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THE GOOD

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CONTEXT:  From the press release: "The ITF released a short film produced in collaboration with the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the United States Professional Tennis Association, documenting the history of tennis – from its origins as a medieval game through the establishment of formal rules in the 19th century, before charting the sport’s journey from the amateur days of the early-mid 20th century to the modern day.

VERY GOOD 9 MIN VIDEO: HISTORY OF TENNIS DOCUMENTARY

From a USPTA press release

The short film explores important moments throughout the sport’s history – such as the foundation of the Women’s Tennis Association in the 1970s, the re-introduction of tennis at the Olympic Games in the 1980s and the sport’s return following the suspension due to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. 

The nine-minute film features discussion and imagery of some of the finest athletes ever to play the game – from the sport’s early pioneers in the late-19th and early-20th centuries to the world-famous players who compete today, and is presented by tennis broadcaster and historian Chris Bowers."

TENNIS AMBASSADOR'S AUGUST RECIPIENT FOUNDED BY EX-U.S. MARINE

August recipient is the second of twelve lucky organizations

TENNIS AMBASSADOR unites three of the most innovative leaders in the tennis equipment industry, Slinger®, HEAD Penn Racquet Sports, and the Billie Jean King Eye Coach with one goal in mind: bringing the most advanced technology to communities that really deserve it. Conga Sports Inc has announced the selection of Asbury Park, NJ-based Asbury ‘Park Tennis Initiative’ as the recipient of the second TENNIS AMBASSADOR Equipment Package to acknowledge their efforts in providing tennis, academics, and life skills to under-resourced youth in the area.

The Asbury Park Tennis Initiative, founded by ex-U.S. Marine Aaron Williams, has one mission: To provide tennis, education, and life skills programs to support youth and inspire them to reach their greatest potential.

Asbury Park Tennis Initiative

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APTI Founder Aaron Williams and kids at the Boys & Girls Club

NEW EMMA DOYLE BOOK: WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A COACH?

Top 10 Practices of the World’s Best Coaches

Our good friend, a supporter of CONGA Sports, speaker, and coach, Emma Doyle, has a book coming out called What Makes a Great Coach? (#WMAGC) She has researched over 500 of the world's leading coaches asking them, 'In one to a maximum of three words, what makes a great coach?' Together with, Natalie Ashdown, they have condensed these responses into the top 10 practices of what makes a great coach. 

Curious to learn more? Please join me in participating in the virtual launch party 'What Makes a Great Coach?' during the US Open finals weekend: 
Thursday 8th of September at 8 pm MST until Sunday the 11th of September and grab yourself a copy of #WMAGC. Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B9QPW4GH

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I will review this book in our October issue together with Dick Gould's new book "Anatomy of a Champion" and can't wait to read both!

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MORNING BREW CELEBRATED ROGER FEDERER'S BIRTHDAY

Did you know that about RF?

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CONTEXT:  The Morning Brew crew had recently confessed to having been bitten by the tennis bug. The day before Roger Federer's birthday (which is August 8) they must have had some extra space in the newsletter and so they posted some facts about the tennis legend.

Interesting? I think so.

Speaking of RF, Tennis World posted this on Aug. 27 Roger Federer posts retirement-like words, fans “almost had a heart attack”

It features RF in an ON Running Shoe ad which has nice images of the maestro as a ball kid.

Another RF piece in Tennis World: Roger Federer trained with wife Mirka this summer: “It’s been fun”

It is expected for RF to return to competition at the Laver Cup September 23-25 (O2, London).

Almost 40 years ago, Steve Jobs told Apple’s early employees: “It’s better to be a pirate than join the navy.”

ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST: 17 SPECTACULAR TENNIS COURTS AROUND THE WORLD

Some of them are just breathtaking!

CONTEXT:  Architectural Digest is known as "The Ultimate Source Of Design Industry News Articles and Architectural Advances Worldwide." I think it's time someone posts those gorgeous tennis courts from around the world. They write about the Sky View Park image: "Forget hunting down an open court at the city park. There’s no need to leave home if you live at the Grand at Sky View Parc, a 14-acre property that is one of the largest mixed-use development buildings in New York City." Read the entire article here.

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Photo courtesy of The Grand at Sky View Park

RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY MAGAZINE WITH GREAT SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER ISSUE

Congratulations to the editor Peter Francesconi

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CONTEXT:  Racquet Sports Industry magazine came about as a merger between two industry stalwarts: Tennis Industry magazine and the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association’s Racquet Tech magazine. Together they cover a broader range of topics than either magazine did separately - 10 times a year.

The September/October issue features some articles which are outstanding in my mind.

  • Peter Francesconi wrote about Pickleball in his Editor's Notes: "What We (should have) Learned from Pickleball." Passionate tennis volunteers often are the first to anticipate what’s happening at the grassroots. We need to listen. (Loved it!)

  • Kim Bastable's article about Safety in Tennis was solid and so was Lindsey Keeler's item about grassroots tennis.

  • I also liked Judy Leand's feature Passion Plays (Dedicated volunteers, staff, and organizations continue to grow the game in the USTA sections.)

  • John Embree's obit about Peter Burwash was also quite insightful.

  • Read it here.

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Andrea Jaeger, still busy with her beautiful charity "Little Star Foundation" introduces one of her kids with cancer to a NYC horse. In her LinkedIn post she quotes the great Althea Gibson, ““Being champion is all well and good, but you can’t eat a crown.”

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Billie Jean King joins PHIT America to help kids all over the nation improve their physical and mental health by implementing new school physical activity programs using the Billie Jean King Eye Coach Brain Training system. See Press Release here.

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Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated fame made a good case for keeping the pickleball emotions in check. His article is quite interesting and he added a short video by the USAPA: Five Fun Facts About Pickleball.

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USTA - The 'Tennis Plays for Peace' event at the US Open saw the tennis world and New York City band together to help the 2022 US Open surpass $1.2 million raised for Ukraine relief. To learn more, visit TennisPlaysforPeace.com. (Photo: A.Joseph/USTA)

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THE BAD

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CALLING ON USTA PLAYER DEVELOPMENT TO BE A BETTER NEIGHBOR IN SOCAL

Refusal to share courts they hardly ever use leaves local a non-profit high and dry

It was November of 2002 when the USTA and AEG announced "USTA and AEG Expand Tennis Partnership at The Home Depot Center." What was announced with big fanfare was the establishment of a tennis complex with two sets of courts and a stadium. The complex is part of the Dignity Health Sports Park. That organization states on their website "Dignity Health Sports Park's commitment to athletics and training also extends to the surrounding communities. Tennis courts, soccer training fields and a three-mile jogging trail with 12 fitness stations around the perimeter of the development is available to local residents as well as other facilities and amenities." At least for the tennis courts this is not true at all. No one can book any tennis courts there.

 

The 2010 announcement also said"As part of the agreement, the USTA will supervise and coordinate all grass roots tennis programming, sanctioned tournaments, events and uses within the development owned and operated by AEG." That was apparently a mistake since there was little grassroots tennis programming going on apart from the USTA's Training Center West which occupies the upper 10 courts exclusively and some USTA tournaments held at the lower courts.

In 2014, Rick Buchta co-founded the non-profit First Break Tennis Academy and signed a lease for five of the lower courts. First Break became a very successful academy, an "award-winning community tennis program empowering youth to excel in tennis, academics and life." They are also a very successful NJTL chapter. However, that lease was recently not renewed and the academy needs to vacate the premises by September 3.

I heard that AEG is planning to build a soccer and maybe also pickleball venue on those lower courts. I also heard that First Break was petitioning the USTA's Player Development department to let them use some of the upper courts but to no avail. Apparently, the USTA Training Center West normally only uses a maximum of 4 upper courts but is not willing to share the rest with the community. Too bad. CBS local news took on the issue on August 24: Players say closure of tennis academy in Carson is a big loss to the community.

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I think the tennis facility in Carson is a big disappointment for the tennis playing community. Courts can't be used and some will soon disappear. The beautiful stadium hasn't seen a tournament since the days of the Premier-level WTA tournament that started here in 2003 and moved to San Diego in 2009.

A friend of mine called me and said only two words: "Messing Special." He referred, of course to Marla Messing, the soccer executive who headed the SoCal USTA section for a short while causing havoc in the tennis community. I was told Messing was the driving force to build the ill-fated Kimmelman Center in Carson and was reportedly looking to oversee the entire development. I'm not saying she is behind the efforts to drive tennis out of Carson but I am sad that the USTA wasn't willing or able to do more for the tennis community here.

Here is what I think is happening in Carson. Since the USTA has committed to building the Kimmelman Campus with 44+ tennis courts at the new location in Westchester, they have given up on Carson. Player Development will move to Westchester and then the developers will have a field day. The only reason why some of the tennis courts will be kept around is the LA28 Olympics and Dignity Health is the only tennis stadium in SoCal. But mark my word, folks. The Kimmelman Center will suck up all the bigger tournaments from surrounding clubs and I wouldn't be surprised if USTA adult league players will be told to play most of their matches there. Gotta monetize those courts, right?

NEWS FROM THE TRANSGENDER WAR FRONT

In between little good news, there's some really bad news

Yes, there was some good news. Like the one below. Good for USA Cycling. It was the right decision and saved this part of women's sports. And then there is the case of England's Rugby Union and Rugby League which both have banned transgender players from women's games. Should be a no-brainer, right?

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Oh no. Only after a few women got injured was that issue reviewed and it was recommended that only players recorded as female at birth be allowed to play in the women's category. Non-contact Rugby League and Wheelchair Rugby League remains mixed-gender and available for all without any gender-based eligibility criteria in the women's category. 

What's needed is a fair solution and a lot of people are working on it. There are 18 U.S. States that don't allow Transgender women to compete in women's sports. Experts are talking about solutions where e.g. Transgender women that have gone through male puberty would not be allowed to participate in women's competitive sports but could participate in practice and social events with their team. Others propose a Transgender category for all sports.

“I have been a woman for all of my 80 years.
I don’t intend on changing. But it erases me.

Because if that’s a woman…what am I?”

How about this article? BIOLOGICAL MALE IS IN CONTENTION AT LPGA QUALIFYING SCHOOL AFTER ROUND 1

But then there is the case of 80-year-old Julie Jaman of Port Townsend, Washington. For over 35 years she had been a guest at the YMCA-run Mountain View community pool. Reduxx writes, "on July 26, she witnessed a trans-identified male using the female locker rooms at the pool, and became concerned due to the fact he appeared to be watching the little girls as they changed out of their bathing suits."

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To make a long story short, it didn't end well for Julie Jaman. She got banned for life from that YMCA.

Washington State law says, that "public facilities must allow individuals access to spaces “that are consistent with that individual’s gender expression or gender identity." 

Read the entire story: Senior Woman Banned From Local Pool After Expressing Concern Over Male in Women’s Washroom.

I've been warning the tennis community for years, folks. If you think you can escape this nonsense, you're wrong. Look at what the USTA has done in that regard. They are allowing Transwomen to play on adult league women's teams. No questions asked. Wanna bet there are already a few League Captains cherry-picking some and self-rating them below their level? Just saying.

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THE UGLY

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FOR ME, THERE'S ONLY ONE REAL WINNER IN THE UGLY TUG OF WAR OVER NOVAK DJOKOVIC

US Open 2022 without Novak Djokovic. A tragedy in four acts

 

ACT 1

Novak Djokovic had declared in 2020 that he is against forced vaccination and added that he was extremely careful about what he puts into his body.

ACT 2

As a result and after lengthy disputes with Australian authorities, he wasn't able to participate in the 2022 Australian Open. He was allowed to play the French Open and became Wimbledon Champion this year.

ACT 3

In his post-match press conference after winning the Wimbledon final, Djokovic indicated he still does not intend to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, making him unable to play in the 2022 US Open. 

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ACT 4

On 20 July 2022, the US Open released a statement noting that while they do not have their own vaccine mandate, the US Government does not allow unvaccinated non-US citizens to enter the country. As a result of this policy, on 25 August, Djokovic announced that he would not take part in the tournament.

MY TAKE

I was critical of Novak for not taking the vaccine "like everybody else." I wanted him to compete and win more Grand Slams. But today I find myself admiring the man for standing to his beliefs and not budging to the pressure all around him. I applaud him and see him almost as a folk hero for what he believes in.

WINNER

I think Novak Djokovic is the winner of this tug-of-war. And I know for sure I'm not the only person out there whose respect Mr. Djokovic gained in the past few months since the Australian Open debacle.

LOSER #1

The fans are the true losers here because it's the U.S. Government's policy that kept their star player away from the last Grand Slam of the year.  When politics intermingle with sports, the outcome is always unpredictable and rarely positive for the man or woman on the street.

LOSER #2

I think the USTA is another loser in this scenario. Apparently, our NGB has absolutely no clout with the White House or any of the high-power politicians in Congress who could have walked their petition to the President. But, did they even try to petition and fight for Novak? I wouldn't be surprised if the holier-than-thou good old boys on the USTA Board in Orlando never tried. But - since they don't communicate with critics, I'll probably never find out.

Below are some interesting tweets on the topic, first and foremost from our friend Aruna Bernier, tennis teaching pro in Austin, Texas.

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Does it make sense that Djokovic could play in 2020 and 2021 and cannot in 2022? Or that unvaccinated Tennys Sandgren can play while Djokovic cannot? On its face, no. But inconsistency is a way of a life. Especially in a pandemic, where targets and data are moving.

Jon Wertheim

A BADLY WRITTEN ARTICLE SHOWED ME THAT HISPANICS HAVE NO LOBBY AT THE USTA

Typos are often unavoidable in publishing. This article should have never been approved.

There is only one reason I can think of why the communications department at a $485M organization could have approved this article: All the editors were on vacation. Have you ever seen an article anywhere with worse punctuation and grammar? And observe how the writer switches from "she" to "he" and back for the same female they are writing about USTA Board Member (Megan Moulton-Levy.)

I mean, I have done some bloopers in my life when it comes to spelling and grammar. This is sub-standard. See for yourself here. Also, the English version was written by a Victoria Church. When you switch to the Spanish version, it changes to Victoria Chiesa. Hu?

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Then it dawned on me. When I plugged the word Chiesa into Google Translate Spanish - English, the translation was indeed Church. Ha, I assume now that the entire article was written in Spanish and translated by Google. That's very funny but also a new low for the USTA, folks. Do they have no one in Orlando who speaks Spanish? No wonder the tennis outreach to the Hispanic population sucks big time. No wonder the last Davis Cup against Colombia was held In Reno instead of Miami. Hispanics have no lobby at the USTA! Demonstrated abundantly by the election of another good old white boy as CEO.

Looking at the entire Executive Staff in Community Tennis, for instance, I see 17 white men, 5 white women, 1 black man, 1 Asian man, and Dave Ramos who is probably Hispanic. One in 25. Let that sink in, Javier Palenque! What are you planning to do about that, Marisa Grimes?

Hispanics have no lobby at the USTA!

Demonstrated abundantly by the election of another

good old white boy as CEO.

PICKLEBALL WARS HEATING UP IN SAN DIEGO

The cops had to be called.

A reader sent us this and commented, "This is a video of the pickleball takeover in San Diego. The answer from tennis is that we have more players than all the other racquet sports combined.  The planned takeover of the Peninsula Tennis Club in Ocean Beach got so heated, that the cops were called to keep the peace.

Here's the video of a KUSI San Diego news report. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8i3LsFa7iNg

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As so often before, the voice of reason came from John Broderick, President of the local USTA District, the San Diego District Tennis Association. He basically said what would happen if the racquet sports players got together, went to Torrey Pines, and took over the golf course? He and many others are for fair discussions and are calling on the city to provide a permanent facility for pickleball. They're reportedly looking into it and the grass area right next to the Peninsula Tennis Club may be one possible location.

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THE WEIRD

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NAOMI OSAKA TWEET SHE PROBABLY REGRETS WRITING

Should we chalk it up to age?

Naomi Osaka seems to be always good for a newsworthy story, right? I like how she is supporting several athletes with NIL. But her tweet a few weeks ago, which she quickly deleted again, raised more than one eyebrow. She wrote, "Sometimes I wish my parents were rich so I don't have to feel like I need to work for everyone's survival." How out of touch can you be? One person's comment says it all: "Did you read it properly? She says her family uses her as a cash cow." No comment.

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CAN YOU FIGURE IT OUT?

USTA mailing leaves unanswered questions.

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The reader who sent me this USTA mailing had some questions. Like, if they are advertising a website for public coaches to register, doesn't it seem like a duplication of Net Gen or an admission that Net Gen is a useless website?

She also mentioned you can put your USPTA or PTR number in and asked if the purpose of this website is to "steal" or "recreate" the USPTA or PTR websites?

Mmmh. We do have sarcastic readers. Don't we?

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