| By Steven Kaplan

Let me preface this by saying that while I try to avoid shameless promotion in my blogs, I am sorry about this installnment.

The New York Tennis Expo will be hosting the Unified Games at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on June 1. The Unified Games are a program I run at my club, in cooperation with the Special Olympics of New York where eight tournament-level girls partner and train for months with eight Special Olympians. The culminating event is a fun and competitive tournament. These young volunteers are creating an opportunity for challenged athletes to be on a mainstream team and it's empowering for all involved.

Come to the Expo and spend a few minutes to cheer loudly for these athletes, and I promise, they will make you smile.

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.