"So what .... who cares ... it was a good promotion for the sport ..." are some of the more prominent examples of feedback I have gotten from my blog "Mixed Signals," in which I suggested that the Chris Evert & Mike Greenberg match was fixed. No denials, just rationalizations for why it was permissible to tamper with the draw. I wonder why If it was the right thing to do, then why not go public? Machiavelli would be so proud.
In contrast to this egregious disregard for "The Code," the Eastern Tennis Association sent out e-mails to parents of junior players last week explaining that many spectators at area tournaments have been violating the Code of Behavioral Conduct. Enforcement of these rules is a positive step for junior tennis. Coaches and parents should have a very low profile at tournaments and make every attempt at keeping their business interests, egos and emotions under control so that the players can focus on playing.
"The Code" is a set of standards that make tennis fair, valid and fun. It is more then just a set of rules, it is an ideal that embodies the values of the sport's honesty and integrity. It should not be a unilateral rule however, especially one which excludes the rulemakers.
Steve Kaplan is the owner and managing director of Bethpage Park Tennis Center, as well as director emeritus of Lacoste Academy for New York City Parks Foundation, and executive director and founder of Serve &Return Inc. Steve has coached more than 1,100 nationally- ranked junior players, 16 New York State high school champions, two NCAA Division 1 Singles Champions, and numerous highly-ranked touring professionals. Many of the students Steve has closely mentored have gone to achieve great success as prominent members of the New York financial community, and in other prestigious professions. In 2017, Steve was awarded the Hy Zausner Lifetime Achievement Award by the USTA. He may be reached by e-mail at StevenJKaplan@aol.com.