| By Steven Kaplan

Fresh on the heels of its first Davis Cup victory since 1936, the LTA, the governing body of Great Britain tennis, is giving away 10,000 free rackets and tennis lessons to children across the country. It's a wonderful idea to grow participation and create excitement for the sport.

The great American player, Vitas Gerulaitius, championed a similar initiative through his youth foundation in New York City and nationwide more than 30 years ago, and it was a fantastic idea … and long overdue here.

I'd like to see our governing body for the sport give 100,000 free rackets and lessons to children to ignite the growth of tennis in this country.

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.