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What is the Hurry to Turn Pro?

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By Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Tennis’ latest sensation, 17 year old, Frances Tiafoe, has made the decision to hit the professional circuit. Believe me, as a huge supporter of American tennis, I’m rooting for this fine young man to be a total success. He has signed with Wajid Syed of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation agency; a savvy move for this rising star. Not too long ago, my son was training with three of the top juniors in the land: Bjorn Fratangelo, Brett Clark and Gordie Watson. Clearly, Matt Browne hit far more balls with Bjorn and Brett but he was blessed to ... Read More »

Is the Touch Game Re-Emerging in Pro Tennis?

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Wow, every time I turn around, tennis players are getting taller and taller and the power game continues to dominate the sport. Heck, it seems like just about every player can rip a cannonball serve well north of 120 miles per hour and there is no end in sight. Is it possible that this new power game lacks originality? Is it just too much of the same darn thing? The simple answer is no! In last week’s Indian Wells Master Series event, Novak Djokovic’s lob foiled Roger Federer’s bid to dominate at the net ... Read More »

Davis Cup Action: Great Britain downs USA again

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By Doug Browne Even though we had the home court edge last year, (San Diego) the Great Britain Davis Cup team stunned the USA squad 3-1. Every tennis fan was well aware of GBR’s Andy Murray and his stellar record but the Americans knew they could outshine James Ward and win both singles matches. Additionally, the USA squad boasts the best doubles team in the game today, which enables the team to win 3-2. Unfortunately, tennis matches are not played on paper; Ward played loose and free and was able to topple both Sam Querry and Donald Young. Last week, ... Read More »

Do Tennis Fans Only Care About the Grand Slams? Part 1

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com As a rabid tennis enthusiast, it literally crushes my spirit when I turn on the Tennis Channel and see so many empty seats. During the early stages of the Delray Beach ATP event, it appeared there were only hundreds of fans lining the stadium instead of thousands filling the stands. And, the tournament has outstanding promoters; the Baron family of south Florida has extensive tennis backgrounds and knows how to market the product. Okay, how do we attract fans during the first rounds of an event? Who is to blame? Don Petrine (former Columbia University ... Read More »

Who Made the Top 10 List for Best Tennis Cities in America?

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com The volunteer coach was a 3.0 level player and had never coached before. I’m sure there are tiny pockets of success when there is a non-tennis person at the helm but I urge all athletic directors to reach out to their communities and hire tennis pros to lead their programs. One more item: The easiest way to motivate young impressionable tennis players is to have them view a college tennis match. In southwest Florida, the Florida Gulf Coast University men and women’s tennis teams are not only talented but they are big winners in their ... Read More »

How Symczek’s Sportsmanship Raised the Bar

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Tim Smyczek’s (pronounced Smeecheck) recent gesture at this year’s Australian Open (Grand Slam) not only earned the respect of his top-ranked opponent but also of the entire tennis world. Leading 6-5 in the fifth and deciding set and the score 30 love, Rafael Nadal was serving when a disrespectful fan screamed just as he was hitting his first serve. Nadal badly missed the shot. Within seconds, Milwaukeean Smyczek told the umpire that Nadal should get another serve. Nadal appreciated this act of kindness and set up to serve again with two serves coming. To put ... Read More »

Are you ready for 2015?

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Attention sports fans: The new year is filled with big-time events, including the first-ever NCAA football four-team playoff and the big championship game, NFL playoffs, outstanding NBA and NHL games and the Australian Open. Speaking of the big event in Melbourne, house money is probably leaning towards picking Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams capturing singles titles. However, who else is in the running? Last year, Li Na won the women’s singles crown but now has retired due to nagging injuries. Remember, Serena has not won this prestigious tournament in four years, so she may be ... Read More »

There is Nothing Like the Real Thing!

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com First and most importantly, Happy New Year to all of our tennis enthusiasts in Southwest Florida and around the world. There are so many reasons to be thankful, and tennis continues to thrive in the area. Recently, I have been doing pro-bono work with a rising junior tennis player from California, and he has a solidly-built foundation. He lacks tournament proficiency, though. His ultimate goal is to play college tennis, and he has the work ethic to pursue his dream. However, the world of tennis has produced thousands of great practice players, but too many ... Read More »

What Was on Your Holiday Wish List?

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com There was a time when most recreational tennis players dreamed of the day Santa would deliver a solid backhand drive on Christmas Eve, but those old days of weaker backhands is long over. Not only have we witnessed an explosion of outstanding “two-handers,” but now we are watching the return of some of the best one-handers we have ever seen: Wawrinka, Gasquet, Dimitrov, Almagro, Kolschreiber, Haas and Federer. So, I’ve completely changed my mind, and now I am totally focusing on the mental game. Why? Without a doubt, the emergence of tennis coaching is at ... Read More »

How Can We Win If No One Will Go to the Net?

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com A few weeks ago, I received a text from a 4.0 player who was clearly perplexed about her last CTA match and wanted to solve the puzzle on the tennis court. Strangely enough, not many of my students have inquired about this particular dilemma, and I had tremendous compassion about her recent problem. “Doug, it was so weird facing this last team because they elected to play from the baseline the entire match, and it threw us a curve, no doubt,” my student explained. Hey, it is always tough when we face a strategy ... Read More »

Do You Value Your Team Captain?

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com “Oh, no way. I wouldn’t want to be captain of this team under any circumstances,” Sandy remarked after practice. Most CTA or USTA participants are well aware of the number of challenges team captains have each season with a wide variety of issues. Most importantly, a large majority of the players are cooperative and support the captain and the pro. Depending on the team, the captain plays a large role in the success of their team. A dynamic captain will assist in the following: Team roster Practice day and time Practice ideas Players attending ... Read More »

Are You Ready for a Great Tennis Invention?

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com I don’t know about you, but I love conveniences. It’s been a long time since I walked through my bank to do a transaction. Heck, I seldom go into a fast food restaurant to do a quick order because I love the drive thru. Walgreens has made their pharmacy so convenient that one may pick up their prescriptions at the drive through window. Awesome! The new Pick-Up Wall for tennis ball machine enthusiasts may be the most incredible new invention because it is so easy to get the best workout, and there is little ... Read More »

The American Tennis Hall of Fame to the Rescue!

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com If you are a dreamer, you are going to love the true story of Iowa farmer Mark Kuhn. As a youngster, he and his grandfather would listen to Wimbledon broadcasts on their shortwave radio, and that stimulated his dream to build his own grasscourt, someday, in the middle of the family farm in little “ole” Charles City, Iowa! And, as one would expect, Mark and Denise Kuhn, dealt with a number of naysayers as they expressed their reservations about their idea to build a state of the art grasscourt on the farm. Never deterred, ... Read More »

Did Social Media Doom McEnroe?

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Shocked? Yes, sort of because we had heard that USTA Player Development Director Patrick McEnroe signed another contract extension to remain in his current post. Tennis pros from all over the country were upset because USA men’s tennis has fallen off the grid, and there is little hope around the corner for an American male to win a Grand Slam in the near future. Now, back to Mr. McEnroe. Whether it is Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, pros are bitter that Patrick was appointed Davis Cup Coach and Player Development Director because he is not ... Read More »

Does the Game of Tennis Need More Changes?

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Change for the sake of change. Does the collegiate game really need a complete overhaul to attract more fans? Not too long ago, every single college tennis match was the best two out of three contest, and each match counted to determine the final score. For quite a long period of time, the order of play was consistent. Each university fielded six singles matches, and then the day was concluded with three doubles contests. Clearly too many duals were decided after the singles play and that rendered the doubles meaningless. So, in the mid-1970s, ... Read More »

Do You Have the ‘IT’ Factor?

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com There is an abundance of outstanding athletes in this world, yet some stand out from the rest of the pack. We are riveted by their excellence. In examining this incredible group of “IT” athletes, a few of these elites rise to the top: Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Edwin Moses, Steffi Graf, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King, Roger Federer, Rod Laver, Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz, Steve Prefontaine, Hank Aaron, Joe DiMaggio, Tom Seaver, Reggie Jackson and Willie Mays. What is the balance between genetics verses blood, sweat and tears? How did these athletes ... Read More »

Is It Possible to Hit the Big Ball?

Tyler Owens and Matt Browne won the Open Men’s Doubles Title. SUBMITTED PHOTO

READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com The desire to knock the cover off the ball appears to have hit all levels of tennis. With technology moving at such a fast rate, I really shouldn’t be surprised that so many tennis players desire to play quick points — whether they win it or not! Sometimes, I want to blame the sports shows because they condense a game down to one or two plays, and viewers are programmed to a quick fix. Here’s one more shocking revelation: Men and women have different styles on the tennis court. Unfortunately, men, hitting just one ... Read More »

Is Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘10,000 Hour’ Theory Valid?

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Ever since my directing stint at the prestigious Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island, I’ve been on-court coaching a huge variety of students, and it has fueled my creativity to write more tennis articles. It is easy to have fresh ideas when one is so involved in the game of tennis, and most players make the same mistakes no matter where they hail from or whether they are young or old. The problem for so many tennis players is they fail to truly understand their limitations; mistakes are inevitable, but the count will ... Read More »

Matt Browne Topples Billy Bush in Celebrity Doubles Match

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READMY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Skeptical, yes. Curious, sure. I always wondered how “Entertainment Tonight’s” Billy Bush moved up the line to secure such an awesome job in the television world. It surely can’t hurt to be a part of the Bush family; George H. W. Bush was President No. 41, first cousin George W. Bush was President No. 43 and first cousin Jeb Bush was the governor of Florida. Billy Bush, like his famous cousins, has a solid educational background as he attended the prestigious St. George’s School in Newport, Rhode Island, and then attained his degree at Colby ... Read More »

How Can My Opponent Be the Umpire?

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Unless you are playing in a Grand Slam tennis tournament or a Master Series pro event, your opponent will be calling the lines in your next USTA or CTA match. Is it possible that your tennis foe has so much power? There is no way to sugarcoat this topic. With no umpires in sight, you have to rely on your opponent to call the ball as honestly as possible. However, tennis players are not the only participants who must deal with this fate. Here is an example of how crazy rules are in the great ... Read More »