| By Steven Kaplan

Jon Wertheim talks with the great jazz pianist and composer Fred Herch on his podcast "Sports Illustrated Tennis Beyond the Baseline" and it's fascinating to hear Mr. Herch parallel tennis and jazz.

His first bit of advice is that young pianists, like young tennis players, should learn to "slow down take their time and don't try to get it all out at once."

Of course we all know that efficient body alignment is a vital component of strong tennis mechanics. Mr. Herch believes it's equally a key element of success as a pianist and that strong body mechanics free both athletes and artists to improvise. He explains that, "Federer can invent shots because the alignment of his body, from his feet on up, is so perfect."

It's a lively interview and I don't want to spoil it with too much information here. Herch plays a short piano selection at the conclusion of his talk and it's worthwhile listen.

Steven Kaplan

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.