My 2017 Wish List - Ben Rakusin, USPTA 
by USPTA Florida on Saturday, 21 January, 2017

The USTA National Campus, Home of American Tennis, Lake Nona; call it what you will. We may not yet know the name that will stick. I simply wish that it has events, recognition, and success beyond any of our dreams and truly becomes the epicenter of tennis in the free world.

The Best People: Somewhat related to my previous wish, I selfishly wish that most of the wonderful, quality people, from both White Plains and Houston, make the decision to relocate to Orlando and continue to make the USTA and USPTA headquarters the world-class operations that they have been for so long. I’ll talk to a few folks privately about this (no, I’m not beyond begging).

Roger and Serena: yes we can have the barroom arguments over who the greatest player, male and female, of all time is. But these two have to be in anyone’s conversation. I wish them both well for as long as they decide to play. On a personal note, I’ll still take Rod Laver.

No need for a diversity committee. As someone who served on the USPTA national diversity committee for many years, I can speak to this point. And yes, I’ve spoken of it before. Since the day it was called the multi-cultural committee, I have always believed that the ultimate goal would be to have a sport and a teaching profession so well represented, culture-wise, gender-wise, economics-wise, that the diversity committee would be disbanded because it no longer was needed. I suppose it’s a little like a day when there will be no need for traffic laws because everyone is so courteous. Hey, it’s my wish list.

Old friends: One of my favorite wishes is to always hope that I will see various pros at our conferences. I always put out a plea to my fellow pros to find those old friends, who are great pros, and encourage them to come out, share their knowledge, and be part of the USPTA family again. As a subset of this, I wish that these quality pros have earned their education points and remain actively in the fold.

Certification: being a tester for some time, I can say that the certification test is a good one for one main reason; we are never satisfied with it and therefore willing to tweak it and re-tweak it to make it reflect the profession as it currently exists. My wish, and my pledge is that we continue to do what works well and keep altering what is unfair or inefficient.

Tennis Channel: my pet target; the best tennis channel out there and the worst tennis channel out there. Yes, there’s great coverage of many events. But instead of showing a Serena or Novak match for the third time in 24 hours, let’s add something else. How about more Signature series? Connors, Rosewall, Hoad, Borg, Court, Smith, Lutz, Wade, you get the idea. Or how about vintage instruction from Don Candy Tim Gallway, Chet Murphy; that should jog your memory.

So, I could go on but for now I hope that your best tennis wishes come about as well. See you out there.


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