." The pair said they plan to play more events together now. “It was a lot of fun, I hope to play more,” said Smith. “Everybody we met

here was so nice and friendly, and it was just a great day of tennis and fun. I think we are definitely going to play more events and tournaments together, maybe we can find a mother-son tournament.” In the 9.0-9.5 Division, Yassine Azagar captured another LI Tennis Magazine Challenge title, after winning one in 2020, as he and Daria Sekerina were crowned champions. “It was all about her, I had an awesome partner,” Azagar said. “The most important thing was that we had fun. We really enjoyed it.” Sekerina added: “We’ve been playing together quite a bit leading up to this, so we knew what to expect from each other coming in,” she said. “We just wanted continued on page 6

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litm challenge series recap continued from page 5

to have fun, and this was a very nice venue to play at.” During the event, there was a clinic ran for those with special needs, as Long Island Tennis Magazine partnered with Family Residences and

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Essential Enterprises (F.R.E.E.), an organization that supports more than 4,000 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental illness and traumatic brain injury. “We are proud to incorporate a

Long Island Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • LITennisMag.com

charity component to the event and have individuals from F.R.E.E take part in a clinic with our intern team, comprised of high school and college tennis players,” added Sickmen. “We’re happy to have these


community events to bring everyone together, and look forward to the next one in September.” The LITM Challenge Series is 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.

The next installment of the Challenge Series is set for Saturday, September 11 at SPORTIME Quogue. This tournament will be a Men’s and Women’s Doubles event, and registration is now available.

LITM CHALLENGE SPONSORS Chris Savino

litennis Long Island Tennis Magazine

nytennis New York Tennis Magazine

MAGAZINE

MAGAZINE

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Odds and Ends 1. Who is the G.O.A.T.? I love Roger Federer and I admire Rafael Nadal, and at this moment, there is a strong case for either to be called the G.O.A.T. of men's tennis. Roger, however, is unlikely to add another major and Rafa looks like he might be losing a step or two and it's hard to imagine that he has more than one great major run left. Novak Djokovic, on the other hand, could add five or more majors to his total of 20. He might also win the Grand Slam this year with a U.S. Open victory. Does Novak represent the sport with the grace and integrity of Roger and Rafa? Not likely. Is Novak the G.O.A.T.? Maybe not yet for sure, and it's hard to say anyway because we may define the term "greatness" by many metrics. Without regard to who is the greatest player ever, will Novak be regarded as the best player ever after he, Roger and Rafa have retired? Defiantly. 2. Open Draws For as long as I can remember, local USTA players, coaches and parents have complained that some clubs who host junior tournaments "fix" or

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By Steve Kaplan

manipulate the draws to give the players who play at their club an edge. No need to name names, everyone knows who the suspects are. This credibility gap is not good for the sport but there is an easy address. The USTA rules state the draws shall be made in the open but good luck finding a club that will accommodate your request to watch the draw being made. Even if they were to cooperate, such an undertaking would be needlessly inconvenient. Why not require tournaments to post the draw selection on Facebook Live. This would ensure fairness and put questions of integrity to rest. Transparency would grow the game and ensuring a fair draw could be just a click or two away. 3. Greatness and goodness gone Dick Zausner, President and Owner of the famed Port Washington Tennis Academy, passed away at 87. I couldn't list his accomplishments in a single article and not have it become a book but I do have a story to share that represents my memory of him. Many years ago my club hosted a beginner’s Boys’ 10 and under

USPTA Eastern Division's Annual Conference (In person!)

Friday-Saturday, November 5-6 Sportime l Quogue, NY Registration: $80.00 For more information contact Paul Fontana at (914) 656-0614 or eastern-ed@uspta.org 8

Long Island Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • LITennisMag.com

tournament. When one of the boys in his first tournament started crying uncontrollably right as the match began, he left the court. A pro at my club consoled him for a brief moment out of kindness and the boy returned and continued. The parents of the other boy complained that this was against the rules (which in all fairness, it was.). Dick Zausner, who at the time was the head of the rules committee, was called and said the following: "These children are just nine-years-old, and for crying out loud, use common sense and compassion. Let them just enjoy playing." Common sense, compassion and a love of tennis and the people who play it. That's how I will remember Dick Zausner. He was a great and good man. 4. You can have it all Many players have to choose between prioritizing academics or athletics but not newly crowned Junior Wimbledon Champion Samir Banerjee who will be attending Colombia University. He will play for Coach Howard Endelman who has helped elevate 4-star recruits to the ATP tour while getting an Ivy League education. It's scary to think how good this young man will get under Coach Endelman's guidance. As a junior I remember Howie as a hard-worker. As a highly-successful businessman, Howard worked even harder. Today, Coach Endelman is tirelessly demanding that each member of his team outwork him. He has created a culture of excellence on the court and off and it works. 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.


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Across Long Isl Holtz Wins Little Mo Consolation Tournament Longtime Chris Lewit Tennis Academy student Henry Holtz headed down south to Florida to compete in the "Little Mo" East Regionals in Palm Beach Gardens. Holtz participated in the Boys 9s Division, and came back to win the Consolation Draw.

Fakas Promoted to Full-Time Adelphi Head Coach After two successful seasons guiding the Adelphi Panthers tennis programs as a part-time coach, this fall Rebecca Fakas will officially be in a full-time role as head coach of both the men’s and women’s teams. Fakas led the men’s team to its first NE10 tournament since

2017, and helped the women post a 10-2 record and reach the conference semifinals. "Rebecca has done a tremendous job leading our tennis programs as a part-time coach. The transition to full-time status will allow Rebecca to provide an even better experience to our student-athletes, while also engaging our alumni and local community," Adelphi Athletic Director Danny McCabe told AUPanthers.com.

Ziets-Segura’s Win National Doubles Title Linda and Marco ZietsSegura, who train at Glen Head Racquet & Fitness, paired up in the Mixed Doubles 16s Draw at the L4 Binghamton Tennis Center Championships. As the top-seeds, the duo didn’t drop a set until the finals, and won the tournament after pulling out a third-set tiebreaker.

LIGHTS UP THE COURT

AT SPORTIME QUOGUE THE LONG ISLAND TENNIS CHALLENGE WORN BY

ALEXA BRECHER ALEX HO & JOANNE SALLOUM

LI TENNIS MAGAZINE’S CHARMING YOUNG INTERNS

www.inphormnyc.com

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Long Island Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • LITennisMag.com


land

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

Sportime Lynbrook Adult Teams Heading to Sectionals Two teams out of Sportime Lynbrook will be representing Long Island at the USTA Eastern Sectional Championships in Schenectady, as the 4.5 18+ team captained by Suzanne Markowitz & Katie Figgue, and the 3.0 18+ team captained by Rosalyn Steele & Julie Davidson won their respective Long Island Regional Championships this summer.

Arbitman, Liao Recognized by USA TODAY

and Liao were the tennis selections for the state of New York. The Awards Show was hosted by Michael Strahan and Rob Gronkowski and was streamed online.

LIers Post Top Results at Clay Court Championships

Gold, Silver and Bronze Balls were up for grabs at the annual Clay Court Championships which took place across the country earlier this summer. Many players from the USTA Eastern Section represented the local tennis community well with their results, including a few Long Islanders. Ariana Pursoo won a Silver Ball in Girls 18s Singles and Girls 18s Doubles, Tola Glowacka won the Silver Ball in Girls 16s Singles, and Thea Rabman claimed the Bronze Ball in Girls 18s Singles. continued on page 12

The USA TODAY High School Sports Awards, honoring the best in high school sports across the country, celebrated two Long Island tennis players for their achievements this season: Hewlett’s Rachel Arbitman and Commack’s Eddie Liao. The awards are given out in 20 different high school sports, including tennis, and Arbitman LITennisMag.com • September/October 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine

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across long island continued from page 11

Hofstra University Hosts Net Generation Day

More than 200 aspiring young tennis players hit the courts at Hofstra University to take part in a USTA Long Island Net Generation Day. The courts were filled with many kids who were picking up a tennis racquet for the first time, and the day featured various drills, games, prizes and much more, as a fun way to introduce the sport of tennis to a whole new crop of children.

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Long Island Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • LITennisMag.com


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By Brian Coleman

Coaching Spotlight 14

Adam Lee Glen Head Racquet & Fitness ong Island has an array of high-level junior tennis talent, and much of the success of those players, especially recently, can be attributed to the dedicated coaches and teaching pros who guide their development. One of those coaches is Adam Lee, a High Performance coach at Glen Head Racquet & Fitness, who has been teaching here on Long Island for the last three years. “I’ve always loved the game so much, and I want to help people, so I think I always wanted to go into coaching,” said Lee. “Going pro was always the dream, but when that didn’t work out, I realized I wanted to help players do well, more than I want to do well myself. I love to see the improvement in the kids I work with, and trying to get the most out of our High Performance players is something that really drives me each day.” Born in Sheffield, England, about two hours east of Liverpool, Lee got his start in tennis when he was around four-years-old. He would tag along with his older sister and his father to the local park, helping them pickup balls after their practice. Towards the end of these sessions, he would grab a racquet for a few minutes, and he was hooked. Lee doesn’t remember a lot about his time in England, but he does have one memory in particular that stands out. By way of his winning the Great Britain Junior 12U Nationals with a victory over current professional Joe Salisbury in the finals, he got the chance to play in an exhibition doubles match with the likes of Lleyton Hewitt and Carlos Moya, “It was amazing,” Lee recalls. “Hewitt was my idol growing up. His energy and competitiveness was something I always tried to emulate.” Before he turned 13, Lee and his family headed to New Zealand, a destination that was decided after

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a family vacation. There, Lee continued to develop his game and was competing in ITF tournaments across New Zealand and Australia, aiming to land a college scholarship. He was competing with the crop of Australian tennis players you see on the ATP Tour today, including Nick Kyrgios, Jordan Thompson and James Duckworth. As he continued to climb up the junior rankings, he began to field offers from colleges here in the United States, ultimately choosing Wake Forest. “They just wanted me more, and that went a long way. The coach came and saw me play a tournament in Thailand, and stayed with us in New Zealand for a week,” said Lee. “I became familiar and personal with him, and when they brought me over for a visit, I met the team and it seemed like a great fit. When someone wants you and you feel like this is home, it’s an easy decision.” Lee would go on to set the single-

season wins record, winning 38 singles matches in his junior campaign, a record that still stands. His success in WinstonSalem set the stage for him to become a professional tennis player, but an elbow injury late in his final semester put a damper on those hopes. “I had surgery on my elbow right after

I graduated, and I probably came back a little too early because my arm was still bothering me,” he recalls. “I gave it a shot, but it got to the point where I wasn’t competing for the love of the game anymore, I was doing it because I needed the money. That took the edge off and added more pressure. I played my last match against David Goffin, and retired after that loss.” So Lee was left searching for the next step in his life. Still a lover of tennis, he knew he had the desire to help people, and coaching was the logical answer. He had received offers from clubs and academies in the southern part of the United States, but after moving to New York, he got an offer to coach at Glen Head Racquet & Fitness. As Lee says: “I took it from there and haven’t looked back.” continued on page 16

Photo: Ryan Loco

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coaching spotlight continued from page 15

Lee now lives in Locust Valley and runs the High Performance program at Glen Head, where he develops the facility’s top junior players, many of whom are ranked highly on Long Island and in the Eastern Section. He loves his role and the people he works with at Glen Head, and believes it’s an ideal environment for the area’s top players to train at. “It’s unique here, because every coach is friendly, and I don’t think you get that at every place you go to,” he says. “Everyone is energetic and supportive, and honestly, it’s like a home. It’s a family here. I’m a big believer in that if you have the right environment, success will follow. I can give my players to another coach to hit with, and I know that that coach will help them get better instead of trying to steer that in the wrong direction.”

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That camaraderie and atmosphere starts at the top with Phil Barres, who took over ownership of the club from longtime owner Robert Friedman back in 2019. Barres has helped rejuvenate the club into a high performance destination. “He wants to turn this place into one where good national players can come train,” said Lee. “He really has developed the club to the point where we have so many top-ranked players here.” Of Lee, Barres said: “His passion for the game is incredible, and his energy level is off the charts. He’s elevated the standard here. Adam is everything you’d want in a coach, he’s a great guy who is totally devoted to the kids he works with. He’ll give you everything he has if you are willing to work.”

Long Island Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • LITennisMag.com

When he isn’t on court, Lee likes to play another sport he loved as a child, soccer, competing in a men’s league on Long Island. He also enjoys fishing and playing golf when he can find the time. Much of his time is also spent reading and studying, as he is always looking to improve himself as a coach to continue to get the most out of his players. “No one is perfect, and my goal is just to get better and learn every day,” said Lee. “It’s important to always be learning and getting better. I’ve done a lot of research and earned my certifications, but can still learn more. And I tell my players similarly. I’m realistic with them and say, if you aren’t putting the work in, someone else is. There’s no magic wand, the goal for players and coaches alike should be getting better day-in-and-day-out.”


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Kids’ Days Return with Three Free LI Tennis Events

ong Island Tennis Magazine (LITM) was thrilled to partner with the USTA Eastern Long Island Region to host three different Kids’ Days events once again this summer. Held at three separate locations, LuHi Summer Programs, North Hills Country Club and The Hamlet Golf &

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Country Club, the Kids’ Days brought together diverse camps, groups and programs, including those who are underprivileged or have special needs, for a free day of tennis and fun. Two of the three locations hosted Kids’ Day for the first time, a great sign of the

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expansion and growth of the events as we aim to introduce tennis to more and more kids on Long Island. “Our Council being able to sponsor three Kids’ Days this year, after a year off because of the pandemic, was special,” said USTA Eastern Long Island Region Council


Director Jonathan Klee. “Putting tennis racquets in the hands of children, many of them for the first time and watching their faces light up as they hit tennis balls back and forth is one of the missions of the USTA. Our partners this year Long Island Tennis Magazine, LuHi, North

Hills Country Club and The Hamlet made it such a positive experience.” The collaboration between LITM and USTA Long Island over the last several years has resulted in the Kids’ Day events continuing to expand and grow each year. Throughout each facility’s courts,

smaller Net Generation courts were set up where LITM interns, made up of local high school and college tennis players, USTA Long Island volunteers and local teaching professionals and directors instructed continued on page 20

New York’s Premier Tennis Program For Over 30 Years & Counting Having proudly produced 90+ NCAA Division I, II, III Players / 250+ USTA Ranked Players / 1,000+ High School Players Offering programs for all ages and levels under the direction of a highly accomplished coaching staff of homegrown ATP, ITF, and NCAA players JUNIOR PROGRAMS • 10 & Under Pathway in association with Net Generation • Junior Development for recreational and high school players • High Performance Training for players competing in tournaments

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ADULT PROGRAMS • High Energy Cardio Tennis • Drill & Play, Group Clinics, Express Tennis for Beginners • In-club and USTA Leagues LITennisMag.com • September/October 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine

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kids’ day returns with three free li tennis events continued from page 19

the kids through different drills. The players move from station-to-station, but the tennis isn’t the only fun to be had at Kids’ Day. There was a dunk tank, bouncy house, relay races, Ninja warrior course, face-painting, a DJ, dance contests and more. The event at LuHi Summer Programs even included a BMX Bike Show, where the kids who attended watched different stunts and tricks by professional bike riders, making for an exciting and unique way to conclude the day. “It was great to see all the kids at our annual Kids Day Events this summer,” said Hilary Bressler, who is on the USTA Long Island’s Kids’ Day 20

Committee and helped teach on court during the events. “They got a chance to play tennis, hit for prizes, have fun at the dunk tank and get their faces painted. What a fabulous

Long Island Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • LITennisMag.com

way to give back to our communities and support kids getting an opportunity to participate in the wonderful sport of tennis.” By teaching the basics in a fun environment such as these Kids’ Days, the goal is to influence these youngsters to continue playing tennis in the future, and expose them to the sport of a lifetime. Some of the deserving groups that attended the events were Circular de la Hispanidad, Suffolk JCC, Glen Cove Boys & Girls Club, Family Residences and Essential Enterprises. and The Village Childcare Center. “Tennis is a game of a lifetime, and we hope that these experiences spark further play or an interest in tennis as they grow older,” added Klee.


When Superstars Collapse By Dr. Tom Ferraro recent trend in sports has been the sudden vulnerability of supposedly invincible superstars. In tennis, we witnessed the shy and sensitive Naomi Osaka walk out of the French Open after refusing to answer media questions. She, like most superstars, has an ambivalent relationship with the media. The stars understand their responsibility to “face the music” after wins or losses since media exposure means endorsement dollars. But the exhaustion and depletion felt after any competition makes the experience of facing questions problematic. In fact it takes a great and disciplined mind to manage all of this. Rory McIlroy refuses to listen to any television during a tournament because he knows it can instill doubt into his mind. And doubt is the enemy of the athlete. When I work with athletes who are exposed to media questions I do my best to counsel and prepare them for the questions. The best celebrity mind I knew was Ronald Reagan who was trained to handle any question thrown at him by essentially ignoring it and expressing the narrative chosen by his team for that day. Tiger Woods was a master at handling the media and was trained extensively by experts. When I interviewed him after his U.S. Open win at Bethpage years ago, I was struck by how bright, focused and confident he was, despite it being late at night after a long, grueling Sunday. Woods understood what Naomi Osaka has yet to learn and that is that the media is a two-headed monster. When it loves you, it will take you into heavenly bliss. But if it turns on you, it will devour you and spit you out without hesitation. Osaka has talked extensively about the pressure of fame and once remarked, “I have always had this

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pressure to maintain a squeaky clean image in public and this gets to be a drag after a while.” So when she dropped out of the French Open to take an extended mental health break from tennis, it was not surprise. We have seen emotional collapses in many sports recently. Matt Wolfe, the young star on the PGA Tour, admitted he needed a long break from the spotlight. Bubba Watson has been open about his level of anxiety and from the beginning he has talked about retiring as soon as possible. The latest supernova collapse came in this year’s Olympic Games when Simone Biles, the world’s greatest gymnast, suddenly withdrew from competition after a shaky start on day one. Biles is considered the greatest because of her ability to leap, spin, turn and land like no other human in history. Her back story is crucial. She

was adopted and was sexually abused by the infamous Larry Nassar, and she had to bring all of that baggage into the public domain. Needless to say, it was an enormous challenge. Fame and a normal life are not compatible. We may be able to understand why superstars “collapse” by borrowing from the world of astrophysics. A supernova event in outer space occurs in the following way: In some galaxies, two stars, or binary stars, are orbiting at the same point. When this occurs the ‘white dwarf’ star starts stealing energy and accumulating matter from the companion star until it explodes on itself. This is quite like an athlete who starts out as a normal youngster but as fame begins, their fame or star quality takes on a life of its own and robs the athlete of any normality. This is why you see so many stars live in hotels or other strange places. They are lost in their own world, the world of fame. Sofia Coppola’s film, “Somewhere”, is an excellent study of this issue. I have worked with many athletes who do the same thing. They live utterly nomadic lives and are essentially lost in it. That is until their “white dwarf” life of fame and fortune implodes on itself. Then we see the anxiety, yips, drug use, depression and all the other sad events that occur when a star falls apart. The burden of fame is enormous and it usually steals your soul. So let us take a moment to pause, appreciate just how much these superstars have given us, pray for the likes of Osaka and Biles and send our love, and hope that they get the rest and the treatment they so richly deserve.

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.

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2021 U.S. Open Preview 2021 U.S. Open Preview 2021 U.S. O

2021 U.S. Open Preview Fans Return in Full Capacity for 2021 U.S. Open n front of a sea of empty blue seats that filled Arthur Ashe Stadium, Naomi Osaka and Dominic Thiem lifted the Women’s Singles and Men’s Singles, U.S. Open trophies last September. It was an eerily strange backdrop for Grand Slam finals, especially the U.S. Open, where fan engagement and rowdy crowds are part of the tournament’s ambiance. While it was different, the 2020 U.S. Open turned out to be a success, and set the template for how other tournaments and leagues could operate safely during the pandemic. With no fans, there was of course a massive financial hit, but the U.S. Open was held and was finished during a time when there were doubts on if it was even possible. But as we approach the 2021 U.S. Open, last year’s event is squarely in the rearview mirror, with a full capacity of fans set to return to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows. “We are extremely excited to be able to welcome our incredible fans back to the US Open this year,” Mike Dowse, USTA CEO, said earlier this summer. “While we were proud that we were able to hold the event in 2020,

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we missed having our fans on-site, because we know that they are a large part of what makes the US Open experience unlike any other. Indeed, the challenges presented by the pandemic were tough on us all, but our sport came together like never before and tackled each challenge head on. Interest in tennis has accelerated, with four million new and returning players taking to the court last year. Our sport surged in the toughest of times, and this year’s US Open promises to be an unforgettable celebration of the game, those who play it, and those who revel in it.” The people who can’t wait to have fans back the most are the players themselves. Being able to feed off of the energy of the crowd, and share those special moments with the audience is one of the things that make the U.S. Open so special. Many times, late in matches, the players rely on the crowds to help them find that last reserve tank of energy to push them through to the finish line. “I really miss the fans. They really help me out. At a moment that I feel tired, they would always help me,”

Long Island Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • LITennisMag.com


S. Open Preview 2021 U.S. Open Preview 2021 U.S. Open Preview 2021 U.S. Open Preview 2021 U said Sofia Kenin last year. “Obviously I prefer playing with them, for sure…Everyone, of course, misses the fans.” With fans back in the stands, the 2021 U.S. Open is setting up to be a thrilling few weeks in Queens. Between roaming the grounds and catching matches on the side courts, to a packed house inside Arthur Ashe Stadium staying well into the early morning hours for a Night Session match, the fans are as

much a part of the event as the players. The main draw will begin on Monday, August 30 and conclude with the Men’s Singles final on Sunday, September 12, with the qualifying rounds running from Tuesday, August 24 through Friday, August 27. All ticket categories for the 25 tournament sessions, from reserved stadium seating to general admission grounds passes, will be available.

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021 U.S. Open Preview 2021 U.S. Open Preview 2021 U.S. Open Preview 2021 U.S. Open Preview

Contenders, Pretenders, Sleepers Men’s Singles Contenders Novak Djokovic The U.S. Open is Novak Djokovic’s tournament to lose. In fact, he is a heavy favorite according to the odds makers to win the event, and will arrive in New York in search of history. He has won all three majors thus far this year, and is aiming to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win the Calendar Slam. The disappointing conclusion to his run at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, where he surprisingly walked away with no medals, may only add fuel to the fire for the world’s best player. Daniil Medvedev The second-ranked Russian came close to winning this event a couple of years ago, but was outdone by Rafael Nadal in a thrilling five-set final. But Medvedev will be one of the players who can truly pose a threat to Djokovic. He’s a player who thrives on the hard-courts, and embraces the fans as we saw in his run to the finals in 2019. His court coverage and ability to counter punch makes him a frustrating opponent, and he should make a run deep into the second week in Queens this year. Stefanos Tsitsipas A few months removed from his crushing loss to Djokovic in the French Open finals, Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas will arrive in New York still in search of his first career major title. He has not been successful here in the past, never making it past the third-round, but that should change in 2021. Tsitsipas is one of the best players in the world despite his recent Slam disappointments (he lost to Frances Tiafoe in the opening round of Wimbledon). But those losses can happen right before a player’s breakthrough. His huge forehand and elite athleticism make him a threat on hard-courts, as evidenced by two semifinal appearances at the Australian Open, and his motivation has never been higher.

Women’s Singles Contenders Naomi Osaka Perhaps the most polarizing player in women’s tennis this year, Naomi Osaka enters the 2021 U.S. Open with hopes of defending her title. She is a two-time U.S. Open champion 24

with the pedigree to win it all once again. The only question mark facing Osaka is her lack of match play in 2021, and the classic debate between rust and rest. She did return to the court at the Olympics where she represented Japan, and as she rounds out into match form prior to Queens, Osaka should be considered a U.S. Open favorite. Aryna Sabalenka There may not be a player on the WTA Tour who hits the ball harder than Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka, and she almost blasted her way to the Wimbledon finals earlier this summer. She has the power game that can rattle any opponent, and has posted a successful year in 2021, going 35-12 (as of publication) and rising to as high as second in the world. If Sabalenka can stay poised late into the tournament, she can take out any opponent who stands on the other side of the net. Elina Svitolina It’s been said before in this magazine, but Elina Svitolina may be the most accomplished player on the women’s tour yet to win a major. She has been ranked inside the Top 10 for years now, and is fresh off earning a Bronze Medal at the Olympic Games. Svitolina has advanced to the quarterfinals or later in seven different Slam events, including reaching the semifinals in New York in 2019. Look for Svitolina to possibly make the 2021 U.S. Open the event where she finally puts a stamp on her decorated career.

Men’s Singles Pretenders Rafael Nadal It’s hard to label Rafael Nadal a “Pretender”, but it may be tough for the Spaniard to claim his 21st major title in New York. After not playing Wimbledon or the Olympic Games in order to rest for the final stretch of the season, Nadal played at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., but will that be enough preparation to get his body right for the two-week stretch at the U.S. Open? His physical style of play and previous knee injuries don’t match up well with the hard courts of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, and with other young, fresh players in the field, don’t look for Nadal to make it past the quarterfinals.

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ew 2021 U.S. Open Preview 2021 U.S. Open Preview 2021 U.S. Open Preview 2021 U.S. Open Pre Alexander Zverev Fresh off of his Gold Medal in Tokyo, Alexander Zverev will be in search of more hardware, in the form of his first major title. The German has been here before, and lost a heartbreaking match to Dominic Thiem in the last year’s finals. There isn’t too much numerical analysis here, but after having such a successful couple of weeks at the Olympics, it may be difficult for Zverev to turn around and be ready to complete the fortnight in New York. Roger Federer It’s strange to include both Nadal and Roger Federer in a

list such as this, but Federer’s age and prolonged injuries make it difficult to foresee him making a deep run. The hard courts are not great for his knees, and the lack of match play this summer only adds rust to the 40-year-old. Unfortunately, another major title may be out of the cards for a player who is arguably the greatest of all-time.

Women’s Singles Pretenders Ashleigh Barty The reigning Wimbledon champion is one of the best players on tour, and that is evidenced by her world number one ranking. She is now owner of two major titles, and she added a Bronze Medal, in doubles, at the Olympic Games this summer. Barty’s game is one that translates so well to the grass and clay surfaces, but without a major power shot, or dominate serve, it may be difficult for Barty to take out some of the bigger-hitting opponents

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Contenders, Pretenders, Sleepers Karolina Pliskova Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova is the opposite type of player from Barty, where she possess a huge serve and is a big-hitter, but someone who doesn’t move as well on court. Pliskova reached her second major final at Wimbledon this year, where she lost to the aforementioned Barty, and enters the U.S. Open still in search of that first title. Despite reaching the finals in New York five years ago, don’t look for her to make a deep run at this year’s event. Serena Williams Much like Nadal and Federer, it is strange to put a player of Serena Williams’ caliber on this type of list, but it has been a struggle for the American at majors recently. The greatest women’s player of all-time had to retire in her first-round match at Wimbledon, and prior to that, she was bounced in the fourth-round at the French Open. Those results followed back-to-back semifinal results, at the 2020 U.S. Open and 2021 Australian Open, but at 39-years-old, it is difficult to envision Serena being able to conjure her best tennis for two weeks.

Men’s Singles Sleepers Denis Shapovalov The flashy Canadian was close to reaching his first major final at Wimbledon earlier this summer before falling to Djokovic in the semifinals. Shapovalov is a bighitter and reached the quarterfinals in New York last year. With fans in the building this time around, look for Shapovalov to feed off of their energy and make a deep run, potentially vying for his maiden Slam championship.

quietly has had one of the best seasons on the ATP Tour. As of this article, Ruud is 35-9 in 2021 and has won four titles, including notching wins over top players such as Shapovalov, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Diego Schwartzman and Stefanos Tsitsipas. Don’t be surprised if Ruud is playing deep into week two at the U.S. Open.

Women’s Singles Sleepers Jessica Pegula The American will aim to have her best showing at a Slam when she competes in the 2021 U.S. Open. At 27-years-old, Pegula has had the best year of her career, which included a run to the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, and her best showing at the French Open and Wimbledon. She has posted 27 wins this season and reached her career-high ranking back in June. With the American crowd backing her, there is no one in the draw who wants to see Pegula on the other side of the net. Ons Jabeur Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur was a recent quarterfinalist at Wimbledon, and has posted 33 wins already in 2021. She is ranked 22nd in the world, which is a career-high for her, and enters the U.S. Open ready to post her best results yet in New York. Each of the last two seasons, Jabeur has reached the third-round, but look for the 26-year-old to move beyond that and into the second week this time around, with the potential to be at least one of the last eight players remaining.

Casper Ruud A name that many people, outside of die-hard tennis fans, may not know is Casper Ruud, the young Norwegian who 26

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ew 2021 U.S. Open Preview 2021 U.S. Open Preview 2021 U.S. Open Preview 2021 U.S. Open Pre

Reasons to Love the U.S. Open Tennis under the stars There is something special about summer nights in New York City, and that only gets amplified during the US Open’s fortnight. Late-night tennis featuring star-studded matchups have become synonymous with the US Open. From Onny Parun and Stan Smith at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills to Andre Agassi and James Blake nearly 15 years ago, the tennis stars always deliver big performances under the stars late into the early morning hours in the city that never sleeps.

Practice court access A two-story practice gallery debuted at the 2014 US Open, which allowed fans unprecedented access to see their favorite players as they prepared for their matches. In addition to the viewing area of the practice courts, the gallery is also adjacent to Courts 4, 5 and 6 where matches are taking place, giving fans 360 degrees of tennis.

New York, New York Tennis is an international sport with fans and players from all over the globe. But for a three-week period in the late summer, tennis’ home is located right here in our backyard. New York City becomes the sport’s host site and welcomes the best players and millions of fans to come celebrate the sport, and the city’s energy always brings out the best in the players.

Return to Normalcy While we are not completely done with the pandemic, the return of fans to the U.S. Open signals that we are close to getting back to a normal way of life. That may be a simplistic view of things, but with the energy of New York taking over the National Tennis Center for three weeks, this year’s U.S. Open is the perfect way to close out this summer.

Witness the Greats Some of the greatest players in our sport’s history are in the latter stages of their career, including Federer, Nadal and Serena. While we all wish they could play forever, there is no way to know just when each will hang up their tennis shoes. The U.S. Open is the best way to witness these legends, right here in our backyard in New York. The intimate access to the practice courts are always packed when players of this caliber are training, and who knows, it could be the last time these greats will be here in New York.

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2021 U.S. Open Preview 2021 U.S. Open Preview 2021 U.S. Open Preview 2021 U.S. Open Preview

2020 U.S. Open Schedule (subject to change)

Session

Day

Date

Session Time

Matches Scheduled

Q1

Tuesday

08/24

11:00 a.m.

Qualifying Matches

Q2

Wednesday

08/25

11:00 a.m.

Qualifying Matches

Q3

Thursday

08/26

11:00 a.m.

Qualifying Matches

Q4

Friday

08/27

11:00 a.m.

Qualifying Matches

1

Monday

08/30

11:00 a.m.

Men’s and Women’s Round 1

2

Monday

08/30

7:00 p.m.

Men’s and Women’s Round 1

3

Tuesday

08/31

11:00 a.m.

Men’s and Women’s Round 1

4

Tuesday

08/31

7:00 p.m.

Men’s and Women’s Round 1

5

Wednesday

09/01

11:00 a.m.

Men’s and Women’s Round 2

6

Wednesday

09/01

7:00 p.m.

Men’s and Women’s Round 2

7

Thursday

09/02

11:00 a.m.

Men’s and Women’s Round 2

8

Thursday

09/02

7:00 p.m.

Men’s and Women’s Round 2

9

Friday

09/03

11:00 a.m.

Men’s and Women’s Round 3

10

Friday

09/03

7:00 p.m.

Men’s and Women’s Round 3

11

Saturday

09/04

11:00 a.m.

Men’s and Women’s Round 3

12

Saturday

09/04

7:00 p.m.

Men’s and Women’s Round 3

13

Sunday

09/05

11:00 a.m.

Men’s and Women’s Round of 16

14

Sunday

09/05

7:00 p.m.

Men’s and Women’s Round of 16

15

Monday

09/06

11:00 a.m.

Men’s and Women’s Round of 16

16

Monday

09/06

7:00 p.m.

Men’s and Women’s Round of 16

17

Tuesday

09/07

12:00 p.m.

Men’s and Women’s Quarterfinals

18

Tuesday

09/07

7:00 p.m.

Men’s and Women’s Quarterfinals

19

Wednesday

09/08

12:00 p.m.

Men’s and Women’s Quarterfinals

20

Wednesday

09/08

7:00 p.m.

Men’s and Women’s Quarterfinals

21

Thursday

09/09

12:00 p.m.

Women’s Singles Semifinals

22

Friday

09/10

12:00 p.m.

Men’s Doubles Final

23

Friday

09/10

7:00 p.m.

Men’s Singles Semifinals

24

Saturday

09/11

12:00 p.m.

Women’s Singles Final, Men’s Doubles Final

25

Sunday

09/12

12:00 p.m.

Men’s Singles Final, Women’s Doubles Final

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

elow are three items that I have heard coaches differ on. 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 believe differently, and sometimes the same, as I do. Additionally, many, if not all, of the answers to the below topics depend on the student. In future articles I will address more of these “debatable topics.”

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As hard as it is to admit…they are debatable. Whether to look back at your partner hitting while you are at the net in doubles I feel passionately that it’s ok and often preferable for the net player in doubles to turn his or her head quickly to see where their partner is hitting. I know coaches who I respect say never to look over your shoulder. I humbly disagree. While some players do look

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Long Island Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • LITennisMag.com

back and some don’t on the pro tour, it’s rare that a person can anticipate where they need to be solely on the actions of their opponent without seeing the ball. I don’t believe many professional players, college players, high-performance juniors and certainly recreational/club players have this level of anticipation. I think the added benefit of being able to move to the correct position earlier, even if it means you have to turn your head, outweighs the shorter reaction time without turning your head. Once again, this is an opinion and specific to the student. When to start working on a continental serve The “cool” thing to do as a highperformance coach is to tell parents of kids who are looking to get far in tennis that you have to start with a continental serve. Coaches who often just want to keep a lesson don’t switch their student to a continental serve because quite frankly, it rocks the boat and a continental serve is going to make your serve worse before it makes it better. I’ve had debates on both sides of this coin with parents of young kids who became top-national players. There was one player that I wanted to


start too early in continental and she wasn’t ready, and another that I wanted to at least find the box before making it even harder by going to the continental grip. My take is that the child should be able to get the ball in the box on 75 percent of serves with any grip before going continental. This way the student can at least start playing matches and can work on continental in practice and still gain the confidence by playing matches. Whether to play orange ball tournaments, or wait until you are old enough to not have to This is something that has come up in the last few years. Often, kids are emotionally ready to play tournaments at a young age after they are finished playing on miniature courts with extremely low-compression orange balls. Unfortunately, the pathway for very young kids includes playing orange ball tournaments in the beginning. Is it a waste of time to play

these tournaments, since it sometimes feels like a different game? Or is the experience of competition good for them? I have personally seen some kids wait until they qualify for the bigger court, lose interest in tennis because they aren’t competing and never end up playing tournaments. I have seen others wait until they were 11-years old and then go on to play Division 1 tennis. I have seen others play the orange ball tournaments, do well and go onto good junior careers. I have also seen others play orange ball tournaments and get frustrated and stop playing tournaments. I personally think it is good to battle through the orange and green ball tournaments, but there is evidence both ways and as hard as it is to

admit on all these topics, there is probably no definitive right or wrong answer. There’s a saying in coaching that even the best coaches don’t come up with their own opinions. Coaches take the experience of what they have heard, seen and played against, and formed their own coaching preferences from this. There are quite a few topics, and each one could be worthy of an article in and of itself, where I have heard good coaches give different opinions. And quite frankly, you do want your coach to think he or she is the smartest in the room, but things are not always black and white, no matter how confident your coach sounds.

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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U S TA E A S T E R N L O N G I S L A N D R E G I O N

31st Annual AWARDS DINNER JOURNAL Want to see photos from tonight’s awards or from past years? Need more information on our fabulous honorees and past awardees? Inspired to nominate someone for an award for next year? Visit www.longisland.usta.com for all you need to know about our Long Island Regional Awards Dinners from past to present!

31st Annual USTA Long Island Region Awardees PRESTIGIOUS AWARDS

l Hy Zausner Lifetime Achievement Award: Craig Fligstein l Vitas Gerulaitis “For the Love of Tennis” Award: Lori Sarnelli l Arthur Ashe Multicultural Award: Sarah Brewster & Gil Bernardino l Rose Buck Scalamandre Tennis Family of the Year: The Fehrs family

EXCELLENCE AWARDS

l Adult Volunteer of the Year: Jason Wass l Charles Karp Memorial Award for Overcoming Adversity: Darren & Diana Scheinberg l Daniel Burgess, Sr. Community Service Award: Greg Balk l Corporate/Retail/Press Service Award: Woodbury Sports l Good Samaritan Award: Heidi Cifelli l Innovative Tennis Program of the Year: Roslyn High School Bulldog Buddies l Junior Team Tennis Award: Long Island Health & Racquet Club

Junior Volunteers of the Year l Samantha Schilling l Devon Schmidt l Outdoor Tennis Site of the Year: Eisenhower Park l Private Club of the Year: Old Westbury Country Club l Tennis Club of the Year: All of our Clubs on Long Island that stayed strong through the pandemic and supported indoor tennis

l Tennis Professional of the Year (Adult): Bill Stauder l Tennis Professional of the Year (Junior): Alex Dank l Long Island High School Tennis Team of the Year: Syosset High School l Birdie Tarulli League Captain Sportsmanship Award: Dorian Consiglio l Blane Magee League Captain Sportsmanship Award: Robert "Scott" Chesney l Special Service Award: Nassau County Executive Laura Curran l Anuj Agarwal Junior Sportsmanship Award: Luka Markovic l Jennifer Sherry Junior Sportsmanship Award: Anika Tolat Long Island Juniors No. 1 l Boys 12s/Boys 14s: Sebastian Bielen l Girls 12s: Paige Wygodzki l Girls 14s: Christasha McNeil l Boys 16s: Stephan Gershfeld l Girls 16s/Girls 18s: Theadora Rabman l Boys 18s: Alexander Karman Long Island Juniors No. 2 l Boys 12s: Drew Hassenbein l Girls 12s: Anabelle Janczyk l Boys 14s: Jack Kennedy l Girls 14s: Paige Wygodzki l Boys 16s: Ariel Zauber l Girls 16s/Girls 18s: Ariana Pursoo l Boys 18s: Mark Taranov

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U S TA E A S T E R N L O N G I S L A N D R E G I O N

31st Annual AWARDS DINNER JOURNAL 31st Annual USTA Long Island Region Awardees HIGH SCHOOL AWARDS

l Nassau County Boys’ Singles Champ: Stephan Gershfeld (Hewlett) l Nassau County Boys’ Doubles Champs: Brian Gao & Jeremy Levine (Syosset) l Suffolk County Boys’ Singles Champ: Eddie Liao (Commack) l Suffolk County Boys’ Doubles Champs: Matthew Kronenberg & Gabe Bursztyn (Ward Melville) l Nassau County Girls’ Singles Champ: Rachel Arbitman (Hewlett) l Nassau County Girls’ Doubles Champ: Darian Perfiliev & Ellie Ross (Port Washington) l Suffolk County Girls’ Singles Champ: Rose Hayes (West Hampton) l Suffolk County Girls’ Doubles Champs: Emily Tannenbaum & Kady Tannenbaum (Commack) l Nassau County Coach of the Year: Joy Solomon (Herricks) l Suffolk County Coach of the Year: Jimmy Delevante (Commack)

Long Island USTA Girls Invitational Champions l Singles: Victoria Matos (Longwood) l Doubles: Emily Tannenbaum & Kady Tannenbaum (Commack)

l Adrian Pagani - M35 #1, M40 #2 l Jeffrey Snow - M40/55 #1 l Sergey Yurkin - M30 #2 Doubles l Susan Bacey & Maritoni Carlos - W50 #1 l Jeffrey Snow & Todd Ehren - M45/50 #1

NTRP Men’s & Women’s Singles National Standings l l l l l l l l l l l l l

James Avallone - M40+ 3.5 #1 Susan Bacey - W40+ 4.5 #1 Betsy Bickar - W18+ 3.0 #1, W18+ 3.5 #2 Maritoni Carlos - W18+ 4.0 #1, W40+ 4.5 #2 Jack Eichler - M18+ 3.5/4.0 #1 Shin Kang - M8+ 4.5 #1 Aaron Kanter - M18+ 3.5 #2 Adil Khan - M18+ 4.0 #2 Heoeeun Kwon - W18+ 4.0 #2 Anique Lee - W18+ 3.5 #1 Anna Martorella - W18+ 5.0 #1 Ricardo Rivas - M18+ 4.5 #2 Andrew Wray - M18+ 3.0 #1

ADULT RANKINGS Men’s & Women’s National Rankings (No. 1 & No. 2 on Long Island) Singles l Susan Bacey - W50/60 #1 l Jeffrey Bevelander - M35 #2 l Steven Brill - M60/65 #1 l Maritoni Carlos - W50 #2 l William Duke - M65 #2 l Todd Ehren - M30/45/50 #1 l Bob Hoffman - M70/75 #2 l Marshall Hubsher - M70 #1 l Jonathan Klein - M45/50/55 #2 l John Neubauer - M60 #2, M70 #1 36

The doubles and singles finalists from the Girls' Inivitational Championships.

Long Island Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • LITennisMag.com


U S TA E A S T E R N L O N G I S L A N D R E G I O N

31st Annual AWARDS DINNER JOURNAL Regional Director’s Letter Welcome to the 31st Annual USTA Long Island Region Awards Dinner! We are thrilled to be able to recognize and celebrate the best of local tennis, and to do it in person with everyone! We certainly have gone through an unusual and difficult time since our last Awards event, which took place on court at the New York Open. I know that many of us have not seen each other since that night in February of 2020. It is a tribute to the resilience of the tennis community on Long Island that we can celebrate our wonderful awardees with a dinner tonight. I want to welcome all our honorees, your family and friends. Each of you has played an important role in making Long Island the vibrant tennis community it is. Whether you’re being honored for your play on court, your volunteering or your commitment to furthering the goals of our Region, we thank you for your support, enthusiasm and love for the sport. I especially want to welcome everyone back to tennisas-usual here on Long Island. Many of you worked so hard during the pandemic to make sure that tennis play could continue. We started outdoors, thanks in part to the encouragement of our Special Service Awardee Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, and then moved indoors when our clubs reopened with safety and health protocols in place. You may have noticed that we are honoring every one of our indoor clubs as Tennis Club of the Year. We are doing that because every single club owner, manager, tennis pro and member played an important role in keeping Long Island tennis vibrant during the past year and a half. As a Council, we were thrilled to have been able to bring back one of our favorite annual events this year: Kids’ Day. We held four separate programs around Long Island in July and August and introduced tennis to hundreds of children. Thank you to our partner Long Island Tennis Magazine for their ongoing support of our Kids’ Day initiatives. This year we were also happy to enable our high schoolers to compete. While the New York State Championships were cancelled due to the pandemic, we

coordinated a Girls’ Invitational Tournament featuring Nassau and Suffolk’s top girls champions competing in singles and doubles. We are thrilled to recognize the winners here. Unfortunately, a similar boys’ tournament was scheduled but had to be cancelled due to timing conflicts. Moving into the fall season, we look forward to celebrating with our own Dr. Emily Moore as she is inducted into the USTA Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame. We are also looking forward to seeing some exciting initiatives coming from our brand-new Long Island Junior Council, which brings together high school age tennis players who will be mentoring younger kids and spearheading charitable projects. We are looking forward to adding much more to our upcoming calendar and hope that you will continue to participate in and support the sport we all love. Make sure to visit our web site and Facebook pages frequently, and if you don’t already, subscribe to our quarterly newsletter. I'm so proud to be part of the Long Island tennis community and want to personally thank all our volunteers, players, clubs and supporters for making our Region the best in the USTA. Tennis is a game of a lifetime and our Council is honored to recognize all of our winners! Enjoy the evening and the return of tennis to Long Island. Everybody is a winner tonight!

Jonathan Klee, Long Island Regional Director (volunteer)

Summer 2021 Kids' Day

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U S TA E A S T E R N L O N G I S L A N D R E G I O N

31st Annual AWARDS DINNER JOURNAL THANK YOU We are grateful to all our supporters for helping to make the 31st Annual USTA Long Island Region Awards program a success! Special thanks to Long Island Tennis Magazine for publishing tonight’s awards program. Thank you to our fabulous awards dinner committee headed by the incomparable event planner Randi Wilkins and featuring the hard work of our Long Island Regional Council. A special shout out to Mike Pavlides and Jacki Binder who, without their guidance and perseverance, this night could never have happened.

Regional Council Executive Committee Jonathan Klee, Regional Director Mike Pavlides, Past Regional Director Sunny Fishkind, Vice Regional Director Randi Wilkins, Secretary

Committee Members Terri Arnold-McKenzie, Chair, Diversity & Inclusion Committee Scott Axler, Past Regional Director, Junior Competition Committee Shannon Blue, USTA League Committee Hilary Bressler, Events Planner, Awards Dinner Committee, Kids’ Day Committee, Junior Council Committee Chris Colesanti, Adult League Committee Wayne Freeman, At-Large Stephen Green, Kids’ Day Committee Herb Harris, Grant Committee, Community Development Liaison KerriAnn Jannotte, Chair, Junior Council Committee Mitchell Low, Adult League Committee Tim McArthur, Kids’ Day Committee Tito Perez, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Junior Team Tennis Committee Fabiana Rezak, Community Tennis Liaison Clark D. Ruiz II, Nassau County Delegate, Junior Competition Committee Denise Schmidt, Events Planner, Awards Dinner Committee Michelle Stoerback, Awards Dinner Committee Jason Wass, Suffolk County Delegate, Kids’ Day Committee, Junior Council Committee

IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR LONG ISLAND COUNCIL MEMBERS Daniel Burgess, Sr. Eileen Leonard 38

Long Island Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • LITennisMag.com


COMING IN NOVEMBER

Distribution scheduled for 11/01/21 This edition will feature: • Coaches Roundtable Discussion • Tennis Travel Destination Guide • Holiday Gift Guide • 2021 Girls’ High School Recap 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 November/December 2021! Facebook-www.Facebook.com/LongIslandTennis Instagram-@LITennisMag • Twitter-@LITennisMag

Submissions for both advertising and editorial are due by October 1, 2021 LITennisMag.com • September/October 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine 39 For more information, please call 516-409-4444 or e-mail Advertise@LITennisMag.com


2021 Long Island Girls’ High igh School tennis on Long Island will return to its normal place on the calendar, and that means this fall will feature the Girls’ season. It’s a shorter turnaround than in previous years, with the girls’ competing in the beginning of spring earlier this year, and the season will culminate with the Long Island Championship and the New York State Public High School Athletic Championships, two events that the girls were deprived of last season. Below are the players and five teams to watch for both Nassau and Suffolk County for the 2021 Girls’ High School Tennis season. Note: All players and dates are subject to change. Check LITennisMag.com for the latest information.

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Hewlett Hewlett was within one victory of playing for the county title last season after finishing as the third-seed. The Bulldogs have been a mainstay in the playoffs over the last few seasons and that should be no different this fall, although they will have to do so without Rachel Arbitman, one of the most decorated players in Long Island history. That vacant first singles position will be filled by Nyla Gershfeld, who is up to the task, plus a great cast of players such as, Nila Katsman and Sophia Karmazin, giving Hewlett one of the top teams in the county. Port Washington

Nassau County

Syosset The Braves have made its case as the most dominant program on Long Island, and evidence of that was the team’s Nassau County title a year ago. It was the second title in the last three years for Syosset, and the team will be in search of a third in four years this season. The Braves return essentially their entire cast from last season’s county championship, including seven starters, Eesha Kaushik, Rachel Lin, Alexa Brecher, Alex Ho, Liv Tiegerman, Sara Gao and Zia Mukherjee. You add in young talent to fill out the lineup, and Syosset is primed to make another deep playoff run. 40

Port Washington came up just shy of a county title last season, and thus enters this season more motivated than ever. Thea Rabman returns to anchor the top of the lineup, and with Dasha Perfiliev and Ellie Ross, the county doubles champions last season, rounding out the singles positions the Vikings will send out one of, if not, the best singles trio. In doubles, the Vikings lose Samantha Radinsky to graduation, but experienced players like Chloe Fanous, Katie Kors, Phoebe Levitsky, Joanne Salloum and Gaby Sorin will provide the depth needed for a deep playoff run. Manhasset While Manhasset did not finish high in the standings of Conference I last season, don’t let its win-loss record fool you. Four of its six losses were decided by a score of 3-4, and Manhasset is due to have a significantly better record

Long Island Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • LITennisMag.com


h School Preview this time around. It has great young talent which includes county doubles semifinalists Evangelina Vases & Diane Durante, plus Andrea Vases. The three of them were the singles trio last season, and with doubles players such as Julia Chiovitti & Alexis Morton returning, look for Manhasset to be a threat in Conference I. Roslyn Roslyn had a very young roster last season, and still held its own in Conference I, which sets the Bulldogs up to take the next step in this coming season. The top three singles players will be back to anchor the lineup: county doubles semifinalists Anika Tolat & Ava Veneziano, at the first and second singles positions, and third singles player Alexandra Krol. With its core of players intact, and

increasing experience from its doubles players, the Bulldogs will look to compete for the county title. North Shore North Shore were the Conference II-A champions last season, and with the bulk of its starting lineup returning this fall, the Vikings will look to once again finish atop the standings. Led by first singles player Ava Scordo, a county singles semifinalist, North Shore also has returning players in Natalie Ion and Erica Jud. While it loses the first doubles duo of Isabella Fuentes & Cassandra Nochowitz, North Shore has the talent to win Conference II-A again, and potentially compete with the top teams in Conference I. continued on page 42

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2021 long island girls’ high school recap continued from page 41

Suffolk County

More Nassau Players to Watch

• • • • •

Isabella Sha – Friends Academy Nicolette Loeffler – Cold Spring Harbor Angel Walia – Herricks Cate French – Locust Valley Alex Raikos – Mepham

Nassau County Key Dates • September 13 – Regular Season Begins • October 13 – Seeding Meeting for Team Playoffs • October 16-17 – Individual Singles and Doubles Championships • October 18-22 – Team Playoffs • October 25-26 – Long Island Championship • October 27-30 – NYSPHAA Championships

Commack The Commack Cougars have been one of the most consistent programs in Suffolk County over the last several years, and that comes from having a deep roster of young players that fill the roles that are needed. Commack loses Emily Tannenbaum, one of the county’s best players, who is headed to the Naval Academy, but returns all of its other starters from last year, including Emily’s younger sister Kady, who will likely jump up to first singles. Amelia Kleiman and Victoria Wroblewski return in singles, making Commack a favorite to win the Suffolk title. Hills East Like Commack, Hills East will have to replace its first singles player from last season, that being Janelle Chen. But the Thunderbirds are prepared to fill those shoes, and make its claim for a Suffolk County title. Victoria Czoch, who alternated between first and second singles in some

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Long Island Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • LITennisMag.com


matches last year will play a big role, as will other experienced players like Emma Sarner, Angelina Malik, Rachel Nueman and Amina Rizvon will try to bring a county title back to Hills East.

loses a few starters to graduation, still as depth thanks to experienced players like Rachel Zhang, Catherine Park and Claire Yang, and will need to rely on some of its younger talent to make noise in the playoffs.

Westhampton Beach The Hurricanes have been the best team in the county for the last few years, and it starts at the top with three-time county singles champion Rose Hayes. The Senior has led a deep roster to multiple county titles in recent years, and after no Suffolk County championship last season, the Hurricanes will be out to reclaim the title this season. Longtime head coach John Czartosieski was not brought back to coach this season, and it will be interesting to see how that affects the team. Nonetheless, Westhampton Beach has the championship pedigree and depth of talent to compete at the top.

More Suffolk Players to Watch

Sayville The Golden Flashes of Sayville enjoyed one of its best seasons in program history earlier this year, compiling an undefeated regular season and winning its first conference title since 2009. While the team loses first singles player Mary Madigan, Abby Breen, who played in the second spot last season, will be back to lead the way for Sayville. The Golden Flashes sent many players to last year’s county tournament, including semifinalists Jenna Guerra and Sasha Gagnon. Bayport-Blue Point One team that definitely wishes there were team playoffs last season was Bayport-Blue Point. The Phantoms had a good season and would have presented a threat to any team in the county. It returns its top four singles players from last year, Emilia Romano, Tessa Orgonas, Ella Romano and Scarlett McCoy, plus an array of experienced doubles players. Look for the Phantoms to be one of the top teams in the county this fall, and make a legitimate run in the playoffs.

• • • • •

Victoria Matos – Longwood Natalie Kopala – Southold/Greenport Maria Perez – Middle Country Anya Konopka – Smithtown East Sydney Seid – Half Hollow Hills West

Suffolk County Key Dates • September 1 – Regular Season Begins • October 9 – Regular Season Ends • October 25-26 – Long Island Championship • October 27-30 – NYSPHAA Championships

Ward Melville The Patriots are a consistently good team year-in-andyear-out, and don’t expect that to change this fall. Ward Melville is led by one of the top singles players in the county in Kira Kronenberg, and while it LITennisMag.com • September/October 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine

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

Junior Player

spotlight By Brian Coleman

Luma Monteiro Teixeira, Ross School Tennis Academy s far back as she can remember, Luma Teixeira has been a tennis player. In fact, she began playing around the same time she learned how to walk. “I’ve been playing tennis since I started walking, and that’s because of my dad, he was the number one person who got me into tennis,” recalls Teixeira. “He was a professional tennis player, and he would play with me when I was growing up. He’s still pretty involved in my tennis and we still train together.” Now 11-years-old, Teixeira is one of the top players in the Eastern Section, and is a name to remember as she progresses through her junior tennis career. “I think what makes Luma special is she competes very well, which is not something that a lot of players have,” said Vinicius Carmo, the Director of Tennis at Ross School Tennis Academy (RSTA), where Teixeira trains. “She trains really hard and is very focused. She is very determined and wants to become the best she can be.” Teixeira was born and raised in Southampton, just a

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short drive from where she trains at the RSTA. The daughter of Brazilian parents, Teixeira has risen up the ranks, and now finds herself competing in 12U, 14U, and even 16U tournaments, playing up against girls older than her. A lot of this progression has come from a more aggressive style of play. That was evident when she captured the title at the L6 July Open on her home courts of RSTA earlier this summer, where she won the title in the Girls 14s division. “She grew up playing green dot, and orange ball, and went through the whole progression. She was very consistent doing that,” said Carmo. “But now she is moving up and is more aggressive, and does a great job of controlling the point and dictating play. It’s been a transition for her, and she’s doing very well with it.” A typical day at RSTA for Teixeira consists of two hours of tennis, and then an hour of fitness. But in the

Long Island Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • LITennisMag.com


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

summer, her training kicks up a notch, playing for around fivesix hours each day, and that training continues to pay dividends. “My dad still trains me sometimes, but I do most of training at RSTA. Vinicius is the main coach I have here,” said Teixeira. “We do a lot of drills that help all of my strokes, he can be pretty tough on me. I like it. We have a fitness program here too and I make sure to do a lot of fitness in between my tennis.” Teixeira has also taken inspiration from Larri Passos, the famous Brazilian tennis coach, who regularly visits RSTA. In addition, Teixeira still goes back to Brazil every so often, where she gets to train on the abundance of clay courts down there, at the Larri Passos Tennis Academy, which has added to her game. “I feel like I have a good mix of training, both on

the Har-Tru and the red clay,” said Teixeira. “When I go to Brazil, I play on the clay courts, and it’s different than I when I play on Har-Tru. That gives me a good balance.” Still at such a young age, Teixeira has already demonstrated the type of improvement each year that bodes well for her future. She loves the idea of traveling for and playing at tournaments, where she is able to put her hard work on display. An example of this came at the “Little Mo” International Championships in Florida a couple of years ago, where Teixiera was a finalist in the Under 10 Green Ball division. “Playing at ‘Little Mo’ two years ago was such a great experience,” she said. continued on page 46

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junior player spotlight continued from page 45

Carmo added: “Some players practice very well, but it doesn’t always translate to the matches. I think Luma raises her game in competition; she plays better in tournaments than in practices.” Teixeira represents the values and standards of the USTA Eastern Section, both with her success on the court but also her sportsmanship, and because of that she was named a Brand Ambassador for the Section. The Brand Ambassador program was started this summer by Eastern, and features 12 Ambassadors, who promote sportsmanship, share a love of tennis, increase awareness of USTA play opportunities, foster an inclusive tennis community and educate

young athletes about USTA programs. Teixeira is also sponsored by Head, and you’ll find her sporting their equipment when she is on-court. Teixeira will continue to work on her game each day under the tutelage of Carmo, Passos and the whole RSTA coaching staff. She has dreams of playing college tennis and then going professional, but she remains focused on shortterm goals first, and continuing to improve each day. “I think the goal now is first to

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

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reach the Top 10 in the Eastern Section,” said Carmo. “It’s her first year playing consistently in Girls 12s, so she still has time. And then from there, play more National tournaments, such as going for an Orange Ball and the Eddie Herr [International Junior Championship] later this year, so she can compete against the best players in the world and see where she stacks up. We know she’ll continue to train hard to get where she wants to go, and she’ll always put in the necessary time on the court.”

Long Island Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • LITennisMag.com


Kushnirovich Wins Long Island One-On-One Doubles Event

d Krass’ One-On-One Doubles arrived on Long Island for a tournament at the Hither Hills Racquet Club in Amagansett, where top competitors, including those with ATP rankings and points, Division I college players and top-ranked juniors, squared off in this unique format. “I thought we had a very strong field of players with ATP rankings and points, mixed in with former Division 1 College players, highly ranked juniors and one highly ranked senior,” said Krass, founder of One-On-One Doubles. “Our host club, The Hither Hills Racquet Club, did a fantastic job of hosting the event with a big barbeque for the players and all the guests/fans who attended.” As the tournament advanced into the semifinals, Max Schnur defeated Harrison Adams 6-5(10-6) to secure his spot in the finals, while Gary Kushnirovich beat Guillerme Demedeiros 6-2 in his semifinal.

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In the finals, it was Kushnirovich who walked away with the title as he notched a 6-3 victor over Schnur. “With $2000 in Prize money, the players showcased their terrific serve and volley skills to the appreciative crowd in attendance,” Krass added.

“I want to thank Kathyrn and Doug Degroot for their sponsorship and hosting. They were both amazing hosts. I look forward to doing more of a tour of events next summer in the Hamptons!”

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Cardio is King ver the last few decades, offcourt conditioning has moved away from distance running and focused on shorter sprints, intervals, and high intensity training. On one hand, this is a very good development by tailoring the training to the demands that tennis athletes face on the court. On the other hand, the needle may have swung too far, with many tennis players skipping any sort of distance running, biking, or swimming work, and losing some key benefits in the process. I just finished up my high performance tennis summer camp, and it was a very successful summer with serious players visiting the mountains of Vermont from around the country. I had the opportunity to evaluate the cardiopulmonary level of numerous tennis players of different ages and from across different parts of the States, and I also informally interviewed them about their running and cardio training habits. It was shocking to learn that many of these tennis players don’t run—or may not have run for years. Not even short distances. For example, many students admitted that they worked out in the gym, but neglected to

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run in the park or do any kind of extra cardio work—including speed and agility. Some kids admitted that they could not even run a mile. Many students, when tested, posted very low scores on a simple test like the good old-fashioned mile run. For example, I evaluated several top nationally ranked kids who could not run a mile without a walking break and scored around an 8 minute mile time, which is an extremely poor time for a high level tennis player, especially at the national level. In the New York City area especially—an area I know very well— kids have little extra time. They are jammed with long school days, activities, and homework. Cardio is getting cut out of the training regimen. Cardio, speed and agility seem to be the first to go. Next in line on the chopping block are gym and injury prevention work—but that’s the subject for another article. If a player only has time for tennis and nothing else, he or she is going to be at a higher risk of injury. The player will also underachieve if his or her cardiopulmonary level is poor. While tennis is a game of short bursts, quick changes of directions, and

Long Island Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • LITennisMag.com

By Chris Lewit

agility, it’s also an endurance sport with junior matches sometimes reaching twoto-three hours on the court and professional matches extending even longer. I firmly believe that a combination of shorter distances, speed and agility, and some longer stamina training, such as the triathlete sports (running, swimming, and biking), will yield the best outcomes in terms of preparation. Unfortunately, most juniors that I see in my practice don’t train for endurance. Endurance is a dirty word. They don’t build a good cardio base. Without a strong and efficient heart and lungs, these players will always underperform, especially when they have to play outside in the hot summer months. Some players may be able to win during the cold winter with poor endurance, but they won’t be able to hide during summer nationals, for example. I’ve also noticed that players without a good cardio level tend to have weak mental toughness. Build the cardio base My main point is that players should not neglect their VO2Max level and should have an awareness of their


cardiovascular fitness—and it needs to be trained. This area should not be cut out of a player’s weekly regimen. With the exception of online or homeschooled players who are playing a very high number of tennis hours per week, some cardio/stamina work is vital to the overall health and development of a tennis athlete. It’s especially crucial for athletes who are playing fewer hours per week (less than 10) because their cardiovascular system is not being primed as much as a kids playing 20-30 hours per week. Mental toughness While some research has focused on the physical detriments of a high level of endurance work on muscle fiber type, there has been less focus on the psychological benefits of learning how to run, bike or swim for distance. My players who are good runners, swimmers, or bikers develop discipline, concentration, patience, and once they learn how to train longer distances their

confidence grows and they become more mentally tough. Learning how to run, bike or swim for distance is also a great stress reliever and leads to lower levels of anxiety and depression in players. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I have had many highly ranked national level kids who had a swimming, track and field, or cross-country team background. They are often very patient and focused players. A few helpful reminders Here are a few reminders and guidelines that I use with my players to help them develop their off court stamina and VO2Max. I recommend starting with running for NYC area kids because it’s easy to learn and do, and you don’t need a pool or special equipment. Remember that biking and swimming are good non-impact options too. • Run because it’s a fun and healthy way to de-stress. It’s good for you.

• • •

And it will help your tournament results. You can learn to like running. Running is a habit and skill that needs to be trained. Just because you don’t like running at first doesn’t mean that you can’t learn to love it. Run, swim or bike when on breaks and vacations. Bring your running shoes with you whenever you are not playing tennis. Hit the hotel pool. Go on long bike rides. Keeping your cardio high will help you come back to the tennis court and return to top form more quickly. Run before lifting weights. Train the heart and lungs before the biceps! Always try to run on a soft surface. Avoid roads and sidewalks. Mix running medium distances with shorter bursts (sprint work) and changes of direction. Do your sprint work before stamina work. It’s not necessary to run super long continued on page 50

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cardio is king continued from page 49

• • •

lengths greater than five-10k distances. A three-five mile jog is probably more than enough. Track distances of 400m, 800m, and 1600m are excellent. Sign up for Saturday or Sunday morning 5k races when not in a tournament. The races are fun and exciting, and will help keep you fit! Hook up with a track or cross country coach to learn running form and training methods. Consider joining the school track or cross country team. Listen to your favorite music when training stamina. Use a treadmill when possible and watch your favorite movies or tv shows when you are really having trouble getting motivated to run. Treadmills are convenient and cushioned.

• Don’t forget swimming and biking to complete the triad of triathlon events. They are wonderful crosstraining sports and they can be just as beneficial for building endurance and have no impact on the joints. Swimming can be a great recovery exercise too.

discipline, and making the legs stronger. Many tennis players these days have lost their way and have stopped training in these disciplines. Coaches have perhaps gone too far by eliminating all distance /stamina type training for fear of slowing their players down. That fear is overdone.

Cardio is still king Running, swimming or biking distance—they are all good. The focus is on building the cardio base of endurance, raising the VO2Max, improving the player’s focus and

Let’s not forget the important mental toughness and de-stressing benefits of stamina work and also the important overall health benefits of developing good cardiovascular fitness for one’s lifetime.

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.

CHRIS LEWIT TENNIS

ELITE YEAR-ROUND TRAINING IN THE NYC AREA HIGH PERFORMANCE SUMMER CAMP IN VERMONT

CHRISLEWIT.COM 914.462.2912 CHRIS@CHRISLEWIT.COM

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Adult League Wrap-Up By Kathy Miller

nother season of Men’s and Women’s USTA League Tennis is finishing up just around the same time this article is being written. The teams advancing to Eastern Sectionals so far are:

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18 & Over • 2.5 Women from Carefree, captained by Mani Strazzera & Sharon Rothstein • 3.0 Women from Sportime Lynbrook, captained by Rosalynn Steele & Julie Davidson • 3.5 Women from Point Set, captained by Patty Siler & Melissa Thomas • 4.0 Woman from Sportime Roslyn, captained by Seema Imberman • 4.5 Women from Sportime Lynbook, captained by Katie Figgie & Suzanne Markowitz • 5.0 Women from Sportime Syosset, captained by Hali Katz & Meredith Steigman • Open Women from Sportime Lynbrook, captained by Sarah Landsman & Daria Sekerina • 3.0 Men from Deer Park, captained ny David Ng • 3.5 Men from Christopher Morley, captained by Adam Moramarco • 4.0 Men from Point Set, captained by Dan Bindler • 4.5 Men from Long Beach, captained by Fayez Malik • 5.0 Men from Robbie Wagner’s, captained by Jeff Snow

• 4.0 Women from Huntington Indoor, captained by Lisa Newell & Tracy Kleinberg • 4.5 Women from Christopher Morley, captained by Pam Sorin • 3.0 Men from Long Island Health & Racquet, captained by Robert Kronenberg • 3.5 Men from Sportime Kings Park, captained by Bill Carson • 4.0 Men from Port Washington, captained by John Rau & Edward Gold • 4.5 Men from Carefree, captained by Scott Chesney

courts of doubles with one court at the 4.5 level, one at the 4.0 level and one at the 3.5 level. We also run another Tri Level league at the 4.0, 3.5 and 3.0 levels. If you are interested in captaining a team, or getting onto a team, please let me know. The 18 & Over Mixed Doubles league, which is three courts of doubles, will have teams at the combined levels of 6.0, 7.0, 8.0, 9.0 and 10.0. The league will run from November 2021 through March 2022. We will also run a 40 & Over Mixed Doubles league with the same levels from February through May. The mixed doubles matches play on weekends. Again, if you are Good Luck to all teams at Sectionals! Play in all 55 & Over and 65 & Over interested in captaining a team or leagues continued until the end of August. joining a team, please let me know. I am looking forward to a great Long The Men’s and Women’s Tri Level League will be starting around the end of Island showing at Sectionals with our teams advancing to the National September, or in the beginning of Championships! October. The league consists of three 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.

40 & Over • 3.0 Women from Christopher Morley, captained by Jaeeun Lee • 3.5 Women is still to be decided between Sportime Lynbrook, captained by Nayana Brahmbhatt, and Carefree, captained by Grace Granito and Annmarie Conniff LITennisMag.com • September/October 2021 • Long Island Tennis Magazine

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net at the

By Brian Coleman

with Giuliana Olmos

arlier this summer, Giuliana Photo credit to Inphorm “Gugu” Olmos got the phone call that many athletes from all sports can only dream about getting. While driving with her husband, she answered the phone to find her coach on the other end, informing her that she qualified for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. “I remember I was driving at the time and about to make a left turn, and when my coach told me I just couldn’t believe it,” said Olmos, who is representing Mexico and playing doubles with Renata Zarazua. “I almost hit another car, and my husband had between this year and others it that I to grab the steering wheel to put me believe I belong,” she said. “I have back into the lane…it’s definitely always been a goal of mine, but to be different expectations of myself. I remember in previous years, I was completely honest, it was a goal I hoping to qualify for the Slams, or never thought I would reach.” just win one round, and I think this Olmos’ Olympics invite comes on year I know I can do more than that. the heels of what has been the most I just believe in myself more, and successful year for her on tour. Her have the confidence that I can play and partner, Canadian Sharon well at these top-level tournaments Fichman, reached the quarterfinals of and compete with the best players.” the Australian Open at the beginning Since she was 11-years-old, Olmos of the year, and would go on to win knew she wanted to be a the Italian Open trophy a few months professional tennis player. She first later. started playing when she was fourAt the French Open, Olmos paired years-old, but actually didn’t enjoy with Juan Sebastian Cabal of tennis until she got a bit older. There Colombia and the duo advanced to was a time, she says, when she took the semifinals. more enjoyment out of watching “This has definitely been my best other players rather than playing year so far. I think the difference

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herself when she was tournaments. That changed when her and her family flew up to San Diego for a tournament when she was 11. “I just remember loving the feeling of flying to a tournament and staying at a hotel. I felt like a pro,” she recalls. “And I loved that. I had the itch to travel and see the world, which really inspired me. Now I’m lucky enough to do that for a living.” Olmos starred at the University of Southern California before turning pro, and it took some time for her to become acclimated with that adjustment. “I think the hardest part of that transition is that you are now by yourself. In college, you travel with your teammates and coaches, and whatever you need, it’s covered and paid for,” she said. “You’re never really alone; you just have to focus on going out there and playing your best. But when you get to the pros, you have to do everything yourself, and there’s added pressure because of that. You are on your own, playing small tournaments in different countries, trying to get enough points to move up the rankings. I think that’s the point when a lot of players decide to quit. It did take me a few years to move up, but every year I felt I was improving, so I never felt stuck. In


tennis, there is always room for improvement. I don’t think I’ve hit my ceiling yet, and that makes me excited and keeps me motivated.” That steady improvement has brought Olmos to where she is today, and landed her a spot in Tokyo representing Mexico in the Olympics. “I’m here now, and I still can’t believe it,” Olmos said from Tokyo. “It’s so cool to see all these amazing athletes here in the Village. It’s still so surreal, and I can’t wait to play.” Following her time at the Olympics, Olmos will conclude her summer here in New York at the U.S. Open, where she hopes to continue building off of the success she has had at the Grand Slam events this year. In New York, Olmos will continue sporting the latest looks from inPhorm, which produces tennis apparel and Athleisure wear, a brand she has been partnered with since 2017. “My friend [and USC teammate] Kaitlyn [Christian], who is also sponsored by inPhorm, and I would always say in college, ‘Look good, feel good, play good’, and we definitely feel good when we play in inPhorm,” said Olmos. “They

great that he works with his athletes and makes the necessary adjustments. He always makes sure we’re comfortable with what we’re playing in.” Hajidin added: "We heard about Gugu from one of our tennis pros. She's known and admired throughout the tennis community as not only a talented athlete and fierce competitor, but as a delightful person. She’s a strong ambassador for our brand, and she looks great in inPhorm." Looking great and feeling great, Olmos has found herself competing into the late stages of Grand Slams, and is ready to continue to push herself further. She has a fresh perspective on where she is at in life, and appreciates every day that she is able to travel the world doing Photo credit to Inphorm what she loves. “I’ve tried to appreciate every approached me back in 2017 and tournament I’ve been able to play at, wanted to sponsor me, and at that focus on getting better each week, time I wasn’t highly ranked. I really and enjoying the opportunity I have to appreciated the fact that they compete,” she said. “No matter what sponsored me when I was a nobody, city I’m in, I try to soak it all in.” and we’re still together today. We have such a strong relationship. I love that I’m so close with [designer] Saad Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for Long Island Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at [Hajidin]. You can give him feedback brianc@usptennis.com. on what you like or don’t like, and it’s

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LONG ISLAND TENNIS MAGAZINE

Doubles Domination: The Best of the Best by Bob Allcorn From one “court” to another “court” e spent 40 years perfecting the art and science of pre-trial commercial litigation tactics and strategy – and sharing his expertise through teaching at law schools and legal institutes, lecturing to attorneys, training attorneys at the Inns of Court Foundation, writing numerous articles in legal publications and authoring an 800+ page treatise on the topic. Focusing on employing the Rules of Court and his innate sense of what moves to make and when, Bob Allcorn espoused his strategy of searching out his adverse party’s weaknesses and then focusing on those weaknesses to surgically dismantle their case.

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But this expertise in tactics and strategy was not limited to litigation. In a parallel passion, Bob has also pursued the same goals in developing an expertise in the art and science of tennis – doubles, to be precise. He is a USTA Certified Umpire and has cocaptained his own teams. He has read just about every book ever written on tennis (going back to Bill Tilden’s book in 1929), watched just about every video (even VHS!) and innumerable on-line experts in the field. He and his wife (who play mixed doubles together) have spent more than 1,200 hours taking lessons and clinics from some of the best pros around the world who specialize in

doubles – and, while doing so, taking notes. The result? A clear, concise, informative and instructive book just published: “DOUBLES DOMINATION: THE BEST OF THE BEST” A quick read of the book demonstrates the author’s use of his litigation tactics on the tennis court. Among many other tactics: always moving forward, putting the most amount of pressure on your opponent as possible; using the “warm-up” before a match not to warm yourself up, but to analyze your opponent’s weaknesses; always taking the ball out of the air (rather than letting it bounce) to take away time and distance from 54

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your opponent; all with the goal of getting to the net, where 65 percent of all doubles points are won. The book has received critical acclaim from many sources. It almost instantly became an Amazon “Best Seller” and was immediately named a “Best Book of the Year” by the National Senior Mens’ Tennis Association. Tennis guru Nick Bollettieri has declared it to be “quite impressive” and “highly recommends it for everyone at all levels.” Rajeev Ram, the #1 doubles player in North America, says that it is “the best and most complete doubles resource that I have ever come across – for any and all players at all levels.” He further finds the book to be “clear, concise (and) loaded with valuable tips, insights and even set plays.” Finally, he “wholeheartedly endorses this book… and highly

recommends it to all players.” Many other pros have also given accolades to the book, as have many tennis magazines around the world. One publication said that the book “is a gift for tennis players” and declares it to be a “complete synthesis of everything that a doubles’ tennis player needs to win at all club and tournament levels.” Another finds that the author has accomplished a “herculean task” by

collecting and synthesizing so much valuable information from so many professionals, combining them into a “concise yet comprehensive collection of tactics, tips, pressure strategies, set plays and great ideas from the best pros in the world.” And yet another writes that, “Even if you apply just some of the many ideas, you will observe a dramatic improvement in your game.” As the author has stated, “It’s great to be able to transfer one set of skills to an entirely different arena.” Based upon the number of “5 Star” reviews on Amazon and the uniformly positive reviews from pros and tennis magazines, the transfer has been a successful one. After the review of this book by our editors, we agree with Rajeev Ram, and we, too, along with the others above, “whole-heartedly recommend this book to all players at all levels.” You will not be disappointed.

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USA Delegation Ready for 21st Maccabi Games ext summer, the 2022 World Maccabiah Games will be held, the 21st installment of games that bring jewish athletes together from across the globe to Israel. The games feature more than 10,000 athletes from 80 different countries in an array of sports, but its impact stretches much further than results on the tennis court or playing field. First held in 1932, the Maccabiah Games were formed by Maccabi World Union, a Jewish, non-political organization that was dedicated to the furthering of Jewish education and sports, as well as promote Jewish identity and traditions through cultural, social and educational activities for all ages. “Jews were being excluded from sports at this time, so the Games were started for two main reasons, one to give them a place and opportunity to play, and secondly to portray an image of healthy and athletic judaism,” said Shane Carr, Senior Director of Programs for Maccabi USA. Maccabi USA is the governing body of the delegation from the United

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States that participates in the quadrennial games, as well as the other competitions such as the Pan-American Games and European Games. The organization sent more than 1,100 athletes to Israel in 2017 for the Maccabiah Games, of which 81 were tennis players, and that number looks like it will increase for next summer’s Games. The tennis portion is just one of the many sports played. In the past, the participants have been broken into U18, Open (18+), and Masters 35+, 40+, 45+, 50+, 55+, 60+, 65+, 70+, 75+, 80+ for both male and female players. For the Game next year, a U16 division has been added. “In the past, younger players were eligible to play in the U18 division, but this is the first year we’ve added a U16 event,” added Carr. “It makes for a more level playing field for the younger players, but also allows us to add six more roster spots for both boys and girls and

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have a larger delegation.” The experience of participating in the Games is hard to put into words, and has a profound impact on those who make the trek. Immersing into the Jewish culture and learning about your heritage is at the heart of what has made the Games so important to people. Ondrea Schiciano became involved in the Games thanks to her father, who began competing in 1979. After seeing how important the Games were


to him, she knew she wanted to be a part of it as well. “I traveled with him over the years to many different places, including Israel, and when he passed away in 2006, I decided it was my time to play,” she said. “I played in the 2009 games, and have continued to do so since. At the European Games in Budapest a couple of years ago, I was the Chairperson for our USA tennis team that went. I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps and do what he did. I really wanted to continue that legacy, and I’m really enjoying what I’m doing.” Schiciano has been successful in maintaining the legacy, and has also won many of the tennis events in her time competing. But as valuable as those Medals are, the significance of the Games has a much broader reach. “Besides the fact that I am a competitive tennis player, the

importance of the organization is how it connects people to Judaism, and the invaluable experience it provides,” she said. “It’s great seeing people come and find their roots and their heritage; you feel the connection as soon as you walk off the plane, it’s immediate.” Part of the Maccabi USA’s mission when it arrives is the program Israel

Connect, which takes place the week before the Games begin. It’s what the organization considers to be the highlight of the whole experience, and team members get to tour historical cultural sites, become a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, train with their teammates, and take part in a Jewish Identity Seminar, and helps the members establish a sense of Jewish awareness and pride. Next Summer’s Games will be held from July 12-July 26, and players are encouraged to tryout for the teams across the many tennis divisions. Tryouts in the U16 and U18 teams take place at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona, Florida from October 16-17, while the tryouts for the Masters Divisions are held at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens from November 11-14, and tryouts for the Open team is still being determined.

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Your Grading System Determines Your Effort By By Mark Mark Savage Savage

few months back, my business partner asked if I would like to join the book club that he started. =I asked, what’s the book club about? Jason responded, “Each member selects a book and we discuss each chapter individually, and analyze its relevance to our industry.” =The books we choose will be about business, communication, leadership and other related subjects. The conversations spur some great discussions and help us to improve not only ourselves, but our businesses, as well. I enthusiastically agreed to join. For the past five months we have met

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every Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. in our closed cafe at the tennis club and discussed four different books. The latest book, Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin triggered thoughts on how the subject matter relates to coaching tennis. Extreme Ownership is about taking responsibility, taking ownership of mistakes, stop blaming others, and ultimately leading yourself and your team to more success. I was eager to share with you what Extreme Ownership looks like from the perspective of a tennis professional.

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As an example, let’s say coach Esteban teaches T.J., a local high performance player. T.J. is 14-years-old, and an excellent player who is ranked #16 in the Section, and #150 Nationally. He is playing in a local men’s tournament and is playing a fiftyyear old gentleman with tremendous match experience and skills. On paper this is the typical “young player who looks like he should win versus the older player who will use his array of knowledge and skill to create mental chaos for TJ”. Midway through the first set, cracks in T.J.’s mental skills begin to emerge. He misses an easy overhead and proceeds to bang his head with his racket about five times. Oh, did I mention that there are about 75 people in the audience at a prestigious country club? TJ implodes in the next game and screams out, “Why?” His behavior deteriorates as the match progresses and the end result is all but determined. Everyone watching sees his talent, and capabilities, yet he does not. His coach is less than pleased with his on court behavior. A day later I asked Esteban if he wouldn’t mind chatting about the match and about his player’s behavior. He is more than willing. I asked him what he thought about T.J.’s performance. I asked, “How did it make you feel watching him act like that?” Esteban didn’t make a


huge deal of the performance so I sensed he wasn’t giving me everything. I followed up with another question, “How did it make you feel knowing that your player appeared rather immature?” Esteban said that he really doesn’t go to his matches so he was not aware of the extent of his player’s behavior. He added that T.J. is immature, and that his level of play clearly reflected his juvenile behavior and his inability to adjust. I inquired a bit more, and this is how the conversation went. “Who did he warm up with prior to the match?” He responded: Matt. “Did you go over a game plan?” We spoke about attacking the backhand while maintaining a simple game plan. “Did you let him know what to expect from his opponent including the possibility of implementing head games?” His immediate response was an emphatic, “No!” I asked, “Did you talk to him about how you expected him to act?” to which he again responded emphatically, “No”. My response to him was, “So you personally didn’t warm him up. You failed to prepare him for Roberto’s antics. You didn’t explain your expectations about how he should handle the pressure and the crowd? You didn’t practice routines in the face of the antics? Respectfully, who is to blame for his juvenile behavior in conjunction with the loss?”

Esteban wasn’t 100 percent sure if he should take the blame: “T.J. has acted like this before. I have had talks with him. I have punished and threatened him. What am I supposed to do? My hope has been that he will mature over time, or maybe not...” “May I suggest that you take full responsibility for this? Here is what I would say: “T.J., as your coach, I have to take the hit for your behavior and lack of class during the match with Roberto. It’s my fault that your preparation for this match was less than 100 percent. In retrospect, I clearly should have assumed a greater role in the preparation process for this match. Aside from warming up with you, I should have expressed to you how important it is to me that you conduct yourself with class at all times on the court. I know I have said this in the past but let me say this more clearly. I want you to show class and that that is more important than winning to me. I also should have let you know what to expect and how to handle Roberto’s gamesmanship. I’ve encountered similar scenarios so many times and I could have worked on a few examples and pragmatic responses for these situations.”

Now you may be saying, but what about T.J.’s responsibilities? Fair point. Now it’s Esteban’s turn to ask T.J. a few questions. “T.J., are you proud of the way you acted? Do you realize your peers aren’t saying a lot of nice things about your behavior? Did you realize that you represent us as a team? What kind of reputation do you want? To look and act like a champion or a brat who is spoiled and mentally weak? Is there anything you can do in the future to improve your attitude?” There are many questions you can ask T.J. but ultimately, the coach must first accept ownership, followed up with questions regarding the players responsibility. On a closing note, let’s imagine that you are the boss of yourself and that you have to answer to the boss. The boss says to you that your student is not getting the desired results, and since you are the one responsible for the student, I’m holding you accountable. He represents your ability to do your work, and if he can’t do the work, then somewhere along the line you missed something. Go back and review how you can improve yourself and I’ll bet, your student will improve, as well!

Mark Savage is the Tennis Director and Co-owner of Sportsplex in New Windsor, NY. A USPTA Master Professional and USTA High Performance Coach, Mark has been teaching tennis since 1991. Mark has been a volunteer on USTA and USPTA boards and committees. He has been a two-term USPTA President, has spoken at section and national conventions for over a decade and continues to grow the game of tennis locally.

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Weathering the Storm The Key to Bouncing Back By Rob Polishook n the finals of the 2021 French Open, Novak Djokovic, the topseed was heavily favored against the fourth-seed seed, Stefanos Tsitsipas. This was Tsitsipas’s first Slam final while Novak had already won 18 in his career. Most thought that the match would be routine, won by Djokovic in straight sets, or maybe four sets. However, Tsitsipas came out strong, winning the first two sets 7-6, 6-2, and no doubt putting the Serb in trouble. But then Djokovic did what all the greats do; he weathered the storm. He hung in, stuck around, and bounced back, winning the next three sets 6-3, 6-2, 6-4, respectively, en route to his 19th major title. Then, four weeks later at the 2021 Wimbledon Championships, Djokovic reached the final and once again played an underdog, this time the seventhseeded Matteo Berrettini. Again, Djokovic lost the first set 6-7, and this was after leading 5-2! He weathered the storm to win the next three sets 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, respectively, and captured his 20th Slam. On the Women’s side, Ashleigh Barty also weathered the storm by beating Karolina Plishkova 6-3, 6-7, 6-3. In her match, she won the first set, lost the second set and bounced back to win the third set. Weathering the storm is essential to being a highly-ranked

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professional or junior player. No matter the level, no one is going to be able to play their “A-game” dayin-and-day-out. Equally important is to understand that you can’t control your opponent’s level. Sometimes the difference is being able to absorb your opponent’s best while bending but not breaking, and staying in the match to create time to for your opponent to cool down and for you to find your game. Usually, it’s impossible to play a perfect match from the beginning to the end. In the rare event that happens, your opponent was simply too good and tomorrow is a new day. So, how can you as a competitive junior, or adult weekend warrior,

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weather the storm of your opponents? First, it’s important to understand both you and your opponent will come to the match with a certain amount of talent, skills, strategy and fitness. These attributes, I like to think as physical attributes above the surface, they are the tools that players, fans and coaches can see. Certainly, on any given day, a player’s physical attributes may vary a bit, and one player may be at another level than the other, which is largely out of the opponent’s control. However, when the physical attributes are similar (i.e., two advanced players competing against each other), how can a player weather the storm when they find themselves behind or struggling? I suggest digging where the Pro’s dig: below the surface to the mental attributes connecting to your heart, energy and spirit. A player’s second nature, which is the intangible qualities which may not be visible but always provide the fuel to help a player weather the storm, hang in there, not get overwhelmed, and have the perspective to adapt and adjust to what’s necessary at the time. So what are these attributes? I like to think of them as what makes a person/player unique and a whole human athlete. They are attributes,


characteristics and values that make the person who they are. Specifically, the intangible things that people can’t see until they have been seen. For example: Nadal’s grit, Federer’s grace, Djokovic’s grind and Barty’s creativity. In my work with clients, I’ll ask a client to list five things that make them unique. Five attributes, values or characteristics that may not be outwardly visible, but they possess in their heart. Often times, they may mention attributes such as awareness, creativity, imaginative, persistent, disciplined, spirited, and self-belief. These are just a few, and there are many more depending on the person. However, knowing these things about yourself is the starting point from which you can dig deep and bring them to the competition. It’s obvious to bring your game, your shots, your strategy and your fitness to a match to give you the best chance to compete. However,

less obvious is the intention to bring the intangibles that exist below the surface. But these are the things that make you special as a person, and what makes your game what it is. Understanding how to identify and bring these attributes to the court will give you an added advantage, a secret weapon of sorts, an umbrella of protection to weather the storm! I suggest taking a quiet moment with your journal and list attributes, characteristics and values that describe you, or are meaningful to you. Then think about how you can bring them to the court. Expanding on Djokovic’s

grind, one could say he is balanced, methodical, resilient, energetic, and strategic. We can see that these are exactly the attributes which helped him to weather the storm in his previous two come-from-behind victories at the French Open and Wimbledon. Now, the next time you’re in a match, no matter if you’re ahead or having to weather a storm, make sure you bring your five intangible attributes, characteristics, or values that make you, you! Play with heart, energy and spirit, and watch how you weather the storm as never before!

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

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Let the Racquet Talk By Lonnie Mitchel

e are getting ready for the U.S. Open again, and this year hopefully no pandemic can keep us down. I can’t wait to see, watch and hear about it all. However, I am in Colorado most of the summer and will go directly back to New York at the end of August to coach at SUNY Oneonta where 20 collegiate athletes are waiting for me to begin training after a one -year hiatus. I have had enough of COVID, and I know you are over it also. I just cannot get to the U.S. Open this year because I am in a different tennis universe, one full of collegians who are getting ready for their own competition. Even though I am spending time in Colorado, I just can't stay away from tennis. In my spare time, I went to several USTA team league matches including some of my son’s matches as he belongs to a 4.5 team in Denver. A 4.5 level team where there were actually 4.5 level players competing against other 4.5 players. I am a New Yorker born and bred, having played my junior and adult tennis in the TriState area before going into teaching and coaching collegiate tennis. I spent some time here in Colorado immersing myself with the local tennis community just to learn and observe what goes on in this part of the country. The tennis mentality differs from region to region, and demographic to demographic. What is interesting is that the folks in the Colorado and mountain region do not seem to get

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caught up in what their USTA levels are. They just want camaraderie and good, fair competition. I have encountered more times than I like to count folks in the Northeast positioning themselves as 4.0 players when maybe they are a 4.5, or 3.0 when they might actually be a 3.5. I know the USTA and their quality control do a good job to minimize that sort of thing but many slip through the cracks. I spoke with several competitors at various matches over the course of several weeks during my visit and many expressed their opinion of the folks in the Northeast, and we have the reputation of people who fiddle with their rankings for the sake of winning a league championship, a regional team appearance or perhaps making a national championship. I pondered that for a while, and remembered something my coach taught me when I was a junior player. He said, “Shut up, say nothing and let your racquet alone do the talking, nothing else matters after that.” So many can learn that lesson. I ask myself what is the joy of winning when you are manipulating the rankings? Are egos so fragile? The great football coach Bill Parcells once said you are what your record says you are. I think that should apply to tennis. If you are a 4.0 then go ahead and compete at

4.0, and let the racquet express who you are in the game of tennis. Maybe I am idealistic on how things should be in the sporting world and in our great game. I am a purest of the game at heart. I actually felt compassion for those folks out here in the West who love to play tennis at their level, and win and lose at that level, without the extra burden of an ego on their shoulders. College players sometimes needlessly try to intimidate and “win ugly”. There is a truth to that, but at the end of the day, the racquets talk and the rest is gibberish. Staying internal and not external, focusing and just competing, and playing every point like your life depends on it is damn good advice. Identifying yourself as a 4.0 when that’s what you are is the right thing to do. You want to be a 4.5? First win at 4.0 consistently, and you will be bumped up. Then you earned that right to be there and you will have let your racquet do the talking. So while the U.S. Open is on television, and some of the greatest players of all-time will be competing. They didnt get there by being something that they are not. The rest of the field tries but the ultimate winner wins match-after-match; that is what true champions do.

Lonnie Mitchel is head men’s and women’s tennis coach at SUNY Oneonta. Lonnie was named an assistant coach to Team USA for the 2013 Maccabiah Games in Israel for the Grand Master Tennis Division. Lonnie may be reached by phone at (516) 414-7202 or email lonniemitchel@yahoo.com.

Long Island Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • LITennisMag.com


Thrive With a New Tennis Partner By Barbara Wyatt

ou are about to step onto the court for a finals match at Sectionals. Your captain runs their hand through their hair. A cell phone is wedged tight against their ear, the knuckles on their hand white. Then, a nod and their shoulder muscles relax. As they click off the phone, they turn and say, “I have good news and bad news. Your regular partner twisted an ankle. The good news is a teammate is available. Remember Skylar?” You have no idea how Skylar plays. Skylar squeezed in two matches during league play; you were not scheduled those days. A player, dressed all in white and wearing a team hat, steps onto your court. Now what? You have only a few minutes before the match. Which questions should you ask?

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1. Are you left-or-right-handed? Some pairs prefer to place the lefthanded player on the deuce side, which places their forehand (and their right-handed partner’s) down the middle. 2. What side do you prefer? Listen to their answer. Go with whichever player has a preference. If there is a conflict, a strategy that has worked include placing the player with a reputation for putaways on the ad side or setting the player with a strong backhand volley on the deuce side and confident forehand volleyers on the ad. 3. If someone lobs you, do you want me to cover that? If someone lobs me, are you

comfortable covering that? You are creating a formula on handling lobs. If Skylar says running for a lob is not their strongest skill, the two of you can discuss a strategy. Perhaps each partner covers lobs on their side, but have the obligation to help. 4. Do you like to play aggressively at the net, or stay back? If Skylar sees an opportunity for a solid poach, they want the confidence knowing you are on your toes ready to balance the court and hold or move back near the service line to cover a lob. 5. Do you serve and volley? Or serve and stay back? 6. Would you like to serve first, or me?

7. Have you played these opponents? Will these questions guarantee a match win? Not even close. The essence behind these questions is to build trust and establish a team strategic plan. The score of your first set may determine if you stay on those sides, or switch. If you were walloped at a 60, it may be best to switch sides. Tennis, whether with a new or frequent partner, is about trust and commitment to work as a team. If you can build an immediate rapport with your new partner, the pair of you can adjust confidently as the match progresses.

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

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Remember to Have Fun By Luke Jensen

t was a fun summer to be at so many elite events. The Atlanta Open really has become a tennis party and the fans have really responded in a positive way. It’s maybe one of the most unique venues in tennis at the Atlantic Station location with a wonderful view of the Atlanta skyline. The Citi Open in Washington, D.C. has been going on since 1969 and this year the event featured Rafael Nadal. Thousands of fans showed up for the qualifying weekend and to watch Rafa practice! The US Open Series by the USTA is really doing an amazing job with its lead up to the last major championship of the calendar.The U.S. Open just hits winner after winner. I do want to touch on Naomi Osaka. I’ve known that competitor since she was playing the small pro events with her sister as a young teenager. When you're climbing the mountain towards your dreams there is loads of information on how to keep the course. But there is absolutely no information or advice on how to handle things when you reach the top of the mountain, and the prosperity and pressures that come with it. The top players in the world have a different life than even the other players on tour. The demands are enormous. When you are a driving brand that sells the

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game and the products you endorse, the spotlight can be very bright. Every match is scrutinized and statistics broken down. Practice sessions like Nadal’s draw 4,000 people. It’s hard to work on a stroke or tactic with your coach on court when loads of fans are screaming for your wristband. The ability to balance and, more importantly, organize each detail is very important. I remember trying to warm up for matches and feeling bad that kids wanted autographs, but I actually had to focus on warming up for the match. I also recall feeling like I was letting down my sponsors when I would lose a match. I wish Osaka could have a talk with Roger Federer or Serena Williams. They could mentor the youngster on how to find a pathway to calm in the middle of so much attention. I often speak to veterans on the tour about their approach to various challenges I was having as a tour player. Wisdom is so valuable and is only gained

through traveling the road one experience at a time. It really helped to have conversations with people going through the same pressures. It will be very interesting how Naomi moves forward in her career. Many players at all levels just lose the love for the sport. How do you deal with pressure? I was very fortunate to be a competitor that enjoyed that aspect of it but the off court distractions were challenging to balance. The recent events on athletes dealing with mental health issues are very real, and the discussions that can be had now to help people find ways to negotiate those mental mine fields. Having as much fun as possible was always a powerful tool for me. No matter how bad I was being beat, I always reminded myself to smile and have fun! Try that next time you are frustrated on the court. Flip that switch and find a way to have fun while losing...you may just find a way to win! Keep going for the lines!

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.

Long Island Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • LITennisMag.com


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Long Island Tennis Magazine • July/August 2021 • LITennisMag.com

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