• California club reopenings

  • Austin tennis coach

  • Save UCONN Tennis

  • USTA Sweeping Changes

  • Pickleball - yes or no?

  • USPTR-PTR experience

Speed Skyscraper-June2020.jpg

-------- San Diego Tennis Club Reopenings --------

May 29, 2020

I note that you have written the following in your June newsletter, " San Diego County remained closed for no good reason. Did the San Diego District Tennis Association ED do his job?" As the immediate past president of the San Diego District (SDDTA), I would like to clarify this incorrect statement. The SDDTA Tennis Liaison Committee has been working hard to open courts in San Diego. While the County okayed reopening recently, the City has been waiting for the Parks and Recreation Department to weigh in. The holdup is right there, not with the District, not with our Club Managers but with City Park and Rec. This department has been notoriously unresponsive in past dealings with our public courts and continues that unfortunate behavior during the pandemic. Hopefully, this weekend will see our public courts reopening. But, please, put the blame where it belongs! 


Best regards, Anne Podney

June 26, 2020

As of today, most private and the clubs on city/county land have reopened with caveats: wear masks when checking in, hand sanitizers available, doubles if with family members (not being enforced anywhere, as far as I can tell), etc. Each club has a few site-specific requirements (such as members only, no guests) for play but most serious SD players are back on courts! We found out on 6/25 that tournament play originally scheduled for July (in reduced formats--no doubles for example) are now a no-go. Some, such as the 104th Annual LJ Championships have been rescheduled. It was already very limited (M/W Open divisions only) but now has a start date of September 11. Some other tournaments may not reschedule in 2020. Leagues are also a no-go here, for now. Hey, everyone, wear a mask when out and about! It is not a political statement but a statement that you care about others' health!


Best, Anne

-------- California Tennis Club Reopenings --------

May 29, 2020

From our members:

Steve R - It was so good to get out after 8 weeks.  I was able to get some rust off. 


Ron S - The place looks so clean and fresh.  They cleaned everything from top to bottom.


Kim T - They took such precautions by checking temps to all employees when they arrive, only two in the restrooms at a time, and masks must be worn only going to and from courts.  


Mary F -  They have signs everywhere to remind you to be 6 feet away when you sit in court and you must take everything out with you that you brought in. 


Miguel I - The PickleBall courts are also open and you can play half-court singles to get in lots of hits and laughs.


Karl A - It is good to see so many coming back to our happy place. 

Karl Akkerman, USPTA

Westlake Athletic Club
Westlake Village, California



June 2, 2020

Morning Rich,

You may have opened some possible new opportunities for me by publishing my story.  I am very grateful to you, thank you!
I have always been good at graphic and web design, photography, and videography and have an extensive professional background but been doing it for my own business now for many years.  Maybe rusty on coding etc. so more front end design, logos, marketing web work branding, mockups in Photoshop now, image creation, etc.. People are approaching me asking me, which is a good start to add a part-time job work from home while running my tennis business.  Always good to open new opportunities in case something like this happens again (hopefully not).  Opened my eyes to work from home opportunities with a company as a backup plan😊


Thank you again and I'm very glad to have met you.


Best regards,

Aruna Bernier

Owner/Operator/Director of Tennis

Tennisbuddys, LLC

Austin, Texas

June 6, 2020

Morning Rich,
Hope you, your family, and business are doing good during this very rough period.

I got an apology letter from the director of PARD department that was also CC’d to the councilwoman who had opened a case for me and I had contacted after May 4th.  Although it included a little lie, at this point I will take it and move forward and enjoy teaching.  All students came back immediately and a bunch of new students and classes are in full swing.  Thank you again for your support.


Take care and stay in touch.  Great to be friends on FB. 

Time to focus on life and business and get the chaos going on out of my head.


Best regards,


-------- Save UCONN Tennis --------

June 13, 2020

We have gotten over 740 supporter signatures with our petition in two days.  


I'm a former UCONN varsity men's tennis player and graduate of the University of Connecticut ('92). I graduated from the School of Education with a B.S. degree in Sports Science and a concentration in sports marketing. I've kept true to my major by staying actively involved in sports, specifically tennis, all my life. I've fought for causes beyond me that have helped others (I set 2 Guinness World Records™ specifically to raise money and awareness for charities and honor the legacy of my deceased tennis mentor. I've also managed GoFundMe pages to raise money for a family who lost their mom/wife due to cancer. 


The best years of my life were the years I attended the University of Connecticut, specifically the 2.5 years I was on the varsity tennis team. The team helped me refine my leadership skills, put the "we before me", and ultimately reinforce my core values of teamwork, effort, integrity, grit, and the importance of giving and asking for support and help. Through the sport of tennis, I met my current wife, spent quality time with my identical twin brother, met my attorney, made life-long friends, developed a career around teaching tennis, inspired others through setting 2 world records in tennis, become the USTA CT president, served on the New England board of directors, and participate on the USTA National Sportsmanship committee. I'm also an avid writer, just publishing my book Tennacity: The Tenacious Mindset On & Off the Court. 


I'm currently developing an online curriculum and course modeled after my book to help inspire, empower, and guide others to achieve their dreams and goals.If the tremendously successful UCONN varsity tennis program doesn't exist going forward, I believe it would be the beginning of the end of tennis programs in New England and a severe reduction in the interest in tennis as a youth sport as these children have little to aspire to after high school. Tennis is proven to be one of the healthiest sports, adding longevity to those who play it. sources show the health benefits of the sport of tennis: physical, mental, and emotional.  


In summary, I couldn't imagine UCONN not having a varsity tennis program going forward as I don't know what career I would be in now, I probably wouldn't be a published author, and I wouldn't have set 2 world records to inspire others. Removing the program is unfathomable to me. I'm sure that other current and past alumni would feel the same way. Please help keep the tennis program intact at the University of Connecticut. If you'd like me to speak in person or make any type of presentation please let me know.


13 facts about the sport of tennis: 
1. Tennis was the first women's sport in the Olympics. 
2. Tennis was the birth of professional women's sports with the WTA. 
3. Battle of the Sexes. Tennis led the charge for Title IX (earliest cases were tennis). 
4. Tennis is international. 
5. Tennis is the most equitable sport in terms of gender balance from beginner to professional. 
6. More than half of HS and college athletes are female. 
7. Athlete departments are concerned about concussions and athlete sexual abuse, both of which are probably among the smallest in tennis. (SafePlay regulated by USASOC.)
8. Tennis is a sport you can play until you are 100. 
9. Tennis alumni will disproportionately donate more to universities/colleges.
10. Tennis can be played co-ed. 
11. Tennis players live longer than most other athletes. 
12. Tennis is one of the important sports that promote neurogenesis. 
13. With COVID-19, tennis is one sport that has less issues regarding its natural physical distancing.  


We've also raised funds for the programs.


Respectfully with appreciation of your consideration.


Angelo A. Rossetti (UCONN Class of '92) (Men's Varsity Tennis Letter Winner 1990-92)  


USPTA, PTR, USTA Mental Skills & High Performance Certified
2X Guinness World Records™ Title Holder
203 996 4417 c 


USTA CT President


-------- USTA Sweeping Changes --------

June 17, 2020

The USTA can be very instrumental in growing the game and should be.  Very important to engage teaching professionals to accomplish that.  I think PD was catching on getting more play opportunities for developing players.  The USTA got too bloated in salaries and minutia and trying to “own” everything. We need to embrace the entrepreneur in tennis to make this game great because it is great.


Teach from the heart and the USTA is too corporate which they need to be in this day and age.


John Austin

Director of Tennis

Mulholland Tennis Club

Los Angeles, California

June 17, 2020

I’ve always thought the USTA was “Top Heavy” in its organization and the USTA would have been better served by allocating more resources at the local and community levels.  In my opinion, hiring expensive developmental coaches was not the best path for developing our U.S. players, as evidenced by the lack of U.S. champions over the last 15 or so years.  I would think the USTA would be better off subsidizing local coaches to continue to carry their students/players through the junior/pro ranks instead of coaxing promising junior players away from the coaches that got them to that point.  At a certain level, highly qualified coaches who have been in the pro-environment before can assist the local coach.  Using the promise of Wildcards and perceived specialized training may have hindered American junior/pro-development.  I think their new strategy of supporting tennis at the local/community level is just what is needed.  In addition, the sport of tennis is not limited to producing Grand Slam Champions.  It is important to grow tennis as a recreational game, perhaps investing in building new public facilities and staffing them with competent professionals and administrators.  Perhaps promoting more opportunities to get people playing tennis at private facilities may grow the game.

Jeff Richards

Tennis Professional/Tournament Director

Top Seed Tennis Academy

Calabasas, California

-------- Pickleball - yes or no? --------

June 17, 2020

I became a PPR pro in December of 2019. Pickleball is fun and is great as our tennis players are aging and can't move as well.  It certainly is a buzz right now.  To be honest as fast and popular as it is and many facilities are jumping on the wagon, I have a concern that it doesn’t become the racquetball  of this century where we invest in the infrastructure.


John Austin

Director of Tennis

Mulholland Tennis Club

Los Angeles, California

June 17, 2020

We have two dedicated Pickleball courts at Calabasas.  We do not have an organized Pickleball program or matchplay/game getter program.  One of our tennis pros is a certified Pickleball instructor.  We do get occasional Pickleball lesson inquiries that we refer to him.  Our Pickleball courts get use in the evenings.  It is unusual for both courts to be busy at the same time.  I am ambivalent toward Pickleball, I neither like it nor dislike it.  It does take up less space than a tennis court and players with less mobility can enjoy the game.

Jeff Richards

Tennis Professional/Tournament Director

Top Seed Tennis Academy

Calabasas, California

June 17, 2020

I love Pickleball and I do think tennis coaches should start to at least understand it.


I embrace Pickleball because we have specific Pickleball Courts and a beautiful Pickleball facility. We are fortunate to have both beautiful tennis and pickleball facilities so they are not really competing for space against each other- which makes it really nice. 

Amy Pazahanick

Chief Executive Officer

Agape Tennis Academy

Atlanta, Georgia

June 24, 2020

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the U.S. and I firmly believe it has a place at many facilities around the U.S.  I have played pickleball and enjoyed my time.  It reminded me a lot of tennis back in the 70’s, 80’s and even early 90’s. Very social. Ability didn’t matter as much as having a lot of people to connect with did.  Usually dedicated times to show up, drop in when you can, and for as long as you can.  If you want to make quick friends, bring some food and drinks as well.  You play a little and you socialize a lot.  That is what tennis was for many years and then we lost our way socially.


My only issue with pickleball isn’t really with pickleball at all.  It’s the tennis professionals or facilities that are replacing tennis with pickleball.  They should be able to co-exist and if they can’t or your tennis program is failing so much that you have to replace it with pickleball, then a deep dive into understanding is needed.  Understanding why people are leaving tennis, why is pickleball easier and quicker to play, and as a facility, can you make adjustments so that both racquet sports will thrive.


Lastly, I don’t buy the only communication that pickleball is a great way to introduce kids to tennis.  Why isn’t tennis a great way to introduce kids to pickleball too?  The reason, pickleball is played on a small court, bigger ball, and smaller racquet.  Tennis offers this as well within a 10U program but still many pros in the U.S. refuse to use the “tools” to help kids and beginner adults learn the game of tennis.  Use the equipment or tools in the manner it was intended and you just might see more flocking to both sports.

Scott Mitchell

CEO/Executive Director of  Tennis

Premier Tennis Consulting

Gainesville, Florida

-------- USPTR-PTR experience --------

June 28, 2020

Dear editor,


Just wanted to let my fellow teaching pros know about my recent experience in regards to getting my membership dues comped with the PTR and USPTA. I appreciate the support that the USTA is showing the pros in regards to helping all of us cover the cost during these unusual times. I have no problem with the requirements that one should have their Play Safe stuff current and up to date.


We are all lead to believe that the USTA is sharing information on this with both organizations. When I reached out to Paige at the PTR office she checked on the site and everything is up and current…you are good to go. Meanwhile, the USPTA says that they don’t get that information. They continue to elaborate that their database does not communicate with the USTA’s database. In order to have it, I need to get to download copies of my background check already sent to them and then sent it to them again.


So I screenshot the info from the USTA page as well as the letter verifying it was all checked off. I was told by Fred that screenshots and jpegs can be doctored and that they need to have the physical documents from the background check as well as the Play Safe courses. (btw… I updated all those at the end of 2019 several months before they would expire). If any member logs into their USTA page, they will discover you can’t download your documents. It only tells you that you have completed them or not.


At the present moment, I am still jumping through hoops trying to get all the documents to the USPTA. Considering the dues all members have paid for years you would think they had this figured out. They do have a tremendous opportunity to do better.

A big high 5 for the PTR on being so professional and on top of things.


Susan F. Nardi


Rhino Crash Sports Group, Inc

Culver City, California