• RIP Ruth Bader Ginsburg

  • Attracting Black Players

  • Not a Side Hustle

  • Virtual Tennis Conferences

  • Increase Tennis Revenue

  • The Commish

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-------- RIP Ruth Bader Ginsburgh --------

September 22, 2020


I was hired by American Airlines in mid 1960 as a stewardess. I had to sign a document stating I would voluntarily leave AA at the age of 32. I could not be married. I weighed 104 pounds and had to wear a girdle, false eyelashes and red nail polish. I had a weight and grooming check prior to each flight.

Appearing before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in 1971 in a case known as Sprogis v. United Airlines, Ginsburg argued that it was unlawful for United Airlines to discriminate against female flight attendants. At that time United, American and most airlines had a policy that female flight attendants had to be unmarried and remain unmarried while employed.  The policy did not apply to men.  Ginsburg successfully argued that such disparity violated the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The court agreed and there was no need to even hear United's side of the case.

This was just the beginning.  Slowly all the rules I mentioned above were modified and many of us made careers as flight attendant's.  I flew for 35 years.  Thank you RBG for opening my airplane doors.

Terry Lynch, 

Chair, Ventura County Junior Tennis Association  VCJTA



-------- RIP Ruth Bader Ginsburgh --------

September 25, 2020


Hi Rich-

I don't have a personal story about RBG except to say I feel like she was a hero and an advocate for women's rights. I applaud her courage in the face of gender bias and extreme cultural challenges in seeking equality for women. She changed our world with her courage and vision. I would have liked to know her.

Take care, my friend. 

Karen Ronney, USPTA and PTR 

USTA- Tennis Service Rep San Diego 
Lake Murray Tennis Club: Teaching Pro 
Patrick Henry High Girls' Varsity Tennis Coach
Natl USTA Faculty: 10 & Under & Tennis, Team, Schools 
National and San Diego Special Olympics Coach
Author: Proud Parents Guide to Raising Athletic, Balanced, and Coordinated Kids,
winner of 34 Regional and National Publishing Awards 

-------- Attracting Black Tennis Players --------

September 16, 2020

Hi Rich,

I love your articles. I have been playing and teaching tennis for over 50 years. Briefly I played college tennis at Hasting College and University of Nebraska. After graduation I joined Goodyear Tire and formed the Goodyear Tennis Team and became Tennis Coach. While there I played on a Black Tennis Team and Tournaments with Jim Moore. We were ranked #7 in North East Ohio Mens Doubles in the late 1960's. I noticed then that we were the only black/white team playing USTA tournaments.

In the 1970's I joined Dennis VanDermeer's tennis teaching course At Sweet Briar Collegep and a year later Billy Jean King and Dennis at Hilton Head. I have been teaching and coaching ever since including about 25 years part time with the Princeton Tennis Program.


In 2005 I became girls tennis coach at Trenton Catholic Academy, Hamilton, NJ.  My first team was 7 black girls who had no tennis experience. First year we lost every match. Next year we had a winning season. I added boys a few years later. My teams have been all black with a few Spanish.


Today I have 5 kids playing college tennis. Just a few comments. Black kids want to play with their black friends. All black high school players tend to be friends or even possible cousins regardless of where they are from. I think the USTA tries to separate players by age and skill. Tournaments are run by 12 and under. 14 and under. Level 6 and 7. This often separates black friends into All white and Asian groups. Black social life is often all ages family and friends. Because incomes vary, their social  groups Tend to be lower cost to participate. Lifetime black tennis players Often learn around ages 10-17. Bringing a black tennis player into an all white tournament probably won’t work.

I think the USTA should redesign their programs to invite black players that can family and friends groups. Recognize that they feel more comfortable with several black friends. Make sure their programs allow different ages, skills and ability to pay. They will always Want to bring friends and family.

Don Swanson PTR UTR USTA


-------- Not a Side Hustle --------

July 24, 2020

I was a teaching tennis pro for 35 years in Long Island. I was 35 years old when  I realized that it was not as sustainable as many other careers. Injury, age and economics made it a less desirable future.

I realized that much of the job of teaching tennis was teaching life skills.

I began to shift over, slowly changing to off court lessons 60% life skills, 40% tactics.

Over time I coached athletes in sports that I had no personal skills in. Rowing. Equestrian. Lacrosse. Golf. Track. All the while focusing on mental skills. Those things that tennis coaches say when with a player that are not strokes and strategy.

I became a “performance coach” and work with people in every field. My main industry is finance. I am the real life version of a character in the show Billions.

I have convinced more than a few people who are tennis pros that they already are life coaches. To make the change into a rewarding industry they would need to change their story about what they are capable of doing. It is difficult for some but these are trying times and it appears that it could be tough for another year.

Time to consider taking already existing skills and repackaging.

I still work with tennis players all around the country and do it only on phone/FaceTime/Skype. Rarely talk about how to play the game. Leave that to the all important on court coach.

If you think this might help others in our industry send them to my website LivetheBestStoryofYourLife.com or have them check out my book.

By the way Im not selling anything. Just want to help other colleagues who have been grinding out and looking for the little benefits of side hustles.

Bob Litwin


-------- Virtual Tennis Conferences --------


September 24 2020



I really enjoyed the virtual conference.  I was on the computer all day taking in the information.  I was constantly taking pictures with my cell phone of the screen slides from the presenters.   Most of the presentations were helpful and I will use a lot the information.   A couple however didn’t really follow the presentation script and kind of went off on a walk down memory lane type thing.   Three of my favorites were the stats presentation by Craig O Shannessy,  Gigi’s doubles, and  Tracy Almeda Singlan’s social media advice.  The information will really help me on the court in addition to helping my business exposure through social media venues.    I know some people were disappointed about not having the person to person contact this year.  To me, I really liked the format and all the virtual options.  I wouldn’t mind this type of national meeting structure and continuing being face to face in our Divisional conferences. 

Great job USPTA!




Larry Haugness

President, Larry's Racquet

Springfield, Missouri

-------- Virtual Tennis Conferences --------


September 24, 2020

It was great, cheap, well planned and it ran on time. The quality of the speakers was great.


Thank you,

Steve Riggs

PTR Professional

USPTA Elite Professional

City of Irvine Tennis Coordinator

-------- Virtual Tennis Conferences --------


September 25, 2020

Signed up to support USPTA.  Never participated.  Couldn't figure out how to to get on at the right time.  I got some email reminders but they were for things I was not interested in.  I hope they will send me something allowing me to watch what I missed.  Feel sorry for the vendors who paid $350.  I always buy at these things and never found out how to see their offers. 




-------- Virtual Tennis Conferences --------


September 25, 2020

It has been an interesting transition.  Obviously, it is convenient and safe.  It also provides more flexibility as to the viewers' participation.  But what I miss is not the interaction with the speakers, but rather the interaction with my colleagues.  There is no way to replace face to face communication, try as you may through a computer.  I bring this up because the recovery of our industry is somewhat the same in nature.  As we open facilities, we are noticing more and more people are wary of coming back to our venues.  They are still apprehensive and still concerned about being in public.  Understandable, but we have put in place a system that is unbelievably safe for everyone…staff, and customers.  To recreate confidence in our clients, our solution was to invite each member to come back and take a private tour of the facility and see what we have done, along with hearing the data behind our approach, i.e. air turnover, cleaning practices, mandate distancing, but all done face to face to help send an accurate and personal message.  It’s working.  I look forward to when these conferences are again back to a combination of great information and personal exchanges. 


Rod Heckelman

GM/Director of Tennis

Mt. Tam Racquet Club

Larkspur, California

-------- Increase Tennis Revenue --------

September 13, 2020

I started stringing back in the late ’70s. I’m retired and now just string occasionally just for friends (they bring strings, I don’t charge but ask for them to make a tax-deductible donation to Wounded Warriors tennis).   I have more requests than I could have comfortably handled.  My secret?  I ask what tension the racket was strung at and what tension they now want.   Then in front of them, I take out my stringmeter (Racket string tension gauge) and show them what the existing tension is.  And then after stringing I would show them what the tension currently is.  Satisfied customer for life!!   They were always amazed at how inaccurate the tension was in their recently competitor-strung rackets.  They would tell their friends and I would get stopped by tennis player strangers and asked if I had the tension tester with me and if I could tell them what their tension was.  

Spike Lowndes

San Diego

-------- The Commish --------

September 27, 2020

The commish says, that Naomi Osaka blew up the internet with that picture of her BF flipping off the camera, and she has lost a lot of fans. Commish wonders what Yonex thinks of that. Many coaches and players have voiced their concern over that lack of respect and professionalism. 

The commish tuned in and turned on for the Between the White Lines Summit, which of course was not perfect, but it was amazing.  Hats off to the organizers, and the Commish already knows that many connections will lead to action are coming soon. Commish thinks everyone should get on board, and the BTWL has a real shot as supplanting the commish and they might not need to say another word soon.

At the summit, Commish saw people from many walks of life coming together under the banner of I Am Tennis. Commish would like to thumb their nose at all the folks who think that somehow they can white knuckle their control of the game, or continue to be self-important.  It’s slip, slip, slipping away.  It’s a populist uprising.  The power behind it is that 98.7% of the people involved selflessly contributed, while a smidge of folks who have their own self aggrandizing agendas in place will soon be jettisoned. If you are that person that asks stupid gotcha questatements (see Glossary), your time is numbered. 

So, if you have a big salary and a position and have made a pledge to serve the greater tennis community it’s go time. The commish and his buddy like to say it’s BEER:30, meaning time for a beer and getting together.  If it’s been too long they say it’s BEER:35.  Anyway, it’s SERVICE:35 so get on it. Maybe you will accidentally engage with one of those who make up the entity Commish. 


Questatement:  A pompous statement wrapped in the disguise of a question to passive/aggressively cloak the inner motive of the jackass who thinks they are smarter than everyone else. 

The Commish