| By Steven Kaplan

It's about 3,600 miles from Roland Garros to Flushing Meadows and on June 1, 2014, these two places were a little closer because they shared the distinction as being the center of the tennis universe. That's a bold statement, but I'll stand by it.

With the French Open entering its second week, Paris was an exciting place to be a tennis fan, but New York was abuzz too with tennis action.

A record 3,374 fans showed up for the Second Annual New York Tennis Expo. This sets a new grassroots event record and that's huge news because it demonstrates that the flat numbers concerning the growth of the game do not reflect the true passion of those who love the sport of tennis.

Grand Slam events are going to draw fan attention and media coverage … that's the status quo. The New York Tennis Expo was groundbreaking, free and fun. It was innovative, accessible and entertaining, and that's the future of our sport.

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.