New York Tennis Magazine September / October 2021

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JMTA College Recruting Combine Returns to Randall’s Island

he desire to make tennis a pathway to higher education for its junior tennis players is a foundational element of the mission of SPORTIME and the John McEnroe Tennis Academy. Part of that mission is connecting those rising players with collegiate coaches and programs, and to better do that, JMTA launched the inaugural College Recruiting Combine in 2016. The combine is a weekend-long event that gives select rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors, from around the country and beyond, JMTA students and non-JMTA students, the opportunity to showcase their technical and tactical tennis skills, and their athletic abilities, in front of coaches from top colleges and universities. The event had to take a year off in 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic, but returned in 2021 with even more offerings. This year, the event was expanded to feature more activities and more coaches. Thanks to JMTA’s new streaming platform, players had the opportunity to play in front of more coaches than ever before, with coaches not only attending in-person, but also virtually. Some of the coaches featured at the event and in the

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speaker panels were from some of the top programs and conferences in the country, including coaches from Brown, Baylor, Cornell, Dartmouth, Penn State, William & Mary, Wake Forest, and many other top programs. “One of the great things about the Combine is the drive we have to make

this event the very best of all the college recruiting exposure opportunities in the entire nation,” said Jay Harris, the Combine’s Director. “At the conclusion of every Combine, we do a ton of evaluating with our incredible team, and then we work to produce significant improvements each year.” Players also receive athletic performance assessments, and were invited to participate in Sports Vision Testing and in a College Coaches’ Panel Discussion. Combine partner, Tennis Analytics video-recorded all matches and offered participant packages, including match videos with detailed analytics. Included for each Combine participant is an integrated recruiting package, including the match videos, available digitally to both participants and coaches at the touch of a button on their personal Player Portals. The 2021 Combine was a necessary event after everything that unfolded in 2020, and allowed players and coaches to interact inperson once again. Each year, the Combine adds to its already successful formula, and the team at JMTA is already working on how to grow the event further in 2022.

NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2021 • New York Tennis Magazine

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September/October 2021 • Volume 11, Number 5

nytennis

Table Of Contents

MAGAZINE

New York Tennis Magazine

2021 U.S. Open Preview

New York Tennis Magazine

Fans return at full capacity for final Slam of the year By Brian Coleman—See page 32

1220 Wantagh Avenue Wantagh, NY 11793-2202 Phone: (516) 409-4444 • Fax: (516) 409-4600

Photo credit: Pete Staples/USTA

Web site: www.nytennismag.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

Highlights 4 10 20 22 28 30

Coaching Spotlight: Anna Tatishvili, Cary Leeds Center 2021 NYC Girls’ High School Preview Junior Player Spotlight: Agnia Vustsina, MatchPoint NYC Centercourt’s Banerjee Wins Wimbledon Junior Title By Brian Coleman At The Net w/ Giuliana Olmos By Brian Coleman Beyond the Baseline: Ioonna Felix, USTA Eastern Metro Region

Joey Arendt Art Director Francine Miller Advertising Coordinator (516) 409-4444, ext. 301 francinem@usptennis.com Emilie Katz Assistant Marketing Coordinator Barbara Wyatt Contributing Writer Rob Polishook Contributing Writer Luke Jensen Contributing Writer Interns Tyler Cohen Alex Drossman Phoebe Warshauer Joanne Salloum Alexa Brecher

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.nytennismag.com. Fax subscription changes to (516) 409-1600. Statements of fact and opinion in New York Tennis Magazine are the responsibility of the authors alone and do not imply an opinion on the part of United Sports Publications Ltd. New York Tennis Magazine reserves the right to edit, reject and/or postpone the publication of any articles, information or data.

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Features 1 8 12 16 18 24 27 40 42 44 46 48 50 51 52 54 56 57 58 59 60 62 64

JMTA Combine Returns to Randall’s Island Kushnirovich Wins Long Island One-On-One Doubles Event Cardio is King By Chris Lewit Across Metro New York Your Grading System Determines Your Effort By Mark Savage USTA Eastern Metro Region Update A Perfect Match: Tennis Players and Dwight Global Online School Thriving With Just a Return of Serve By Geoff Grant Mixed Doubles Pairings Hit Quogue for LI Tennis Magazine Challenge New York Tennis Magazine’s Literary Corner: Doubles Domination: The Best of the Best by Bob Allcorn Weathering the Storm: The Key to Bouncing Back By Rob Polishook USTA Eastern Hosts College Week More Than 30 Years In, High Country Still Going Strong Cary Leeds Center Hosts 2021 Mayor’s Cup How to Prepare for a Big Tournament By Gilad Bloom Developing Scouting Skills and Understanding Key Factors for Success in Competition By Conrad Singh When Superstars Collapse By Dr. Tom Ferraro Metro Corporate League Recap presented by Advantage Tennis Clubs Thrive With a New Tennis Partner By Barbara Wyatt USTA Metro Region Adult League Update By Christopher Dong How to Win More Tiebreakers By Mike Williams USA Delegation Ready for 21st Maccabi Games How to Deal With Losses By Anna Tatishvili New York Tennis Magazine is published bi-monthly by United Sports Publications Ltd. • Copyright © 2021 United Sports Publications Ltd.


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By Brian Coleman

Coaching Spotlight

Anna Tatishvili Cary Leeds Center s she approached the possibility of a fourth surgery on her ankle, Anna Tatishvili faced the tough decision that many professional athletes must face at one point in their careers: continue to work through rehab and play through pain, or hang it up. “It was towards the end of 2019, I was rehabbing and trying to get myself back onto the tour,” recalls Tatishvili. “I was planning on playing some tournaments, but my ankle was still bad. I had already had three surgeries, and my doctor said I needed a fourth. It was then I knew I was done. I didn’t want to have a fourth surgery just to try and hang around.” Tatishvili made the decision to retire from competitive tennis, and began sharpening up her resume. She was living in Boca Raton, Fla. at the time, and knew she wanted to continue working in tennis in some capacity. After sending her resume out to a number of tennis clubs and academies across the country, Tatishvili interviewed at The Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning in the Bronx. Both parties knew it was a fit right away, and Tatishvili was hired as the Associate Director of High Performance and Adult Programming. Tatishvili knew that coaching was something she wanted to do as she wound down her playing career, and is thrilled to still be working in tennis. “Over the last few years of my career, before I officially retired, I was injured a lot and was having a lot of surgeries,” said Tatishvili. “During that time, I was thinking about what I was going to do next if this didn’t work out. I knew I wanted to stay in tennis, and even when I was hurt, I was still going to the court and helping my coach out with his other students. I got into the mindset then that when I was done, I am going to go into coaching. The transition has been very smooth.” She had a unique connection to the Cary Leeds Center, which is the flagship home the New York

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Junior Tennis & Learning (NYJTL). Growing up, her mentor was Gene Scott, the famous tennis journalist and one of the founders of NYJTL, whom she met when she was 10-years-old at the Orange Bowl Championships in Florida. Although Scott passed away more than a decade ago, his wife Polly still sits on the NYJTL board, and upon hearing the news that Tatishvili was hired at the Cary Leeds Center, reached out to connect with her. “Life is a strange thing,” said Tatishvili. “Who knew that 20 years after meeting Gene, that little girl with big dreams would work for the organization that he helped create...Polly reached out to me and sent me a nice e-mail to welcome me. It was really emotional for me, and it’s just funny how life works out sometimes.” Tatishvili has been integral in helping to grow the Cary Leeds Center Academy under longtime Director Jay

Devashetty, which was launched last year. As a former Top 50 player in the world who had much success as a professional, Tatishvili has brought a fresh perspective to her coaching, and has been crucial in the development of the Academy’s top players. “One of the biggest things I bring is

my experience. When I’m teaching, I understand what the player’s are feeling or what are they going through, because I was there,” she said. “When they say to me that they are nervous before a big match, I can relate to that because I experienced the same thing.” In all, Tatishvili won 11 singles titles and eight doubles titles on the ITF tour, and scored several major victories over the world’s best during her playing days, including a win over current world number one Ash Barty. Her most memorable match came in her WTA Tour debut in Miami, where she knocked off Sania Mirza. “I got a wild card into Miami, I was only 16-years-old and it was a night match. The stadium was packed,” she recalls. “I was training at the Evert Academy at the time, and all the kids from the academy were there cheering continued on page 6

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coaching spotlight continued from page 5

me on. It was an intense match, I won 7-6 in the third and we finished around 1:00 a.m. The kids from the academy were all screaming my name, it was amazing. That match always stands out to me when I look back, and I will always remember that.” It’s from those moments that Tatishvili derives her coaching strength. Her ability to relate with kids, and convey her experiences to them allows them to connect on a level that leads to proper player development. “I love coaching, because I can tell my player a minor detail, a minor fix, but if it makes the slightest impact, then it’s a win,” she said. “That’s what really motivates me. It can be something technical, or a mental thing I notice, but it’s about picking up

those little details when you are on the court. It’s about helping people get better on a daily basis, and that’s what I enjoy the most. Now a permanent New Yorker, Tatishvili lives in Midtown Manhattan. Even before taking the job at Cary Leeds Center, she was familiar with the city. She has an aunt that lives in Queens, and as a player, would travel to the U.S. Open on a yearly basis. In addition, during her last rehab stint following ankle surgery, she did her rehab at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, and trained at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens. “That summer I really fell in love with New York City,” she said. “It wasn’t that I didn’t like it before, but after living here, once they offered me the job at Cary Leeds Center, moving

to New York permanently was an easy decision to make.” Tatishvili is now focused on finishing her college education, in addition to her coaching duties. She is in her senior year and is pursuing a degree in communications, and is set to graduate next May. Learning is something she has always enjoyed, and the goal has always been to get better each day. “As a player, you need to develop every day, and the same thing goes for being a coach. The game is always evolving, so it’s important you stay on top of that, and so I do a lot of studying. There is something you can learn every day.” Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for New York Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at brianc@usptennis.com.

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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

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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. In the finals, it was Kushnirovich

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • NYTennisMag.com

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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2021 NYC Girls’ High School Preview his fall, high school tennis returns to its normal point on the calendar as the girls’ season gets underway in late-September. The COVID-19 pandemic forced a cancellation of the season in 2020, and while an abridged version was held earlier this spring, this fall represents a return to a normal season for high school tennis in New York City. With a full regular season schedule, all teams back competing and a playoff tournament to conclude the season, the 2021 girls’ season should be a fun one. The regular season is scheduled to begin on September 20. Note: All players and dates are subject to change. Please visit NYTennisMag.com for the latest information. Be sure to visit PSAL.org for the full season schedule.

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Teams to Watch Townsend Harris After posting an undefeated season two years ago, Townsend Harris is ready to build on that success this fall. It posted six consecutive wins in last spring’s shortened season, and therefore has a lot of expectations for this season. Led by senior Fay Wong, a four-year starter in singles, the Hawks have great senior leadership at the top of its lineup. Victoria Borg, who had a huge freshman season, will hold down the second singles position, and the Hawks will need strong play from its first two singles players as it lost third singles player Kristine Yip to graduation. With depth in doubles thanks to sophomore Nikita Litescu and juniors Janelle Quindala, Tiffany Cheung and Josephine 10

Chan, the Hawks have a deep lineup that can trouble any opponent. Brooklyn Tech The Engineers have been one of the most consistent programs over the last several years in PSAL play, and that should be no different in 2021. It finished atop League A2 both two years ago and earlier this spring, and with the return of Oralie Joseph Gabriel at first singles, Brooklyn Tech will be a threat to win the city title once again. The senior will be followed in the lineup by fellow senior Alison Tan, and sophomore Sabrina Shvartsman at second and third singles, respectively. Adding to that is the first doubles duo of Brianna Yu & Courtney Simon, making the Engineers one of the best and most experienced teams in the city. Hunter Hunter may have surprised a few teams when it won League A3 two seasons ago, but it won’t be sneaking up on anybody this time around. The Hawks posted an 8-1 record to win the league when it last played, and will be eager to defend its league title. Natalie Vihodet is a crucial part of the Hunter success, and sets the standard for the rest of the team as it look as if she will move from second singles to first singles. Sophia Luo is now a senior and will be thrust into a more vital role in the singles lineup, but Hunter also has experienced doubles players to create a formidable lineup capable of competing with any team in the city. Bronx Science While Bronx Science had a

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • NYTennisMag.com

disappointing season, by its own standard, two seasons ago, going just 3-6, the Wolverines returned earlier this spring and posted four victories in four matches in the shortened season. That success should carry into the fall when Bronx Science looks to return to the top of the standings. Gabrielle Usvyat leads the way atop the lineup at first singles, and when you factor in the experience and talent from players like Sydney Siskind at singles, and first doubles player Lillian Flynn, plus the development of its younger players, look for Bronx Science to make a playoff run later this fall. Tottenville Two seasons ago, Tottenville was the best team in Staten Island. With an undefeated 12-0 record, the Pirates sat atop the League A4 standings, and will look to defend that success this fall. Tottenville returns its top two singles players from that team, Nicole Kitchens and Abigale Marants, at first and second singles, respectively. It will need to fill some holes vacated by outgoing doubles players, but with experience at the top of the lineup, Tottenville is primed to once again make its claim as the top team in Staten Island, and compete with teams from the other boroughs for NYC supremacy. Additional Players to Watch • Aishika Yadav – Bayside • Jessica Shekhtman – Leon Goldstein • Carol Xue – Francis Lewis • Elizabeth Cintron – Cardozo • Fiona Harkins – Forest Hills


STARTING 9/6 6/2021 /2

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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

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • NYTennisMag.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 14

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cardio is king continued from page 13

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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.

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • NYTennisMag.com


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Across Metro Ne N 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.

Ziets-Segura’s Win National Doubles Title

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.

An, Yakoff Win Gold Balls

Claire An & Stephanie Yakoff, who train at CourtSense Tennis Academy, won Gold Balls at the 2021 Clay Court Championships earlier this summer. An paired with Katie Rolls to win the Girls 14s Doubles title, while Yakoff (pictured right) and Natalia Perez (pictured left) captured the Girls 16s Doubles championship.

Centercourt’s Agar Claims Silver Ball

Linda and Marco Ziets-Segura, who train at Glen Head Racquet & Fitness, paired up in the Mixed Doubles 16s Draw at the L4 Binghamton Tennis Center 16

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • NYTennisMag.com

Competing in the Girls 18s Doubles draw, Seren Agar, a Centercourt Tennis Academy Platinum player, reached the doubles finals alongside Ariana Pursoo of


New York Long Island. By way of reaching the finals, the duo walked away with a Silver Ball.

… News and notes from across the N.Y. Metro tennis community Columbia’s Lin Earns More Honors

Sec Wins Gold Ball, Reaches Kalamazoo QFs

Sebastian Sec, who trains at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy, teamed up with Lucas Brown to win the Gold Ball in the Boys 18s Doubles draw. The duo defeated Alex Michelsen & Conrad Brown in straight sets in the final. Sec followed that performance up by reaching the quarterfinals of the Boys 18s Singles draw at the USTA National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Jack Lin, a senior at Columbia, earned All-Ivy League Academic honors as the conference’s all-academic team was announced. Lin, an All-American in both singles and doubles in his career, has earned many honors in his Lions’ career, including those All-American selections, first team allIvy League, and Rookie of the Year in his freshman season.

Reyniak Reaches First Boys 12s Final Matias Reyniak, who trains at Gilad Bloom Tennis, reached his first championship match competing in the Boys 12s division. Reyniak finished as the finalist and runner-up in the L5 CourtSense Bogota Championships.

NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2021 • New York Tennis Magazine

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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.

Doubles Domination Endorsed and highly praised by Nick Bollettieri: "Quite an impressive book!"

"The best and most complete doubles resource I have ever come across" —Rajeev Ram (#1 doubles player in North America)

Doublesdomination.net 18

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • NYTennisMag.com

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.

At Gotham Tennis Academy, we’re passionate about teaching tennis. From beginners to rising stars, Gotham’s PTR certified pros are experienced in teaching the fundamentals while stressing sportsmanship, hard work, and fun. With our prime location at Stadium Tennis Center– NYC’s newest and largest indoor/outdoor tennis center, we’re only a short trip away from you. It’s more convenient than ever to get your kids into the game. To enroll now or learn more about us, call 718-665-4684 or email info@stadiumtennisnyc.com

www.stadiumtennisnyc.com NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2021 • New York 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

Agnia Vustsina, MatchPoint NYC ach day, Agnia Vustsina takes a 20-minute walk towards the coast of Gravesend Bay in Brooklyn where she arrives at MatchPoint NYC Bensonhurst, a beautiful facility that sits in view of the Verrazano Bridge. The top-ranked rising eighthgrader in New York, according to TennisRecruiting.net, has been going to MatchPoint for her training since she moved to the United States in 2016. Vustsina moved to Brooklyn from Minsk, Belarus in order to pursue her tennis dreams, and in the time since her arrival she has become one of the country’s top junior players. “Moving here was definitely a lot for me,” said Vustsina. “We moved for my tennis and so I could improve, and coming here was something completely new. So it was a lot for me to handle. I was very scared I wouldn’t be able to learn English. As soon as I got here, I wrote down the alphabet so I could learn that as fast as I could. I started reading books in English which

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helped, and there were people here from my home country that spoke my language, so that helped with the transition. When I first came here, the staff at MatchPoint did everything they could to help me. I really found a home.” Vuststina can recall one of her first tournaments here in the States when she was more concerned with learning how to say the score in English than she was her tennis. In the five years since arriving in Brooklyn, Vustsina now speaks excellent English, but does most of her talking with her racquet. The 13-year-old has an aggressive style of play with a lot of power generated from both her forehand and backhands. Her coach, Bogdan Sheremet, can recall the first time he saw her playing and when he noticed the natural talent she had. “I remember teaching on the court next to where she was playing, and I was amazed by her ability to move and hit the ball,” said Sheremet. “You could tell she was a really good shot maker, and could hit a winner from

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • NYTennisMag.com


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

any angle on the court. A couple of months later, her mom asked if she could take a lesson with me. And from there the connection between us started. We continued training, working together and traveling for tournaments. We definitely have chemistry together.” The close relationship between player and coach has helped Vustsina flourish on the court. She has come a long way since she first began playing. She can remember when she first played a red-dot tournament when she was sixyears-old, and she lost. It did not deter her. In fact, it did the opposite, and it helped her develop a desire to win. “I was competing against some of my friends that I had been practicing with. I lost but it was a good experience, because at that time I wasn’t really thinking of tennis being a big thing for me.” Growing up, Vustsina played other sports in addition to tennis, including basketball, swimming and kung-fu, the latter of which she says has helped her immensely in her tennis. An individual sport, tennis can oftentimes become more mental than it is physical, and Vustsina has learned how to handle those types of situations that can make or break a player mentally during a given match. “It’s definitely something that has helped me relax, and find that Zen in myself,” she said. “When I was little, I couldn’t control my emotions. It was really hard for me. The KungFu has helped me throughout the years, and I can revert back to what I learned when I get tight during a match. It’s important to relax yourself and get back into the moment, and doing breathing exercises and things

like that helps me a lot. My favorite player is Novak Djokovic, and I always see him trying to calm himself down when something goes wrong during a match. And I like that part of his game.” It’s that mental toughness and awareness, in addition to her physical skills, that have catapulted Vustsina into one of the top players in the Eastern Section. And she is not afraid to play up in competition and compete against girls older than her, as was evidenced by her victory at the L5 Open Mountainside Championships in the Girls 16s division earlier this summer where she powered through the draw without dropping a set. Advancing to the later stages of high-level tournaments is at the top of her goals list right now. “In the short term, I want to continue to play well and reach the finals of tournaments,” she said. “Trying to be consistent, no matter the level of the tournament, is my goal. Win or lose, if I am getting to the finals of events, that means I am

doing something right and those titles will come.” In order to reach those goals, Vuststina will continue to put the work in at MatchPoint NYC, and improve on the aspects of her game that can be sharpened. “She is a very aggressive player, and as we know, if you want to play aggressive you have to stay consistent,” explained Sheremet. “We work a lot on consistency, as well as a lot of volleys and approaching the net, and understanding how to construct and finish off points. She used to run into problems when she tried to create winners from the baseline all the time which led to some unforced errors. As she gets older, she is getting wiser on the court, and therefore she is doing a great job of pushing forward and winning more points at the net.” Vuststina has one more year left of middle school before she moves on to high school, where she does hope to play high school tennis. Competing in a team atmosphere such as that can be great preparation for college tennis, which is something that will certainly be available to her in her future. When she isn’t on the court, Vustsina enjoys drawing and writing, which helps her detach from tennis at times, allowing her to return to the court, for her training or matches, with a clear head and fresh mindset. “I love to draw a lot, it calms me down and is relaxing,” she said. “If I’m having a bad day, doodling or writing helps. At the beginning of each day, I write in my notebook what I want the day to look like or what I hope to accomplish, and that helps me visualize what I need to do.” Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for New York Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at brianc@usptennis.com.

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CENTERCOURT’S BANERJEE WINS WIMBLEDON JUNIOR TITLE By Brian Coleman s he watched the ball sail beyond the baseline, Samir Banerjee dropped his racquet, put his hands on his head and turned to the area in the stands where his family, friends and coaches were sitting inside Court One at the All-England Lawn Club. “I was pretty much in shock, and that’s sort of what my reaction indicated,” said Banerjee. “It was a really cool moment, and I didn’t really process it at first. It didn’t feel real.” Banerjee was facing off against fellow American Victor Lilov in what was the first all-American Junior final at Wimbledon since Noah Rubin, another standout from the USTA Eastern Section, defeated Stefan Kozlov in 2014. Banerjee, who was unseeded, held off late rallies in each set to defeat Lilov 7-5, 6-4 and notch the biggest win of his young career. Banerjee didn’t arrive in London with the highest expectations for himself. In fact, he had only played his first ever grass court tournament the week before in Roehampton, where he lost in the second round. But Banerjee did reach the doubles final, which was a huge factor in his

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success the following week. “I never played a tournament on grass, and some coaches were telling me that I had a good chance on grass because of the way I played, but I realized quickly that you had to play your opponent and not the surface,” he said. “Even though I lost early in singles, making the doubles final forced me to have to warm-up and prepare every day, and that helped me a lot in terms of being ready to do that at Wimbledon.” After winning his first two matches, each in three sets, to begin his Wimbledon campaign, rain forced both the third-round and quarterfinal matches to be played in the same day. Banerjee would square off against fifth-seed Pedro Boscardin Dias of Brazil, the player whom had beaten him in Roehampton, but this time Banerjee turned the tables and defeated Dias 6-2, 6-1. Later in the day, Banerjee wasted no time in securing his spot in the semifinals with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Croatia’s Mili Poljicak “I tried to play loose and free, and just go for my shots. I think the moment I knew I had a chance to do something special there was playing

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • NYTennisMag.com

my third-round and quarterfinal match in the same day,” he said. “I didn’t know I was going to win it all, but I was definitely feeling good.” Banerjee would outlast France’s Sacha Gueymard Wayenburg in the semifinals before meeting Lilov in the championship match. Carrying the momentum he had picked up throughout the week, Banerjee raced out to a 5-2 lead in the opening set, only to see Lilov pull back even for 5-5. Banerjee recovered to win the next two games and close out the set. “I played a bad service game in there, but I think after it got back to 5-5, to be able to take the first set 7-5 was crucial,” he said. The second set played out nearly identical to the opener, as Banerjee once again found himself ahead 52. This time, though, he would not let Lilov off the mat. After Lilov held, Banerjee knew he had to finish off the match on his service game. “I got a little tight on match point when I was serving at 5-3; closing out a match has a lot more pressure than closing out a set,” said Banerjee. “I really didn’t want it to get back to 5-4. I didn’t want to


give him any breathing room, and so I was really happy to close it out when I did.” The win is a significant milestone for the 17-year-old from New Jersey. With it, he moved up to No. 2 in the ITF Junior World rankings, and it even earned him a Wild Card into the qualifying draw of the Atlanta Open, where made his ATP World Tour debut. He got his start playing tennis more than a decade ago, when he would join his father and his father’s friends for their weekly game on the weekends. A young Samir would hit with his dad after they were done playing, and took off from there. In addition to tennis, he played baseball and soccer growing up, but made the decision to focus on tennis around the age of 11. “I went from playing with my dad, to playing with a coach and taking lessons,” he recalls. “I started at Garden State Tennis before moving on to Centercourt [Performance Tennis Academy]. I did the majority of my training in New Jersey until earlier this year, when I went down to Florida to train in those hot and humid conditions to prepare for tournaments that are played in those conditions.” At Centercourt, Banerjee was a part of the Full-Time Academy which consists of an elite group of junior players, which helped provide the ideal environment for Banerjee to develop his game over the years. “I haven’t been to Centercourt as much as I’d like over the last year, just because I have been traveling and haven’t been home much,” he said. “The group there has always been great, and that’s why I

continue to stay there.” Banerjee was part of the crop of players at Centercourt that have all worked together in the type of competitive environment that has made them all better, and he made that group and the Centercourt family proud with the way he

be high-school senior has committed to play at Columbia University. The combination of top-level tennis and academics was too much for Banerjee to pass on, and he plans on joining the Lions starting in the Fall of 2022. “I just thought it was the best fit for me,” said Banerjee. “Locationwise, it’s very convenient for me, and I really liked the coaches there. I think Howie [Endelman] is one of the best coaches in the country. He actually flew out to London to watch me play in the finals, so I can tell he cares a lot about his players.” It’s been an exciting summer for Banerjee, and claiming a Wimbledon junior title is a memory he will surely cherish forever. As one of the top-ranked junior players in the world, he is a known commodity in the tennis world. That can come with Photo credit: Getty Images/USTA higher expectations and played in London. additional pressure, but rather “There was so much excitement than hide from it, Banerjee plans here at the club. We had texts to embrace it. going back and forth, and there “I know I’ll have a target on my was buzz amongst all the coaches back now and there will be more and players,” said Centercourt pressure, but I know I have to CEO of Tennis Operations Conrad focus on what I need to do, and Singh. “Just watching the way he go in with the right mindset,” he played, we flipped out. It was said. “It’ll be different, and there phenomenal to see what he was may be more expectations, but doing. Samir walked into I’m not going to put any extra Centercourt as a nine-year-old boy, pressure on myself. If anything, and so watching him go from that this win makes me feel looser to winning Wimbledon is mindbecause I don’t have to prove blowing. When he gets a chance, anything to anyone. I just need to he’ll come down to the Club with keep playing the way I’m playing his Wimbledon trophy. We’re just and try to get better each day.” so proud of him.” Banerjee has done the majority of his training in New Jersey, and Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for New will remain in the Tri-State area for York Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at brianc@usptennis.com. his collegiate career as the soon-toNYTennisMag.com • September/October 2021 • New York Tennis Magazine

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USTA Eastern Metro Region Metro Teams Post Strong League Sectional Results

fter a year-long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, USTA Eastern’s League Sectionals are back in full swing. Throughout August and September, teams in multiple divisions from all of Eastern’s six regions are competing for the chance to represent the section at the National Championships, which will be held this fall at different locations in Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma. Six Metro Region teams have already advanced to Nationals: the 18 & Over 7.0, 8.0 and 10.0 Mixed teams, as well as the 18 & Over 4.0 and 5.0 Men’s team and 5.0 Women’s team. “We did an awesome job supporting each other and fighting for every point,” said Matt Hansen, the captain of the 5.0 Men’s team. To earn their berth, the group battled strong competition from Northern Region and Southern Region 5.0 squads, and several matches were ultimately decided in super tiebreaks. “Our matches were tight, coming down to a few key points here and there, so mental toughness was key,” Hansen said. “[One of] the most fun parts [of the

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weekend] was the look of joy on everyone's faces once we clinched!” Hansen, who played Division I tennis for both Northern Illinois University and Jacksonville University in Florida, discovered USTA League tennis just three seasons ago when he joined a friend’s team in Westchester. He loved the format and competition and started to learn more about the program in the Metro area. Now, in just his first season captaining, Hansen is headed to Nationals for the first time. “Overall it's awesome to captain a USTA team and see the fruits of your labor come to fruition,” he said. “We have some talented guys on our roster, but most of all great human beings. So it was awesome to bring everyone together this year after a tough 2020.” Before heading to Arizona this fall, the team planned to celebrate with ping pong and drinks in the city. “The best part of the USTA League experience is that you get to compete like it's college again and support your buddies on the court,” Hansen said. “Tennis is an individual sport so being able to enjoy the game in a team setting—and grab beers afterwards—is priceless.”

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • NYTennisMag.com


USTA Eastern Metro Region

The Metro 18 & Over 4.0 Men’s team also faced strong opposition from their Long Island, New Jersey, Southern and Western counterparts throughout sectional competition. “Good communication and maintaining positive attitudes were the keys to success, as well as having the depth of players that we do,” said Team Captain Vladimir Salomon. Like Hansen, Salomon was also proud of how every member stayed focused and supported each other. “I think the biggest challenge was managing the nerves,” Salomon said. “We all really lifted each other up in each match, both as spectators and as doubles teammates on the court.” Salomon was thrilled to get to compete on a national stage again. He noted that one of his best tennis moments ever was getting to attend the 2018 National Tri-Level Invitational, held in Indian Wells right before the annual pro tournament there.

“It was an incredible experience to not just play at the site but also to see the best players in the world and be face-to-face with them,” he said. “It was unbelievable.” To learn more about USTA Leagues in the Metro Region, email Metro Adult League Coordinator Christopher Dong at cdong@eastern.usta.com.

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USTA Eastern Metro Region Longtime Metro Region Facility Owner Freddie Botur Inducted into Eastern Hall of Fame

Botur with longtime friend John McEnroe reddie Botur is among the six individuals being inducted into the Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame on August 27. A Czech refugee, Botur arrived in the United States in 1952 and would go on to live out a true American dream, establishing five facilities in New York City at the height of the tennis boom in the 1960s and 1970s. The longest-running of these clubs, the Long Island City-based Tennisport, served an eclectic clientele of business VIPs, USTA members and pro players and was still in operation as recently as 2009. Botur first worked as a tennis pro at the River Club in New York. The club drew a high-end membership, and soon Botur was giving lessons to a wide range of interesting people: government officials, company founders and CEOs, Rockefellers, Vanderbilts. “He had great style, the gift of a quick mind, a talent for making good conversation, an infectious sense of humor, and a very charming personality,” says fellow NYC club owner Skip Hartman, who worked under Botur at the River Club in 1962. “He was an excellent teaching pro and coach with an eye for corrective techniques that would improve his students’ play. This, of course, made them want to play more.” Using the relationships he developed over the years, he opened multiple facilities throughout the 1960s and

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1970s. At Tennis Inc., he hosted pre-Open era tournaments featuring Rod Laver and Billie Jean King. At Tennis59, he presented a 10-year-old John McEnroe with an Easter Bowl trophy, and at the West Park Racquet Club, he hit every morning with then-Mayor John Lindsay and gave lessons to Robert Redford. Tennisport—perhaps his most storied contribution to the NYC tennis ecosystem—opened in 1972 and only closed in 2009 after a protracted eminent domain dispute with the city. At the height of its popularity, the facility counted 1200 members. A host of pro players—including McEnroe, Botur’s compatriot Ivan Lendl and Jim Courier— often used the courts at Tennisport to practice in the lead-up to the US Open. Botur will turn 100 in February 2022. Of his incredible career, he wrote in his memoir, “I was constantly thinking about ways to improve my little income and quality of life. I would turn out to be what they call now an entrepreneur, but back then, I was just trying to figure out a way to get ahead.” The other members of the 2021 induction class: tennis icons and advocates Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss, former USTA Eastern president and tennis historian Dr. Dale Caldwell, former player Dr. Harold German, and youth tennis advocate Dr. Emily Moore.

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • NYTennisMag.com


A Perfect Match: Tennis Players and Dwight Global Online School uccessful student athletes pursuing pre-professional or professional tracks in their sports have long felt pulled in two directions: the more time devoted to sport, the more class time missed away from school. Having time to dedicate to tennis— practice, tournaments, and travel—makes all the difference in maintaining a competitive edge, and flexibility is key. Dwight Global Online School, the fully accredited online program of Dwight School in New York City, offers the perfect solution. Dwight Global allows flexible scheduling. Players maintain rigorous practice, travel, and competition schedules, while also pursuing academic excellence within an energetic, exciting school community. The online school was ranked No. 2 Best Online High School in America by Newsweek, in 2021.

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Blended and flexible online learning Students are able to join their Dwight online classes from home, and wherever their tennis takes them. Dwight Global focuses on the whole student, incorporating individual interests and needs into the curriculum, and students can pursue Advanced Placement courses, the International Baccalaureate, or their own personalized course of study. No matter what academic path they take, Dwight Global offers a rigorous curriculum with classes that are NCAA-approved, ensuring students pass all the required standards for entry into Division I and II colleges and universities. Unlike most online schools, enrollment at Dwight Global also uniquely provides students with in-

person access to Dwight’s campuses around the world. In-person, residential opportunities include travel and exchange programs, cross-campus collaborations, and global leadership conferences at Dwight campuses in New York, London, Shanghai, Seoul, and Dubai. Supportive school leadership and teachers School leadership and administrators know firsthand the challenges and rewards of combining athletics and sports. Dwight’s Chancellor Stephen Spahn has 50 years of visionary leadership in global education and was himself an All-American basketball player at Dartmouth College. Dwight’s vice chancellor, Blake Spahn, was captain of the undefeated 1994 Ivy League Champion Columbia University Men’s Tennis team, and understands the demands on today’s scholar-athletes. Dwight’s expert faculty also encourage and support Dwight Global students to believe in their own talents, follow their hearts, and take intellectual risks. They know every student has unique challenges when it comes to balancing their academics and their professional career. Teachers are passionate about supporting students in achieving their goals. Specialized college guidance Admissions officers recognize the difference between a prestigious Dwight Diploma and other online-only programs. Starting in Grade 9, Dwight Global college counselors work closely with players to prepare them for the college admissions process. While some athletes head straight to the pros, Dwight has a long tradition of placing graduates at top college

athletic programs. One such tennis player is Dwight Global alumnus Karl Poling, who currently plays for Princeton University. Poling has many tennis credits to his name, including Ivy Rookie of the Year 2018-19, and a No. 113 Singles ranking, as of March 2020. In his senior year at Dwight Global in 2018, Poling said: “Dwight Online gives me the opportunity to pursue my goal, which is tennis. I have more freedom and more time. Teachers are very understanding if I am busy or have a tough week or a tournament— they give me a lot of flexibility. Some of the people in my class are from tennis. I played a tournament in Florida and my doubles partner is in some of my classes at Dwight Global. It was convenient! I’ve had a great experience and been able to pursue my dream.” For more information about Dwight Global’s perfect solution for scholarathletes, contact Admissions@Dwight.Global, call (212) 724-2420, or visit www.Dwight.Global. Start crafting a personalized academic path today! The Dwight Global difference: • Students can pursue tennis without compromising their academics. • Dwight’s faculty are experts in their fields and dedicated to personalizing the Dwight Global experience for every student. • Students and teachers achieve deeper learning through small class sizes and college-style seminars. • Dwight Global is laser-focused on college-readiness and building lifelong skills. • Dwight Global benefits from Dwight School’s global network and a 145-plus year track record of admissions to top universities.

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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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New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • NYTennisMag.com

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 New York 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

NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2021 • New York Tennis Magazine

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BEYOND THE BASELINE

BEYOND THE BASELINE BEYOND THE BASELINE

BEYOND THE BASELINE BEYOND

Ioonna Felix (right) with multiple-time Slam Champion Bethanie Mattek-Sands (middle) and Dr. David Altchek (left) at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

beyondthebaseline

Ioonna Felix, USTA Metro Region By Brian Coleman

t the beginning of this year, Ioonna Felix was named the Regional Council Director for USTA Eastern’s Metro Region, a role she will serve in through the end of 2022. As a native of New York City, Felix was excited to take the baton from previous Director Pablo Sierra, and continuing to grow the game of tennis in NYC. “I’ve always wanted to get involved with tennis and the USTA. I come from a health care and medical background, and so I wanted to see how the other

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side of it worked, in a sense,” said Felix. “In talking to some people I know in the field, they suggested I go through the channels of the USTA and see how I can be a part of it. When this role came up, I knew it was a great opportunity to jump on, and the transition from Pablo to myself has been great. He was a great Director, and has been and continues to be very helpful, especially in lieu of the pandemic last year and everything we had to deal with, and what we are still dealing with.”

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • NYTennisMag.com

Felix is the site manager at the Hospital for Special Surgery’s Westside Sports Institute Rehabilitation and Performance Center, where she treats sports injuries, and specializes in the rehabilitation, return to play, performance and clinical research of racquet sports athletes of all levels, particularly tennis players. In addition to her the treatment, both in terms of injury prevention and rehabilitation, Felix also has extensive experience in sports programming, which makes her an ideal fit to head up the Metro Region.


OND THE BASELINE

BEYOND THE BASELINE BEYOND THE BASELINE

“I’ve seen the whole spectrum in terms of sports programming, and this has helped me in this new role as we try to put on more communitybased events and programs,” said Felix. “We had an event in June, which was a thank you to the essential workers during the pandemic, and we tied that in to growing tennis in the community. My experience in creating programs that helped with injury prevention, whether it’s for kids or adults, is something that has also helped me since taking over.” Felix is a first-generation Dominican-American who grew up in Washington Heights. Along with her sister, the two were huge fans of tennis and were eager to play, but it proved to be more difficult than they thought due to the social and economic obstacles. This has helped provide motivation and a point of reference for Felix to try to make the game more inclusive and diverse, and help spread the game to all parts of the city. “I love this sport, but I recognize that it’s one that still needs to be more diverse,” she explained. “My first impression of the game was that it was really boring when I watched it on TV. All I saw was a ball go back and forth over a net. Lucky for me, my sister tried it in high school. She was able to introduce it to me and it was so much fun. We asked our parents if we could take lessons. Through some difficult navigating, we were able to learn how to play. Looking back now, I realize what a big request that was for my parents. The obstacles we experienced and the initial lack of access to the game is partly what motivates me to make the path easier for others to play.” Felix and the Council work closely with the many Community Tennis Association’s (CTA) throughout the City’s five boroughs, and are aiming to bring tennis events and programming to many local parks. This past summer, the Region held an event at Lincoln Terrace Park, where it helped introduce tennis to so many kids who may not otherwise

ever been able to play. “It was great because we had a lot of people in that community who grew up similar to how I grew up. They either didn’t know the game, or had never played, and they stopped by to play and loved it,” said Felix. “This is something they want to do annually now. We try to take our members out to different fairs and community events where we can showcase the sport, and demonstrate how easy it can be to have access to it. Whether it’s hitting against a wall, or playing at the local park, it’s our job to continue breaking down

BEYOND THE BASELINE BEYOND THE those barriers.” Now almost a full-year into her role, Felix is excited for what is to come in the Metro Region moving forward. A major initiative that was put on hold because of the pandemic was the schools programs, where the USTA can provide equipment and instruction for schools to introduce tennis into their curriculums. With schools closed this past school year, those programs were halted, but as we approach a new school year, that will be one of the primary agenda items for Felix and the rest of the Council. “The next task for the fall is to see how we can get back into the schools. As we get relatively better with the pandemic, and kids are going back to school, we want to emphasize tennis in schools again,” she said. “Last year really limited what we could do in the schools, which is why we put more focus on the community-based events, especially this summer, but now one of the things we will turn our attention to is the schools. We want to reassess how we do that, and rebuild our schools programs to not only grow it, but provide it to many schools across the city, and do so safely considering the pandemic.” Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for New York Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at brianc@usptennis.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,”

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • NYTennisMag.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.

NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2021 • New York Tennis Magazine

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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 34

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.

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • NYTennisMag.com


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. Hubert Hurkacz The 24-year-old from Poland has enjoyed the best year of his young career so far in 2021. Hurkacz won his first

Masters 1000s title, and third overall, at the Miami Open, and parlayed that into a semifinal run at Wimbledon later in the summer which has put him inside the Top 15. But outside of the Miami success, Hurkacz has not had a ton of success on hard-courts, and his best showing at the Australian Open and U.S. Opens are second-round appearances. Despite the breakout season, Hurkacz could be due for another early exit in New York.

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

continued on page 36

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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 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 36

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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

38

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • NYTennisMag.com


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Thriving With Just a Return of Serve By Geoff Grant

was able to make a living on the ATP Tour because of my return of serve; having a good return can be a very powerful first-strike weapon of which many experienced players don’t take advantage. Through my solid return of serve, I was able to apply pressure at moments in a match and thus affect the entire outcome in my favor. It’s all about “seeing” the weak serve and pulling the trigger. The impact this will have on your opponent over time, assuming you hit good returns will be: • Increased double faults and especially at key moments in a match if they see you standing inside the court. • Influenced weak serve of which will be crushed • Influenced first serve because they’re afraid to give you their second serve. It takes some sting out of a great first serve. • Takes pressure off of your serve knowing that you can always break back - gives you the ability to take more chances on your serve. • It takes pressure off of you in general because hitting winner returns acts as a “free point” exactly like hitting an ace. I can’t

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tell you how wonderful it is to walk to the next point after striking first and not having to grind every point out. • It’s so much fun to execute if it’s going well

would look more like a 2-to-2 or 3-to-3) • Good balance, wide stance and powerful spring from your legs to ensure your hands get to the ball to make solid contact.

I’m not talking about technique. I’m talking about strategy, tactics and mental dominance. We could go on and on about defining a “solid” return of serve from the technical standpoint. If you don’t have a good return of serve, get out there and start working hard because a good, reliable return is equal to a good serve. Just for good measure, let’s quickly cover at least three of the many technical things you must have in order to use your return as a bonafide weapon: • A perfectly timed split step (you’re physically in the air after jumping lightly off the ground while your opponent is physically making contact with the ball) - land with balanced purpose and power your legs to get behind the fall. • An abbreviated backswing and follow-through (if a full swing and follow through are considered 5-to5 in range, then an abbreviated

Now that we touched the tip of the iceberg on technique, let’s focus on the main takeaway from this article: how to use the return of serve as a game changer. Tennis is psychological. One of the goals is to apply as much mental and emotional pressure as possible so that your opponent loses vision to win, makes errors, fatigues, or gives up the fight. All of these can be accomplished if you have a solid return of serve and you use it to attack at the right moments. Attacking your opponents’ serve, moving inside the court and taking the ball early, hitting a winner or a forcing shot can win you matches. It’s all about WHEN you go for an aggressive return and when you take on a bit more risk. Firstly, you must recognize a weak serve as it’s coming at you. Obviously, a second serve is a good time to start looking but first serves can be attacked also! Intently watch the color of the ball

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coming out of your opponent’s hands and follow it off the pop of your opponents’ racket. Does it seem to have less pace? Is it going to land short, in the middle of the box? Listen for the sound of the ball. Does it sound less than clean contact? Figure all of this out as quickly as possible and well before the ball goes over your side of the net if possible. If you can start picking up on these clues early enough and you get the weak serve, then go on the attack. Now that you’ve found the weak serve, let’s discuss the moments ripest for taking risk: • First point of the match: I always like to receive first so I can play my way into the match AND look to set a tone using my strength from the very beginning. Winning the FIRST POINT off a huge return can actually set a tone for the rest of the match! Players will get intimidated especially if they’re the underdog. I’m always looking to go for a big

shot if I get a 2nd serve on the first point of the match. The risk is very low and the reward of shocking your opponent is high. • The score is love-30 or love-40: Especially when up big in a game, go for it! Keep the pressure on. However, the only reason NOT to attack is if you think your opponent is choking. If that’s the case, you may want to back off the return, even when up big, just in case they’re going to miss an early groundstroke. Don’t give them a free point by going for too much if they’re tight. • Break point: This is always a tough one but do not forget that servers get tight so make them pay if they baby one in! If they do

a good job with their second serve then consider playing it back with less risk. • In doubles, hit right at the net player: There’s little space between the net player in front of you and your return that you smack down the line right at them. Hitting a weak serve right at the partner’s chest will certainly give you understanding on how quick that person’s hands are and if they can’t handle your return. Keep hitting at them until they either back up, get quicker or solve the riddle some other way. Don’t forget to respect the first strike capabilities of a good return when faced with a weak serve. The benefits can be enormous!

Geoff Grant is the General Manager and Director of Tennis at CourtSense at Tenafly Racquet Club. He is a Duke graduate and former ATP player ranked as high as 109th in the world in singles, and in 1998, reached the third round of the U.S. Open.

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THE LONG ISLAND

CHALLENGE 2021

Mixed Doubles Pairings Hit The Hamptons 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. “We chose a Mixed doubles tournaments for our July event because it brings a different type of camaraderie and competitiveness to the courts,” said

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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.” 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

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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 well-done, 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 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 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 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

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MAGAZINE

MAGAZINE

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NEW YORK 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

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 44

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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


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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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

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

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

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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

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • NYTennisMag.com

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


COMING IN NOVEMBER

Distribution scheduled for 11/01/21 This edition will feature: • Coaches Roundtable Discussion • Holiday Gift Guide • Tennis Travel Destination Guide • Girls’ High School Recap

Print distribution across New York at 300+ locations. Digital distribution across website and social media pages, and the e-Edition will be e-mailed out to our full data base.

Don’t miss the advertising opportunities in the next edition of New York Tennis Magazine November/December 2021! Facebook-www.Facebook.com/NewYorkTennis Instagram-@NYTennisMag • Twitter-@NYTennisMag

Submissions for both advertising and editorial are due by October 8, 2021 NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2021 • New York Tennis Magazine 49 For more information, please call 516-409-4444 or e-mail Advertise@NYTennisMag.com


More Than 30 Years In, High Country Still Going Strong n 1988, Bill Silverman, along with a college buddy, bought what was then called Racquet & Ski Shop in an old banking building in Livingston, N.J. A few years later, they would move to a bigger location and rebrand the store to High Country Ski & Sports, now High Country Ski & Tennis, and for the last 30-plus years, have been providing New Jersey with top-of-theline equipment and apparel with unparalleled customer service. “In the beginning, we brought in golf, hiking, biking swimming and more. We wanted to be everything to everybody,” Silverman recalls. “And we did that, up until 2000, when a golf store moved in across the street, and a hiking chain store moved in down the road. So we began taking out some sports, and we are now a just a ski & tennis shop. We have a featured sport for each season, but we’re year-round with both sports.” By minimizing the store’s focus to two sports, Silverman along with his wife, children and the rest of his team have become the go-to store for both ski & tennis lovers in the state. Silverman being a devoted skier and tennis player himself, he is able to

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understand the needs of his customers, and provide unmatched service to ensure that every person who walks into his store is taken care of. “Customer service is our top priority,” he said. “You can go down the road and get ignored by the big chain places, but when you come in here, we tailor our work to ensure you get the product you need. It’s absolutely what we are all about. We try to make sure we have what our customer wants, and if there's something we don't have, we do our best to get it in store quickly so that they can enjoy it.” Over the last year-and-a-half, the retail industry for tennis has boomed as more and more people flock to the tennis courts as a safe way to exercise

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and have fun. Silverman says this year is on pace to surpass the success they had in 2020, and the same goes for skiing. “We’ve had a great season so far,” he said. “We’re ahead of last year by far.” High Country Ski & Sports is open seven days a week, and in addition to the array of equipment and apparel, also offers stringing services, grip replacements, as well as repair work and more for skiers and snowboarders. “When I started in 1988, there must have been 40 tennis shops in New Jersey, and there are very few now,” said Silverman. “We’re the last of the specialty store.” With an established brand and success that only continues to climb over the last couple of years, the next step for High Country is to expand farther. “We’re hoping to open some other stores in the future,” said Silverman. “There are a lot of areas that seem to be ripe for tennis, and our goal is to continue expanding and growing into those areas.” High Country Ski & Tennis is located at 465 West Mountain Pleasant Avenue in Livingston, N.J.


Cary Leeds Center Hosts

2021 Mayor’s Cup

he Mayor’s Cup returned to the courts of The Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning this summer. Like many events in 2020, the free scholastic tennis tournament hosted by New York Junior Tennis & Learning (NYJTL) and open to players from New York City had to take a hiatus last year. But the top players, from elementary school through high school, in NYC battled it out for a chance at a Mayor’s Cup title earlier this summer. This year, the event was dedicated to former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, who throughout his life supported tennis in the City. Below are the results of all the event’s divisions:

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Boys’ Elementary Green Ball Singles • Winner: Rex Kulman • Finalist: Nikolay Klioutchnikov

Boys’ Elementary Yellow Ball Singles • Winner: Rowan Qalbani • Finalist: Joshua Dolinsky Boys’ Middle School Singles • Winner: David Clarke • Finalist: Stanley Hoo Boys’ Varsity Singles • Winner: Jordan Chang • Finalist: Erik Johansson Girls’ Elementary Green Ball Singles • Winner: Penelope Sperl • Finalist: Daniella Yogumyan Girls’ Elementary Yellow Ball Singles • Winner: Kathryn Cragg • Finalist: Emma Palacio Girls’ Middle School Singles • Winner: Carrie-Anne Hoo • Finalist: Anusha Yadav

Girls’ Varsity Singles • Winner: Chantajah Mills • Finalist: Stella Kirby Boys’ Middle School Doubles • Winner: Thomas Walsh/ • Finalist: Lielle Assayag/Aaron Tokarz Boys’ Varsity Doubles • Winner: Arnav Agostinho/Arjun Agostinho • Finalist: Erik Johansson/Dylan Maudsley Girls’ Middle School Doubles • Winner: Patrycja Filonik/Elizabeth Pinkhasova • Finalist: Tensae Karev/Akari Wientzen Girls’ Varsity Doubles • Winner: Caitlin Biu/Stella Kirby • Finalist: Sylwia Filonik/Emily Kaplan

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How to Prepare for a Big Tournament By Gilad Bloom

t is well-known that the top pros on the tour plan their schedule around the four majors. It takes careful planning to reach peak performance at the right periods of the year, and a big part of the greatness of the Big Three is their ability to (almost always) show up prepared for the biggest tournaments of the year. This is not luck, it is a result of careful, calculated planning. Planning ahead is essential at all levels, whether it’s the high school season, Sectionals, Nationals, college tennis or the ITF Junior Tour, there are always important tournaments that make or break a player’s year. It is the coach's job to help the players get to those tournament ready physically, and fresh mentally. Here are some guidelines on how to achieve this goal:

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1) Plan the entire season in advance and stick to it It is important to have a full schedule written out at the beginning of each season or school year. The important tournaments should be singled out, other tournaments should be taken seriously but knowing that the declared goal is to do well in the more prestigious events. 52

2) Train hard in the beginning then decrease volume drastically In the four weeks leading to a big tournament, I would do most of the hard drills and grueling fitness sessions in the first two-and-a-half weeks. This hardcore part of the training can be used best by working on flaws, adding weapons and sharpening the technique. Most importantly, it is the time to get in shape and get to the fitness level that will allow you to play every point with 100 percent intensity and commitment. In this period there will be a lot of repetition drills and intense workouts on and off the court, preferably playing two sessions a day. The emphasis on playing points should be low, there should always be a component of points in every practice, it's important to keep the competitive juices running and to stay match sharp, but it is expected that the player will not be in top form during this period as the body may be sore and the legs heavy. Halfway through the third week and for the entire fourth week, I would have the player shift the emphasis gradually from hard grueling fitness sessions and raw drills to more live ball hitting and playing

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lots of sets. By the end of the fourth week I would drastically cut down the fitness to a minimum and start focusing on playing two-to-three sets a day, sometimes more. I would recommend even playing a smaller warm-up tournament to get a few matches under the belt. On the days right before the match I would cut down the time on the court to a minimum as the idea is to let the body absorb all the weeks of training. The body needs time until the fitness sessions take effect. You always want to get to the tournament with a fresh and rested body that is ready to go all out from the first point to the last. The last few days before the tournament are all about conserving the energy, Back in the 80s when I was preparing for the Australian Open, my fitness coach would tell me, "you will be a bit sore during the first two tournaments leading to the Australian Open but you will be ready to play a best-offive match by the time you reach Melbourne.” And he was right, it worked. There is a delay of a few weeks between when you do the hard fitness drills and when you feel the improvements on the court.


3) Show up early to get used to the conditions It is highly recommended to arrive to the tournament a few days before the event and get used to the conditions, settle into the hotel, find your favorite restaurant, etc. This can give you an edge over a player that shows up to the tournament on the night before the first match. 4) Avoid distractions during the tournament Once the tournament starts, the goal is to spend as little time as possible in the club, the commotion of big event can be exhausting and distracting with all the players, parents and coaches that are around. It is easy to get tempted and lose focus. Obviously there is a social aspect to the tournaments and there is, and should be, mingling and socializing, but when you are playing a 128-player draw and start going deep into the

tournament, there is a match every day, sometimes two a day, and there is little time to hang out. It is best to go to the room and disconnect from the tournament right after each match, find a nice restaurant and recharge your battery for the next match. 5) Nutrition, sleep, hydration, stretching If you are going to do well in a tournament and go deep in the draw, every small detail is important. Oftentimes, tournaments

in the summer are played in very hot conditions, so it is critical not only to hydrate all the time but also to stay away from soda, sweets and oily foods. Getting nine-to-10 hours of sleep is just as important. Stretching before and after matches is extra important, and this is especially true after long matches. I used to stretch right before going to bed, I found that I would wake up with looser muscles. These things are imperative as recovery from long matches can make or break a player’s tournament.

Gilad Bloom, former Israeli Davis Cup player and two-time Olympian, played on the ATP Tour 1983-1995, reached the fourth round of the U.S. Open in 1990, reached a highest ranking of 61 in singles, was Israel Singles Champion three times. Bloom has been running his own tennis program since 2000 and also was director of tennis at John McEnroe Tennis Academy for two years. He can be reached by e-mail at Bloom.Gilad@Gmail.com.

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Developing Scouting Skills and Understanding Key Factors for Success in Competition By Conrad Singh

ne of the most under-developed skill sets for competitive tennis players is their ability to scout opponents and then build a winning plan against their opponent based on their scouting. The ability to create a game plan from scouting opponents is an essential factor for the player to be able to go through tournament draws and achieve success, week in and week out. A player developing a “Coaches Eye” to pick out what will be a winning formula is best started by keeping a book of observations on each opponent from previous experiences, matches and practices. The player’s book becomes a record of opponents’ tendencies and habits. By always sizing up against potential opponents, competitive players find ways to be able to gain the win once drawn against one another. During the initial development stages, the key is for competitive players to become comfortable in the tournament environment through exposure. Increasing exposure to the tournament environment allows the player to be less nervous, remain positive regardless of who they play against each draw. These are the players who are able to focus in tactical details and are

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confident enough in their skills and tools to be able to execute plans needed for that particular round. When you consider the importance of developing a winning formula against a certain opponent, the player begins to understand that looking too far ahead brings up too many questions and can make building a plan difficult. The key is to building a successful plan is to understand the three main factors which affect match play: One The player’s technical skill level and the mental skill capacity within an occasion and new competitive environment (experience) Mental state of the player, related to the occasion and the environment: • The level of calmness, control and overall nerves/mental preparedness • Prior performance–same opponent win/loss record; enormity of the situation or occasion. This is usually linked to the “outcome.” • Court surface/conditions/tactical capacity determined by surface and environment. • Big match and motivation; i.e. home crowd for or against. Big tournament vs. smaller event. This can also be the priority of this

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • NYTennisMag.com

event, i.e. national event vs. a consolation event at a regional event. • Mental strength based on the physical status of the player–early on the first day vs. very late match on the past day. Two Your player’s game style and specific preferences The other important factor is understanding the player’s game style and related factors: • Game style match up/court surface effect of the match up; players winning plays versus the opponent’s limitations in their game. • Opponent’s strengths and weakness, and the relationship to the court surface. • Recent performances and results and the effect of “form”/confidence/level of support. • Current training and match play goals and themes. Tactical capacity and conditions. • Extraneous variables–status of outside relationships (coach, parents, peers, partners, etc.) Three The opponent’s game style and specific preferences and how they match up


The Ability to match up/winning plays and point sequences/role of the surface in game style: • Tactical awareness/prior knowledge/quality of scouting of the player. • Win/loss ratio and the confidence associated with that. • Physical status prior to and during the match. • Level of risk-taking and timing of specific tactical options determined by decision-making. Identifying game style and preferences Another crucial factor is for our “Scouting Player” to have the ability to identify the game style and preferences of the opponent. It is important to be able to categorize the opponent into either: • A baseline aggressive player: Well-rounded in all skills and looks to end points—an example being Dominic Thiem. • An all-court player: Player exhibits terrific movement and is able to run quick and slow pressure tactics at will—an example being Roger Federer. • Net rushing player: Generally very good with continental grips and up and down the court movement with usually a very good serve—an example being Feliciano Lopez. • Variation game style: Will use allcourt plus mix in variation of spin and tactic at will. Likes to match up against big hitters. Is very adaptable to all surfaces and plays doubles well, and is closely aligned to an all-court player–an example being Rafael Nadal. • Countering player: Likes opponent to provide speed, then can use that against them. In today's fast game, this is a very dangerous opponent—an example being Daniil Medvedev. Coach/Parent As a coach or parent with players at a tournament or in a competitive environment, try to encourage your

player to be a “complete” player. Doing the preparation work and being ready before the match is very important. Scouting may include watching by the side of the practice courts, asking friends or others that may know the player, or by doing your own online research on the player. The key aspects to address and be clear on are as follows: • Identify the player’s game style. • Identify the player’s strengths (technical, tactical, physical, psychological) and limiting factors. • Identify player’s winning plays (usually very clear by seeing the patterns and connections of plays). • Identify opponent’s strengths and ask yourself what are their limiting factors? • Identify opponent’s winning plays, best strokes and general “go to” plays. • Develop a game plan to counter the opponent’s strengths and winning plays—be prepared for what will come.

• Explain and clarify with the player what are the match plans, objectives and also things to be aware of. Prepare for the opponent to do the things they do well and not get caught off guard. • Coaches and parents need to adopt communication strategies that are best suited to the needs of the player as no two players are the same. • Select verbal communications that are clear, appropriate in terms of timing and leave no margin for misunderstanding. Be sure to adapt your style of communicating to that of which the player is most suited and used to as well as being appropriate for the setting you are in. • Encourage the player to ask questions, to take the time to analyze practices and matches and then ask questions. Always give your player a voice which will certainly help to facilitate growth and stimulate more tennis conversations.

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

Fall Outdoor Program at Riverdale Tennis Club starts Sept. 6 Indoor season at New York Tennis Club in Throgs Neck Full 38-week after-school program Groups, Private Lessons and Tournament Travel Come train with Gilad Bloom: 27 years of High Performance coaching 13-year career on Pro Tour, including Davis Cup and Olympics

Call 914-907-0041 or E-mail Bloom.Gilad@gmail.com www.GiladBloom.com NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2021 • New York Tennis Magazine

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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.

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • NYTennisMag.com


Metro Corporate League Looking Towards 2021 Presented by Advantage Tennis Clubs

he Metro Corporate Tennis League presented by Advantage Tennis Clubs is an initiative of the Metrotennis Community Tennis Association (MCTA). Our league is divided into three levels of play, Intermediate (3.0 - 3.5), Advanced Intermediate (4.0 – 4.5) and Advanced (4.5+). We have also launched our Hi-Five program for teams that are not ready to compete but want to get into the sport while getting a great workout or just need to get the rust off their racquets. We returned to action for the Winter 2021 season. Congratulations to our champions:

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Advanced Division Champions: NYJTL

Advanced Intermediate Divison Champions: Deutsche Bank

Intermediate Division Champions: Douglas Elliman

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve reduced the number of teams for the Fall 2021 season. We’ve also implemented “Safe Play Regulations” to minimize player contact. Moreover, we’re abiding by the Racquet Clubs’ strict safety guidelines to prevent infections. The season will run from October to December, culminating with the Playoffs at Roosevelt Island Racquet Club. Please help us welcome new teams, Biolumina Group & Suzy to our league. For more information regarding our league, please visit us at www.metrotennis.com under tab labeled, “corporate” or e-mail Luis@metrotennis.com.

NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2021 • New York Tennis Magazine

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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

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two of you can discuss a strategy. Perhaps each partner covers lobs on their side, but have the obligation to help. 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. Do you serve and volley? Or serve and stay back? Would you like to serve first, or me? 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 e-mail at BarbaraW@iKnowTennis.com

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New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • NYTennisMag.com


USTA Metro Region Adult League Update: September/October 2021 By Christopher Dong The Regional Championships for the Metro Region finished up this summer, with the winning teams advancing to Sectionals, and potentially Nationals after that. Congrats to the following winning Regional teams and their captains: 18 & Over Metro Women's Champions

3.0 - Deborah Fantera/ Bridget Brennan

3.5 - Nerissa Lem/Chih-Wei Chen

4.0 - Linda Eichenbaum/Zory Rodriguez

5.0 - Karen Garfield

18 & Over Metro Men's Champions

3.5 - Alex Pham

4.0 - Vlad Salomon/Joe Bullaro

Earlier this year, the 10.0 Mixed Doubles team captained by Samantha Lieb won the USTA Eastern Sectionals event and will advance to Nationals later this year. Also advancing to Nationals were two Sectional winners in the 5.0 18 & Over league: The Women’s team captained by Karen Garfield, and the Men’s team captained by Matt Hansen & Gerald DiChiara. There are leagues currently still be played in the Region, including the 55 & Over Men and the 55 & Over Women. Those leagues are slated to conclude in September.

4.5 - Mitchell Low/Michael Doane/Roger Freed

5.0 - Matt Hansen/Gerald DiChiara

Beginning in September will be the Tri-Level 4.5 Men and the Tri-Level 4.5 Women. From October to February, there will be a Mixed Doubles league in Manhattan. To open up 2022, the 40 & Over Tri-Level 4.0 league, as well as Mixed Doubles leagues, will begin in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. Those leagues run until April, and it is then that the 18 & Over leagues begin again for all five boroughs. New players, teams and captains are welcome. For more information, please contact Christopher Dong, Adult League Coordinator, Metro, at cdong@eastern.usta.com

NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2021 • New York Tennis Magazine

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How to Win More Tiebreakers By Mike Williams

ou've battled for 12 straight games against a formidable, evenly matched opponent and now it's come down to one game. Your heart rate is picking up and your feet are barking. The end is inevitable, sudden and even the name, “Tiebreaker,” coined by Tennis Hall of Famer Jimmy Van Alen, says, “Everything is on the line!” You’re praying for divine guidance, and all the while, cursing the person that came up with this convoluted way to end it all. Thanks a lot Jimmy Van Alen! Some of the greatest players in the history of the game have called it a “crap-shoot,” and I won't mince words either, this is the most important moment in the match so far. All the other points, games, disputes, heroics, snafus and miscues that have preceded this moment are mere prologue to the next series of points you will play. This is a tensionfilled moment that has sent shivers up the spines of even the best of players. Take a moment and breathe. You have a job to do. It’s time to play one good game for all the marbles. Save the prayers, have a plan The past informs the present but it won’t dictate the future. Somebody’s got to win. At this point in the match,

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you’ve learned enough to make an educated assessment of their strengths and weakness. You know if they have a good serve or a better return. If they are quick or slow and powerful, and whether they prefer to hit their forehand cross-court or inside-out. You know if they hit over their backhand when they’re under pressure or if they tend to slice the ball. And you know if they are prone to having outbursts in pressure situations. By this time, you have most certainly exploited your opponent’s soft spots and evaded their assets with varying degrees of success as they have exposed some of your game’s shortcomings and specialties. All of their nuances, matched against yours, create an informative backdrop for you to draw from. Now it’s time to put everything that you’ve learned in the back of your mind and refocus. Fundamentals, not trickery Getting into the habit of good fundamentals (in practice and in matches) combined with percentage tennis, especially in the biggest moments, will bring you success. There are many wrong ways players turn when they are under pressure. Some get ultra-tentative and start “pushing the ball,” while others do the opposite. They get overly anxious

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • NYTennisMag.com

and try to end the points too soon. This is often called “going for too much.” Another mistake undisciplined players make in tiebreakers is they look for a tricky play to win the most important points rather than relying on their fundamentals and straightforward persistence. They might try to sneak a drop shot in unexpectedly only to drop it in the net or go for a giant second serve and double fault. It’s when points become especially important that the proficiency of one’s fundamentals and their adherence to those principles will hold up or breakdown. Fundamentals such as: Deep cross-court groundstrokes, upthe-line approach shots, high first serve percentages, and making returns. Simply put, if you are more willing to keep your fundamentals intact than your opponent, then you will win more big points. And, in case you’ve forgotten, all the points in a tiebreaker are ‘big’ points. Manage your emotions So you’ve come this far and your goal is still to win this match. You have rode the mental rollercoaster this far and now, you must make sure that you keep it together and manage your emotions at all costs. It may be the most important thing that


you can do in this situation. Keep the energy positive. There is no way you are going to win every point in every tiebreaker. You should actually expect it to be tough. Your opponent wants to win as much as you do. I can remember watching tennis legend John McEnroe play those shenanigans filled matches but when it got down to the end of a set he was almost always all-business. He had a way of setting his emotions aside when he sensed the finish line and it allowed him to go for it in those big moments. This is your tiebreaker, be brave Take your opportunities to put pressure on your opponent when you can. Good players don’t make unforced errors for no reason. Pressure makes them miss their targets. This might mean that their balls start landing shorter in the court or their second serves are sitting up a little higher. These

nuanced changes are subtle, but if you can start to recognize them, you should let it be your invitation to be brave and put some pressure on them. Take your opponent’s time away from them by moving into the court (Roger Federer and Serena Williams are masters at this concept). When you get a chance, watch how they stand closer to the baseline relative to their opponents. Oh, and don’t be afraid to come to the net and hit a couple of volleys. Thanks again, Jimmy The good news is that the end is in sight. You’ve worked hard in this

match and more importantly, at improving your game. Finish it with your best tennis. Let’s face it, even great players, have clenched up or choked in the face of a big moment. It’s okay to get nervous, but the key is to use the nerves to focus your energies into creating a clutch peak-performance. So go into your next tiebreaker knowing that you are going to stick to your fundamentals and let it go. I promise that you will win more tiebreakers and you’ll be thanking Jimmy Van Alen for getting you home before dinner.

Mike Williams is a Teaching Pro at Roosevelt Island Racquet Club (RIRC). He captained the Clemson University Tennis Team and played on the Satellite Tour following his collegiate career. He won the Men’s Open Doubles Championship in 2013 and has more than 20 years of coaching experience, dedicated to helping players of all levels by focusing on the fundamentals of the game and designing programs that will help each individual reach their highest level. He can be reached by e-mail at MWilliams@AdvantageTennisClubs.com.

NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2021 • New York Tennis Magazine

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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

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • NYTennisMag.com

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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Classes start in September. Sign up today! Go to advantagejuniorprograms.com Players ages 5 and up learn to serve, rally and play “real tennis” customized for kids!

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NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2021 • New York Tennis Magazine

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How To Deal With Losses By Anna Tatishvili

osing is a major part of tennis. When a player loses a match without being mentally fit, it can set up a challenging recovery process, both for the player and for the coach. Very often tennis players, especially at the junior level, react to losses in a very negative way, which directly affects their confidence level. When players are not able to deal with their losses in a constructive manner they start to develop self-doubt towards their tennis abilities which in hand has an effect on their future tournaments. Some players get so frustrated after a loss that they start to develop a negative thought process towards their tennis which can really damage their motivation to continue to train and work hard. I believe that one of the key aspects of a successful tennis player is knowing how to deal with a loss, and that starts from a young age. Every tennis match consists of three components: technical, physical and mental. The best tennis players do not dwell on the negative; they instead dissect and systematically analyze each of these three components of their lost game. Therefore, they learn from their experience and they use each match as an opportunity to become better and be even more motivated for their next tournament. Everyone has a different attitude to losing. Below are some of my

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suggestions that can be implemented after losing a tennis match: 1. Analyze match performance: Post-match analysis with your team or just with yourself gives you extremely valuable information. Ask yourself, how focused you were during the match? How much did you feel the state of your opponent? What technical mistakes did you make? What was your physical condition? You also need to note what you did well in the match and what you could have done better. By asking questions to yourself and also discussing these aspects of the match with your team, it can convert a lost match into a stepping stone towards big success in future tournaments. 2. Learn and move on: Don’t take losing fatally, learn from your experience and move on. Once you finish analyzing your match you need to be able to let go of the match. Being able to move on from a loss is also a very important mental aspect in tennis; you have to be able to shift your focus onto the next tournament. Many times

players have several tournaments in a row and thinking constantly about your loss from a previous tournament will only harm you. 3. Create a plan for the future: Set new goals based on the conclusion from your last match. One of the goals can be that you must improve your fitness, or you need to work extra on your second serve. Practice hard to correct discovered deficiencies. Having a specific goal for every practice is important, every time you step on a court you need to do know what are you doing and why are you doing it. 4. Be realistic with yourself: Having the right mindset is the key. In tennis you will lose more tournaments than you will win. Practicing smartly and persistently, maintaining the positive outlook in your game and playing with focus on each ball, you can do your best - you will be able to build on your experiences and move forward in your tennis career. What's more, you can make your life successful and valuable.

Anna Tatishvili is the Associate Director of High Performance and Adult Programming at the Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning. Tatishvali is a former Top 50 ranked player in singles and doubles, and represented the Republic of Georgia at the Fed Cup on multiple occasions. During her career, she won 11 singles and eight doubles titles on the ITF tour, and won the doubles title at the WTA event in Linz, Austria. She may be reached at atatishvili@nyjtl.org.

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2021 • NYTennisMag.com


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Compass is a licensed real estate broker and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. All materiadeemed reliable but is subject to errors, omissions, changes in price, condition, sale, or withdrawal without notice. No statement amadeYork as to Tennis the accuracy of any description. All NYTennisMag.com • July/August 2021 •is New Magazine measurements and square footages are approximate. This is not intended to solicit property already listed. Nothing herein shall be construed as legal, accounting or other professional advice outside the realm of real estate brokerage.

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BACK TO SCHOOL! THE CARY LEEDS CENTER FOR TENNIS & LEARNING OFFERS A FULL RANGE OF JUNIOR PATHWAY PROGRAMS FOR KIDS AGES 5-18. EACH PROGRAM IS DESIGNED TO IMPROVE PLAYER SKILLS USING AGE APPROPRIATE EQUIPMENT AND ENSURING TRANSITION THROUGHOUT THE NYJTL PATHWAY. ALL LEVELS ARE LED BY A STAFF PROFESSIONAL, DEDICATED TO PROVIDING THE HIGHEST QUALITY OF TENNIS TRAINING TO ENSURE SUCCESS. 1720 CROTONA AVENUE BRONX, NY 10457 2021 • NYTennisMag.com 68 New York Tennis Magazine • July/August CARYLEEDSINFO@NYJTL.ORG • 718-247-7420 WWW.NYJTL.ORG/CARYLEEDS