I frequently read LongIslandTennisMagazine.com, and the article entitled "Todd Martin Named to USTA Board" caught my eye. Todd Martin is a great choice for USTA leadership. By all accounts, Mr. Martin is a very classy guy and a true tennis gentleman. He replaces Jeff Tarango who started his "two-year term as director-at-large in January 2011." Jeff Tarango, the man who Andre Agassi said made him cry at age 10 by cheating to win the match and then running off. The man that The New York Times in 2000 described as "better known for his tantrums than for his play" was nominated by incoming USTA President Jonathan Vegosen for a significant board position.
I don't want to unfairly bash Jeff Tarango, yet I cannot help but wonder why someone with a past of questionable behavior would be seen as qualified for such an important role in the USTA? Perhaps the answer to this rhetorical question is that while Jeff Tarango's record speaks for itself, so does the USTA's. Jeff Tarango, holds the dubious distinction as the first man to walk off the court and quit a match at Wimbledon in 1995 after telling the crowd to "shut up" and accusing the umpire of fixing the match, served nine out of 24 months at his recent USTA appointment. Michael Jordan once said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." The USTA took a shot on Jeff Tarango ... they missed.
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.