USPTA ADDvantage Magazine - August 2022

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2022 Hall of Fame Nominees USPTA World Conference

Left: Dr. Jack Groppel Right: Dr. Jim Loehr





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From the CEO USPTA


’m sure by now you’ve all heard about the decision our USPTA Board of Directors and Executive Committee made to not reapply for USTA accreditation. My intent here is not to rehash that earlier communication that was disseminated in June, but rather to add some color and clarification to that decision. Our USPTA certification remains the industry standard. Clubs and facilities across the country recognize the value of USPTA certification, but the impact of accreditation with consumers and facility operators/ employers needs to improve.

We Need Employers to Commit to Hiring USPTA Certified Pros:

USTA accreditation was intended to give our members more opportunity to be hired by clubs and facilities. Unfortunately, professional certification by an accredited organization has not yet become a requirement in the job market to the desired degree that was expected. Until that is the case, the USPTA will implement our own certification pathway autonomously, continuing to provide an enriching experience for our applicants.

Our New Certification Pathway Raises Tennis-Teaching Standards:

There is no doubt that the USPTA certification pathway that was implemented two years ago is elevating the standards of our applicants. Upon completion, these new professionals are better prepared and more qualified than ever to deliver quality tennis instruction. The mission

of the USPTA is to elevate standards of tennis-teaching professionals and coaches and we are doing exactly that.

The Decision Will Not Affect Your Membership:

Your USPTA membership and member benefits, including liability insurance, WILL NOT be impacted at all by this decision.

The USPTA remains steadfast in its desire to enhance the accreditation process in partnership with the USTA. After all, they’re our neighbors here in Lake Nona. When the job market embraces accreditation by requiring pros to be both certified for employment and remain members in good standing, the USPTA will then have the option to reapply and become fully accredited again. Make no mistake, getting consumers and employers to embrace accreditation and to understand the value of being a certified professional is a heavy lift. Let’s get started on altering the mindset within our industry. We all have a part to play in this dynamic. We appreciate your continued support and will continue to do everything we can to

Safe Play Will Continue to be required for Active Members:

The Board of Directors voted to continue with the Safe Play requirement for all members in good standing. We absolutely believe Safe Play is the best practice for our tennis-teaching professionals. We want our pros to be trained in Safe Play so parents can have confidence when sending their children to a USPTA Professional for instruction. We want kids to be able to learn in a safe environment. This training is also to protect our members just as much as it is to protect young athletes. We will work on getting all our pros Safe Play trained, because it’s the right thing to do.

(our mission statement). We’ll always keep our USPTA tennis-teaching professionals’ best interests at the forefront of every decision that is made. *

John R. Embree, USPTA CEO

We Will Continue to Collaborate with the USTA:

USPTA members should continue to promote USTA programs that are beneficial for their facilities and that help grow the game. We encourage you to stay engaged with your local USTA Sections and Districts. Those relationships are important and should be maintained for the betterment of the sport. August 2022

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Past President’s Message USPTA


ere at Headquarters, we get a lot of questions about the USPTA Certification Pathway. We want to help our members better understand our pathway to certification and how exactly it reflects raising the standards of teaching professionals. The new pathway that began in 2021 has a definite emphasis on the education of Tennis Professionals. In the previous path to certification, an applicant would show up to be evaluated and certified. Now, it is focused on receiving education and assessment. There are currently four levels of Certified pros within the association:

The pathways for Tennis Instructor and Professional are the two levels where new members start and both have been revamped. Tennis Instructor and Professional are the certification levels that applicants are working toward. Within those pathways there are online courses, webinars, virtual workshops, and in person workshops. All of these are contained within courses that are named Teaching Essentials (TE for short). There are TE1, TE2, and TE3. The TE1 workshop emphasizes more of the “how to coach” over the “what to coach”. Next during TE2, coaches will learn more about private lessons, including how to plan and prepare for different types. Finally, TE3 features on court and classroom interactive learning, while focusing on group lessons. As a reminder, these are the names of the courses, not the names of the certification levels.

Let’s take a closer look at the Tennis Instructor and Professional levels: Tennis Instructor: This certification

that make a living within the profession. This certification entails completing all the work that the Tennis Instructor does, as well as approximately 43 hours of online courses and webinars. A private lesson must be submitted via video for assessment, and it requires the attendance of a 3-day face to face workshop. It is important to note that the pathways for the Elite Professional and the Master Professional have yet to change, and they are not, and have never, been a starting point. You must be a Professional first. There is no doubt that the USPTA certification pathway that was implemented two years ago is elevating the standards of our applicants. Upon completion, they are better prepared and more qualified than ever to deliver quality tennis instruction. *

is designed for those assistant pros, assistant coaches, and those that teach tennis part-time, not their full-time vocation. This certification entails approximately 24 hours of online work and either a 2-day face to face workshop or a virtual workshop of 8 hours, broken into 2 sessions. Professional: This is the certified category for the bulk of our membership

August 2022

Article written by: Feisal Hassan, USPTA Immediate Past President Sid Newcomb, Director of Certification & National Head Tester

ADDvantage Magazine 45




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USPTA “TE1 virtual workshop was amazing. Even though it was virtual, the teachers did an amazing job of making it as interactive as possible. It almost felt like we were all together. More importantly, the knowledge and information I gained has not only given me confidence but is something I use on court every day.”

– Chris Clark

The online courses and webinars offered are full of the best tools needed for any Tennis Professional’s education. We’ve received a lot of great feedback.

“TE3 was a great experience for me. Those 3 days with USPTA made me understand different sides of coaching/ teaching. I really enjoyed learning a different approach. I am able to incorporate the things talked about during TE3 in my lessons.”

– Anthony Rossi

August 2022

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USPTA World Conference 2022


r. Jack Groppel is a USPTA Master Professional and an internationally recognized authority and pioneer in sport science. He’s the co-founder of the Human Performance Institute, a highly entertaining speaker, educator, author, and coach. He also had a column entitled, ‘Ask the Professor’ in ADDvantage magazine that ran for 25 years. In this Q&A, Dr. Groppel talks about his induction into the USPTA Hall of Fame, how he got interested in sport science, his advice for speakers and summitting Mount Kilimanjaro.

Q: What about the sport of tennis initially attracted you to it? A: “I didn’t like it at first! All my family were farmers and you either played football or baseball. I wasn’t big enough to play football, so I was a baseball player. My parents made me take tennis lessons when I was 11 years old with the YWCA. They kept saying to me, this is a sport for a lifetime. A couple years later, my friend Bill Wicks and I started playing a lot and I was using it to get out of the house. My father was an alcoholic, and it was difficult for me, so tennis became an outlet. Bill suggested we go play a tournament in St. Louis and I won a round and I said I might be good at this. I basically taught myself to play. Bill and I were nuts, we’d play tennis five hours a day. In the winter in Illinois, we’d shovel snow off the courts and keep the car running. We’d hit with one can of tennis balls and when they got too cold to bounce, we’d exchange them, so we could practice in freezing weather.”

Q: How did that turn into competing in tennis and then eventually coaching? A: “My goal was to walk on and play tennis in high school with Bill, so we played and then we walked on in college. Here I am, this farm boy and because of my father tennis got me out of the house. I fell in love

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August 2022

with it, and I was able to make the team at the University of Illinois. It’s totally stupid that I was able to do what I was. I started graduate school in population genetics and hated it. So, I made an appointment with the kinesiology department head, Dr. Rollin Wright. He says you’ve got good grades; we’ll admit you to our Master of Science in Kinesiology. Dr. Wright goes ‘By the way, did you say you play tennis here at Illinois?’ I told him I did. He says ‘I need somebody to teach tennis for me. I’m going to waive your tuition fee and we’ll give you a stipend, so you’ll teach tennis for us.’ I went, thank you God, there’s divine intervention in this happening. That was it, I started teaching. I got straight A’s in my first three courses, I fell in love with

World Conference 2022 USPTA it. At the end of that first semester, my advisor Dr. Charles Dillman said, ‘If you really apply yourself, you could become a pioneering leader in the science of tennis performance.’ And that’s all it took.”

Q: Did you get into the sport science side of tennis thinking it would explode because it was needed or because you were personally interested in the subject? A: “I was persistent. In 1976, while

working on my dissertation at Florida State, I submitted papers with my data to the first Olympic Scientific Congress. They got accepted. I gave two scientific presentations, one on the science of tennis and the other on Olympic weightlifting. Now the science of tennis is really catching on. In 1977 Dr. Dillman calls and says we need a tennis coach at Illinois. We want to offer you the job and give you a joint appointment as a professor. I became the youngest NCAA coach in the country at the time at 25. Jim Loehr and I met later that year and I was invited to speak at the USTA National Tennis Teachers Conference. Once you’re there, everybody hears you speak. I’m showing all these high-speed films of athletes and then the flood gates open. I got invited to speak at USPTA events, then to get film at Virginia Slims. I got Billie Jean King, Wendy Turnbull, Virginia Wade, tremendous pictures of women players and then I got invited to Madison Square Garden to get the ATP Finals. So, I’ve got all these high-speed films of Borg, McEnroe, Lendl, and Connors and now I’m being asked to go all over the place and coach. While I was coaching, I was also a consultant on how do we do this, how do we get better? I persevered so much that when the doors opened, I was ready to walk through them. I think there’s a lesson there for a lot of people.”

Q: How did you and fellow Human Performance Institute co-founder Jim Loehr start working together and what has attributed to your long-term relationship? A: “I got introduced to Tim Gullikson

and we got along famously. After a couple

months he said I want you to meet my brother Tom, but he’s already working with this guy. I asked who. He says Jim Loehr. I was like Buddy in the movie Elf, ‘I know him!’ That was literally how Jim and I started working with athletes on the tour together. Jim’s like a brother to me. We had dreams together of starting a center and we started to see that what we were doing in sport science could really impact other industries and other fields. Failure wasn’t an option. We kept learning from our mistakes. Then 17 years later we sold it to a fortune 50 company, I mean it’s beyond dream stuff. We had the blessing of working with 17 world number ones in different sports. I think it all comes down to trust. Jim and I had an ability that when things would go south, we’d go in a room and we would have some harsh disagreements, but then when we left, we’d leave it there. It’s the willing to make it work factor that enabled us to have such a long-lasting friendship and a successful business.”

Q: How much has the issue of worksite wellness changed over the last few years, in particular? A: “If there was a silver lining in the

pandemic, it’s that we realized what we could do remotely that we were never going to roll the dice and do on our own. We’ve still got a lot to learn because there’s nothing that will ever replace the human

one-on-one connection. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do things digitally. The entire industry has flipped. We’re now talking about spiritual health and spiritual fitness, where when Jim and I would talk about purpose we would be laughed at, like it was too soft. Now everyone in the world talks about finding your purpose. I think the next step beyond purpose is going to be agape love for other human beings, neighborly love. People have a hard time talking about the word love. Yet, we’ve got to do this because there’s got to be a closeness if we’re ever going to solve the problems that we face right now in health and wellbeing.”

Q: What sacrifices, if any, did you have to make to achieve your success? A: “I think for all the success I’ve had

professionally, I struggled emotionally and personally in intimate relationships. Marriage was very difficult for me. I think the lack of relationship I had with my father has affected me a lot. The sacrifice was that I was married to my career, and I probably had achievement addiction because of my father. I didn’t hear the words ‘I love you’ from my father until I was 46 years old, and I forced him to say them. Every milestone I reached was about receiving that approval and confirmation from my father.”

Q: You’ve spoken at thousands of functions on six continents and you’re an incredible presenter. What advice do you have for those who would like to do presentations? A: “It starts with three words. The first

word is practice, the second word is practice and the third word is practice! Practice means do it, evaluate how you did and give freedom to other people to give you feedback. When I got on that large seminar circuit, I was polished already, but now I’m going to be in front of between 20,00030,000 people, live. No one knows who I am. I’m following Christopher Reeve, the man who played Superman and now he’s a quadriplegic. Then I’m always preceding the headliner, people like Margaret Thatcher, President Bush, President Ford, Colin Powell. I’m a good ‘bathroom break’, August 2022

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USPTA World Conference 2022

another brick in your building?”

Q: After bilateral knee replacement, some people may slow down. But you decided to summit Mount Kilimanjaro in 2017, with your son. What was that experience like? A: “I trained him in everything I’d ever

that’s how I looked at it. But I can’t let the audience go to the bathroom. My team took videos of me constantly. I worked on the first thirty seconds to get people to stay in their seats and I let my team shoot holes in my talk. Practice was number one, number two is willingly accept difficult feedback and three, always practice the improvements you’re making. You’re not going to be a great speaker at once, you’re going to be a great speaker over time. There’s no big break, they’re small bricks in your building that you’re putting together. When the door opens, are you ready to walk through it to put

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learned- mentally, spiritually, why we’re doing this as father and son, if one of us goes down the other one goes down. We’re either going to make it together or we’re not, but that doesn’t mean we’re failures. We spent 8 days on the mountain. It was hard, I cannot tell you how hard it was. He did great, everyone supported him, and he made it. We held our hands high at the summit in front of the sign and we’d made it as father and son. At my age, to do that with your 12-year-old son was truly amazing. Then I took a racquet to hit a volley off Kilimanjaro!’

Q: What experiences or lessons from your time in coaching and teaching tennis have helped you in your career? A: “I was involved in 26 sports and I’ve

traveled to 52 countries. None of that happens without tennis. None of that happens without being a scientist- an applied scien-

August 2022

tist, not a theoretical scientist. That’s what separated me from anyone else. It was part of my growth in sports psychology, in my training in biomechanics and then teaching anatomy, everything came together for me to have a multi-disciplinary approach and it all came back to tennis. Everything in my career has the foundation of tennis underneath it.”

Q: You were awarded USPTA Pro of the Year in 1987. Now you’re being inducted into the USPTA Hall of Fame. What does this honor mean to you? A: “In tennis it’s the hugest honor I’ve ever received, I’m humbled beyond imagination. You would like to think one day that you’re making a difference and that your peers recognize that you’re making a difference. When you receive something like this it’s a different level of what have you done in your lifetime? Have you left a legacy? I think this is a legacy kind of award.” * Marisa Lampe, Director of Marketing and Communications

Member Feature USPTA

August 2022

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USPTA Member Feature

The 2022 USPTA World Conference (WC22) will return to the Big Easy September 18-22, 2022, at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside in lively New Orleans, Louisiana. The USPTA World Conference is the world's largest gathering of tennis professionals, industry leaders, representatives, manufacturers, wholesalers, and media. In addition to robust educational offerings, including on-court seminars, the USPTA will host meetings, industry discussions, networking, and socializing, as well as the 2022 Awards presentation. Register today to be part of all of the action! After August 1, the cost to attend for USPTA members is $499, while for non-members it is $549. To register, visit or scan below.

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Member Feature DR. JACK GROPPEL


• Co-Founder of the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute • Pioneer in the science of sport & human performance • Author


• Co-Founder of the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute • World-renowned performance psychologist • Author


• Former American tennis player and Olympian • 7 WTA tour singles titles • Tennis Channel presenter and commentator

DR. MARK KOVACS • CEO & Director at the Kovacs Institute • Leading sport scientist • Former Senior Director of Sport Science & Health for the Cleveland Cavaliers

CRAIG O’SHANNESSY • Australian tour coach • Director of the Brain Game • Recognized as the world leader in teaching tennis tactics August 2022

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USPTA Member Feature



eing a veteran of club ownership and introducing kids to tennis for over 30 years, I am passionate about the wonderful life skills we as tennis professionals can share with our youth. Tennis is a fantastic lifetime sport that has proven to add over 10 years to your life. And kids can learn to be fair, hardworking, self-reliant, and resilient through competing in tennis. Unfortunately, we have not always gotten the entry into tennis competition correct because it has to be fun! Past research indicates that only one in three juniors who tried tournament competition would sign up for a second event! Let me repeat – we lost two of every three new youth players that tried their first competitive event. That is a lot more than a leaky bucket – it sounds more like a net with lots of holes! Since many kids do try tennis and fall in love with the sport, how can we introduce them to individual competition in a better way? An approach that is more fun, less intimidating, and actually helps them play with those who are on a similar level. I have seen a lot of recent success with a new program through the USTA that is a game changer for bringing new players into individual competition. It is called a USTA Junior Circuit and uses level-based round robin play in a short duration event. Kids are guaranteed several matches with very little down time using short sets and all completed in 2-4 hours. Each round

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robin group is assembled using ratings, PlayTracker points, and other available info to facilitate more balanced competition. And the parents love the idea that they have a good estimate of when the matches will start & finish. Let’s look at the old model of a first tournament entry for kids: Matches will begin Friday late afternoon or early Saturday morning and could run until Sunday late afternoon. Parents have to block out the whole weekend from any other activities and players are only guaranteed one or two matches. They could play Saturday morning at 8 am and not play again until mid afternoon Saturday or even Sunday morning.

and allows kids to play other sports, enjoy other enriching activities like music & arts, and even attend birthday parties, sleepovers, family events, etc. during the same weekend! Entry fees are typically $15-$25. Matches are against players of a similar level. The round robin format allows them to move quickly from one match to the next, so even if they play poorly in one, they immediately get another chance to try their skills against another player. Competition with similar abilities is not only more fun but leads to improvement and skill development.

Providers do not have to take their whole weekend to run an event. Their Entry Fees are likely to be $45-$75 per patrons or members can still use the prime player. court times and the provider may still be With a knockout & seeded format, able to fit in a few lessons or clinics. The many matches will be uneven with one provider can schedule Junior Circuits by player losing badly & the other player winball color in short blocks of time when ning easily. Neither player has an enjoytheir courts are usually empty. Most proable experience, and the competition does viders I know would like a little revenue not help them advance their skills. It also instead of empty courts! does not introduce them to new friends Junior Circuits are also a fantastic way that they could enjoy practicing & playing to advertise your facility to parents whose with after the tournament. kids are just entering the game. If the Providers have to block out their courts provider does an excellent job running the for several complete days in order to hold event and makes themselves available to the event and their members & patrons are chat with the parents, a new patron, memnot thrilled. ber, or junior player may be the result. And By contrast, let’s compare to a how about a little profit while helping to Junior Circuit: grow the game? Here is a snippet of the The entire event is played in 2-4 hours profit opportunity in one real world exam-

August 2022

Member Feature USPTA ple of a 90-120 minute Junior Circuit:

As these events become more popular, you can even break up one ball color between different 2-3 hour segments to increase participation, court usage, and revenue. And Junior Circuits are not just for 10U players! They are a great entry point for beginners that come from other sports at ages 12-17. Imagine a Friday Night Lights event with all high school or middle school players. Using level-based groupings, the top varsity players can participate at the same event with novice JV players to enjoy a great social experience, while only playing against 3-4 other players at their skill level. Throw in some pizza & music, and you have a Tennis Lollapalooza! Give Junior Circuits a try at your facility – you may find that they are the perfect match!*

Providers can schedule different ball colors at times of low use: Friday evening from 7-9 pm, Saturday afternoon from 5-7 pm, Sunday morning from 8:30-10:30 am, etc. And use some of your more experienced juniors to be court monitors and mentors, as they do a fantastic job and are always looking for service project hours!

Ted Reese, USPTA Elite Professional

August 2022

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Member Feature USPTA

Stu Saiki captured a total of three medals in both team and individual competitions at the 2022 International Tennis Federation Seniors World Championships held in Boca Raton and Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Considered the most prestigious event on the ITF Seniors Tour, the Senior World Championship team competition is the senior equivalent

of the Davis Cup with top American tennis players representing their country. In the M60’s Cup Team Championship, Stu Saiki and Mike Tammen were two of four players selected by the USTA to represent the United States. Team USA, seeded fourth, upset No. 1 France and No. 2 Spain en route to the title where Stu and Mike played both deciding doubles matches that clinched Team USA’s gold

medal victory. In the M60’s Doubles Championship they secured a second gold medal by winning the World Doubles title. Stu then followed with a bronze medal finish in the M60’s Singles Championship. CONGRATULATIONS!*

August 2022

ADDvantage Magazine 57

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The new Blade v8 celebrates the return to your natural element of competitive tennis — renewed and reconnected to the game you love.

Member Feature USPTA

Mike Friedman coached the Hinsdale Central boys tennis team to their 25th Illinois state title in program history. Mike says, “I’m so proud of these wonderful kids and their incredible team effort. We also couldn’t have done it without the overwhelmingly great parental support through the year.” The Red Devils also capped off their magnificent season by adding four more state medals to give them an astonishing 165 since winning their first back in 1949. *

August 2022

ADDvantage Magazine 59

USPTA What’s The Dill?

Membership Department Update Dillon Chustz, USPTA Director of Membership


great teacher is one who MUST teach. The teacher who continually looks for the opportunity to share their craft and help others improve, regardless of their personal gain, often makes the greatest impact in their field. They often lead from a sense of purpose; a need to help people be better at something. As professional tennis coaches, where do you lead from? Jim Walker of Lincoln, CA leads with his desire to enrich people’s lives and help them to do all that they can with what they have- all while maintaining the same high standard of USPTA certification. Recently, a letter landed on my desk from a woman by the name of Suzanne, who had recently been introduced to the game of pickleball. Aside from tennis, pickleball is just one of the ways in which Suzanne stays fit and active in her 55 and older community known as Lincoln Hills. First, she needed to learn the basics. Suzanne was referred to Jim, an active member of the popular pickleball scene at Lincoln Hills. A quick backhand tutorial led to a series of eight lessons packed with structured drills for both basic movement technique and shot making. “Jim was very tough,” Suzanne mentioned. “It was exactly what I needed.” If I needed any proof of Jim’s impact, Suzanne assured me that she and her doubles partner decimated their opponents at their recent tournament, where they faced off with players ten and twenty years their junior. “Regardless

of who I’m teaching, I’ve always used the same standard,” Jim mentioned. “I hold my USPTA certification in very high regard, and I strive to represent the association in the greatest way possible.” You can’t argue with that!

tions. “I want to act as a sort of vanguard and cheerleader for these folks,” he told me. “Working in this capacity allows for such a collaborative community experience.” Jim was recognized as the 2015 USPTA NorCal Independent Coach of the Year. Working as an independent coach, without the support of a club, requires a tremendous amount of passion and initiative. They teach simply because they MUST teach, and it is incredibly inspiring to witness. Even I got emotional listening to Jim talk about his students. He’s the real deal, folks. Thanks to our recent influx of pickleball certifications, our teaching pros have been able to increase the number of opportunities available to them. You all are serving the racquet sports industry in a multitude of ways, being the most well-rounded coaches you can be, and we are so proud of you.*

KEEP UP THE AMAZING WORK! Jim is all about community. A former 5.0 tennis player, most of his coaching experience comes from working with doubles (and mixed doubles) teams all over the San Francisco Bay Area, many of them having earned impressive titles thanks to his instruction. When asked about his personal coaching philosophy, Jim expressed his passion for helping players in the 60-90 age group have an enriching experience on court, regardless of any physical limita-



President.............................................................Richard Slivocka First Vice President................................................ Trish Faulkner Vice Presidents...................... Tracy Almeda-Singian, Mark Faber, Jason Gilbert, Kevin Theos, Jenny Gray Immediate Past President.......................................Feisal Hassan CEO...........................................................................John Embree Legal Counsel........................................................George Parnell

Editor...............................................................................Marisa Lampe Managing Editor.......................................................Madison Faulkner Layout/Design............................................................... Yaralismar Diaz Editorial Assistance .......................... Fred Viancos, Ellen Weatherford Circulation..................................................................... Trevor Trudelle USPTA World Headquarters 11961 Performance Dr. Orlando, FL 32827 407-634-3050 –

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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. 2022. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any portion of the magazine is not permitted without written permission from the USPTA.