| By Steven Kaplan
Photo courtesy of Getty Images


In 1999, a young Novak Djokovic sheltered in place, huddled in a basement while NATO bombed his hometown of Belgrade, Serbia for over two weeks.

He credits this difficult time with changing his life by making him stronger.

When he resumed playing tennis, it was a joy. There was no pressure because he realized tennis is just…tennis.


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.