| By Steven Kaplan

Rafael Nadal won his sixth Rome Masters title against Novak Djokovic on Monday and reminded the tennis world that he is the best clay court tennis player to ever pick up a racket. SportsCenter devoted a full 30 seconds to this match, which is the same amount of coverage given to the Detroit Lions opening "organized team activities" today. On Saturday, "I'll Have Another" won The Preakness Stakes and got three minutes of "Sports Update" time.

Today's mainstream media just doesn't care about tennis for most of the year, and perhaps the country doesn't find the sport too interesting right now and so what? Tennis is growing and thriving, despite the lack of compelling stories about top Americans.

This last weekend, I assisted with The City Parks Foundation, Reebok Academy summer tryouts, and hundreds of young players came out.

Some sports are best appreciated as a spectator, but tennis will endure because it is most enjoyed by playing.

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.