| By Steven Kaplan

One of the most pervasive myths in junior tennis is that the USTA conducts most tournaments when in fact they function mainly as the sanctioning body. The tournaments themselves are conducted by the individual clubs. These clubs can impose rules which go beyond the USTA Code, yet are enforceable as code violations.

Take, for example, the USTA National Spring Championship for Boy's and Girl's 18's in Mobile, Ala. starting on March 18. This is taken directly from the Tennislink Web site.

The Mobile Tennis Center uses conduct rules above and beyond those enforced by the USTA.
Players participating in tournaments at the facilities identified are required to abide by these facility rules of behavior on and off of the court. These rules also apply to parents, coaches, siblings, and other guests of the players.

The list below indicates the Facility Behavior Rules:

►No use of the word "suck" or any form of the word spoken or spelled.

►No use of expressions of frustrations with references to deities (i.e. "Oh My God", "Jesus", "Jesus Christ", "Christ", "God") either spoken or spelled.

►No use of "freaking", "frigging", or "fricking" or variations of such words either spoken or spelled.

►No smoking anywhere on the premises. Premises includes parking lots, bathrooms, and anywhere within 30 feet of a tennis court.

►Verbal rules apply to any langu-age. We have officials on sight that are fluent in many langu-ages.

►Anyone found in violation of these rules may be subject to a Code Violation and receive suspension points.

I love the part about being fluent in many "langu-ages" by the way.

The result is that players from all parts of the country will receive the lesson that their United States Tennis Association experience will be dictated by the cultural sensibility of a facility, not the national organization.

Therefore, players, parents, coaches, siblings and other guests of players, please note with apologies to George Carlin here are "The Seven Dirty Words" to never say at an Alabama SuperNationals; Suck, God, Jesus, Christ, Freaking, Frigging and Fricking.

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.