Who’s Playing Tennis During the Coronavirus?

I’ve taken my son out to the local public courts here in Scarsdale, New York to play tennis for the last couple of days. It was cold today, but the sky was bright and there was no wind. The other day, we went out and it was 70+ degrees and once we got on a court, the other courts started to fill up.

And thus the dilemma of playing tennis during the siege of the coronavirus. I tell my wife that tennis is the safest sport to play during these times: outside with only one other player; using only new balls and perhaps wearing thin gloves. What other sport can you safely keep the six-foot social distance space between you and your game partner? Tennis is it and I guess golf if you’re careful not to congregate at the tee and on the green.

Still, my wife is not letting Callum play tennis with anyone but me and I can’t play against him as I have a torn meniscus that I’m probably going to need surgery on whenever it’s finally okay to do elective surgery again. Up until a couple of years ago, I could beat Callum, but after hobbling around the other day, he said to me, “Dad, I could probably Golden Set you now!” (A Golden Set is when a player beats his opponent without losing a point. Sons say the nicest things sometimes to their fathers!).

But with all the courts suddenly filling up, Callum and I felt danger upon us. It’s a strange feeling to be wary of your tennis neighbors. While it bothers me sometimes when someone hits their ball onto my court in normal times; now I’m actually somewhat petrified when they do. I make sure not to pick the ball up with my hand to hit it back to them. I just double-tap it on the court and scoot it back with my racquet. Usually, if I’m hitting with Callum and I see someone on another court who looks like they can do a better job than I of hitting with him, I’ll ask them if they want to play with Callum. Now that’s out too. I can’t take that chance.

Callum is a top-30 nationally-ranked 14-and-under player (he’d be higher if he was home-schooled like most of the other top national junior players are and could play all the national events that are often held during school weeks like the Orange Bowl, Eddie Herr and the Easter Bowl, which has been canceled this year) and I remind him often that he has to play more to compete with the Jones’s of the national junior circuit. I’m a bit manic about this I know, and Callum and my wife remind me too.

Today we drove by the Scardsdale Middle School courts (they were supposed to be locked according to a telephone announcement we received from the White Plains, NY mayor, but maybe Scarsdale didn’t get the memo because they were open) and they were starting to fill up again so we drove further down the road to courts where you usually need to be a Scarsdale resident (we’re not) and have a permit. Callum said to me, “What are you going to say if they ask for a permit?” and I said, “I don’t think we’ll have to worry about that now.” I guess one of the positives of playing tennis during the coronavirus is that there are no court attendants.

We got on the hard courts. The two Har-Tru courts adjacent to the hard courts didn’t have their nets up. I had Callum run around the courts twice. I didn’t feel like coaxing him into stretching so we didn’t do any. We started with some mini-tennis. Callum and I have played mini-tennis since he was a small tot and it’s something we can fall into quite easily and really enjoy ourselves. But when you have a torn meniscus; something I barely felt since I tore mine in my right knee in 2007; the pain on the inside of the knee when you pivot is like having a pick spiked into your knee. Still, I love seeing how Callum has such control of his chips and spins and slices now.

I move him back to the baseline while I stay up near the service line with my hopper-full of balls. Yesterday, I bought a new case at Costco’s as Callum always complains my balls are mostly dead; which is somewhat true, but most teaching balls are not brand new. I haven’t taught tennis for years now, but I used to teach 35 hours a week for a number of years and then after those more intense teaching years, I kept a small group of mostly teenage players that I taught on mostly private courts. So one of the things I love to do is feed balls, especially to a player who can move and hit a variety of shots.

“Easy power” is a term in tennis that means a player can generate a lot of power without seemingly swinging very hard. Callum now has this ability in spades. Balls careen off his racquet and come back at me like line drives off the bat of Mike Trout. Others zoom by me as I stand inside the service line on the opposite of the net from Callum and slash into the corners of the court. Whenever Callum or I come across a ball we deem dead, we hit it fungo-style over the fence and deep into the woods surrounding the courts. When Callum was little and I would do this on my own, he’d beg me to give him balls to also bat out of the court and he still enjoys doing so.

I start him at the baseline and feed a ball deep to his backhand so he’ll have to hit a heavy spinner crosscourt. Then I feed a ball to the middle of the court for him to attack with his forehand; then he’s up to the net for a volley and an overhead. If I hit a feed when he’s at the net that he can’t get a racquet on, he gives me a dirty look. If I give him a lob that goes over his head, Callum tells me I’m feeding too-difficult overheads. I try not to argue with him as I don’t want to get him frustrated or myself; I want him to work on his game even though I can’t hit with him.

I notice his volleys have gotten cleaner. He doesn’t drop volley nearly as much as he used to do when he comes up to the net. His wrist is solid at contact and he moves forward into the volley more with his footwork. His hands, a word every junior coach loves to expound on as well as proud parents when they talk about their son or daughter’s aptitude for the game or natural talent, have gotten so much better than from when he was a 8 or 9 and pros he worked with would joke that his game was the prototype of most young junior players’s games: from the baseline they look like they’re 16, but at the net, they look like they’re 8 or 9.

He works hard; good intensity and good focus. He helps me open the new cans of balls (always put the tin top inside the can after you spill the balls into the hopper so they don’t flitter around the court, I tell him), but after we finish a full hopper, he tells me I have to pick up all the balls (while he goes on his cell phone to do I don’t know what). I pick up the balls without demanding he help me (I know Uncle Tony wouldn’t approve) because I just want to see him work hard during the practice. I don’t want to argue with him and get either of our nerves’s rattled. Also on this sunny Sunday, I’m content to walk around with the hopper and push balls under its metal bars with my racquet so they settle into the hopper. I’ve always found a certain peace in picking up balls with a hopper.

We both go back to the same baseline and Callum starts serving. His motion is fluid and his serve has also come a long way from even last year when he would sometimes drop his head in disappointment when we practiced serves because his serve was much weaker and inconsistent. Now it pops off his racquet. I tell him to move his body more on the diagonal and toss out to the net post so he can get more hip and shoulder rotation into his serve and better hide what part of the box he’s aiming for.

“You want me to stand sideways the way you serve,” he said.

This has been a contention with Callum and I since he was around 8 or 9; he thinks I want him to play the way I do/did and it upsets him. But his game is totally different and obviously much better than my game; even when I played in college I couldn’t come over my backhand the way he can. I served-and-volleyed or chip-and-charged on almost every point; Callum rarely does either and he rarely slices a backhand either. I never liked or could stay on the baseline for more than a few shots; Callum’s coach tells me one thing he loves about Callum is that he’s very relaxed and doesn’t feel the need to go big into corners early in the point; he can stay back and be patient; work the point.

“Your serve is already better than mine was when I was serving at my best,” I said. “I’m just telling you something Tom Gullikson told me about your serve in Orlando (at the USTA National Junior Development camp).”

Callum moves his feet more on the diagonal and gets his toss more to the right of his body. If I invoke a coach that he respects, Callum will follow instructions much more than if I suggest something. Finally, I stand in front of him on the service line looking back at him as he serves.

When he hits his serve, I immediately toss a ball to his right or left for him to practice his “Serve + 1” patterns as the coaches had him doing in Orlando. Callum hits a serve and then steps into a forehand, hitting it savagely. The object is to finish a point in only two shots when you’re serving. One time when Gullikson saw Callum take a return of his serve hit down the middle of the court with his backhand rather than run around the ball and aggressively hit it with his forehand, the former American Davis Cup captain asked him, “You like your backhand better than your forehand?” After doing about 20 “Serve + 1” combos, we hit a few more dead balls over the fence watching them soar into the limbs of the bare trees.

Callum asks me how many of his friends do I think are playing tennis these days during the coronavirus. I say everyone of them. It’s a debate we have even in calmer times; how much is Callum playing compared to his tournament friends? I contend they’re working harder than him. I remind him of what Gullikson said at the conclusion of the nationals’s invite camp: “Every day, when you walk on the court, you have to try to get one per cent better: as a person, a player and a competitor.”

I make a bet with him that two of his most ardent tennis friends have played today even though it’s only 48-degrees out and all the indoor clubs are closed by city or state mandate. I text two of them asking if they’ve played today and they both text back right away: One says, “No, I have not. Too cold to play;” while the other says; “I haven’t played since Wednesday. My mom doesn’t want me to leave the house.”

I lose the bet. Callum is vindicated. His dad isn’t always right. I can lay off of him about playing until at least tomorrow.

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  • catherine · March 23, 2020 at 2:30 am

    Dan – I check T-P from time to time and the update on Callum was unexpected but interesting.

    Feelings at present in UK – Wimbledon will not take place this year.

  • Dan Markowitz · March 23, 2020 at 9:11 am

    Thanks Catherine. I’ll write something up when I have something to write about. This subject interested me because I’m dealing with a 13-year-old who is usually very active and now his activities have ground to a halt. But I also must admit my role in the matter. I fear if he doesn’t play his game will stagnate. I realize that my fears are irrational–that even his trainer said that since he pitches in travel baseball and hasn’t gone a week without tennis in the last couple of years, it’d be good for his shoulder to take even a month off.

    So what to do? Tennis is also a great way to cut the tension of self-isolating. Hitting a ball–even against a wall–is a nice way to free the mind. Now kids playing basketball are advised where we are to shoot by themselves, not to get into any pickup games. So in some ways, tennis which is essentially an individual game, a non-contact game, is the perfect sport during these terrible times. At my yoga studio, we’re doing virtual classes and a lot of people tune in and practice along. There’s a critical need to find ways to exercise and de-stress.

    Bummer about Wimbledon. Living without pro tennis, and all sports in general, is tough. Now in the morning when I do my execises in front of the tv, I have on the news or a movie from Netflix not the Tennis Channel or the NBA channel.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 23, 2020 at 9:41 am

    Nice to see Dan and Catherine have achieved peace and are now on such friendly terms. I can reveal now that it was discussed to ban Catherine from the site but I emphatically rejected that idea on the basis that everybody should be allowed to express their opinions and comments here. I emphasized that Catherine was a valuable dedicated member of this site and Dan eventually saw it my way. See, people forgive and forget and drop their vindictiveness and can be friends again. The power of tennis.

  • Dan Markowitz · March 23, 2020 at 10:11 am

    I’m not going to get into personalities on this site. I’m not going to engage people on their politics. I’m not going to bring up politics. So did Catherine bother me at times with her posts and opinions: of course, and I’m sure she felt the same about me, but we never attacked one another or started to spout outrageous conspiracy theories. That stuff is garbage. I want to write and talk about tennis and not anything that has to do with the Orange man or Stevie Wonder.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 23, 2020 at 10:16 am

    I heard Stevie Wonder has very good volleys, good hands and touch at net. )The best musician at tennis is my friend Phil Anselmo, he won a trophy in tennis as a kid. Canada’s Corey Hart’s daughter plays college tennis.

  • catherine · March 23, 2020 at 10:35 am

    Scoop – that was a long time ago. Dan and I are probably argumentative by nature but I’ve learned to be careful online because heated arguments with anyone are really a dead end.

    I’ll repeat myself – I’ll continue looking at T-P and contributing to anything which isn’t political and which deals with tennis. I’ll be strict about that. As a site I prefer T-P to any other because it’s so easy to use.It would be a great pity if it ceased to be a forum for good comment.

    Re Wimbledon – no official statement yet but as Boris Johnson has indicated a possible lockdown for London, the hardest hit part of the UK, and most people are staying home then I can’t see any possibility of a grass court season. I think several players will follow Petko’s plan and put off retirement until 2021. Andrea wants to ‘say goodbye’ to all the tournaments she’s played in and that’s not something she’ll be able to do this year.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 23, 2020 at 10:49 am

    Catherine, nice words and you are always welcome here. You are a good person. I feel bad for Leander Paes. This was supposed to be his Last Roar farewell tour. Hopefully he will extend it. Paes deserves a proper salute and send off. Hopefully Trumps Chloroquine medication stuff whatever it is will KO this hidden scourge.

  • Dan Markowitz · March 23, 2020 at 11:53 am

    Ok guidelines….no mention of any politician and none of Justin Gimelstob, Margaret Court or Roscoe Tanner unless they’re coming back to play Wimbledon. But really, no mention of politicians or government or homosexuality or liberal or conservative fake media. The word hoax is banned here at Tennis-prose. I might not like people’s views or political stance, but that shouldn’t exempt me from talking Tennis online with anyone. But u also don’t want anyone to spout there non-tennis views on this forum and I promise not to spout mine.I write about parenting because I’m involved in interested in it as it pertains to junior tennis, but I’m not going to make value judgments or spout conspiracy theories about how kids are being raised in families, tennis academies and schools and I’d like everyone else who comes on this forum and posts to pledge the same.

    Now to tennis: my hopeful Grand Slam schedule for 2020: Wimbledon—first two weeks of August; US Open—last week of August-first week of September; Roland Garros—last week of Sept-first week of October.

  • catherine · March 23, 2020 at 11:55 am

    Laycold as the new surface at the USO – whenever it’s eventually held. Why Laycold ? It’s slow. Just what we don’t need. Who decides ? USTA in the grip of TV ?

  • Dan Markowitz · March 23, 2020 at 7:16 pm

    How do you know the Laycold surface is slower than the Deco-Turf? Reading a little about it, it seems that this new surface maybe holds its color better than DecoTurf. But I agree with you, I’d like to see the hard court slams speeded up and to accentuate the speed and hand skills in the game, rather than the attrition through long rallies emphasis.

    Looks like Scoop wants to talk politics more than he wants to talk tennis so from now on, I’m not going to respond to Scoop or any of his posts. He can winnow the site down to Sam and Jeff and George or any other neo-con who wants to talk Trump and his almightiness. I’ll stick to tennis on this site.

  • jg · March 23, 2020 at 9:47 pm

    My son scheduled a hit ( lesson) with Noah Rubin but not sure it’s going to happen given the club they were going to play at is closed, but they have been keeping in touch. Where I play closed as has Rock Creek, where they play the citi open, but the other public courts have been rather busy. Dan I agree, my doctor said by all means keep playing tennis and he is very strict about distancing, etc. last weekend we went for hikes, I have noticed people doing more outside stuff and maintaining proper distances, maybe the only silver lining to this horrible thing ( and less pollution)

  • jg · March 23, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    Fed Kyrigos and others may skip the French and play Laver cup, who else would pass up the French if they play Laver cup at the same time? You have to think Isner.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 23, 2020 at 10:17 pm

    My have to commision JG son to do a Facing Rubin article. What an experience it will be. I should have offered Mmoh $100 bucks to hit with him for an hour. IMG is closed right now and there are a few courts open around bradenton and sarasota so I will be on the lookout for pros on public courts. I played two sets today on a public park court called Gillespie Park in downtown Sarasota, it was filled with a HS player, solid 4.5 or 5.0 taking a lesson from Steve Shields who played Courier, Wheaton, Cohenour, and all those guys in juniors and Haarhuis and Byron Black in college. Then a 3.0 hacker doubles match next to us. The pickball seniors and a ladies doubles match waiting to get on. So tennis players are not staying inside. Tennis players gotta play.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 23, 2020 at 10:18 pm

    Federer is bigger than the French Open jg, this proves it.

  • jg · March 23, 2020 at 10:24 pm

    I told him he should do a behind the racquet. Great video of Tiafoe playing pickle ball in his apartment with his brother.

  • catherine · March 24, 2020 at 1:56 am

    Dan – I’ve always understood Laykold was slow, not sure if it’s the surface I’m thinking of but it’s not new.

    So bad for the women’s game – maybe someone will invent a roll-out surface for women’s matches which can be quickly installed in mixed events. Adelaide had a fastish surface of recent tournaments I can recall. Fast courts make women work harder 🙂

  • catherine · March 24, 2020 at 2:48 am

    What’s ‘pickleball’ ? Is it like minitennis, which was a pastime in byegone years ? And anyone remember platform tennis ? That didn’t gain enormous popularity.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 24, 2020 at 4:21 am

    Pickle ball is mini tennis with wooden paddles and a plastic shuffle ball. Smaller court. Appeals to seniors because less running. Easier game but fun. Platform tennis is still popular but more of a cult club. Platform courts are rare.

  • Dan Markowitz · March 24, 2020 at 7:56 am

    How did your son schedule a lesson with Rubin? Does he know him? Is there a web site to sign up on? Rubin seems pretty adept at making money on the side of his pro tennis earnings.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 24, 2020 at 8:55 am

    Contact Rubin via Instagram and the BTR account. Be invaluable exp for callum to hit with Rubin.

  • jg · March 24, 2020 at 4:44 pm

    that’s right Rubin appears to be very accessible, which is great–more players should do stuff like he does.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 24, 2020 at 6:42 pm

    jg, he is very accessible, especially in person. Kozlov gives lessons too. Also you told me you saw Gastao Elias gives lessons at Flamingo Park.

  • jg · March 24, 2020 at 9:43 pm

    Exactly, He was giving a lesson on the next court, and we spoke about Portugal and where I played when I was there and he knew the pro there, kicking myself for not scheduling a lesson with him. Like 2 weeks later he was playing an ATP tournament.

  • Jon King · March 25, 2020 at 12:59 am

    Dan, oddly enough, our routine has not changed. We are on a 20 month developmental break from tournaments which is scheduled to end in July. Hopefully tournaments are back by then. We homeschool already.

    We go 2 days a week to a soccer field to do lots of fitness. Used to be just us during the week. Now its 4-5 combinations of parents and kids working on various sports by themselves.

    3 days of tennis on court training. Our neighborhood has 2 courts that no one but us uses.

    So besides having to go to a few stores to locate items like milk, nothing has changed here…except we wash hands obsessively and talk to the neighbors from 10 feet away!

  • Dan Markowitz · March 25, 2020 at 10:15 am

    That’s a quandry, Jon, how far is six feet away. I ride my bike to this beach in Rye when its nice out and there can be a lot of people out on the beach. I’m trying to run on the beach as it’s good for my ankles and my knee responds better to running on sand rather than pavement or tennis courts. I’m having to zig and zag to stay the required six feet away. If someone coughs I have to really dodge them.

    My question to you, John, is: do you hit with your daughter or do you get someone else to hit with her. Because right now I can’t hit with Callum, even if my knee was feeling better, if he wants to open up the court. And we’ve had a couple of his friends ask to play with him, but we haven’t gone that route. Now I can feed him balls and coach him to a degree, but he’s not getting out on the court with any of his other coaches either.

    I was texting with Nathan Pasha, who’s obviously trying to make some money as the tour is suspended by teaching some lessons in Atlanta, and he said to me after I told him of the praise Tom Gullikson had for Cal’s game in Orlando at the National 14’s Invite Camp: ” “That’s a great compliment to get from a guy like Tom. Cal must definitely be talented enough to make it which is good. But to be honest, in terms of making it, talent doesn’t matter. Maybe with one guy out of every so many people can make it off of pure talent (Kyrgios). But 99 per cent of the other guys who make it are either extremely resilient in terms of their work ethic during tough times or because they love the game THAT much to the point where setbacks from losing are kind of fun because they treat it as a puzzle. Most people are a combination of the two. So make sure the message you preach to Cal are about why its best to make resilience his best quality or make sure he’s continuing to find tennis fun so the setbacks don’t seem so bad. It’s important that he keeps hearing the right messages.?

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 25, 2020 at 10:40 am

    Thiago Seyboth Wild has made a video saying he has contracted the virus, showing no symptoms at all or any signs of illness or sickness. He looks and sounds perfectly healthy and strong in his self made video promoting the news he has the virus. Also he did make sure to show his asics logo in his short video. We at all wish Wild a speedy recovery from his suffering and hope to see him on court soon.

  • Jon King · March 25, 2020 at 3:50 pm

    Dan, I had 6 knee surgeries through the years so can not rally with her. But I hit serves to her from mid court to work on returns, I can pretty much emulate any serve she would possibly see from there. I have developed the skills to crack practice serves with very good accuracy, spin, and pace. I also can give her volleys and overheads pretty very well. For groundies we use a Lobster ball machine that has the ability to vary spin and pace. Our hitting sessions with the ball machine are very intense, lots of movement around cones between balls,.

    Once things calm down we will use college guys to hit for 6-8 weeks, then start tournaments again.

    We have really pushed the strength and conditioning now, to a level that seemed impossible a month ago.

  • Jon King · March 25, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    Dan, if I had to pick the things that can be done during this period for maximum benefit long term:

    1. Lunges, lots of lunges, forward, backwards, sideways, 45 degree angle. Lunges are a huge bang for the buck exercise. A You Tube search of tennis lunges shows several great videos, the best of which has lunges being done like the face of a clock, some in each 15 minute direction.

    2. Wrist strength. Hand grips, ball squeezes, anything to improve wrist strength. My girl’s game has improved so much since we started focusing on the wrists about 6 months ago.

    3. Sprints. On sand or soccer field. Lots and lots of sprints, walk back to starting line, sprint again. Too many coaches have kids run too much long distances. Short intense sprints lead to so much improvement in court coverage and body composition.

  • Dan Markowitz · March 25, 2020 at 8:51 pm

    Thanks Jon, I like a lot of this advice. I think there’s a big difference between my son and your daughter mainly because I think he’s probably a few years younger. Also, he’s not home-schooled so the focus is not solely on tennis. But I admire how you have mapped out your daughter’s training schedule and how it seems like she attacks it with gusto.

    Callum at 13 if I really am adamant will do sprints. Right now he’s taking pilates classes with me that my studio is streaming online. But he’s a kid who for the most part doesn’t do anything that isn’t put into the clinics he takes with his coach. But he’s never been injured seriously like so many of these kids who train much harder than him.

    And he plays another sport seriously, baseball, where he’s a pitcher so when he practices and plays baseball and tennis in the same season, he works pretty hard. Because anyone who’s watched a Travel 14 baseball game play, and sees Callum pitching from 60 feet on a regular Major League mound and throwing like 80 pitches including changes and curves, knows that that is a very physical and draining activity.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 25, 2020 at 9:19 pm

    Federer donating a million dollars to help support struggling Swiss families during this hysteria. Class move by class champion.

  • Jon King · March 26, 2020 at 12:51 am

    I hear you Dan. I think the cross training is the way to go at age 13. Speaking of pitchers. Yesterday at the soccer field it was a collection of all sports trying to get work in. 3 guys who were obviously professional baseball players were working out. They were throwing, getting further and further apart. Eventually throwing rockets from half way across the field. The sound of the balls hitting the gloves sounded like a gunshot. The accuracy was amazing, even from that distance the ball nailed the glove without the guy catching having to move it. Just crazy the level of ability as you go up the chain of sports. Sadly though we just heard that Palm Beach County just ordered the closing of all parks, fields, and courts….so our workout options are getting very limited.

  • catherine · March 26, 2020 at 1:30 am

    Tomic says he lied about having the virus. Really ?

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 26, 2020 at 8:25 am

    Didn’t read that Tomic faked being a victim of the virus. Though nothing would be a surprise coming from Bernie.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 26, 2020 at 8:52 am

    Sarasota just closed all courts yesterday, no more Gillespie Park or Arlington or any smaller public courts. I scootered by Gillespie and two women were there ready to play and boy was the one pissed off she could not get her hit of tennis. Tennis is shutting down, the only courts now available are private courts in gated communities which I do have access to. We have four hard courts. The pickleballers who use our courts have shut it down, they are afraid to play now because of the TV news.

  • catherine · March 26, 2020 at 9:54 am

    Not sure how I feel about this. Maybe the WTA and ATP should have some kind of insurance scheme the players can pay into which could cover them in this kind of situation.

    But otherwise, pros aren’t ’employees’ – they’re freelance entertainers and take a chance on making money.

  • Jon King · March 26, 2020 at 10:22 am

    Same here Scoop. Luckily we have 2 hard courts in our neighborhood and we are pretty much the only ones who use them. Mostly used for people playing fetch with their dogs, but they leave when we come. We are going to drive out to a more rural county to use the grass fields for fitness. So far the rural counties have not close the parks.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 26, 2020 at 10:25 am

    Would be super generous if Federer Djokovic and Nadal and Serena all join forces to donate to the struggling lower ranked players. Seems impossible but it could happen.

  • catherine · March 26, 2020 at 10:41 am

    Scoop – won’t happen. It’s up to the WTA and ATP if they are associations that truly represent players at all levels.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 26, 2020 at 11:06 am

    Catherine, I know it’s a pipe dream for Fed Rafa Djok Serena to step up to the plate. But we have an example of a white Italian pizza parlor owner in NJ who actually took out a loan to be able to keep paying his employees through this. I’m sure you didn’t hear about it. Media has other priorities agendas. You want to talk about generous American heroes, I’d nominate this white Italian pizza parlor owner. Wonder if the Rothschild or Soros family has an iota of this guy’s generosity and care for his fellow humans?

  • Dan Markowitz · March 26, 2020 at 11:19 am


    Always interested and impressed by your training methods and enthusiasm for them. Yes, throwing a baseball long distance with accuracy is a very impressive skill. Since we’ve been talking surgeries, I’ve also had two on my right shoulder. I can still throw a ball pretty fast from 50 feet, but when trying to make throws from the outfield, Ii’m limited. Too bad, as a kid in 5th grade, I remember winning the baseball distance throw.

    Anyway, I am taking Callum down to White Plains High School for a lesson with his coach today at 2. I am wary of doing so, but I feel the dangers are limited and I want him to keep in contact with his coach, not close contact, six feet away of course. I;m of two minds whether to have him wear plastic gloves or not as he plays. There are 12 courts at the high school and as of yesterday they were open,. I’ll let everyone know how it goes.

  • catherine · March 26, 2020 at 11:45 am

    Scoop – I’m sure plenty of employers of all colours can be found who are generous to their employees in times of trouble. Some are not, but that’s life.

    The Rothschild families are involved in many charities and endowments here in the UK and always have been. They don’t seek publicity.

    My point is that it players organisations ought to be involved in easing the financial plight of lower ranked pros, not individuals.

  • catherine · March 26, 2020 at 4:45 pm

  • Hartt · March 26, 2020 at 6:54 pm

    Dan, I enjoyed your piece about working with Callum. It has to be difficult to find safe options, but hopefully you will continue to find solutions.

  • Andrew Miller · March 26, 2020 at 8:06 pm

    Scoop, is the gang back? Thanks for writing about the virus affecting the sport and to Dan for writing about playing tennis under these circumstances. Have Scoop and Dan made peace? Is there a truce? If so I am thankful. If not that’s distressing.

    I would like to ask if Dan or Scoop, if either of you have read the books by G. Marzorati on getting better at tennis or Gregory Howe who hit the challengers and wrote a book on it. I say this because I recall Scoop love of Marcelo Rios and how he learned combos from Rios that helped his game and practiced them, and because in reading about Dan’s hits with his son I am reminded that improvement is possible. I am not saying Dan will blast his son off the court, only that he will be more familiar with his son’s shots and that helps too. I’d be afraid of the ball these days and I am glad you are still hitting. I used to hit with a high ranked girl who had a killer forehand, among best I had seen. But once I saw it a few times I knew it was her go to. Life was easier after getting used to it.

    Anyhows I certainly hope this is a thaw in the ice. I don’t like the winter of this pandemic. I hope you continue to play safely, that would be a huge victory.

  • Andrew Miller · March 26, 2020 at 8:08 pm

    Have you found good gloves for tennis? I remember gloves for golf and wonder if biking gloves would work. Probably. Probably cuts down on grip costs too.

  • Andrew Miller · March 26, 2020 at 8:12 pm

    It would be an enormous gesture for the big three to pay salaries of challenger pros (some, as needed) or coaches (some,as needed). That would keep the sport alive. They would be even bigger heroes than they are. I actually think this pandemic has ended many careers for many reasons. Tragic.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 26, 2020 at 9:41 pm

    Update. Martha b king middle school courts still open and full tonight all 8 full. West Bradenton. For how long?

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 26, 2020 at 9:44 pm

    Catherine no. Fed and his elite co goers can do whatever they want. Even donate all profits from Laver Cup.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 26, 2020 at 9:48 pm

    Welcome back Andrew Hartt. Yes everything is ok here. We feel the winter of your discontent and know the only Ray of sunshine is to keep it to tennis. Dan and I are pals through thick and thin. I like Dan a lot despite our differences. Just saw some new Rios videos on you tube. Davis cup epic vs Paes in India. Wow. Rios magic beats Paes magic.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 26, 2020 at 9:49 pm

    Surgical gloves maybe but my hands sweat heavily. With gloves they might melt away

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