| By Steven Kaplan

Mark Twain once wrote, "There are liars, damn liars and statistics."

If Mr. Twain  had attended this year's Second Annual New York Tennis Expo, I think he would have some choice words for those who tout declining tennis participation numbers.

Four-thousand people showed up for this grassroots event, but record attendance statistics don't begin to tell the whole story. The fans that flooded the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center revealed a passion for the sport that belies the numbers.

The sport sorely needs more events like the New York Tennis Expo, and it also needs more leadership like that displayed by the organizers of this day.

You need balls to play tennis, and you need the same to have the courage and vision to run an independent Expo that grows the game.

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.