Tennis Prose



Corona vs. Tennis in Bradenton Sarasota

Tennis is down right now in the Bradenton/Sarasota hotbed but it’s not down and out. yet.

IMG is closed. Almost all the main clubs are closed. But there are a few court locations still open or partially open. Longboat Key Club Tennis Gardens allows just singles until 1 pm but they removed all the nets from the Islandside eight courts.

Longboat Key Public Tennis Center dropped their nets, it’s closed. Payne Park in dowtown Sarasota is closed for over a week now.

Gillespie Park and Arlington Park near downtown Sarasota both locked up this week. So nothing is open now in Sarasota. Bayfront Park on Longboat Key locked up two days after ATP pro Michael Mmoh used the court. A police officer told me the reason being that a LBK resident who had symptoms of corona kept using the court. His words.

Another LBK resident, who is in her 60s and was a member of my Longboat Key Observer Challenge Cup Open division winning team in January has come down with the virus. She was hospitalized last week, returned home and was taken by ambulance yesterday back to the hospital. The word I was told was she was visited by her brother from Switzerland. No further details.

One situation in a private community on Longboat is they have two courts and players have to get there in the morning and wait on line to book their times. But the courts are said to be open by 4.

Bradenton is also shutting down but there are still some courts open. GT Bray Park is closed. But the 75th Street courts where Bollettieri used to operate – nine courts – is open. Last night it was mobbed, every court full. First time I ever saw it full to capacity. Mixed doubles groups from nearby Bray Park came over. They had to get their tennis fix.

Tampa is also shutting down. My friend from Tampa drives down an hour to play on my four private hard courts (inside a gated community). I have not yet checked Anna Maria Island’s three public hard courts or the Community Center’s three courts which are not free to the public.

But the Sarasota Bradenton league tournament has been suspended until March 30. This went into effect two weeks ago.

Inspiration Academy is another local academy – I have not checked it yet to see if they are using their courts and training.

Jessie P Miller Middle School also has five hard courts – I will check those today also.

One high nationally ranked NJ teen and her mom are seriously considering coming down to Bradenton to live and train for a few weeks or months and use my courts because everything is closed in NJ except for private home courts, which I know of one and conencted the family to the court owner.


  • Jon King · March 27, 2020 at 6:53 pm

    Well our home owners association said that they had to keep the neighborhood courts closed because the virus could be transmitted through inanimate objects like the door to the courts. I told them they were all idiots because the residents still get food delivery, mail, packages, have repair people in their houses, go to the store, etc. 1000 ways to have risk when anyone could just open the door to the tennis courts with a tissue if they were worried. So we are down to the courts at a park in a rural area, a long drive, but it is what it is.

  • jeanius · March 27, 2020 at 7:55 pm

    My tennis group had already stopped playing before all county parks were closed. Several private developments have closed all amenities. I take lessons with a pro on a leased court, and he may have to shut down, too. This would be a great loss for me, since I have a mobility problem; working with him helps me a great deal…especially since my physical therapy facility has also closed.
    Of course,I’m not the only one. For a friend with Parkinson’s disease, tennis is especially important. Exercise helps to keep PD symptoms at bay. He and his wife play doubles everyday. He is also unable to do his spin class because the local Y is closed.

  • jeanius · March 27, 2020 at 8:16 pm

    PART 2: Tennis is not only fun, it can be a necessity for some us. In an article I wrote for Tennis Now 2 years ago, I wrote this about my friend Tom:

    My dear friend, Tom Eckhardt, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease several years ago. With Parkinson’s, exercise is essential to maximize mobility. So, with great courage, in my opinion, he took up tennis! Meeting Tom and his wife, Mara, you would never even know he has this condition. He told me about it quietly while we were sitting on a bench at the tennis court [now closed due to Cobid 19] waiting got out our turn rotate in. I nearly fell off the bench. You would never know unless he told you, especially because he plays tennis. Who has Parkinson’s’ disease and plays tennis?!
    Tom is a big, quiet and gentle guy, whose long legs move him around the court pretty well– 4-5 times a week – in matches and in clinics. When you play against him he is definitely a factor. His lovely sweet wife has become one of my closest friends.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 27, 2020 at 8:26 pm

    Unbeleivable story Jean, thanks for sharing. Tennis is magic.

  • jeanius · March 27, 2020 at 8:27 pm

    To Jon King–

    Jon, homeowners associations are typically fussy and conservative. They worry a great deal about anything that might be touched by insurance. [where are you located?]

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 27, 2020 at 8:29 pm

    I asked around to several tennis friends and learned Lakewood National is open as is Longwood Run and also several local community courts. Anna Maria Island three courts are open. Glen Lakes by IMG is open (just one court) a lot of the Czechs live near by, so they go there. Jesse Miller school courts are open – 4 courts – where Pierre Duclos got into trouble with the teen girl and later went to jail. So Bradenton public courts are more open than Sarasota.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 27, 2020 at 8:32 pm

    From an insider: “IMG is basically closed for all sports. They are sending all of the students home next week. Many can’t travel to China, Europe and other restricted countries. I hear 60-70 students are in limbo for travel. The entire faculty will shut down soon maybe next week.”

  • jeanius · March 27, 2020 at 8:43 pm

    Hey,Scoop, so you saw through my Jeanius moniker. We are all upset in various ways. Corona virus has not only done in pro tennis, but, as you can see, it is also touching us ordinary (and extraordinary (i.e, Tom) recreational players, too. Bad enough we can’t watch tennis; now we cant even play it. I’m curious as to how other players, or others in the tennis community–players, pros, and whoever– are being affected by this tsunami virus.

  • Jon King · March 27, 2020 at 8:46 pm

    jeanius, we are in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Yes, our homeowners association is very cliche, 4 retired people who love to walk around with clipboards and send notices as to who should pressure wash their driveways.

    Scoop, Lakewood Ranch used to be our stomping grounds 10 years ago. The guy who ran the athletic club used to let us come in at night, turn on our own lights, and play. They had 2 red clay courts that only us and Johan Kriek, who had his academy there at the time, would use. No one else wanted to get their shoes and socks stained!

    Sekou Bangoura Sr. trained his son there who is a heck of a player. Also Dick Vitale’s 2 grandsons trained there and Dick would sit each afternoon and watch them practice.

    Great memories from the Sarasota-Lakewood Ranch area.

  • Jon King · March 27, 2020 at 8:51 pm

    Tennis is indeed magical. We have a very large program in town for autistic kids and another one for disabled kids called Jamie’s Angels, sponsored by a tennis family who lost their daughter who lived her whole life with major medical challenges. Its amazing how the kids look forward to the program.

    In that perspective, us having to drive to the middle of nowhere to find a court is nothing really.

  • jeanius · March 27, 2020 at 9:21 pm

    Jon- when I played in a women’s community league in Philadelphia,, tennis-starved players drove miles to play (from Millville NJ, for example. Where is that? 45 miles southeast of Philly)

    Scoop- just ordered another “Facing…” book (my third) Facing Serena and that other notable player i’m not wild about. What else is there to do when there is nothing else to do? Read a book by Scoop. (unpaid advertisement]

  • Jon King · March 28, 2020 at 12:09 am

    jeanius, I grew up just outside of Philly so know that area well.

  • catherine · March 28, 2020 at 4:45 am

    Jeanius – like you I bought Scoop’s Facing Serena/Steffi Graf. Is Steffi the other player you’re not wild about ? I couldn’t really understand that – Steffi was a wonderful player.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 28, 2020 at 8:09 am

    Jeaniusius, I did not see through your alias moniker ) addicted tennis players will simply not be denied. Ones who don’t have courts should create their own with a makeshift net barrier. Dont need court lines. Just a barrier and hit away.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 28, 2020 at 8:11 am

    Jon. Red clay ruins wardrobes but you gotta get down and dirty sometimes. Lakewood national is the new big club out there further east on 70. Nice club. Kriek has followed you to Palm beach.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 28, 2020 at 8:13 am

    Tennis has magical powers. Feel sympathy for those who never played.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 28, 2020 at 8:16 am

    Jeaniusius, I know people who do drive hours to play. I know one guy from Virginia who would take a bus to the US open for one day! My friends on long island drove over 4 hours to Newport just to see about 3 hrs of tennis and then they drove back.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 28, 2020 at 8:18 am

    Jean thanks for getting Facing Serena Steffi. I think you will gain newfound appreciation for the other player. Learned a lot of new inside info about her which was previously not known. Because she was is so shy.

  • Jon King · March 28, 2020 at 9:29 am

    Yes Scoop, Johan seems to follow us everywhere! Kriek was in Lakewood Ranch when we were there and my girl was 4 years old. Then about 5 years ago he set up his club in Palm Beach Gardens, about a mile from our house. Now he moved again to Jupiter, FL at a small club that just happens to be owned by very close friends of ours. He went from back when we first met him to being single with no kids, now he has a wife and 2 kids, both who play tennis.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 28, 2020 at 10:20 am

    Jon, Kriek is one of my favorite figures in tennis, always a super interview, people forget he won two AOs and played all those top guys in his era and also some from the next era like Agassi. It’s good he always keeps bouncing around to different locations for his academies. Do you know why he left PB to go to Jupiter? Better offer?

  • Jon King · March 28, 2020 at 11:20 am

    Scoop, the small academies like Kriek usually run a cycle. He comes into a resort or club, he has been to Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Virginia, North Carolina, Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter, all in the past 10 years.

    He presents a proposal to the owners about how much he can generate for them. When he first comes in there is a buzz about a former grand slam champ, he gets 2 groups of kids, 5-10 high performance kids, and a group of little tots. Things go okay for a year, maybe 2, then the club owners start asking why the revenue is not what was proposed.

    Its nothing against Johan, thats the cycle of most small academies. They simply do not have staying power. Parents of the high performance kids go from coach to coach, the little tots usually do other activities and are not long term players.

    Johan was at PGA National for 3 years, his longest stay ever, but they wanted more revenue and took their program in another direction. Johan landed at a very small club and his cycle is about 9 months in, but this time its all hobby kids and no high performance kids. So he will likely be on the move again soon.

    Outside of the big academies, most of them come and go, move and reopen. Even Rick Macci recently moved to his 3rd-4th location.

  • Jeanius · March 28, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    Catherine.. Steffi is the half of that book I’m not wild about. Fabulous forehand and only a slice backhand. she was less than gracious after seles was stabbed in one of her 3? Books she noted that Graf never called her. No one can take anything away from serenas ga me although her behavior has been horrible at times. I love her on court intensity and off court personality.I can’t think of a more entertaining player than Serena Williams. Although I do love Andy roddick
    . .

  • Jeanius · March 28, 2020 at 2:45 pm

    Scoop I’d love to see about about Martina hingis. Her anticipation was from another planet and no player has ever had so much finesse. Like Latin a dead word in tennis


  • Scoop Malinowski · March 28, 2020 at 2:47 pm

    Jean. Steffi could hit top on bh and did for a time but her slice was lethal. Steffi hit two totally different balls on each side. Devastated the wta tour. Until Seles solved the Steffi puzzle. My book explains how.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 28, 2020 at 2:49 pm

    Thanks for that insightful info Jon. Sad that even a living legend like Kriek struggles as a coach. Too much competition.

  • catherine · March 28, 2020 at 2:55 pm

    Jeanius – that slice backhand of Steffi’s was a pretty consistent shot. Players used to come off the court shell-shocked after a Graf thrashing. She just had this aura, from the time she was a teenager. Much better mover than Serena I’d say.

    The story about Seles is a myth. Steffi went to see her in hospital. I can’t see what more she could have done – they weren’t close friends. She just wasn’t an extravert and didn’t act up on the court, or off.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 28, 2020 at 3:28 pm

    Seles is clearly still disenchanted by how Graf handled. And I believe suspects possible inside job conspiracy as even Fred Perry suggested on the record. Interestingly Seles and Steffi did not ever make peace and both avoid each other and avoid contact.

  • catherine · March 28, 2020 at 3:44 pm

    Scoop – we went over this a while ago if I recall correctly. As I said then, I don’t believe there was any conspiracy, and I’ve never heard anything since to change my mind.

    No reason Graf and Seles should ever meet – they were not friends, they move in different circles, live completely different lives. Steffi does not keep in touch with many players from her past, it’s well known.

    A long time ago now. I don’t know what Monica is up to these days, doesn’t coach or anything else in tennis that I know. I believe she was psychologically damaged – the physical injury wasn’t life threatening.

  • Jean kirshenbaum · March 28, 2020 at 4:14 pm

    Sorry I brought up the stabbing. saw seles play many years ago indoors in Philadelphia. She moved like a puma.nwhat’s really fascinating is that seemed to open up space and walk into it and move into it to make the return. Never saw anything like it since

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 28, 2020 at 6:36 pm

    Catherine, the motive was there. German tennis was losing revenues with Becker fading out of major finals. Seles was taking further revenues from German federation and tv profits. It happaned in Germany and then the attempted murderer was set free that night – not a night in jail. Fred Perry certainly believed it was a possible conspiracy inside job – I shared his quotes laced with heavy suspicion. Looking back on the whole thing I cannot completey rule out an inside job. If you want to rule out an inside job, you have that right and I won’t argue you out of your belief. As a Seles fan I still feel bitter about the whole thing, how the killer got off scott free and how Graf and Germany tennis benefitted. Follow the money. Seles turned down millions to play in Germany after, and never will go back.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 28, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    Catherine is right, Graf was a killer on court. In my book players say they used to bet each other on lasting 45 minutes with Graf. Or 30 min. Steffi was that devastatingly dominant.

  • Jeanius · March 28, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    Monica says in one of her books she hhow to complete emotional breakdown and begin to Hemet to bend sheet she went to Colorado to go over that problem and didnt. She’s pulling in Sarasota at
    Laurel oak development. She sold her home several years ago and married wealthy businessman I don’t know where she is now turn on dancing with the Stars for about 1 show number of years ago

  • Jeanius · March 28, 2020 at 9:09 pm

    Let me fix that mess she had a breakdown and she began to binge-eat and went to Colorado to see a special doctor. She used to live here in Sarasota at Laurel oak development and sold that a number of years ago when she married a rich businessman

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 29, 2020 at 8:44 am

    Not sure where Seles is now. She supposedly married or is engaged to a octagenarian businessman named Tom Golisano or something. Not sure if she was really married to him or it was press released that they were going to marry. Seles keeps a low profile now. Which is understandable when a lone maniac tried to take her life. Or was it a vast German conspiracy to save a mega million money making franchise’s revenue generating ability? Gunter Parche and Lee Harvey Oswald two hired patsies?

  • Jeanius · March 29, 2020 at 12:39 pm

    Jon. Where in Philly area did you
    Grow up? Where did you play?

  • jg · March 29, 2020 at 2:27 pm

    Andy Roddick joining tennis channel, great addition, I’d like to see him coach.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 29, 2020 at 3:44 pm

    Roddick could replace McEnroe as the best analyst in American tv. He knows more how challenging it is to play Fed Rafa Djokovic Murray and he articulates it with good details. He said he played Roger for 15 years and still coyld never sense or predict where Roger will go with his serve on the key points.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 29, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    Also like Kristie Ahn becoming a tc contributor.

  • Jon King · March 29, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    Jean, grew up in Glen Mills, PA. But back then basketball was my game. Spent many a summer on the pick up courts in North Philadelphia, which was the best way to improve for a white suburban kid!

  • Sam · March 30, 2020 at 10:56 am

    “Not sure where Seles is now. She supposedly married or is engaged to a octagenarian businessman named Tom Golisano or something.”

    Yes, they’re actually married. He’s not quite an octogenarian, but very close. 🙂 He’s 78–and supposedly a billionaire. Apparently they live near Rochester, NY, but also have some property in Florida.

    It’s interesting that when the players all voted on whether to freeze Seles’s #1 ranking, they all voted against it–except for Sabatini, who abstained.

    “Or was it a vast German conspiracy to save a mega million money making franchise’s revenue generating ability?”

    These days, it’s always good to be asking questions. 😉

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 30, 2020 at 3:05 pm

    Sam, you heard of the old quotation: Believe nothing of what you read and hear and half of what you see. And yes indeed, question EVERYTHING.

    Seles and Golisano were married but there are no wedding pictures on the internet. Maybe none of them together. Easy to connect those dots.

  • Sam · April 2, 2020 at 12:40 pm

    “Sam, you heard of the old quotation: Believe nothing of what you read and hear and half of what you see.”

    Not really, but it makes sense. Actually, if it’s on TV, even believing 50% of it might be a little high. 😉

    “And yes indeed, question EVERYTHING.”

    Of course, you have to pick and choose which battles to fight. And sometimes when you question things, you will make mistakes, which is perfectly fine. But it’s better to err with a questioning mind than to believe everything you’re told and end up a total simpleton. 😛

    In general, people are way too trusting. And when you question things, it makes many folks uncomfortable. Well, it’s definitely not our job to go around making everybody feel good, that’s for sure. 🙂

    “Seles and Golisano were married but there are no wedding pictures on the internet. Maybe none of them together. Easy to connect those dots.”

    What do you think is really going on there?

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 2, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    Truth does not fear questioning. Only lies do.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 2, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    Not going to touch the Seles golisano marriage with 50 foot pole.

  • Sam · April 4, 2020 at 12:28 pm

    “Truth does not fear questioning. Only lies do.”

    Pretty much.

    “Not going to touch the Seles golisano marriage with 50 foot pole.”

    What about a 100-foot pole? 😉

    You have a lot of inside information that I’m not privy to. So, I personally have no idea why she’d fake her marriage.

    What I do know is that Golisano has been divorced 3 times. My guess is that the main attraction for Seles there was MONEY. 🙂

    Yes, that’s very odd there are no wedding pictures, and that Seles seems to have all but vanished.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 4, 2020 at 1:58 pm

    Ok with my 100 foot pole… guess it’s a marriage of convenience more than love.

  • Sam · April 7, 2020 at 2:50 pm

    Can you say “PRE-NUP”???

    I *thought* you could. 😉

  • Matty · April 16, 2020 at 6:01 am

    Played doubles at UMBC for three hours last weekend. Felt so exhilarating to be outdoors hitting and playing competitively. All the courts were full. The courts are tucked between the gym and the swimming pool, so no nosy rules people to bother us thankfully

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 16, 2020 at 7:55 am

    Lucky you Matty. Unlocked Tennis courts are as rare as Jennifer Capriati sightings these days.



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