USPTA ADDvantage Magazine - April 2024

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How we're finding our

n September 2009, Simon Sinek presented at the TedX Conference in Puget Sound about finding your “why,” which I’ve been vocal about trying to find since beginning my journey as USPTA CEO. I highly encourage you to watch Simon’s presentation, along with the 64 million other people who have learned what is so important about first defining your “why.” Then, you’ll learn to define your “how” and “what.” Simon calls this process the “Golden Circle.”

Since first viewing Simon’s video, I became a huge fan of his work and his books. One of his main focuses is bringing people together in organizations who share common beliefs and experiences. In the racquet sports industry, many of us share those commonalities, which is why participating in our industry is so contagious and inspiring. Whether it’s racquet sports, wood working, hiking 14ers, quilting, barbequing or gardening, when you meet people who share common beliefs and experiences, you become more open to a deeper relationship.

During my trips to the USTA Southern, USTA Midwest and USPTA / USTA Texas meetings, I made immediate connections (and re-connections) with people. Even if it was our first encounter, we share common experiences and beliefs. Today’s USPTA professionals understand the value of networking,

relationships and connections between their peers, but we haven’t connected with the next generation of leaders yet in a meaningful way. Why not? What are we missing?

As racquet sports professionals, aren’t we all working from some very similar belief systems? Do we have industry beliefs? Service? Giving back? Growing our sports? The power of social connections? All the great life skills racquet sports teaches us? I'd say yes, we have them all, but how do we drill that down into a succinct, repeatable “why” statement? How do we get more people, who already share our common beliefs and experiences, to join our industry professionally? How do we connect with future leaders?

Thanks again, Simon; it really does start with asking yourself “why.” As I was going through the process of interviewing for USPTA CEO, I spent some good time

asking myself to be more specific about my “why.” I used to think it was related to whichever industry I was working in, of which I have been in a few. But when I got introspective and challenged myself to really drill down what I enjoyed most and was most fulfilled by in every job, in every volunteer opportunity, in parenting and in marriage, was serving others That’s what gets me up early in the morning and keeps me motivated and energized every day. Having defined my “why” even more specifically has helped me stay focused and eliminate distractions that didn’t align with serving others.

Have you defined your “why” either personally or professionally? I believe we all need a personal “why” statement that helps define us, guide us and helps us make decisions. I also believe our association needs a “why” statement, which will evolve over time. We have engaged a fantastic partner to take our organization through a strategic planning process over the coming months to make sure our “why” is in sync with our current and future membership. It will also help define how we incorporate all racquet sports under the USPTA umbrella. Finally, because we will be getting feedback from all sections of our membership, it will help us set the direction for the next five, 10 and 15 years.

As the industry leader in certification and education, we are obligated to continuously challenge ourselves to do better. We cannot sit still and think everything is fine because like tennis, the balls will pass us by. You, our members, deserve better. If we chase membership numbers, we will lose track of our vision and “why,” but if we clearly define our vision and our “why,” the membership numbers will follow. Do you have some ideas you would like to share?

Please don’t ever hesitate to reach out to me directly at 773-551-6541 or I would love to hear from you, and by reaching out, it shows me you care and we do share some common beliefs.* why why how what

CEO MESSAGE April 2024 | ADDvantage Magazine - 43

WHAT I LEARNED WORKING WITH susan mehmedbasich wright

ecently, I had the honor and oppor tunity to coach a very talented senior competitive player whose resume speaks for herself. I’ve had the great fortune of coaching many different players from the junior, collegiate and professional level/ranks. But now, I’ve gotten the chance to work with one of the most successful senior players in the U.S., Susan Mehmedbasich Wright.

I think we can all agree that solid coaching at any level starts and ends with communication. After several long chats with Susan and watching her play, I understood the specific expectations of what she wanted out of her game and out of me. The reality is, when you work with such an established veteran player, they probably know the game as well, or even better, than you do. So, you can be sure I did a whole lot more listening than talking as I got up to speed with her game. Susan also knows her competition extremely well, as she has been enjoying great battles with many of the same competitors for years, so she was able to articulate what she felt her game needed to improve. What really impressed me was that Susan didn’t want to just make

minor improvements for the intent of beating specific players in her age division, but she was most interested in the overall improvement and development of her game.

Plan of Attack

Both Susan and I felt that making incremental improvements on her oncourt movement would decrease unforced errors at critical times in her matches and would improve her mental confidence going into the 2024 tournament season. Our game plan focused specifically on mobility, flexibility and balance.

Evaluation Phase

Outside of watching past videos and watching her play in practice matches, I felt a great way to understand Susan’s game was to play points against her.

Doing so helped me understand what she did well (which was almost everything) and where she needed to improve. One interesting observation of players at this level and age is that, as foot speed decreases due to age and natural wear and tear of the body, anticipation skills increase. Her ability to know where the next ball was coming from was truly impressive. With an increase of receiving skills, I noticed she took less transition steps, especially moving forward to shorter balls. This is quite normal in my opinion; as you age, your back-to-front movement becomes incrementally slower than your side-to-side movement.

After evaluating Susan’s game, I wanted to assess where she could get the most improvement from our mobility, flexibility and balance training. I felt she could make some great gains by improving her return of serve. Many second serves in the senior age division decrease quite dramatically due to natural wear

VICE PRESIDENT MESSAGE 44 - ADDvantage Magazine | April 2024

and tear on the shoulder, thereby slowing the second serve down. A reduction in speed on the second serve gives players the ability to get in better position to hit an aggressive return. To practice, run around backhands to hit forehands, but only on serves that are hit in the middle of the service box. If you can hit your forehand with your body weight going toward the target, you are performing correctly. If you feel your body weight move to the left, or push away from where you are trying to hit the ball, then you probably should not have attempted the

run around forehand on that specific serve. We used progression drills to get her to understand the footwork patterns with cones and hand feeding first, then eventually we worked on second serve service returns.

When I trained at the professional level, I found it essential to understand what you say, how you say it and when you say it to your player. With this high level of senior competition, it is the same. If you can help your player understand one important principle or one concept, it can make an immeasur-

able difference in their game. My goal with Susan was to leave her game in a better place than I found it, and that in turn will give her confidence when she needs it.

Training Susan has been such a great learning experience for me and has made me a better coach. I have an even greater admiration and respect for senior tennis players, and I look forward to using the skills I have learned. I want to thank Susan for giving me the opportunity to work with her and share my thoughts. *




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2006 - 2023 9



A Tennis Love Story


“Game. Set. Match.” “It’s courting season!” and “Looking for my doubles partner!”

These are just a few of the tennis puns you may have heard while indulging in Season 28 of “The Bachelor” starring USPTA certified professional Joey Graziadei. Chances are, if you haven’t watched the popular reality dating show, someone you know has—there are countless members of Bachelor Nation. Now, after watching the latest season, they’re also all fans of our seven-year USPTA certified tennis professional.

The show highlights both Joey’s journey to find love and leans heavily into his passion for tennis.

“I love the challenge of tennis. I love how it challenges you internally. It's obviously a physical challenge as well, but it's just taught me so much,” Joey said. “The sport has done so much for me.”

Joey got a late start, having not learned to play tennis until he was 13 years old. “It was right around the same time I was burning out from playing soccer and was looking for something new, and I just fell in love with it right away,” Joey said.

His uncle, Joe Heney, was the head tennis professional at Butterfield Country Club near Chicago, and he was the catalyst in getting Joey interested in the sport. “[Joe] had different pros that worked with him that were there to help me. I had the perfect environment to not only learn about

the sport, but to learn what the world of teaching was like,” Joey said. “I wouldn't have traded that start for anything.”

Joey grew up in Royersford, Pennsylvania, and played on the boy’s team at SpringFord Area High School. He moved up the ranks quickly and became a leader his senior year, but that experience led to the start of a back-and-forth relationship with tennis for Joey.

“I was, for the first time, at the top of the team playing all the best kids in the area and I had a rough season, wasn't winning that much, and almost fell out of the sport,” Joey said.

After a disappointing season, Joey graduated and went on to West Chester University, where his challenges continued, but in a different way.

“I was naive and thought I could just show up on the first day of tryouts and walk on as a freshman. It didn't happen and I took a break,” Joey said. “I found my love again my sophomore year and actually took it seriously. I was lucky enough to walk on that next year and got to play for two years, which I appreciated so much during my time in college.”

The break turned out to be extremely beneficial for Joey, and he wants others to understand that for some, it’s natural to need a pause.

“I love that that happened to me because it's so easy to now bring that into my coaching. To explain when kids have that feeling to pay attention to why they're feeling that way, to talk through it and

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Joey playing tennis at Spring-Ford Area High School in Royersford, Pennsylvania
Joey on court in Kauai Joey coaching the boys tennis team at Ensworth School in Nashville Joey during his chat with the USPTA @Joey Graziadei @Joey Graziadei @Joey Graziadei

understand that it's a difficult sport that's going to humble you from time to time,” Joey said. “What I love is almost always people find their love for the sport again because it gives you so much.”

During vacations in college, Joey enjoyed trips to Hawaii to visit his Uncle Joe. He worked part-time at local clubs and connected with the GM at Princeville Makai in Kauai. When he graduated, he got a call from the head pro who asked Joey to take over his position. Joey says it was an offer he couldn’t refuse and he went through the USPTA certification process.

“I got a chance to do the testing, the skills performance test, and teach people in the area with a makeshift lesson. We had a great time!”

Joey said becoming a certified tennis professional gave him all the necessary tools to succeed.

“I learned so much from that certification with the USPTA, all the different things I know I have in my hands through that,” Joey said. “But then just being able to have that credibility. I really think of the certification as just being knowledgeable.

“I had one of my best USPTA experiences in Hawaii going to a conference to meet some of the other local professionals. The clinics you learn, the connections you make, all those different things that you can take, it’s really helpful.”

After a couple years teaching in paradise, Joey became curious about what life would be like in the corporate world and wanted to see what his friends were experiencing. So, his rally with tennis took another pause and he moved to Nashville for a sales job.

“I found out very early on that it was a way to connect with people. But when I was doing sales, it felt like there was a ‘but.’ I felt like I was talking to them, but

then I wanted to get something out of the relationship,” Joey said. “What I love with tennis and coaching was it always felt like it was a mutual bond. I was getting as much out of it as they were, and I didn't feel like there was anything that was unnatural. I felt like I was myself every time I touched a tennis court, and I never felt that way in the corporate sales world. So very quickly I found that out and decided to go back to tennis and really haven't looked back since.”

That choice to follow his passion led Joey to a high school coaching job at Ensworth School in Nashville and provided him with his favorite coaching memory.

“I was connected with all these kids and we had a goal. We were going out there trying to win our division, district and state. I felt like I was a part of a team again, like when I was in college, when I was in high school, and that was big for me. I fell in love with it,” Joey said. “To be able to have an effect on these kids, back in that high school atmosphere, it was so fun. I felt lucky to get to know them.”

With a shortage of tennis professionals across the country, Joey has advice for anyone considering following his path and pursuing a career in the racquet sports industry.

“I would talk to them about how much it's given me—the doors it's opened, the people I've connected with, how much reward I feel from coaching. People give so much back to you from coaching and teaching in this sport so that feeling, I chase it all the time,” Joey said. “I don't think you'll regret trying it and seeing how it can give something back to you. It's a job that I always say, I don't know how you can really beat it!”

After Nashville, the ‘Aloha Spirit’ called to Joey again and he returned to Hawaii, eventually ending up at Kukuiʻula on the

South Shore of Kauai. With the pickleball boom, Joey’s teaching schedule split between tennis and pickleball, and he said he looked forward to gaining additional skills to be a well-rounded professional. But fate, in the form of roses, stepped in.

“I was going to get my pickleball certification through you guys. It's one thing to know how to teach. It's another thing to have that actual certification and to feel confident you know how to teach it,” Joey said. “Then someone called me to be on a reality TV show, so my schedule changed a little bit!”

What followed has been quite a whirlwind for Joey. He was runner-up on Charity Lawson’s season of “The Bachelorette” and then asked to be leading man on “The Bachelor.” Throughout the shows, viewers have seen the 28-year-old on-court a lot, highlighting his skills.

“One of the coolest parts of this is [the producers] love the theme. They love the idea of having tennis be something that’s a big part of my life and it does speak true to who I am. I would not be where I'm at if it wasn't for tennis.”

While Bachelor Nation awaits the finale to find out if Joey found true love, there’s hope he’s found a partner who embraces his love of the sport because Joey says every time he’s left it, he’s regretted it.

“There is no way tennis will not be a part of my life. I have known that for a while. I don't know if it's going to be working at a club, trying to help out at a local school or even something where I might look into tennis broadcasting—I have so much interest in trying to find a way to give back to the sport and just have it be a part of my life,” Joey said.

The ball’s in his court and we can’t wait to see what happens next!*

I would not be where I'm at if it wasn't for tennis.

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When Jannik Sinner concluded the most memorable fortnight of his professional life by capturing his first major at the Australian Open back in late January, his achievement did not startle the tennis cognoscenti. They had known for a long while that this young man was destined to establish himself among the elite. They had seen the clues for years. They realized

that he was authentic.

Consider Sinner’s range of successes which preceded his breakthrough this year. In 2020, when he was only 19, Sinner made it to the quarterfinals at Roland

Steve Flink International Tennis Hall of Fame
52 - ADDvantage Magazine | April 2024

Garros before he was beaten by Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard was on his way to his 13th of an astounding 14 French Open title runs.

Sinner finished 2020 at No. 37 in the world but swiftly ascended to No. 10

opponent’s serve.

an enterprising player who thrives under pressure...

by the end of 2021 after winning 49 of 71 matches. He reached the quarterfinals at three of the four Grand Slam tournaments in 2022. Sinner then celebrated a stellar 2023 season, making it to his first major semifinal at Wimbledon, taking his initial Masters 1000 title in Toronto, leading Italy to victory in the Davis Cup.

In a twelve-day November span, Sinner faced Novak Djokovic three times, winning two of those contests over the world No. 1. He defeated Djokovic in a final set tie-break in the round robin portion of the ATP Finals at Turin, lost to the Serbian in the Turin final, but then six days later stunningly rallied from 4-5, 0-40, triple match point down against Djokovic in the semifinals of Davis Cup at Malaga, Spain. Sinner prevailed 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.

The slender Italian stylist concluded 2023 at No. 4 in the world and was surging toward the top. That is why so many authorities were expecting him to flourish at the Australian Open. In Sinner’s first five matches in Melbourne, he did not drop a set. In the semifinals, he stopped the ten-time champion Djokovic for the third time in their last four meetings, winning that encounter 6-1, 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-3. For the first time in his career at a major, Djokovic never even managed to make it to break point on his

But Sinner had to work considerably harder to beat Medvedev in the final. Medvedev had been in two of the previous three Australian Open finals as well as winning the US Open in 2021. He was appearing in his sixth major final, while this was the first such appearance for Sinner.

At the outset, the experience gap seemed strikingly apparent, but gradually Sinner found his range. He rallied gallantly for a 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 triumph, establishing himself as the first Italian man since Adriano Panatta at Roland Garros in

suit. In his seven Australian Open matches, Sinner was broken a total of six times in 24 sets.

Sinner is an enterprising player who thrives under pressure, and a man of immense modesty who simultaneously refuses to sell himself short. He relishes taking on the most daunting challenges and realizes how good he is.

Over the next few years, his rivalry with Djokovic could become the stuff of dreams. But Sinner’s duels with the Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz will be captivating the public on big occasions for much longer, through the next decade. Already they have given us some dandies, including Alcaraz’s five set victory over Sinner in the quarterfinals of the 2022 US Open from match point down. Heading into this season, Sinner held a narrow 4-3 lead in the series.

...a man of immense modesty who simultaneously refuses to sell himself short...

1976 to secure a Grand Slam singles title, defeating the formidable Medvedev for the fourth time in a row.

At 22, Sinner is going to get a whole lot better across the next five years. In days gone by, Sinner was susceptible to erratic patches off the ground, particularly off the forehand side. No longer is that the case. He wallops the ball from the backcourt but has cut down significantly on his mistakes with controlled aggression and improved his shot selection. Meanwhile, until this past season, his serve lacked with consistency and accuracy. Now it is arguably his strongest


Sinner is a great player with a growing awareness of himself and his potential who will ultimately claim at least ten to twelve majors, and perhaps more. He is a gentleman and a supreme fighter, a remarkably decent individual and an estimable champion. Sinner will keep adding layers to his game and trophies to his collection,

...taking on the most daunting challenges

enhancing the tennis landscape immeasurably in the process.*

April 2024 | ADDvantage Magazine - 53



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“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”

This famous line from Pericles is the summary of the latest years of my professional career. After more than 30 years in the racquet sports industry and 19 years of service for the USPTA, I am now focused on leaving a big legacy, creating opportunities for others and mentoring the new generation of leaders in the USA and beyond.

Legacy [legəsē] ∙ noun

the long-lasting impact of events, actions, etc. that took place in the past, or of a person’s life.

In this mature stage of my career, I feel honored and humbled to spend time with the young generation. I enjoy inspiring, guiding and leading them to new positions that prepare them to make a huge impact in the industry.

But it was not always this way. For many years, I needed the support and guidance of others. I still do. I always needed a role model to follow, someone

leading the industry, achieving new goals and accomplishing the biggest milestones in their professional career. I found several of them who were all part of a selective, exclusive group fewer than 200 people have been admitted into: The USPTA Master Professionals


Last September, I had the unique honor of being named USPTA Master Professional in front of hundreds of my appreciated colleagues at the USPTA World Conference. After so many years of service to our industry and restless work and servant leadership, I am the proudest in the world. Being part of the top 1% of the USPTA’s teaching professionals is a big responsibility, as well as a big win for having dedicated so much of my life to others. My goal is to always make people happy and spread big smiles with a racquet in my hand.

I will always take my designation with the greatest pride and with the commitment to continue working every day for the benefit of Padel and racquet sports.


This exclusive designation has only been granted to about 200 people in the world. It is exclusive, but I would like to expand it.

I have a strong belief we can make a better world with racquet sports and, for that to happen, we will need to bring in

more leaders. I encourage all our professionals, but especially our younger ones, to follow the education pathway and reach for higher designations now.


I see myself as an ordinary guy. Keeping a beginner’s mentality and an eagerness to learn every day has built my determination, commitment, hard work and powerful networking.

I’m usually described by international media as a successful serial entrepreneur, businessman and a Padel pioneer. They say that I became one of the most influential and important figures in the development of Padel in the United States. My successes in the sport since its initial growth in 2017 have made me known as The Godfather of Padel in the United States

I don’t know if I deserve all those compliments. I only focus on getting results and inspiring others. Like many of you, I simply have a passion for coaching. Staying involved with the USPTA and PADELMBA USA has allowed me to witness more than 500 coaches get Padel certified throughout America.

While developing myself and improving my education, USPTA Master Professionals inspired me and became my North Star. All my mentors have had a piece of every single milestone I achieved. I am grateful for their continuous inspiration and for keeping me focused on my goals.

Among other great milestones, I was lucky enough to have a key role in the first ever Padel World Championship in the USA (2022), and I am a proud co-founder and commissioner of the world-renowned PRO PADEL LEAGUE.

I also work with some of the most important venture capital firms and investment groups involved in Padel. I am and will always be grateful to all the people who have been by my side in this journey and have kept me levelheaded and focused on being a great human being.

April 2024 | ADDvantage Magazine - 57

Because of them and their insights, I am who I am. I learn from them every day and share their extensive and renowned experience in leadership, management, marketing, sales and education that I use in my role as a Padel consultant all over the globe.


I have a clear vision to build a better world through Padel and racquet sports. My mission is to grow Padel in North America while creating opportunities for others.

I am a giver and generosity runs through my veins. I am a true encourager, joy-spreader, speaker, team builder and Padel business growth strategist who enjoys making people’s lives better with the magic of Padel.

I really want to use my special talent to get the world inspired with my beginner’s mentality, disruption, creativity and evolved business vision.

I would love to help raise the level of our industry and push all of us up to new heights in our own personal and professional developments.

I am highly motivated to bring more players to the community to grow racquet sports by adding excitement and memorable emotions to the audience. If we understand our customers’ needs, we will be able to engage them, since we will be offering what they are expecting. We need to become customer-centric organizations.

We need to embrace everyone in this new era of empathy. We need to adapt to changes and focus on creating value ahead of other services (i.e. gaming, video streaming, other sports, children in the streets) to attract more players to our games. We need to create a reason for people of all ethnicities, capabilities, sexualities and backgrounds to join us. We need to take care of them and encourage them.

We need to teach them to think differently by instilling the belief an attractive and fascinating future exists

for them.

Let’s have fun, enjoy the game, attract more and more players, and above all … LET’S MAKE A BETTER WORLD THROUGH PADEL AND RACQUET SPORTS!!*




StringPing, the Official Texting Service of the USPTA, was created in 2020 during the pandemic to help keep tennis players connected. The following is an interview with Founder & CEO Rick Kerpsack.


It was so great to see how tennis players came back to the game during the shutdown. Families felt safe on the tennis courts during social distancing and they invited their friends and family members. I was so happy to provide a service that helped the clubs and pros get their players back to their clubs.


Since most text messages are read within 5 minutes of receiving them (with over a 90% open rate), the ability to send updates to groups with info about clinics or weather delays or cancellations has been very well received. Also, automating regular group reminders of events is very popular. You just set it and forget it and it helps you fill the courts. The biggest surprise is the quick adaptation of StringPing by the junior academies — the parents just love it!

Sub-accounts are also popular because

the head pro or club has a main account and then they can create sub accounts for the other pros or facility employees to have their own login and then communicate directly to their staff.


I wish more people would use the feature that adds the contact name directly into the text message… it’s really easy to do. Instead of “Hi this is your tennis club letting you know about an upcoming event” you would just write “Hi %%NAME%%, this is your tennis club…” and the person’s name is inserted into the text. It’s much more personal and inviting and would be the way a friend would send you a text, which is ideal.


Communication with club members or students needs to be relevant and timely. There is a sweet spot that you need to hit. If you sign up for the service and only send players a text one time and then they don’t hear from you for months, the member will often opt-out. The key is to maintain some dialog with players but not abuse it. Treat them like a good friend.


Think of texting communications as a funnel: Maybe you’re planning a member guest tournament at your club. If you send a text message out to all the participants from the previous year and all of your current tennis club members….that’s the big funnel! It gives members the option to reply with a keyword if they’re interested in playing (such as “yes” or “more”), based on replies

the StringPing software will add the interested players into a group and then they will automatically receive an application via short link by text. After they fill out the application and commit to playing, you can add them to a new group of tournament players. So with each step you are creating a group that you can communicate relevant information to and are only texting with the players interested in the tournament. Extra texts to uninterested players are eliminated and you have a group just for players signed up. Easy peasy.


They are probably the hardest ones to find the time to get onboard but once they do, they benefit the most. Most clubs have a front desk and someone there to answer the phone if a member calls and wants to know if the clinic is still on. The independent pro doesn’t have this type of support and so StringPing provides a way for them to offer the same professional communication to their clients. It’s great customer service that helps the pro stand out.


Great communication builds great relationships. Let StringPing help you build great relationships! *



Call or Text: 888.990.6790


StringPing Founders Rick & Cate Kerpsack at the BNP Paribas Tournament in Indian Wells, CA, March 2023
April 2024 | ADDvantage Magazine - 59


As a racquet sports teaching professional, being Safe Play approved is aimed at empowering individuals to promote and provide a safe and respectful environment for athletes to thrive in. Safe Play approval is not only required to maintain your USPTA membership, but it provides the opportunity for us to build safer and more compassionate tennis communities.

Tennis, with its grace, skill and competitive spirit, stands as a beacon of sportsmanship and integrity. Yet, beneath the surface of this beloved sport lies a pressing issue that demands our attention and action: misconduct. From the horrible reality of sexual misconduct to bullying and hazing, these behaviors undermine the values of respect, fairness and inclusivity that lie at the heart of tennis.

Misconduct in tennis encompasses a range of harmful behaviors that have no place within the sport's hallowed courts. Sexual misconduct, including harassment, abuse and exploitation, violates the trust and dignity of athletes, coaches and officials alike. Bullying, marked by intimidation, humiliation and exclusion, inflicts emotional and psychological harm, tarnishing the camaraderie and sportsmanship that define tennis. Hazing, often







disguised as tradition or team bonding, perpetuates abuse and coercion.

The ripple effects of misconduct extend far beyond the individuals directly affected, reverberating throughout tennis communities and institutions. Survivors of misconduct grapple with trauma, shame and fear, their love for the sport tarnished by abuse and betrayal. Tennis clubs, academies and organizations, once pillars of community and camaraderie, grapple with fractured relationships, eroded trust and a loss of faith in the institutions meant to protect and nurture them.

At the heart of the issue lies a culture of silence that shields perpetrators from accountability. Fear of reprisal, stigma and shame conspire to keep victims mired in isolation, their cries for help drowned out by the deafening roar of indifference. Breaking the silence demands courage, empathy and a collective commitment to dismantling the systems of oppression and injustice that enable misconduct to thrive.

Confronting misconduct requires a multifaceted approach rooted in accountability, education and prevention. USTA Safe Play and its comprehensive athlete safety program are aimed at preventing, detecting and addressing misconduct

in all its forms. This training program, along with a background check, focuses on coach and bystander intervention, consent education and conflict resolution, and can empower athletes, coaches and officials to challenge toxic behaviors and support those in need.

Central to the fight against misconduct is the creation of safe and inclusive tennis environments where athletes can thrive, free from fear or harm. Coaches must foster cultures of respect, empathy and inclusivity, where every individual is valued and respected. Clear channels for reporting grievances, coupled with comprehensive support services and resources, can serve as lifelines for those in need of assistance and intervention.

As we stand at the crossroads of change, the fight against misconduct beckons us to confront the shadows that linger within our tennis communities. It is a journey fraught with challenges and obstacles, but one that holds the promise of a brighter, more just future for all. Together, we can work to build a world where dignity, respect and compassion reign supreme—both on and off the court.

To learn more about the importance of being Safe Play Approved, go to *

Trish Faulkner
Vice President Mark Faber
Presidents Jason Gilbert, Jenny Gray, Kevin Theos, Rob Scott, Milos Vasovic
Past President Rich Slivocka
Brian Dillman Legal Counsel George Parnell ADDVANTAGE MAGAZINE Editor Marisa Lampe Managing Editor Collin Brazan Layout/Design Kerry Schneeman Editorial Assistance Jim Stockwell, Ellen Weatherford, Laumaur Lindsay Circulation Tim Baum USPTA World Headquarters 11961 Performance Dr. Orlando, FL 32827 407-634-3050 – ADDvantage is published monthly by the United States Professional Tennis Association. The opinions expressed in ADDvantage are those of the authors and not necessarily those of ADDvantage or the United States Professional Tennis Association. Copyright© United States Professional Tennis Association, Inc. 2024. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any portion of the magazine is not permitted without written permission from the USPTA. MEMBERSHIP DEPARTMENT UPDATE
USPTA Director of Membership JAMMIN' WITH JIM 60 - ADDvantage Magazine | April 2024
Jim Stockwell,
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