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S? LO L OVE TENNIS A CAREER BEGINS B HERE Enhance your caree er with a Professional Ten e nis Management (PTM ) Certificate from Queens College-CUNY

Te ennis Management (PTM) Certificatte The Queens College-CUNY Professsional T Program offffers students the oppo ortunity to hone their tennis teaching, sales, marketing, program administration and facility management knowledge to pursue a care eer in the tennis industry. This three semester program combines on-court workshops with online and cclassroom learning and experiential learning through internships and job placement.

Visit www w..qc.cuny y..edu/pcs to learn more about the PTM Program at Queens College © 2019 USTA. All rights reserved.

NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2020 • New York Tennis Magazine


nytennis MAGAZINE

New York Tennis Magazine

New York Tennis Magazine 1220 Wantagh Avenue • Wantagh, NY 11793-2202 Phone: (516) 409-4444 • Fax: (516) 409-4600 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 Joey Arendt Art Director (516) 409-4444, ext. 307 Francine Miller Advertising Coordinator (516) 409-4444, ext. 301 francinem@usptennis.com Emilie Katz Assistant Marketing Coordinator

Sidney Beal III Staff Photographer

Lee Seidner Staff Photographer

Senior Interns Rena Zervakos Tyler Cohen Kimberly Liao Sarah Schwartz Phoebe Warshauer Stefen Rosner Junior Interns Alexa Brecher Phoebe Levitsky Joanne Salloum

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.

SEPT/OCT 2020 • Vol 10, No 5

Table Of Contents

Medvedev Embraces New York By Brian Coleman The young Russian star has posted two straight deep U.S. Open runs See page 28

Photo credit: Brian Coleman

Highlights 8 14 22 32 34

Players Relish Return of LI Tennis Magazine Challenge 2020 U.S. Open Recap By Brian Coleman Coaching Spotlight: Bogdan Sheremet, MatchPoint NYC By Brian Coleman Why Gleneagles Has Become the Destination of New Yorkers 2020 French Open Preview

Features 4 6 12 18 20 27 36 37 38 40 42 44 45 46 48 49 50 51 53 54

Across Metro New York…News and Notes From Across the New York Metro Tennis Community The Importance of Self-Discipline By Michael Nortey Mastering the Mind: Mindfulness at 125 MPH…Part Five By Rob Polishook No Court? No Partner? No Problem…Say Hello to Slinger Bag Top College Players Come Out for USTA Eastern Collegiate Series Dwight Global Online: The Right Fit for Scholar-Athletes Don’t Beat Yourself By Lawrence Kleger inPhorm: Looking Forward SPORTIME Amagansett Hosts Successful Charity Pro-Am Lessons Learned By Rohan Goetzke Why We Play the Way We Play By Mike Williams Your Inner Scoreboard By Barbara Wyatt The Best Way to Practice Your Serve By Eric Faro The Relevance of the Return By Chris Lewit The Tennis Guru: The Cave By Dr. Tom Ferraro Devashetty Bringing Player Development Experience to Cary Leeds Improving Your Doubles Game By Mike Puc Adult League Wrap-Up The Importance of Mental Fitness By Conrad Singh Champion Qualities in Players: Part One By Gilad Bloom

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. New York Tennis Magazine is published bi-monthly by United Sports Publications Ltd. • Copyright © 2020 United Sports Publications Ltd.




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Across Metro Ne Uehling Takes Super Six Title

Centercourt Hosts Orange and Green Ball UTR Series

Zen Uehling (pictured right), who trains out of CourtSense, captured the title at the L4 Super Six at the Binghamton Tennis Club in the Boys 12s Division. As the top-seed, Uehling was tested by the third-seed Mateo Pouso in the finals, but came back from a set down to win 5-7, 6-4, 1-0(8).

Reyniak Posts Multiple Tournament Wins

Centercourt Tennis Academy has been hosting some unique tournaments this summer in order to provide its players with that competitive atmosphere within its program. Recently, it hosted its first ever Orange & Green Ball Centercourt UTR Series, and congratulations to the first two winners: Anish Rangavajjula in the Green Ball, and Ari Feldman in Orange Ball.

RSTA’s Sanchez Wins L6 Tourney

It was a successful August on the USTA circuit for Gilad Bloom Tennis’ Matias Reyniak, who won multiple titles in the month. First, he took home the title at the L7 Late-August RSTA Open, and then won the L6 RSTA Challenger in the next week, winning all of his matches in both tournaments in straight sets.


New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2020 • NYTennisMag.com

Wrapping up her time at Ross School Tennis Academy’s 10-week summer program, Valentina Sanchez went out with a win as she captured the club’s L6 Tournament.

New York

… News and notes from across the New York Metro tennis community

Harsh Wins Hard Court Championships

Ahn, McHale Train at Cary Leeds Ahead of U.S. Open

Agustya Harsh, who trains at the Chris Lewit Tennis Academy, was victorious at the USTA Eastern Metro Hard Court Tennis Championships.

As they prepared to compete against the best at the 2020 U.S. Open, former USTA Eastern standouts Christina McHale and Kristie Ahn did some training at The Cary Leeds Center in the Bronx, working with their former coach from USTA Player Development Jay Devashetty.


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NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2020 • New York Tennis Magazine


The Importance of Self-Discipline By Michael Nortey If I were to ask, “What is the most important trait a tennis player could have,” what would you say? If “discipline” is your response, then you are an astute tennis player! More important than the answer itself is the understanding of why self-discipline is held with such esteem. If you research player qualities that top college coaches in the country look for when recruiting, you will find a recurring pattern of answers along the lines of “hardworking” and “competitive.” Everyone always shrugs at the slouch who hardly makes an effort and no one wants a quitter on their team, so it makes sense why coaches are always looking for the opposing qualities. That being said, the underlying driving force behind being both hardworking and competitive is, you guessed it … discipline.


It’s a no-brainer that a hardworking player will always be favorable to an indifferent individual who needs to be coaxed and dragged on to court. But it is the discipline of the individual that tells a player to do the hard work even when they don’t want to. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, he states the famous “10,000 Hour Rule.” It takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in that particular field. Most people look at that daunting number and give up, meanwhile, there are those disciplined individuals marking down the hours and putting in the work, day-in, day-out. Some people love “the grind,” the repetitive drills, early morning runs and conditioning, but for everyone else, discipline gets you through the times when you’d rather lay in bed. It’s a matter of telling yourself that this is what I must do if this is what I want. This is not what you want to do to have it, but what you need to do. Discipline is

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2020 • NYTennisMag.com

being able to make that choice. As for being competitive, what comes to mind is mental toughness. The competitive player is one who never gives up, fights for every point and simply refuses to lose. Players have heard this at least once in their tennis career. In other words, mental toughness is perseverance and the ability to remain resilient, despite setback. This is the category that the oncourt stoicism of Roger Federer or the legendary composure of The Ice Man, Bjorn Borg, both fall into. Both champions let nothing get in their way. Players with less discipline may get ruffled with bad line calls or distractions, but these champions are consistently able to control themselves and remain calm, cool and collected when facing match points. Every tennis player is inevitably going to experience setbacks and failures, but the important lesson to learn is to never give up. That includes no throwing balls, rackets, tantrums or matches. Think of the player you want to be, as well as their behavior when they are not playing points. How do they practice? How do they treat their coaches? How do they act when no one is looking? Making a commitment to yourself that you will emulate a certain player’s good behavior patterns is the first step on your path to success. Making a decision and acting upon it are the first steps to creating habit cues, and habits are what governs how disciplined you become. Jim Rohn said “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments,” and the idea is not new. Most success stories are ignited by the one action that started the process. They are fueled by the discipline that keeps it going. So, ask yourself who you want to be, and take the first step.

NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2020 • New York Tennis Magazine




issing that friendly competition that is at the heart of the Long Island tennis community, players came out to Sportime Quogue on a beautiful Saturday afternoon to participate in the 2020 Long Island Tennis Challenge. For the seventh straight year, the tournament featured a sold-out, full draw of doubles teams across four different divisions. The vast landscape of the club allowed for the tournament to happen while abiding by all proper safely protocols and precautions, with matches spread out across the 22 outdoor courts. Each division featured round-robin play that filtered into the playoff rounds. “It was good to get out and see friends that you haven’t seen in awhile, to see everyone happy and knowing that tennis is the bond that brings everyone together,” said Keith Lopez. “Everyone was wearing masks while walking around and each court had their own balls. It wasn’t that hard of a process to follow in order to be safe. It was a gorgeous day at a really nice place, what more could you want.”



Players Relis LI Tennis Magaz

Lopez partnered with Casey Schnabel to win the Men’s A Division (4.0-4.5), coming back from 2-3 down in the championship match to claim victory 6-4 over Christopher Wolfe and Tomas Kukla. “We just had to dig deep, it was a long day,” Lopez added. “It’s tough to maintain your focus and concentration throughout the day, but sometimes falling behind makes you reassess what you’re doing and helps you get back to basics.” The partnership of Jackie Clark and Liz Ingrassia proved to be too much for the competition as the pairing captured the title in the Women’s A division (4.04.5), beating Liz Harvey and Gina Hagadorn in the finals. “We’re so used to playing in a lot of leagues and for a lot of teams, and it’s been such a crazy time with all the leagues being canceled. So just to have this competition again was such an amazing feeling,” said Clark. “Being able to be part of the tennis community again felt good. Liz and I love playing together and we practiced a little over these last few weeks. I’m the crazy one on the court, making a lot of errors, and going

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2020 • NYTennisMag.com

for a lot of shots I probably shouldn’t, and Liz is the steady one who keeps the ball in play and sets me up. She’s the setter and I’m the spiker.” Ingrassia added: “This format made it friendly yet competitive, so it was a ton of fun to be able to feel some of that adrenaline again. I think we went with the flow. Every opponent we played had a very different game, so there was an adjustment period, but we figured it out and kept a good temperament throughout.” Not every team entered the tournament with that much chemistry as Scott Weinstein and Greg Albert teamed up for the first time. The duo quickly developed a rapport together and went on to win the Men’s B Division (3.0-3.5). Avenging a 2-6 loss to Kevin Stanis and Brett Verini in round-robin play, Weinstein and Albert defeated that same team 8-6 in a tightly-contested championship match (pro-set). “We know each other from the Zone classes that Sportime does, but this was our first time playing together, so we had to figure it out a bit,” said Weinstein. “We

ish Return of azine Challenge

had fun today; it was a really good time.” In the Women’s B division (3.0-3.5), Nancy Halpern and Danielle Rosen played consistent throughout the day and outlasted the competition to win the title, earning a win against Lisa Arniotes and Marilyn Sloan in the division’s championship.

“The key to our success was being patient and just staying focused,” said Halpern. “It was really fun. We’re normally just friends, and this was the first time we ever played together, but it worked out.” Throughout the day, players were treated to lunch provided by Town Bagel. At the conclusion of the tournament,



players and guests enjoyed the summer evening with a happy hour courtesy of Westhampton Brewing Company. New York Tennis Magazine would also like to thank our clothing sponsor inPhorm, and the tournament hosts Sportime Quogue and the John McEnroe Tennis Academy.

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

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NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2020 • New York Tennis Magazine




Mixed Doubles Teams Battle in Fall LI Tennis Challenge

en and women paired up for the first ever Mixed Doubles LI Tennis Magazine Challenge at SPORTIME Quogue. The tournament had a soldout draw in four different divisions for a jam-packed day of safe and socially-distant tennis on a beautiful fall afternoon.



The event was the second of two Challenges held this year as we continue to welcome tennis back into our lives. The event featured great tennis as well as a fun social atmosphere with lunch and drinks. There was also a live streaming of the U.S. Open Women’s Singles final on the pool deck. Below are the four winning teams:

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2020 • NYTennisMag.com

NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2020 • New York Tennis Magazine


Mastering the Mind Mindfulness at 125 MPH ... Part Five By Rob Polishook n our previous articles in the Mastering the Mind Series: Stillness at 125 MPH, we talked about the benefits of meditation, who does it, and why it’s important. We also outlined a concrete meditation practice that’s easy to start and will have a positive impact on and off the court. And then last month, we spoke about three key principles that can help players adapt to high-pressure situations: impermanence, equanimity and gratitude. This issue, we are going to work on the three key principles that can help you keep focus during in competition and ultimately be your best. If you study all the top players, they have relied on these principles throughout their careers, including Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Dominic Thiem, Coco Gauff, etc. The list goes on. Amongst many things, the main thing these principles do is to help you concentrate on what you can control, and let go of what you can't.

improve your skills based on the present moment. For example, if your intention is to play more aggressively, then you have a clear goal. You may find yourself playing more aggressively 40 percent of the time. Pat yourself on the back and reset your intention of increasing those opportunities the next time you play. Intention rewards you for you for what you did and encourages you to do more. It should have to do with something you can control, not the outcome. An intention is about focusing on what you can control and aligning your energy to be your best at that one aspect. Next time you play, take a moment to set aside time and journal your intentions. Afterwards, evaluate how you did. Then reset the intention.


Intention Intention has a tremendous amount to do with playing tennis and winning a match. At times, intention can come across as a “wishy-washy” concept, and it’s true that a goal with no clear plan has no teeth or power. For instance, “to win” is too open-ended a goal. While intention isn’t black and white, it is specific, and it allows for you to adjust and

Awareness A former coach of Federer's once said that his strength lies in knowing what he needed because he “knows where he is”. That is awareness, and it allows you to move beyond frustration and accept where you are, so that you can think clearly about what you need to do next.





New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2020 • NYTennisMag.com

Think about the word “WIN” and imagine that it stands for “What’s Important Now?” In order to answer this question you need an awareness of where you are now, and that awareness is the first step to changing, for the better, what’s happening in the moment. Being aware means that you are suspending judgment and comparison, and instead focusing on the present moment and strategies to help your game. Imagine being down 1-4 in the third set and, rather than getting panicked or down on yourself, you ask yourself: “What’s important now?”, “What do I need right now?” Maybe patience, maybe changing a strategy or maybe a technical switch; or possibly all three. Without awareness it’s almost impossible to know where you are on the path to reaching your goal. Through awareness you always have a chance to make a change, and then adapt and adjust to the current situation. Awareness is the key to accomplishing any goal! Recall times you were aware and subsequently made changes under

pressure. How did you do that? Could you do that again next time you play? Humility A player who demonstrates respect for others and themselves has humility. They don’t waste time or energy trying to psych the other player out or get in their opponent’s head. They are focusing on being their best and the steps they need to take. The humble player also doesn’t define themselves by the outcome, rather they know that the opponent is there to challenge them and ultimately make them better. Think of the great rivalries like Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, Federer and Rafael Nadal, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova. The common thread in all these pairs is that they pushed each other to improve, not by being arrogant, but by respecting each other’s game and understanding what they needed to do to counteract it. Humility is about focusing on the journey to be your personal best, not necessarily the best. If that results in being the best all the better! What were times where you displayed humility in competition? How did it impact

your game? Just as impermanence, equanimity and gratitude are helpful principals to bring to competition and life, intention, awareness and humility can keep you focused on the steps you need to take to make your game the best it can be. Think of these six principles as tools in your mental tool box. Using them can be the difference between feeling stressed and playing relaxed, forcing versus allowing, and losing versus winning. Rob Polishook, MA, CPC is the founder of Inside the Zone Sports Performance Group. As a mental training coach, he works with athletes helping them to unleash their mental edge through mindfulness, somatic psychology and mental training skills. Rob is the author of two 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, or following on Instagram @insidethezone.

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comeback complete continued from page 20

2020 U.S. Open Recap Thiem Hoists First Major Title own two-sets-to-love at the end of a two-week long tournament, it can be hard to find any sort of energy to pull yourself out of that hole. But for Austria’s Dominic Thiem, and the notion of his first Grand Slam title hanging in the balance, he managed to find a way. Thiem completed the historic comeback over friend and rival Alex Zverev to claim the U.S. Open trophy with a 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(6) victory. “We started to know each other back in 2014 and straight away started to develop a great friendship…and then a great rivalry,” Thiem said of his finals opponent. “We’ve made great things happen on the court and off the court. It’s amazing how far our journey brought us to share this moment. I wish we could have two winners today. We both deserved it.” Two of the players who have been anointed as the future of the sport each had a chance to grab their first major title, helped by the absence of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, and the defaulting of Novak Djokovic earlier in the tournament. Regardless, the two had a chance to claim their spot in history, and it was Zverev who struck first by jumping out to a two-sets-to-love lead. “When he served for the match, I was struggling physically, but I also thought that he is not the freshest anymore,” said Thiem. “I was just hoping to maybe get another chance that he’s not serving that huge anymore like he did in the beginning of the match. I played a great game there and brought myself back into the match.” After Thiem came back to win the third and fourth sets, Zverev broke for a 5-3 lead in the fifth set and had his chance to serve for the championship. He was unable to hold serve, but the German then broke back at 5-6.



New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2020 •on NYTennisMag.com continued page 16

Photo credit: Pete Staples/USTA

NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2020 • New York Tennis Magazine


The match was destined to head to a deciding fifth-set tiebreaker, and by the time they reached it, both players looked worn down physically. On his third match point, Thiem watched as a Zverev backhand sailed wide, and the Austrian dropped to the ground after completing his comeback in a match that lasted just over four hours. “I achieved a life goal,” said Thiem. “I put a lot of work in. I dedicated basically my whole life until this point to win one of the four majors. Now I did it. That’s also, for myself, a great accomplishment. It’s not only myself, it’s an accomplishment for all of my team, for all my family.” One man’s jubilation is another’s heartbreak in a match like this. It was a tough defeat for Zverev, who had come back from two-sets-to-love down in his semifinal match, but the German was pleased with his fortnight in New York City. ”I want to congratulate Dominic on the first of many Grand Slam titles. I wish you could have missed a little more so I could be holding that trophy up, but here I am giving the runner-up speech,” Zverev said. “I want to thank my team for sticking with me. The past two years haven’t been easy in my tennis career. We’re definitely on the way up and I hope that one day we’re going to lift that trophy up together.”

Osaka Comes Back for Second U.S. Open Title Photo credit: Simon Bruty/USTA

victory. “I’ve always wanted to see what they see. For me, it was really an incredible moment. I’m really glad I did it.” It was a shaky start for the 22-year-old star as she committed 13 unforced errors and was broken three times in the opening set. “I think in the first set I was so nervous,” Osaka admitted. “I wasn’t moving my feet. I felt like I was not playing, not that I expect myself to play 100 percent, but it would be nice if I could even play like 70 percent. I just felt like I was too much in my own head.” Azarenka broke again in the beginning of the second set and was on the brink of a 3-0 lead. But Osaka continued to fight, and got the break back, and would go on to win 12 of the next 16 games to win the match. “I think it’s definitely been a great three weeks of tennis,” said Azarenka. “I haven’t had such results in quite a long time, so I’m very excited for it. Today, it’s a loss, but it doesn’t change for me much. Of course, I would have loved to win today. It is what it is…It was a lot of fun for me to play and to be in the final of the U.S. Open. I’m very grateful for this opportunity.” Osaka is now the owner of three major titles, and may be the new face of women’s tennis. “I would definitely say it's been an important few months. For me, my life was always go, go tennis-wise, especially after the previous US Open that I won. It definitely accelerated things, and I've never had a chance to slow down,” she said. “The quarantine definitely gave me a chance to think a lot about things, what I want to accomplish, what I want people to remember me by. For me, I came into this tournament, or these two tournaments, with that mindset. I think it definitely helped me out.”

Siegemund, Zvonareva Win Women’s Doubles Title in First Tourney Together

Naomi Osaka made headlines before the U.S. Open even started, and continued to do so throughout her three-week stay in the New York bubble. That culminated with a comeback victory over an in-form Victoria Azarenka in the U.S. Open Women’s Singles final, fighting back to claim her second U.S. Open trophy 1-6, 6-3, 6-3. “I was thinking about all the times I’ve watched the great players sort of collapse onto the ground and look up into the sky,” said Osaka, referring to her laying on the court after her 16

Photo credit: Mike Lawrence/USTA

Competing together in their first tournament, Germany’s Laura

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2020 • NYTennisMag.com

Siegemund and Russia’s Vera Zvonareva captured the U.S. Open Women’s Doubles title, defeating the American-Chinese duo of Nicole Melichar and Xu Yifan 6-4, 6-4. “I think these moments like today, memories of these moments, they kind of keep you going,” said Zvonareva. “It’s special. It’s something that you worked so hard for. Then, you’re about to lift that trophy. I think this is one of the biggest reasons to continue playing.” Despite never playing together prior to coming to New York, the duo quickly developed a chemistry on court which resulted in a great run of doubles play throughout their week at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. “It’s not a random choice that we play with each other because we both feel like we can complement each other’s game,” said Siegemund. “Then something that turns out during the tourney through the two weeks is that you really, in our case, I really realized her game style is complementing me.”

said Pavic. “Like Bruno said, very happy to be here lifting the title; [it was a] great tournament. Congrats to the guys for the final.”

Kunieda Claims Seventh U.S. Open Title Photo credit: Pete Staples/USTA

Pavic, Soares Win First Major Together

Photo credit: Darren Carroll/USTA

Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares defeated Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic 7-5, 6-3 to win the U.S. Open Men’s Doubles title, their first major title together. “It means a lot. That’s what we practice for,” said Soares. “That’s what we were trying to do in these five months off, working for this moment. Extremely happy. Tough year for everyone. Really glad the work that everyone put into this event to give us the opportunity to get back on the court. To start with a Grand Slam title, I think it’s a very positive way to come back for us.” En route to the title, Pavic and Soares defeated four different U.S. Open champions to claim the $480,000 purse. “We got through tough moments throughout the week,”

Top-seed Shingo Kunieda won his seventh U.S. Open title and 24th major overall as he defeated Alfie Hewitt 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(3) in the Men’s Wheelchair Singles final. Hewitt would get his title though, winning the doubles event with Gordon Reid after beating Nicolas Peifer and Stephane Houdet 6-4, 6-1. Netherlands’ Sam Schroder captured his first career Grand Slam title in an exciting upset over top-seed Dylan Alcott of Australia 7-6, 0-6, 6-4 to win the U.S. Open Men’s Quad Final. “I want to thank the USTA for granting me a wild card for my first-ever Grand Slam,” said Schroder, who now has three titles in 2020. “It’s been an amazing experience for me.” The day before, Alcott paired with Andy Lapthorne to beat Schroder and David Wagner 3-6, 6-4, 10-8 in the Quad Doubles final. In the Women’s Singles Wheelchair final, top-ranked Diede De Groot defeated second-seed Yui Kamiji 6-3, 6-3, but Kamiji would get some revenge as she paired with Jordanne Wiley to defeat De Groot and Marjolein Buis in the doubles final.

NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2020 • New York Tennis Magazine


No Court? No Partner? No Problem— Say Hello To Slinger Bag s U.S. sports begin to emerge, consumers are thinking about how to engage in their personal passions they have not access to since the new normal began last March. For tennis devotees, the biggest challenges are lack of partners and a convenient tennis venue. Say hello to Slinger Bag, the first truly portable and affordable tennis ball launcher that recently launched in the United States. Garnering positive reviews from the likes of Men’s Journal, Sunset and the Wall Street Journal, its proprietary technology enables enthusiasts to practice their favorite shots in their local parks, in their driveways, any open space or at their local club. Slinger Bag is the ideal social distancing technology for tennis— especially for these strange times. Its authenticity lies in the fact that is designed by players for players. Great care and attention has been paid to its functionality, design and engineering. Slinger Bag may be wheeled like carry-on luggage and can easily be tossed in the trunk of car, like a set of golf clubs. It is the 24-7 tennis partner, always available whenever and wherever you need it most. Product attributes include: l Quick Set Up: Slinger Bag may be set up to start launching balls within one minute. l Players Have Total Control of their Shots: Players easily control the launch speed and the launch



frequency of the balls using two customizable dials, providing best in class in terms of shot variation. l Lightweight Convenience: It is incredibly lightweight at only 33 pounds, easy to transport with a handle and wheels. l Value: It is priced at approximately 50% less than its key competitors. l Ideal for Players of all Skill Levels: Its ease of use is ideal for those playing tennis for the first time or tennis devotees looking to sharpen their skills. l Multi-functional: It is multi-functional, transporting 72 tennis balls, a wallet,

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2020 • NYTennisMag.com

keys, towel and water bottle, and charges cell phones. Recognized as a product that may significantly propel participation in the sport of tennis, Slinger Bag is aligned with the Bryan Brothers, the most successful doubles team in tennis history, and respected icon Nick Bollettieri, who has taught some of the greatest tennis names in the sport. Slinger Bag is that perfect partner on the go, always loyal and ready to play at a moment’s notice. Slinger Bag will be with you through thick and thin.

NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2020 • New York Tennis Magazine


Top College Players Come Out for

Liam Krall won the Men’s Singles division in the first installment of the USTA Eastern Collegiate Series.


Jessica Livianu (left) and Valencia Xu (right), the two finalists of the Women’s Singles division.

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2020 • NYTennisMag.com

Evan Lee (left) and Gabrie the finals of the Collegiate

or USTA Eastern Collegiate Series

Gabriele Brancatelli (right) squared off in egiate Series’ second weekend.

UCLA’s Elysia Bolton (left) defeated top junior Ariana Pursoo (right) in the Women’s Singles final.

fter months away from competitive tennis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the area’s top current, incoming collegiate and junior players competed in the USTA Eastern Collegiate Series, a four-weekend long string of


tournaments at the Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning in the Bronx. The first two of those tournaments were played in August, with the final two to be played in mid-September. In the opening weekend tournament, St. John’s senior Jessica Livianu took

home the title in the Women’s Singles division by way of a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Valencia Xu, who will be heading to Stanford for her college career. "It was exciting. I was really happy to be back on court competing, but of course you’re a little rusty," said Livianu. "So it was about shaking off that rust so I could play better with every match." In the Men’s Singles, Liam Krall, who will be a freshman at Southern Methodist University, came through the draw to claim the title. “It was really fun to compete again. It’s something that was lacking this summer for sure. And I was really happy that I could get out and compete before I left for college,” said Krall. “It’s great that I was able to win the tournament and hopefully become a better player. I think this helped my confidence in playing college players and it is hopefully a stepping stone to the next level.” The following weekend, Purduecommit Gabriele Brancatelli defeated Evan Lee 6-3, 6-3 in the finals of the Men’s Singles division, while UCLA’s Elysia Bolton notched a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Ariana Pursoo to take home the Women’s Singles title.

NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2020 • New York Tennis Magazine


By Brian Coleman


Bogdan Sheremet MatchPoint NYC Every young tennis player has dreams of one day becoming a professional, spending their days traveling the globe and competing against the world’s top players. Bogdan Sheremet was no different. As a kid growing up in Ukraine, he shared those dreams. “Getting the proper training there was expensive, but I had a real passion for the sport,” he recalls. “I ended up working my way up to competing at the national level and had big dreams of becoming a professional.” Of course, the professional tour isn’t waiting for everyone, but that doesn’t mean tennis is removed from your life. “When I realized that wasn’t going to happen and I still had the passion for the sport, I wanted to go into coaching,” said Sheremet. While still playing tennis, Sheremet began setting the stage for his coaching career. After moving to the United States, he was playing in a tournament at MatchPoint NYC in Brooklyn, and was amazed at both the facility and the quality of players it had in its program. He knew he had found his calling and wanted the opportunity to coach players and help them achieve the dream he once had. “I really started to study the art of coaching, and read books on things like physiology and kinesiology; how the body works,” he said. “I began working at different camps here in the US, and after coming to MatchPoint NYC, I thought it would be incredible to be able to work here.” Sheremet has become one of the top coaches at MatchPoint NYC since joining their team, and has worked extensively with one of its top players, Agnia Vustina. Together, the two have formed a successful coachplayer relationship that began when Vustina was just eight-years-old. “We’ve been working together for the last five years,” said Sheremet. “She’s a hard-worker, very smart and extremely talented. We work on everything from her technical and tactical game to the mental aspects. We’re happy with the results she has posted at tournaments and are continuing to strive for more.” Vustina is a 12-year-old who for the last few months has been competing up in a division in the Girls 14s. Despite playing against older competitors, she has not missed a beat, using the training with Sheremet to compile excellent results on the USTA tournament circuit, where she is currently ranked in the top 5 in 12U and top 20 in 14U in the Eastern Section. Recently, she traveled to Manhattan and captured the title at the L5 Championships at Roosevelt Island Racquet Club. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic putting a halt to junior tournaments, she won the doubles title

at the L4 Eastern Empire Cup at Bogota Racquet Club in New Jersey, captured the singles title at the L5 Armonk Indoor MidWinter Championships, knocking off the top two seeds in the process, and reaching the finals of the L5 Glen Head Racquet & Fitness Championships. “He has always taught me to believe in myself, and show your character when you’re on court,” Vustina said of Sheremet’s coaching. “You can’t be scared out there, even if you lose a point. You have to keep going for it. We’ve been together for five years and it’s been a good journey. He’s the second coach I’ve ever had, and he’s an amazing coach. He taught me how to be a fighter on the tennis court.” This past summer, with the lack of tournament play available, Sheremet and Vustina were able to put in the necessary work so that she would be ready to return to action when tournaments returned. “Her dream is to become a world number one and win Grand Slams,” said Sheremet. “We make sure we work hard and work smart towards that goal. Her mother is very dedicated and does everything she can to help her daughter achieve her dream. Our main goal right now is to continue working on her tactics and developing her game on the court. She has great technique and we are really emphasizing improving her tactical ability. She’s been doing very well with that. Another thing is making sure she stays healthy, finding that balance between tennis and recovery, that’s a big part.” Ensuring this training is done right is something that MatchPoint NYC helps them with, providing the right support to improve both the player and person. “The staff we have here is great,” said Sheremet. “There is an excellent fitness facility here, and they provide all the help and support that a coach and player needs.” As Vustina continues to work on her game and climb up the junior rankings, her and Sheremet are focused on maintaining consistency in her game. She has lofty goals for herself, but with her work ethic and in the right environment, Vustina will be a name to remember. “I know it sounds weird, but I want to win Grand Slams and go to the Olympics,” she said. “In the short-term, I want to be

more consistent, and strive for consistency rather than striving for perfection.” Sheremet has found a home at MatchPoint NYC, and has made the transition from player to coach. He understands having the dream of

becoming a professional tennis player, and has turned his goal into pushing Vustina to be the best tennis player she can be. Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for New York Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at brianc@usptennis.com.

NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2020 • New York Tennis Magazine



New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2020 • NYTennisMag.com

NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2020 • New York Tennis Magazine



New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2020 • NYTennisMag.com

Dwight Global Online The Right Fit for Scholar-Athletes as your child ever felt pulled between tennis and school? Having time to dedicate to tennis makes all the difference in maintaining a competitive edge, but the traditional, in-person school day— even if it’s a hybrid school schedule as a result of the coronavirus—can limit a player’s options. Dwight Global Online School, the online program of Dwight School on New York’s Upper West Side, offers a solution. Dwight Global’s flexible scheduling allows players to maintain rigorous practice, travel and competition schedules, while pursuing academic excellence and joining an energetic, exciting school community.


Blended and flexible online learning At Dwight Global, students can attend Dwight online classes from home, their tennis center or on the road -- safely, effectively, and flexibly. And because enrollment in Dwight Global gives students access to the thriving, friendly Dwight School community around the world, students are also able to visit Dwight School’s physical campuses -- in New York, London, Shanghai, Seoul, and Dubai -- for in-person experiences, whenever and wherever it’s safe to do so. Dwight Global focuses on the whole student, incorporating their interests and needs into their curriculum. Whether your student is interested in Advanced Placement courses, the International Baccalaureate Curriculum, or their own personalized course of study, they’ll be participating in a rigorous curriculum, with classes that are NCAA-approved (so they pass all the required standards for entry into Division I and II schools).

Teachers that understand Dwight’s expert faculty encourage Dwight’s students to believe in their own talents, follow their hearts and take intellectual risks. They understand every student has unique challenges when it comes to balancing their academic and professional careers -- and they’re passionate about supporting students in achieving their goals! Specialized college guidance Starting in Grade 9, Dwight 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 in leadership roles at top college athletic programs. Admissions officers recognize the difference between a prestigious Dwight Diploma and other online-only programs. The Dwight Global difference for scholar-athletes l Students can pursue tennis without compromising their academics. l Dwight’s faculty are experts in their fields and dedicated to personalizing the Dwight Global experience for every student. l Students and teachers achieve deeper learning through small class sizes and college-style seminars. l We are laser-focused on college-

readiness and building lifelong skills. l We have a 145-plus year track record of admissions to top universities. Long-term leadership in academics and athletics 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 knows first-hand the demands on today’s scholar-athletes. We invite you to contact Admissions@Dwight.Global, call (212) 7242420 or visit our website at www.Dwight.Global to start crafting a personalized academic path for your child today.

NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2020 • New York Tennis Magazine


Medvedev Embraces New York The young Russian star has posted two straight deep U.S. Open runs By Brian Coleman

Every great drama, whether it’s movies, television or sports, needs a hero and a villain; protagonists and antagonists. While we all want to play the part of the hero, every great story needs the “antihero”. At the 2019 U.S. Open, Daniil Medvedev embraced that role, and although the word villain could be seen as hyperbolic when referring to this situation, the tall, lanky Russian had his fun drawing the ire of the New York crowd. “It’s probably the most electric atmosphere I’ve played in my whole entire life,” Medvedev said at one point during the tournament last year. “Sometimes you play a first round of an ATP tournament where there’s 50 people watching you on a small court. This is completely different. I’m trying to take this electricity, feed from it, and that’s helped me a lot these last two matches.” The back-and-forth exchanges between Medvedev and the crowd, despite including Medvedev flashing the middle finger to the crowd, were in good fun, and really began during his third-round matchup with veteran Spaniard Feliciano Lopez. Medvedev ripped a towel away from one of the ball men after losing a point in that match, which drew boos from the crowd and a code violation from the umpire. A little after that is when he delivered that middle finger, which officials did not see, but the crowd and the cameras certainly did. “I caused it,” Medvedev said. “I’m not happy about it, but I have to deal with it, and I deal with it in my own way. The priority for me is to win the match, and if I have to win it by taking all the energy the crowd has, even if it’s against me, I have to do it. I’m there as a sportsman, and my first goal is to win the match.” The dance between crowd and player continued throughout the tournament, and with each match he won, the more he embraced the new role he had found, and the success he got from engaging with the New York audience. “They kind of don’t understand that they shouldn’t do it,” said Medvedev. “I feed from this energy, and thats what I’m doing this tournament.” In a sport like tennis it can be difficult to properly harness your emotions and use them to benefit yourself while on court, but Medvedev was able to do just that. The 24-year-old from Moscow turned that negativity into positive play, and it was then that he won over the fans. continued on page 30 28

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NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2020 • New York Tennis Magazine


medvedev embraces new york continued from page 28 “It requires a lot of force and strength inside of you,” he said in regards to dealing with the crowd. “It could easily make you go even more mad, and then you lose the match because you’re not concentrating anymore.” But Medvedev didn’t lose many matches last year. In fact, he won more matches than anyone else on the ATP tour last year, a chunk of them coming at the U.S. Open in front his favorite audience. “During my match I was completely focused. After the match, I engaged a little bit with the crowd. But we all know how New York crowd can be. It’s probably the most electric crowd in the world, I think,” said Medvedev. “Especially, I mean, playing this week on big courts, I could feel it. Today I was just engaging with the crowd and hopefully it was fun for them and for me. As I said, it gave me a lot of energy to win.” That relationship, along with Medvedev’s relentless defense and unbelievable shotmaking, helped him put together his best showing at a major as he reached last year’s finals. And while he lost a five-set epic to Rafael Nadal, he walked away from Queens after posting the best two weeks of his career. “Because of the crowd, I was fighting like hell,” he said during his runner-up speech. “In the third set, in my mind, I was already thinking what to say in the speech. But I was fighting and I didn’t give up.” He would carry that momentum into the rest of his season, winning titles in St. Petersburg and Shanghai after he left the United States, and the Russian has not missed a beat in 2020. One of the brightest young stars in the game, Medvedev has become a mainstay atop the rankings. When it was announced that the 2020 U.S. Open would go ahead, but with no fans, perhaps no player was more disappointed than the one who had developed a sort of rapport with the New York crowd a year ago. “Actually, it’s really sad there is no crowd this year,” said Medvedev. “I think it would be funny to see if they would be cheering me on or not. Hopefully yes.” 30

Despite not being able to fuel off of the spectators, Medvedev once again looked sharp at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in 2020. He won his first five matches all in straight sets to set up a semifinal clash with Dominic Thiem, second-seed Austrian who was the only player in the tournament who looked as good as Medvedev had through the first five rounds. It was the semifinal that most people thought should be the final, and Thiem struck first blood with breaks in the first set, helped out by a poor call during one of Thiem’s service games, and went on to out play the big Russian in two tiebreakers to advance to the finals. It was a disappointing end to Medvedev’s time in New York, but there is no doubt he has found some comfort underneath the bright lights of New York, and will look to carry his good play

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2020 • NYTennisMag.com

throughout the rest of the season. “It was sad to play without a crowd. We love playing for the fans. We love playing with the fans. As we can see last year, even sometimes when they are against you, you can interact with them, which is good,” he said with a smile on his face during his postmatch press conference. “I’m definitely more happy than disappointed. I can tell you honestly, two months ago if someone would tell me I would make the semis of the U.S. Open, I would be super happy because I was not feeling great about my game, great about my physical shape…I showed some great level. Even talking about [the semifinal]. Super happy about my level. Disappointed with the loss, but a great experience; great result. Looking forward to the next tournaments.” Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for New York Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at brianc@usptennis.com.

NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2020 • New York Tennis Magazine


Why Gleneagles Has Become the Destination of New Yorkers By Brian Coleman

or many New Yorkers, moving down to Florida is almost a rite of passage. It’s an appealing concept, especially in 2020 with some jobs no longer tying them down to one area, the notion of great weather year-round, no state income tax and the prospect of joining a country club community is hard to pass up. “Growing up in Manhattan, I spent my summers at camp and developed a love for sports and the outdoors. When my father bought at Gleneagles in 2006 I saw a tennis community that I wanted to be a part of, both for fun and competition, and in 2013 my dream became a reality. It's like camp, you live and play and socialize with your best buddies,” says Wendy Lasher, who along with her husband Marty, splits her time between Gleneagles and Canandaigua, NY. Finding the right community to join and the right place to settle into can be difficult, but for many native New Yorkers who are tennis lovers, Gleneagles Country Club in Delray Beach, Fla. is the perfect choice, whether it’s a permanent move down south or a spot to escape the brutal New York winters. “Gleneagles is now my second home after I purchased my condo over five years ago as a well deserved respite from



New York winters,” said Arlene Griggs, who was a teacher on Long Island for nearly four decades. “Observing the many activities afforded to the members, it became clear this was where I wanted to be. I concentrated on tennis. I became enveloped in the program, meeting wonderful friends and eventually joining a team. While I thrive on the competition, it’s comforting to know I will always have a game, practice or a ball machine to hone my tennis skills.” Gleneagles offers home and condos, and an enviable lifestyle which has been of great appeal to Northeasterners over the years. Featuring 36 holes of championship golf, premier tennis and

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2020 • NYTennisMag.com

pickleball, plus restaurants and expansive social activity, it’s no wonder Gleneagles has become a coveted destination. “The tennis program offers many events, including mixers and roundrobins, league play, dinner events and more,” said Carole Rossant Goldberg, who worked in advertising and marketing in Manhattan, and began playing tennis in her mid-30s in Long Island City as well as out in the Hamptons. “Because of all the activities, it can be as social or not as social as you desire. The Tennis Director and staff know everyone, and often stop to say hello while on the courts. Friends at other clubs have commented that there is more of a community feeling at

Gleneagles than at their clubs.” With an array of tennis programs, leagues, complimentary clinics, lectures (including big names like NTC Director Whitney Kraft and Wimbledon Secretary Martin Guntrip) and more, tennis lovers of all levels and competitiveness are welcome at Gleneagles, and will have programming that fits their desires, as well as an array of things to do off the tennis court. “There are many, many social events including shows featuring first-rate talent from Broadway, Vegas and Atlantic City,” said Richard Feldman, a Long Island native who lives in Gleneagles with his wife, Mindi. They purchased a condo about 10 years ago, and find themselves spending more time at the club in each passing year. “There are lecture series on a variety of topics including politics, book reviews, health, nutrition and more. Children are welcome, especially during holiday weeks with a carnival, bingo games and other treats to grab their attention. In short, Gleneagles is an ideal place for New Yorkers to call home, either

as a seasonal member or full-time resident. It’s a short ride from the beaches, restaurants, shops and art galleries of Delray Beach. We haven’t regretted our choice for a New York minute.” In total, Gleneagles has 21 tennis courts, 20 of which are Har-Tru and one hard court that is set up into four pickleball courts. There are over 500 tennis members which makes it a top-flight tennis destination, as well as all the amenities you

could ask for off of the court. “Florida is a great escape from the frigid New York winters, and Delray Beach and Gleneagles are the best part of Florida for us,” added Lasher. “The tightknit, friendly community is a great place to call home, surrounded by the beauty of palm trees swaying in the tropical breezes and the wonderfully landscaped grounds. We just love the place and the people, and are so glad we discovered it. It’s the most fun I’ve had as an adult!”

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1-888-445-3223 NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2020 • New York Tennis Magazine



The French Open has a new home on the calendar this year, moving from its typical start time in May to the end of September, with the 2020 event set to run from September 21-October 11. Much like the U.S. Open, the French Open will have a different feel to it this year, but as the pro circuits shift from hard-courts to clay, let’s take a look at some things to watch out for when the pros descend on Roland Garros in Paris, France. Fans in the Stands French Open officials have indicated that it will allow up to 60 percent capacity in the crowd for this year’s tournament. “The number of spectators allowed in the stadium will be 50%-60% of the usual capacity,” the FFT (French Tennis Federation) said. “This reduction will allow strict distancing measures to be respected.” Wearing masks will be recommended when fans are lined up to enter the grounds or when they are sitting in the stands, but must be worn when moving around. This is a strong change from the way the U.S. Open approached its “bubble”, with no spectators and very limited media, so it will be interesting to see how strictly the French Open officials enforce this mask policy and if everyone involved can remain safe. Transition from Hard Courts to Clay While many of Europe’s biggest stars opted to not travel to New York for the U.S. Open, for those that did, moving from the hardcourts of the United States to the clay courts of Paris could prove a difficult transition. There will be tune-up tournaments in Austria, Italy and Germany prior to the start of the French Open, but quickly adapting your game between surfaces is not as easy as it sounds, and therefore those players who decided to remain 34

in Europe could be at an advantage in terms of their preparation and readiness for the world’s premier clay court event. Andy Murray Back Competing at Grand Slams Tennis fans were delighted to welcome Andy Murray back to the tour this summer, after the Briton nearly retired due to injuries, and has not been himself over the last couple of years. Murray did travel to New York and competed in the U.S. Open, his first Grand Slam singles event since the 2019 Australian Open. Murray came back from two sets down to win his opening round match in Queens, but fell to young Canadian star Felix Auger Aliassime in the second round. Nonetheless, the fact that Murray was able to compete in a fiveset match is a good sign for the three-time Grand Slam singles champion, and he has committed to playing the French Open, although most likely won’t participate in the tournaments leading up to it in order to allow his body to recover.

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2020 • NYTennisMag.com


2020 FRENCH OPEN PREVIEW Is Halep the Women’s Favorite? Romania’s Simona Halep was one of those top players who opted to remain in Europe in the late summer to prepare for the French Open, and the second-ranked player in the world made good on that decision by capturing her 21st career WTA title at the Prague Open in the Czech Republic. “I always said I would put my health at the heart of my decision,” Halep said after winning Prague, indicating her decision to opt out of the U.S. Open. “And I therefore prefer to stay and train in Europe.”

Halep, who hoisted the French Open trophy in 2018, is the presumptive favorite to reign in Paris again this year, with the abundance of training she can do on clay ahead of the events. Can Nadal Win Lucky Number 13? No athlete has dominated a single event or venue like Rafael Nadal has Roland Garros. The Spaniard is a 12-time champion at the French Open, and with him set to play this year’s event, he is the favorite on the men’s side once again. Nadal did not travel for the U.S. Open and is spending his time preparing for the clay season which culminates in Paris. “My hope and my intention would be to be there at the French Open,” he said in early August. “I trust it will yes, it is in my mind and I am preparing for it.” With Nadal in the fold, the greatest clay-court player of alltime will be the tournament favorite. Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for Long Island Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at brianc@usptennis.com.




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Don’t Beat Yourself! By Lawrence Kleger

ohn McEnroe is a multiple time Grand Slam Champion and a tennis icon. His tennis mantra is, “Don’t Beat Yourself!” To most casual observers, he was an overly aggressive player who just “went for it” all the time. And it was his talent that allowed him to “get away with it”. But that could not be further from the truth! He was not all about hitting winners and taking risks. John rarely, if ever, hit a shot he did not think he could make eight or nine times out of 10. He had an aggressive style of play, being a serve and volleyer, but his aggressive play was based on his superb athletic ability, his mastery of the physics and geometry of the game, and his incredibly-high tennis IQ. John had all of the shots and knew when and how to use them. Good news is that John’s mantra can be applied to every game style and tactical plan. The four basic game styles in tennis today are: l Serve and Volleyer (very rare) l Aggressive Baseliner


l Counter-Puncher l All-Court Player

Since John was the quintessential serve and volleyer, and given that there are only two or three serve and volleyers left on planet earth, we will now discuss the other three game styles. l An Aggressive Baseliner uses her/his groundstrokes to dictate and control play. Aggressive baseliners are most comfortable at the baseline and rarely risk coming to net unless an easy opportunity presents itself. These players are capable of hitting winners from almost anywhere on the court, but are generally most successful hitting high-percentage shots in combinations, where the series of shots, or the shot patterns, do the damage. Novak Djokovic leads the pack in this style of play. l Counter-punchers make their livings by playing airtight defense and are usually the players that follow John’s mantra the most. By being extremely consistent, and generally risk averse, these players can be frustrating to play

and very hard to beat. They tend to get to everything and miss very little. This might seem like the ultimate game style, but since most of these players do not possess dangerous weapons, or at least not more than one such weapon, they are not able to hurt their opponents consistently, and highlyskilled players with more weapons can generally beat them. Andy Murray is an excellent example of a highly skilled counter-puncher who is very successful with this game style.

l All-Court Players are those that are comfortable with almost all shots and tactics. Since these players have such an extensive variety of shots, they have the highest number of shots they can make eight or nine times out of 10. One could argue that if John played in today’s era, he would be an all-court player and would not be beating himself very often. Of today’s players, Roger Federer is a prime example of an all-court player, and most consider him the greatest male player ever. As you can see, “Don’t beat yourself!” is a perfect mantra for any tennis player, regardless of age, level, or style of play. John’s mantra is a great blueprint for making better decisions on tactics and better shot selections. This mantra, for sure, can be a major aid in your capacity to make smart decisions and choices on the court. When you think about it, “Don’t beat yourself!” is just good common sense. Lawrence Kleger is co-director of the John McEnroe Tennis Academy. He is recognized as one of the top developmental coaches in the United States. He has trained more ranked juniors than anyone in the history of the USTA Eastern Section. His students have won numerous National and Regional Championships, and 20 USTA Eastern Year-End Sportsmanship Awards.


New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2020 • NYTennisMag.com

Looking Forward

“Forward" has always been a part of inPhorm’s DNA. At the debut party for inPhorm in 2008, a giant poster of the word “ECO-FORWARD” was front and center. Eco-Forward was the brand’s initial message — its designing and manufacturing approach that represented the Founder and Creative Director Saad Hajidin’s passion for preserving our environment and enhancing its recovery. Today, being forward is about reimagining your brand. Consumer habits have changed and so has fashion. Casual dressing and athleisure wear dominate the garment industry. In the last few months, inPhorm’s creative team has been rethinking tennis fashion. l Designing collections that include basic tops and bottoms that are a bit more casual, while retaining elements of luxury fashion. l Adding pieces that can transition from tennis courts into casual lifestyle wardrobes.

l Using fabrics that look and feel good, with technical properties like moisture management and UV protection, and are “eco-forward.” inPhorm's Fall 2020 collection is filled with styles that transition from day into evening -- tennis looks that easily blend in at cocktail hour. Spring 2021 is a tribute to the 60’s and the 70’s, when “Mod” fashion introduced its modern, bold and simple geometric look, and a new type of design geared to athletic and active women. Bold and colorful patterns are used in our new collections, adding excitement to the classic inPhorm DNA. As we look ahead to recovering from the pandemic and to business returning to “normal,” we look forward to seeing more fresh and creative ideas from inPhorm. To view the new fall “Autumn Blush Collection,” visit www.inphormnyc.com

NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2020 • New York Tennis Magazine















charitable initiatives SPORTIME Amagansett Hosts Successful Charity Pro-Am Event raises money for the Johnny Mac Tennis Project

Each year, the Johnny Mac Tennis Project (JMTP), a 501(c)(3) founded by tennis legend John McEnroe, hosts a pro-am event in the Hamptons to raise money in support of the charity’s mission of providing free community and school programs and scholarships to the John McEnroe Tennis Academy to underresourced, talented and deserving children in New York City. Like everything else this year, the 2020 JMTP Pro-Am was a bit different than in the event’s previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, a brutal weather forecast forced the event to be pushed back a day. Despite these potential road blocks, JMTP put on a oneof-a-kind event at SPORTIME Amagansett. “The 2020 Johnny Mac Tennis Project’s 6th annual Pro-Am was the most gratifying yet,” said Claude Okin, SPORTIME Clubs’ President and Chief Executive Officer. “COVID-19 took away our annual who’s who of tennis legends, locked JMTP leaders, John and Patrick McEnroe, in the U.S. Open bubble, and caused us to dramatically pare down the event to assure 38

social distancing. We had to ask our friends and supporters to focus on the charity, and on the tennis, more than the hoopla, and then we had our first rain date! Despite all the challenges, we had 112 committed pros and amateurs, played great tennis crowned amazing champions, and raised over $200,000 for JMTP’s deserving NYC tennis kids.” While the event is JMTP’s primary annual fundraiser, providing essential support towards its mission to provide high-quality tennis programming to young NYC players who could not otherwise afford it, this year’s event was also symbolic of the resiliency of the local tennis community. “Considering that we almost cancelled the event, we are all very relieved at how well JMTP did,” added Okin. “As Johnny Mac likes to say, ‘NYC is the greatest city in the world’, and, although some New Yorkers are in the Hamptons and elsewhere right now, JMTP is all about supporting under-resourced NYC kids and changing their lives through tennis. And NYC is not going anywhere, nor is SPORTIME or the John McEnroe Tennis Academy, or our

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2020 • NYTennisMag.com

important and growing charitable partnership with the Johnny Mac Tennis Project. I think in the end that is what the Pro-Am represented this year for a lot of the folks who played and volunteered. It was really awesome.” In a year that has been so unpredictable and, at times, hard to bear, the Pro-Am was a reminder of the impact tennis can have on so many lives. The outpouring of support demonstrates just how important it is to have tennis back in the fold, both on Long Island and in New York City. Said Jordan Botjer, Executive Director of the Johnny Mac Tennis Project, “We are moved by how many sponsors, pros, amateurs and volunteers rallied to support the event and to raise critical funds to help JMTP remove social, economic and racial barriers to success through tennis.” Event sponsors included Lalique, which provided trophies to the champion and runner-up, BodyArmor, Thunderbird Bars, C.O. Bigelow, Solinco, Head/Penn and Bird in Hand. You can learn more about the Pro-Am and all the great work that JMTP does year-round by visiting www.JMTPNY.org.

NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2020 • New York Tennis Magazine


Lessons Learned By Rohan Goetzke onsidering I’ve been around tennis for over 50 years, I can honestly say that tennis is one of those sports that’s harder than it looks! From playing tennis, coaching juniors, traveling and coaching on the tour, and managing tennis programs at federations and academies – over the years I’ve been involved with tennis in different roles and from different perspectives and one of the questions I am often asked is, “What did I learn over the years?”


Being consistent Tennis is a roller coaster for the player and for the coach. There are no short cuts and tennis requires both player and coach to concentrate on the long game. That means celebrating the win and learning from the loss because both offer an opportunity to improve. While you may play brilliantly, you may still lose the match because you simply won a few less points at the end of the day. As a coach, looking at a player’s development from a long-term 40

perspective is critical. Most players are going to lose many more matches than they will win, or in the best-case scenario it is a 50/50 split. With the exception a few of the top players with unbelievable results, for the rest there is a lot of losing going on and naturally a lot of emotion as well. That is why consistency is key. If a player is struggling, losing focus, misbehaving or not doing what you they have been asked to do, a consistent message and steady emotions are critical. Chopping and changing the message every day depending on your mood or the mood of the player not only creates uncertainty and confusion, it makes it easy to drift away from the plan. Both coach and player need to accept that some days you win and some days you lose but, no matter what, tomorrow we go to work again. Quick fixes or tweaks often end up causing more harm than good and create a great deal of confusion at the same time. Consistency is essential so stick to the plan! Being the best coach Being the best coach doesn’t

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2020 • NYTennisMag.com

necessarily mean being the most famous coach or the most expensive coach. Being the best coach is a result of the relationship between a player and coach—the player makes the coach as much as the coach makes the player, no matter what people say. Of course, the coach’s ability, experience and character are all important but a coach makes only a small input on a player’s game in the end. In turn, the player needs to possess the character, capabilities and talent to reach their personal goals. A coach is like a guide, keeping a player on the path they’ve chosen. For me personally, some of my best coaching was with players that never made it to the tour even though they improved and got closer to their goals. Regardless, as a coach being humble is key and keeping your feet on the ground and head out of the clouds has always been my motto. Using the data It is clear that embracing technology and making it part of coaching strategy is not a choice, it’s a necessity. I have seen first-hand how coaches are using the available technology and analytics

as tools to improve a player’s game. There are so many powerful tools on the market today, and combined with the statistical data available so, as a coach, understanding how to use this information, extracting what you as a coach thinks is most important for your players and synthesizing that into a coaching message will be not only strategic but also essential. I’ve seen juniors trying to hit a winner after the first shot, being too aggressive and forcing it instead of playing with controlled aggression. Following the data blindly without considering where the player is in their game might not always get you where you want to be. In the end, you still need to hit the ball back, you still need to rally the ball, you still need to defend, and you still need to learn how to take time away from your opponent. Paralysis by analysis is something to avoid. With all the statistics, video capabilities and information that are readily available, learning how not to over coach is going to be key.

Biting your tongue Like any good coach, your natural instinct is to want to help. Sometimes just listening to a player is the best thing you can do. Realizing that silence can be golden is one of the most valuable lessons I learned in my years of coaching. It wasn’t always easy but I learned when to keep my mouth shut and even at times bite my tongue because I thought, “Okay, now is not the time but I will save it for later, for the right moment.” So, listen to your player and think before you speak because sometimes you only get that one shot to reach them and you might do more harm than good. Tennis has always been an important part of my life and I’ve been fortunate enough to stay involved in the sport through the years. Probably the most important thing I’ve learned is that successful coaching creates a healthy competitive environment that forms and influences a space for success. As well, in today’s game

incorporating technology and analytical data into the coaching toolbox is something all coaches need to bring onboard. And just like in life, in tennis you need to avoid getting lost in the noise by staying consistent and keeping your focus on the plan. Perhaps most important though, being a good tennis coach is about teaching, and teaching is about listening to your student. Rohan Goetzke began his tennis career at an early age in Australia, and competed on the professional circuit in Australian and European tournaments before taking a coaching opportunity at a private tennis school in Belgium. Following that, he rose up the ranks in the Dutch Tennis Federation, serving as Technical Director and National Head Coach. He has coached top players such as Richard Krajicek and Mario Ancic. In January 2020, he joined the CourtSense team as a Director of High Performance at Bogota Racquet Club.

NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2020 • New York Tennis Magazine


Why We Play the Way We Play By Mike Williams I’ve seen it time and again. Players working on their open-stance forehand with their bent elbows and breaking wrists trying to hit the ball like Rafael Nadal. I get it, just like you, I’ve dreamt of hitting just one forehand as big as Rafa’s … and yet it’s never happened. But why? We both live in the same world, breath the same air…my tennis balls are yellow too! Maybe it’s because I started playing in the 1970s with wood rackets and was taught by an Australian who demanded that I learn the onehanded backhand and serve-and-volley game. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in the Northeastern United States where slap-shot indoor-tennis dominated the ranks. As it happened, my inability to hit the ball like these Western Grip-wielding legends got me thinking why I, or any amateur, should be trying to hit the ball like them. We don’t have to deal with the same pace as they do, and rarely if ever, do we face the same ferocious spin that they put on the ball. So then why do we try so vigorously to hit the ball like our heroes? It’s because we have a need to mimic them. I’m the first to admit that I’ve tried to 42

serve like Johnny Mac and volley like Martina. I’ve tried to rip a Wawrinka backhand up the line, and yes, I’ve played around with perhaps the most elegant stroke in the history of the game, the Bjorn Borg two-handed backhand. Does it make me a better player? I’m not so sure. I’ve taught thousands of hours and played more, and yet the thing that helps me the most as a player and as a coach is my understanding of the ‘classic’ game. The game I grew up playing. The game that was so prevalent for decades and has been over shadowed by the smash and crash, monster serve and gnarly forehands of the modern game, or as I prefer to call it, the “Professional Game.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m amazed by the dynamism of today’s tennis. These players have an almost unnatural ability to drop the ball on a dime from 85-feet away (the court is 78-feet long) in the biggest moments and though I marvel at their skills and how professional tennis has evolved, I also believe that, unfortunately, the modern game is, from the everyday player’s perspective, misunderstood. What’s different? The playing style changed to accommodate the heavier spins that began to take hold in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Then, with the advent of the

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2020 • NYTennisMag.com

polyester strings the spins, and by consequence, the grips, became more extreme in order to hit the high ball with consistency and strength. Players had to be bigger, stronger, faster and hit with more racquet head speed than could be previously imagined in order to keep up with the new face of tennis. The point is that although we would like to play a “Professional Game,” the truth is that a huge majority of us would benefit from being trained in the “Classic Method.” As I lamented earlier, we simply don’t hit the ball that hard, nor do we spin the ball that much, but just as important, the players that we are facing do not hit the ball with the same pace of the pros. And although we were left behind, we have tried determinately to play as if we are on the pro tour. What we can take from t he Classic Method? The classic game is the basis and the structure for today’s “modern game.” The uninterrupted and rhythmic footwork, the focus on the contact point, the proper spacing and full extension at contact, the use of body weight for power and leverage, the follow through, the recovery and one’s ability to recreate it successfully. But again and again, I see players

practicing the open stance and blasting away at their groundstrokes. But what about the low ball, the approach shot or the volley? In many instances, we have forsaken our backhands for bigger forehands but have found ourselves out of position. We have turned away from learning the art of coming to the net and putting pressure on our opponents in order to produce results. Some would say that serve and volley is dead, but the truth is that these shots and styles are possible with one’s ability to transition to one grip: The Continental. Ten shots, one grip I often see juniors and adults play a terrific point from the baseline and then receive a low-short ball or a wide shot that they are unable to handle because they can’t use the Continental Grip. The difference between great “Modern Style” players and not so great ‘Modern Style’ players is their ability to transition from one grip to another with ease. The Continental Grip is truly “The Utility Grip” in tennis and the greatest modern players

in the world are able to exploit it in the most intense situations. Every player should have it in their arsenal yet it is often neglected in practice and therefore botched in match situations. Below are the 10 shots in which a player can use a Continental Grip: l Serve l Backhand l Slice Backhand l Wide Slice Forehand l Low Short Balls l Forehand Volley l Backhand Volley l Half Volley l Drop Shot l Overhead Practicing the Continental Grip Let’s get on the same page here. I think that you should stick to what got you to this point, but find opportunities to work on the Continental Grip. For instance, your warmup is a great time to work on it. Feed the ball with a Continental when starting a rally. Imagine how you could

simplify your game by adopting one grip whenever you go to the net. Start to feel how you’ll have to move your feet and rotate to the side in order to get the desired result. Get a sense of how much easier it is to get under a low ball with the proper grip. Believe me, it won’t be easy at first but in time, practicing the Continental Grip will help you strengthen your arm and clean up some of the difficulties you’ve been having on some of those tough shots. In the meantime, I'll dream of hitting the ball just once like Roger Federer ... I know. Fat chance, right? But I can dream. Mike Williams is a tennis professional at Roosevelt Island Racquet Club (RIRC). He captained the Clemson University tennis team and played on the Satellite Tour following his collegiate career. He has more than 20 years of coaching experience and is dedicated to helping players of all levels by focusing on the fundamentals of the game. He can be reached by e-mail at MWilliams@AdvantageTennisClubs.com.

NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2020 • New York Tennis Magazine


Your Inner Scoreboard By Barbara Wyatt

rapport with my partner. For two hours, I want them to know that they are the most important person on court. I have their What three questions do back. If they are forced off court by a you ask yourself before a wicked angled shot, I swoop toward the tennis match? What are your private, self-explorative middle to cover their side of the court and thoughts that can improve your mental state mine. If they lunge for a poach, I prepare and physical game? for a return by crafty opponents…just in case. I wink and say positive teamI will share my innermost questions. I building comments throughout the match. keep it simple and ask only three. The questions vary, dependent on a social or competitive match, but they follow a similar What am I going to work on this game? I am always in pursuit of a better weapon theme. to launch against opponents, and a How can I treat my partner like my best strategy for more consistent play. I will attempt more swinging volleys and take friend? response time away from opponents. Or When playing doubles, I aspire to build a

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perhaps I will hit a higher percentage of first serves into the box. What the heck, I’ll do both. What is the most important thing that I want at the end? I want to be drenched in sweat with a big smile on my face. I want all players to have enjoyed long thrilling rallies. How did I do? I communicated with my partner. I waited patiently for the right ball to use the swinging volley stroke. At the end of the match, I exited the court with a smile on my face and a joy of physical exertion. On my inner scoreboard, I gave myself a seven out of ten. I crave for more first serves to land in and more accuracy on my volleys. Did you notice that I never asked, “What do I need to win?” If I treat my partner like my best friend, implement a new weapon to confound the opponents plus my game remains consistent, and I never give up, what do you think will be the final match score? Wink, Wink. Smile. 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.

The Best Way to Practice Your Serve By Eric Faro Every day, coaches from all around the world tell their students "get a bucket of balls and practice your serve.” This is great advice; however, just going out and practicing your serve without a purpose might just lead to boredom. Oftentimes, you will see players hitting serve after serve, and they are more concerned with how many balls are left in the basket than with the quality of the serves they are hitting. Serving practice can be extremely monotonous, and many players need to be challenged during practice in order to succeed. Give yourself goals when you serve! Here are a few tips to help improve your serve and get the most out of your practice. I like to advise players to set up targets during serving practice. Serving without putting focus on your placement is akin to a pitcher practicing throwing the ball in the middle of the strike zone on every pitch. No matter how good their fastball is, if it is right down the middle of the plate, eventually they are going to get hit hard! No matter how big your serve is, if it is right in the middle of the box every time, your opponent will be able to time it and take control of the point with their return. Place three targets in each service box: Down the tee, into the body and out wide. Depending on how advanced a player you are, you can make your targets different sizes. As your serve improves, make your targets smaller. Give yourself a goal. Start with having to hit the serve on each target 10 times. If you can accomplish that, you’ve just hit 60 good quality serves! See how many serves it takes to get to 10 on each target—the ones that take the most serves are

obviously the ones you need to start practicing more. The next game could be a simple scoring game. Start on the deuce side and play a game to 10. Practice like you are playing a point. Hit a first serve to your target. If you hit your target, you get two points. If you get the serve in but not to your target, you get one point. If you miss the serve long or wide, you lose a point, and if you miss the serve in the net, you lose two points because serving in the net is the worst place to miss (just like any other shot!). If you get to plus-10, you win, and if you get to minus-10, you lose. Now repeat to the ad side. This is a great way to actually compete while practicing your serve. The last piece of advice to spice up your serving practice is to judge your power. For less advanced servers, you should count how many times your serve bounces after landing in the box before it hits the fence. If the number is four, then try to make it three a few times to each

box. When the ball starts bouncing fewer and fewer times, you will realize that your serve has become more powerful. If you are a more advanced tournament player, see if you can hit the back fence before a second bounce. This is especially important when practicing your second serve, as it is extremely important to get good depth so your opponent cannot attack. By adding these little games and competitions to your serving practice, you are likely to have better focus while really having fun! Before you know it, you will notice a big difference in the quality of your serves. Eric Faro is director of tennis at Gotham Tennis Academy. He grew up in Riverdale, N.Y. and attended Horace Mann where he played number one singles all four years and subsequently at Ohio State University. He may be reached by phone at (718) 665-4684 or e-mail at Eric@GothamTennis.com.

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The Relevance of the Return By Chris Lewit he return of serve is arguably the second most important shot in tennis, after the serve, yet it is probably the most under practiced, underappreciated, and undervalued shot in the game. In my annual program at my academy, players can train 25 hours per week with me, and I’ve structured the day so that we can work on serve and return for a significant amount of time. Lately, as I have worked with different players individually on the return, I am seeing common themes



and issues that all players, parents and coaches can learn from: Eyes and Mind I have noticed that many players are not alert with their eyes. They are not targeting the server’s toss and technique with their eyes, reading and anticipation the incoming shot. There are many cues to look for in terms of toss location, technique, body language, head and eyes position of the rival server that can give information to help the returner know where the ball is going before it is struck. The best returners are also good at reading the psychological tendencies and the tactical intention of the server and then making educated guesses as to the

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2020 • NYTennisMag.com

direction and selection of the incoming serve. I’ve read that Novak Djokovic practices eye exercises to improve his reactions and alertness. Training the eyes in this fashion using technology is a new trend in the game and there are experts in the field of vision training starting to focus in this area. Check that these cool new technologies! Hands The swing must be modulated or adjusted to the speed of the incoming ball. This is an important principle that I teach all my students. If the ball is coming faster, the shape of the backswing should be flatter and more compact. Players with significant loops need to learn to keep

their hand or hands lower and to reduce the length of their backswing to be effective returning fast serves. Players also need to understand the relationship between return positioning and size of backswing. The deeper the player positions himself, the more time that gives him or her to make a larger swing. If the player wants to take the serve earlier, this necessitates a smaller more compact backswing. Many young or inexperienced players don’t understand this relationship well and just take the same loop as on their normal groundstrokes regardless of their court position or the speed of the incoming serve. Feet I’ve noticed that many players have poor split-step technique, incorrect timing of the split-step, and an inefficient recovery for the first shot after the return. Coaches, players and parents should dial in on these areas to improve the technique and rhythm. Players often split-step too narrowly and with poor balance and posture. They land flat-footed or on their heels. These types of postural or technical problems need to be corrected. Players commonly split-step at the wrong time, either too early or too late. Mistiming the split undermines quick reaction and movement to the incoming ball. If players never practice the footwork after hitting the return, they often move sluggishly or establish a poor position in the court for the start of the rally. I like to work on the recovery footwork technique after the return is made so that it’s quick and efficient and puts the player in the optimal position to be consistent on the return plus one shot. Positioning In addition to the relationship between backswing and court position, players need to understand that the best returners are always moving around the court to find the best possible position to receive the service. The optimal position varies and is not fixed. Many students I see want to stubbornly maintain one return position and never deviate from it. In contrast, I want my players to adjust to the situation. Against some servers, they

can hang back and play heavy topspin. Against other rivals they can step up inside the baseline and take time away— or any combination in between depending on the details of the moment. Players need to be comfortable with both styles of returning and have the courage and smarts to adjust. In addition, many inexperienced returners wait for contact to move. However, the best returners move before the ball is struck, either to get into position to use their weapon, like hitting a runaround forehand, or because they anticipate where the serve is going. It is critical that players learn how to move before the ball is struck—not after. Routines I spend a lot of time on pre-return routines or rituals. I’ve noticed that a lot of kids practice their serve rituals but not much time is spent on return rituals. It’s important to create calmness in the mind and to automate all the movements before the return is struck. Rituals help to prepare the mind and body to receive the onslaught of a big serve. Targeting and Tactics My less experienced students have poor tactics on the return and poor targeting. Many players are just trying to get the ball in the court, rather than returning to a specified place. There is no tactic without a target. Honing in on targets helps develop the tactical anticipation so that a player can start to visualize how and where the server will play his first shot. For example, if I return down the line deep to the backhand from the deuce court, I have a pretty good chance of receiving a cross-court reply to my backhand on the first shot by the server. Players need to practice their targeting on the return and start to predict the next reply from the server based on percentages and the geometry of the court. Legendary coach Nick Saviano likes to call this type of knowledge “generic tactics.” Conclusion How many players will go out and serve buckets of balls to improve their serve consistency? Not enough—but many

more than those who go out and practice return. How many lessons include return practice in addition to serve practice? Few. There are many challenges to practicing the return of serve including the biggest one: whom can you get to serve to you? Structure and plan your return practices well. My recommendation is to try and incorporate specific return of serve time into your training every week. Find or hire someone to serve to you. Practice second serve returns and first serve returns. Practice adjusting your backswings. Work on your positioning. Clean your technique. Automate your rituals. Improve your targeting and tactical awareness. Train your eyes, mind, and feet! Some of these skills can be practiced shadow style without the ball if you don’t have a partner. Do that! If you have a partner to serve to you, thank them and value that time dearly. Another option is to buy or get access to some of the serving ball machines that are now available on the market, but they are unfortunately super-expensive. The ultimate goal is to be able to get a high percentage of first serve and second serve returns back into play. The best players in the world consistently make returns and keep pressure on the server. That’s how they get break opportunities. Fine tuning your return skills is the only way to achieve a high level of return consistency. To master the return, you need to get out there and do thousands of reps until you can return any type of serve to all the court locations. Chris Lewit is a former number one for Cornell and a pro circuit player. He is a high-performance coach, educator, and the author of two best-selling books: The Secrets of Spanish Tennis and The Tennis Technique Bible. He has coached numerous top 10 nationally-ranked players and is known for his expertise in building the foundations of young prodigies. Chris trains players during the school year in the NYC area, and players come from around the country to his summer camp in the paradise of Vermont. He may be reached by phone at (914) 462-2912, e-mail ChrisLewit@gmail.com or visit ChrisLewit.com.

NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2020 • New York Tennis Magazine


The Tennis Guru: The Cave By Dr. Tom Ferraro It had been a long journey through the woods and as it approached 4 p.m. Yin turned to Virgil and said, “Virgil, look over there . It looks like a big cave is cut into the side of the mountain. Let’s go look!” “No Yin, I would advise you not to go. The cave leads down into a cavern that is over 80 feet deep. I’ve heard that a demon lives at its bottom. It’s best not to enter.” “Don’t be silly Virgil. There is no such thing as demons. Let’s take a look.” And with that ,Yin ran over and entered the cave. Yin could see that this cave led to a deep cavern. Yin turned back to Virgil and said, “We need to find some long rope so that you can lower me down to the bottom. I want to see what’s there.” They hunted around the cave and found some old rope. Yin then tied one end around a big tree outside the cave, threw the rest into the cavern and began lowering himself down. When he was about 50 feet down he noticed a wide ledge and he stepped onto it to rest for a while. In short order, he fell asleep and when he awoke he was sitting in a beautiful meadow right alongside a creek with wonderful clear water and fish that were swimming just below the surface. He took a sip of the water and when he looked up he heard the whimpering of a girl and turned to see who she was. On the other side of the creek was a pretty girl about Yin’s age wearing a lovely tennis outfit of white and red. She was the prettiest girl Yin had ever seen. Yin asked her what was wrong and she said, “I have been locked down here in this cavern for over five years. I was on my way to work with The Tennis Guru but somehow the demon lured me into his trap and here I am! The demon lives nearby and he will not let me leave. You had better go now. The demon is a real psycho and if he sees you talking to me there surely will be trouble.” Yin didn’t know what to do. He knew the girl needed saving but he was afraid of the 48

wrath of the demon. He decided to risk it all, jumped into the creek and swam through the current until he got to the other side. He ran to the pretty girl, grabbed her hand and said, “Follow me!” Right then he heard the girl scream in terror. The demon was on a big black horse and like a tornado he was riding through the meadow to claim his possession. “Come quickly, Miss, we must escape”, and they raced through the woods until he found the rope which they could climb to get out of the cave. He told her to climb first and he followed after her. They climbed up and finally out of the cave. And as they reached the top they heard the demon roar from below: “Give me that which is mine or you shall both be cursed forever!” As they rushed out of the mouth of the

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cave, Virgil was waiting there with a worried look on his face. Yin and the girl looked at Virgil then Virgil said with a stunned look of disbelief,“Where did you find her!?” Yin said, “Hurry Virgil, let’s get out of here now. I will tell you what happened when we are safe.” He took the girls hand and off the three of them went up the mountain path to get to The Tennis Guru’s school. Yin could never have imagined how difficult and strange this journey was becoming. To be continued… For consultations, treatment or on-site visits, contact Dr. Tom Ferraro Ph.D., Sport Psychologist, by phone at (516) 248-7189, e-mail DrTFerraro@aol.com or visit DrTomFerraro.com.

Devashetty Bringing Player Development Experience to Cary Leeds ast month, Jay Devashetty joined The Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning as the facility’s new Director of Player Development, where he will bring his extensive experience in that role to the non-profit in the Bronx. In this new role, Devashetty will oversee player development programming which includes the Intensive Training Program, the Tournament Team and the Premier Group. For the last decade, Devashetty ran the player development program of the USTA’s East training facility at the National Tennis Center in Queens. There, he was in charge of developing the next batch of American players on the tours and was successful in doing so. As the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the country and New York in particular earlier this year, the USTA stopped the program for safety reasons. “They asked if I could relocate to the National Campus in Orlando, and offered me a bigger role down there,” said Devashetty. “But I wasn’t too keen on relocating, and so I fielded some offers from clubs and programs in the area here. One of those was Cary Leeds, and I knew this was the place I wanted to come to. It’s obviously an amazing facility, but it’s also a non-profit and helps underprivileged kids. That was the main reason I chose to come here. There’s a great staff with a lot of very talented coaches, and I’m excited to continue working with them and help build the team.” Devashetty, a native of India who can recall getting up at 5:30 a.m. to play on


the nearby courts so he could hit for a couple of hours before they filled up, knows what it requires to take a tennis player to the next level and hopes to continue doing so at Cary Leeds. “Every player that comes through here gets the benefit of all of our coaching, when they start all the way through college tennis,” he said. “Building the player from the bottom up is my methodology. Starting with movement, followed by stroke production and then building the tactical side. I know how difficult it is for tennis players to truly develop without help from the outside, and that helps me when I am on court with these players. Explaining to them what they can do, what they may need to sacrifice in order to become the best tennis player they can be.” And working with underprivileged players was something especially important to Devashetty, who knows that tennis can be integral in developing many

life skills. “That was of course the main reason I chose to come here. The whole idea is to create good citizens in the end.” Devashetty has already brought a pro-like atmosphere to Cary Leeds, training with Christina McHale and Kristie Ahn, whom he worked with during his time with the USTA. The two prepared for this year’s U.S. Open at Cary Leeds, and are examples of the reputation that he brings to Cary Leeds, and the results of what can be gained with hard work and the right pathway. “For me it is important to instill a mindset in the juniors,” he said. “NYJTL was the perfect fit for me because I hope to build a direct pathway from NYJTL programs to collegiate tennis. With even a few children having the opportunity to play international tennis and maybe even one day a couple turning pro.” So as Devashetty wraps up his first summer with Cary Leeds and NYJTL, he is excited for what’s to come in the fall and winter months. “We have a lot of different programming, including a Tournament Team we are continuing to build up and the new Premier Group we just added,” said Devashetty. “These programs have some of the top players in the section. In addition, we have programs for all levels and ages. Ahsha Rolle does a great job with the adult programming, and Cesar Leon is great with the Red, Orange and Green Ball programs. The list goes on and on. The key here is we can accommodate players of any age, level and aspiration.” Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for New York Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at brianc@usptennis.com.

NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2020 • New York Tennis Magazine


Improving Your Doubles Game By Mike Puc re you a club player who plays doubles exclusively? Do you play on a team? Do you take clinics from a pro? Are you getting better? The circle of training for club league players is: they are assigned a team, go to practice, play practice matches with their teammates and, hopefully, win league matches. This routine may result in achieving a reasonable level but then stagnating attempting to maintain this level. While there are many reasons for joining a team and the “circle”, including competition, comradeship and fun, if you are participating to improve and move up the team ladder you may want to evaluate your methods. Private instruction from a pro will certainly help with many areas of your game especially technique. The component many players miss in their search for improvement is creating their own self—practice routine to teach themselves to own the skills they have been taught. Besides a weekly session on the greatest underused tool at every club, the ball machine, I suggest you integrate a collection of staple doubles specific drills to practice with a partner. If doubles is your game, there is no need to train for singles. Keep the drills crosscourt, the duration short at one-to-two times per week for 40 minutes, and the intensity high.


Consistency Deuce court to deuce court, and then ad court to ad court for five minutes each. 50

The person who misses the last ball loses the point. Not to be confused with pushing the ball with high moon balls but rather drilling to put the opponent on the defensive with penetrating depth, creative angles and speed you can control. Drilling crosscourt groundstrokes has been around forever with good reason. It satisfies all of the aspects above while developing mental toughness. Challenge each other with the goal being consistency and quality. Play this cooperative drill with your partner focusing on the process rather than the outcome. A rule on this drill as with all the drills in this package is to never call balls in or out. You are playing the ball, not the opponent. Over and Down and Up One player up and one player back. Baseline player mixes in “over and down” balls that land at the net players feet and mid-court lobs. The net player is focused on returning deep for control of the net. Avoid drop volleys and short volleys as this will kill the drill. Focus on footwork, body positioning and recovery. If done properly, both players should get a great workout. Play the deuce side for five minutes each and the ad side of the court on the next session. Reflex Volleys Advanced doubles is won at the net so it is a good idea to drill your volley. Start each player at the service line. Start the ball and advance to the middle of the service box. Keep the ball low, add some angles, and every so often try a bump lob to be hit with an overhead with just

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2020 • NYTennisMag.com

enough force to keep the ball in play. The idea is not to win the point and to certainly not overpower your partner. Do this for five minutes. Serve and Serve Return When was the last time you practiced your return of serve. Every point in tennis has this dedicated shot as the second shot. You can actually control a match and make your opponent fear your return of serve—if you only practiced and developed it. We all know the benefit of a good serve. What a luxury if you could have as few as one or two unreturnable serves on each service game. Again, a shot hit with power or spin that could control a match. Start with a basket of balls and serve and return 20 balls without playing out the point. After 20 balls, serve and play with the goal of control. Switch serving and receiving. Do this for 15 minutes total. Congratulations! You have now taken control of your doubles game improvement. You will feel the difference in your stroke production and confidence, and your opponents will want to know your secret. You have come full circle. Mike Puc has been the Director of Tennis at Gleneagles Country Club in Delray Beach, Fla. since 1998. A winner of 15 national titles and an ATP world ranking, Mike directs 25 teams with 350 players in nine leagues, while offering the most extensive Calendar of Events in South Florida that includes tournaments, lectures and social round-robins.

adult league

wrap-up USTA Metro Region Adult League Update Late this summer, the USTA Adult League in the Metro Region returned, with teams competing in multiple divisions. The following USTA Leagues finished this summer: Manhattan 18 & Over Winners l Men 3.5: Mamba Mentality, Kevin Han/Richaud Valls l Men 4.0: Robert Talia/Obong Akpan l Women 3.5: Patricia Gould/Catherine Tharin l Women 4.0: Patricia Gould/Lisa Frantz Queens 18 & Over Winners l Women 3.0: Donna Healy l Women 3.5: Ashley Rowe/Ariane Qureshi

Registration for Fall and Winter leagues are now open for the following: l 4.5 Tri-Level l Manhattan 18&Over Mixed Doubles l 40&Over If you would like to sign-up for one of these leagues, captain a team, or would just like more information, contact Metro Adult League Coordinator Christopher Dong at cdong@eastern.usta.com.

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3081 Harding Ave., Throgs Neck, NY For Indoors Contact Mark Keye: 718.239.7919 ext 1 markkeye@advantagetennisclubs.com For Outdoors Contact: 718.239.7919 ext 2 admin@newyorktennisclub.com

Find out more today—then choose your Advantage club! advantagetennisclubs.com NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2020 • New York Tennis Magazine



Distribution scheduled for 11/01/20

This edition will feature: • Top Coaches Roundtable Discussion • Guide to the Top Clubs & Programs • Holiday Gift Guide Feature • French Open Recap

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New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2020 • NYTennisMag.com

The Importance of Mental Fitness

By Conrad Singh e often discuss controlling the controllable in the sport of tennis, usually referring to preparation before arriving to the competitive court. One of the simplest and most efficient ways of doing this in today’s tennis is through developing your mental fitness. World-renowned tennis specific psychologist Dr. Anthony Ross of mentally tough tennis explains mental fitness, or toughness, as two things:


l the ability to take best advantage of our physical, technical, and tactical skills in matches l enjoying the competitive process where winning is just the icing on the cake that makes the process of competing just that much better. But why is developing mental fitness so important? Often, players have the physical, technical, and tactical skills but don’t win because they can’t apply these skills in matches due to a lack of mental toughness. This is because our physical, technical, and tactical skills are reliant on our mental toughness - without it players just can’t win no matter how good the other elements of their game are. So physical, technical and tactical skills

are pretty much worthless unless mental fitness is also in place. This makes mental fitness the most influential element of successful tennis, and also for how a player improves over time. With this in mind, here are the four key skills we need to become mentally fitter: Purpose Before completing an activity in practice, or before competing in a match, we should check in on our purpose. This includes the goals that we want to achieve and also the values that make competing enjoyable and rewarding. Attention Control To compete well, we need to be skilled at aiming and maintain our attention in the present moment. Committed Action Before beginning each rally in practice, or a point in matches, we need to commit to processes that continually increase the chance of success. Emotional Fitness And finally we have the most important skill of all. If we want to be mentally tough, we need to develop what can be called emotional fitness. This is the ability to respond well to the unintentional difficult thoughts and feelings like outcomes, thoughts, nerves, and

frustration that frequently show up as we compete. Together, these four key skills improve a player’s ability to appropriately control attention and commit to helpful actions, regardless of the difficult thoughts and feelings that they are experiencing. If you listen to Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, Bianca Andrescu or, recently, Victoria Azarenka, you will hear them referring to the importance of mental toughness through the ability of acceptance of what’s happening and most essentially the ability to display tolerance under extreme conditions. It is essential your training programs address the process of becoming more mentally fit when on the court each day and with a constant awareness this is an area that can be developed especially well when not needing a court. 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.

NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2020 • New York Tennis Magazine


Champion Qualities in Young Players: Part One By Gilad Bloom n the 25 years I have been a tennis coach, I have encountered the eternal question from every parent, “Well, what does his/her potential look like to you?" In most cases, of course, it’s impossible to know. The kids usually come to me at an early age and every child has a different pace of development. There are those who reach a reasonable technical level in a short time, and there are those who take some time to master the fundamentals. There is also a growth rate that varies, motivation levels that go up and down and lots of other factors. I learned a long time ago that the main thing you need as a junior coach is patience. But from time-to-time a child comes to me and from the first moment you can see that they have “it”. An athlete of the type that is the dream of every sports coach, and they come with natural gifts that make top athletes. When players like this come to me, my main job as a coach



is to make sure that they are not injured and that they come to practice with a smile so that they do not lose the pleasure and retire early. So what are these qualities that every coach is looking for? What makes a young player "special" and stand out above the majority? When I was growing up in the 1970s the coaches of that time would talk about the good players in terms of the 'killer instinct'”. Later when I was growing up, I heard the term “invisible talent”, What makes these players special is a set of qualities that separate the average person from the pack, and allow them to become a top athlete. After all these years of teaching, I’ve learned to recognize such traits in children. In most cases these qualities are the basis for success in all areas of life and, in some cases, negative personality traits can help a career. Not every player has all the features, there are several ways to succeed, but those who have most of the qualities that I will detail have great chances of succeeding in sports and probably in life as well. I have outlined eight of these qualities, and in

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2020 • NYTennisMag.com

Part One of this article, I will discuss four of them: Competitiveness It’s not a coincidence that this trait is at the top of the list. Competitiveness is the fuel of every athlete. The natural desire to show everyone that you are better and the sense of satisfaction is addictive. A second after a victory you are already hungry for another one and because of this intoxicating feeling you will get up every morning and train to achieve it. Some are driven by their hate of losing, which is the other side of the same coin. Today's generation is pretty apathetic. A large portion of my students take losses easily. The truth is that this drives me crazy since I was one of those competitive “animals” myself. As a coach, I’m always searching for those obsessively competitive kids who will not give up the win even if they were playing their grandmother. I like to train these kids the most. I have a story about that: Once in a veteran tournament in Croatia I played a friendly doubles match with John McEnroe, against a 17-year-old girl and an older sponsor of the tournament. It

is customary in these games to play gently, let the amateurs enjoy themselves and let them win a few points from time to time. But McEnroe did not let the girl express herself and kept hitting winner after winner. "Let the girl enjoy it John," I told him after seeing that the girl was a little frustrated. “Bloom, have you not realized it yet? I have to win”, McEnroe answered me with a cheeky smile. At least he has awareness. It is well known that the great champions are childishly competitive. I learned this time and time again from my acquaintance with quite a few of them (and I'm a bit like that, too). Give 100 percent effort in training The talent to work hard in training is a skill no less important than raw talent. I have countless examples of players who were magicians with the tennis racquet in terms of natural talent but were unable to push themselves in training. They just didn't have a high endurance threshold. Some will say it is physical and others will say it is a mental thing. Shlomo Zoref, my longtime coach, would always say it's all in the head, and I tend to agree with him. The ability to bring yourself to maximum levels of effort in every training session turns average people into great athletes. A huge heart and work ethic are worth more than gold. It is a certainty that, in order to reach the top levels, a high volume of training over a long period of time is needed. To get better you have to push the body to the highest threshold. In almost every workout, I remember myself doing strenuous sprints and workouts at 6:00 a.m. with my fitness trainer and getting my heart rate up to 220 pulses per minute. I went through hundreds of such trainings, and this is the main trait that helped me reach the pros. I saw quite a few players who grew up with me and were no less talented and athletic, but did not bring 100 percent effort in workouts. It is not only the physical engagement but also mental effort: the ability to be focused on every stroke is essential even though some of the exercises are Sisyphean and

boring. When I see a child with work ethic and the ability to push themselves to the limit, I mark him/her as one who is going to be successful in tennis and in life. If the child is a bit of a “jerk” I mean this in the positive sense of the word. In English, there is a saying that “nice guys finish last". It's not really accurate. There are nice champions like Roger Federer, Stefan Edberg, Mats Willander and Rafa Nadal. But for the most part, these extraordinary champions are endowed with unattractive qualities like egoism that can put them in a not-so-positive light. Everyone saw the meaner side of Michael Jordan in the excellent series "The Last Dance". In my opinion, Jordan is a relatively nice person compared to other athletes of such stature like Lance Armstrong, Maria Sharapova or Serena Williams. The immense competitiveness of this breed of athletes, the egocentrism and sense of self-importance is pretty common. Their negative off-field traits have ironically turned them into tough athletes that are a nightmare to compete against. So sometimes when I see a kid who plays nicely but acts like a brat on and off the field I will try to educate them a little to be nicer but inside I tell myself, "He's mean enough to be a player at the highest levels". Because sometimes in life the ones who take what they think they deserve are also the successful ones. In sports, as in life, there is not always moral justice. I recommend to my students to be merciless on the court, in the positive sense of course. A certain cruelty is needed to dispose of an opponent and no guilt should be felt toward the other player. After the game, however, I encourage them to be the nicest person in the world. Anyone who wants to understand what I mean can go on YouTube and watch my match against Jimmy Connors from 1992. My childhood idol behaved in a pretty unsportsmanlike manner, and while it did not help him in this specific match, it made me realize how strong the desire for victory can be.

Rapid recovery from losses In tennis there is no player who is immune to losing. Losses can discourage players and lead them to thoughts of retirement, but you can learn a lot about players after losses. There are those that let every loss affect them; they dwell, lose confidence and make excuses. But for future champions, the loss is just a small stick in the wheels of happiness. The pain of the loss is the fuel that will motivate the next practice and the next match. There is a saying in sports, “You never lose, you learn". The ability to recover from disappointments and come out strengthened from them is one of the important things in tennis. This ability to forget the bad matches and get to every practice and game with a positive outlook is an essential ability for any tennis player because it can be very frustrating to put in the hard work on the practice court and to come up short in the matches. At the end of 1988, I went through six months in which I barely won a match on the pro tour. It's not that I did not play well, I just did not win the important points. At that time my confidence level was so low, it felt like I would never win another match. My positive attitude is what helped me get out of this funk and to start winning matches again. It is very easy to get negative and self-destruct in situations like this. The hardest part is biting your lip, look in the mirror and tell yourself to move on and forget about the loss. Anyone who fails to deal with the losses will not get far in this game. In Part Two of this article, in the November/December issue, I will discuss four more qualities that champions have. 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.

NYTennisMag.com • September/October 2020 • New York Tennis Magazine


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