Boris Kodjoe

May 7, 2020

May 7, 2020 “I grew up in Germany. My mom’s German. My dad’s from Ghana, West Africa and he put a racquet in my hand when I was three. He started teaching me really early, but my parents split up when I was five. It almost became like a source of pain for me because tennis was my father’s sport. I remember being on the court with him, him being quite pushy and strict about the way I was hitting the ball and it caused me a lot of anxiety on the court because I didn’t want to disappoint him. Every time I hit the ball in the net I’d feel myself freeze up because I could feel him get mad at me for making a mistake. I played all the other sports like soccer and basketball too. In Germany, even in the academy system, you are encouraged to play a lot of different sports, and I did. Tennis became an outlet for me. It helped me deal with my anger and the stress from my parents divorce as well as the pressures of being the only black boy in my community next to my younger brother. I was bullied (more…)

Flula Borg

January 30, 2020

January 30, 2020 “I live in Los Angeles 50% of the time and the rest of the time I travel. I grew up in Germany, which is where it all started. I was a very young child when I remember first watching a match with my my dad. He loved tennis, and was watching an old replay of Boris Becker. In Germany, Boris is probably our greatest male player of all time. Steffi Graf, of course, is the greatest female player. I remember him laughing and screaming at the TV because Boris was always bloody, I feel like he just always put his body on the line. He was just running around and getting very dirty. I don’t really know if it was blood or just clay from the French Open, but I remember seeing this and that was the first memory of when I truly started to love it. When I was super young, it was the golden age of tennis, especially in America because they had everyone at this time. From Agassi, Sampras, Courier, Chang, Washington, just everyone. I loved watching Andre Agassi, because he was the opposite of Becker. I like tennis because it’s you and another (more…)

Jason Tartick

November 26, 2019

November 26, 2019 “I grew up in a suburb of Buffalo, New York, in a huge sports family. My dad was a college football player, my mother played lacrosse growing up and it led to me playing lacrosse, soccer, and hockey at a young age. The thing is I started to play tennis after I graduated from playing division three soccer. What I found was there weren’t many recreational sports that were competitive, social and also a good workout. For me, I just gravitated towards tennis because it’s all of those. It’s a heck of a workout and honestly, especially in my early 20’s, its a cheaper alternative than golf and consumes less time. As I started playing tennis more frequently, it became a sport that my friends and I play every Monday. We would have round robin tournaments in the park. Tuesday we put bets on the line for the weekly finals. It’s been great to be recently re-connected with the sport via a collaboration we did with Heineken at the US Open with Andy Roddick. It’s been full circle from recreational and social, to being across the court from Andy Roddick serving. A really cool learning experience. The (more…)

Ryan Serhant

October 15, 2019

October 15, 2019 “I grew up in a family who were very sports focused. My dad and brothers were pitchers and quarterbacks. I was terrible at every single sport, just awful, and I’m by far the tallest and biggest in my family so it was just really confusing. My parents worked extremely hard to make sure my brothers and I grew up as well-rounded as possible, which is why they had me play every single sport. I played one-year football, one year baseball, JV lacrosse, Jv mountain climbing and even some tennis in high school. I distinctly remember my dad coming out onto the field during a baseball game, pulled me off of the right field, and told me that this was not my sport, which was super embarrassing and terrible, but looking back it made sense. My wife and I try to get involved in as many opportunities to help kids as possible. We look for charities that are run by good people and where the funding actually goes to the right places. We were introduced to the USTA and were excited about everything they are doing in helping improve the lives of less fortunate kids through tennis and (more…)

Shawn Hatosy

September 19, 2019

September 19, 2019 “I am a huge fan and I’m confused why this sport doesn’t feel like it’s growing. I look at things like, even just doubles, and how limited the coverage is. I personally, when I found out Serena and Andy Murray were playing mixed doubles, to me, that’s like the Super Bowl. You couldn’t even find it on TV. You had to get ESPN plus. To me that just blew me away. I was introduced to tennis pretty young because one of my neighbors had put a court in his backyard. I was an athlete. I played soccer and basketball. I’m a fast guy who was able to get by on no fundamental base at first. In Charleston there are a lot of public tennis facilities that anybody can play on. It’s a big tennis town. I was there for a year before I walked into this tennis center and took a lesson. I’m 43 now and I’ve been playing tennis three or four times a week ever since that day, I just caught the bug. I started intros and started doing some clinics. I just improved rather quickly. I don’t think I sought out tennis but it (more…)

Miranda Hart

September 16, 2019

September 16, 2019 “Tennis means a huge amount to me. I dreamt of being a pro and could have been good but life and injury conspired against me. It gives me more reason to be inspired by those who dedicate their life to follow their tennis passion and make it on to the tour, at whatever level. I am moved, inspired, excited and challenged when I watch tennis players. The mental resilience to be out there alone, the pressure at the top and the struggle at the bottom are extreme. Certain matches and players have had a big impact on my life in gathering courage, believing in myself, staying in the moment, keeping fit or to just be full of deep joy watching the sheer skill on display. There are many reasons but I think principally, because it’s a sport that is a battle of the individual, it’s paradoxically uniting. You feel empathy for players as you know how emotionally tough it must be, as well as physically. You empathize because every one of us has felt pressure, exhaustion, aloneness and stress, whatever our circumstances. We all struggle. Tennis players have to deal with so much, whether we recognize it (more…)

Jason Collins

September 6, 2019

September 6, 2019 “As athletes, we’re trained since we are little to compete in all areas, but after my basketball playing days I wanted to compete in a more enjoyable way. One day, I was walking by these tennis courts and remember seeing this guy playing doubles; he looked like he was 80 years old. I was thinking to myself, that’s what I need, a sport where I can stay physically active for the rest of my life. If this 80 year old guy can play, I’m sure that I can get out there and not hurt my body. I went to Stanford with my twin brother Jarron, a year behind the Bryan twins, who we obviously became friends with— it’s a twin thing! I remember going to a match where they played in Los Angeles. My brother and I went and sat right behind Mike and Bob’s bench as we cheered them on. The Bryans were totally in game mode but that didn’t stop us from trying to get their attention. They kept ignoring us since they were so focused. I remember being that way too when I was playing basketball. It was very hard for someone in the (more…)

Coco & Breezy

September 3, 2019

September 3, 2019 “I think our end goal is building community. Through self-expression of producing music it becomes a universal language. If you think about it, you go to a party or any sporting event, it’s bringing people together. Through all the mediums in our life, we’re about building community and making it very inclusive for everyone. We want people to feel like they’re a part of something. Music and eyewear (Coco and Breezy Eyewear) are just a part of our lives and a part of our hearts that we get to share with the world. Sport has always been a part of us. We played basketball when we were younger and many Sundays we would watch football games with our father and rest of the family. I think sports for us, brought our family together. From a young age we were all for anything that brought people from different backgrounds together. It was really exciting to get the call to perform in Arthur Ashe Stadium. For me (Coco), tennis is life for my boyfriend. He grew up playing tennis and so it felt great that I got to be a part of something that my partner truly loves. He (more…)

Michael Kosta

August 26, 2019

August 26, 2019 “I grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan and my siblings and I would get on our bikes and ride down to the Ann Arbor Racquet Club to play tennis. It was always this big family event. I fell in love with the sport because it would always bring the people I loved together. Fast forward 20 years to this small island off the coast of South Korea, called Jeju Island. I was competing in a 10k Future. I’d been on the road maybe six or seven weeks and was just worn down. It wasn’t like I was winning every week. I was maybe making second round in singles with the occasional win/final in doubles. I was alone in this small fishing village where it was constantly raining. I managed to overcome loneliness and get to a point where I was playing well. I remember the moment when I felt the change. I don’t know what happened. I don’t know why my confidence all of sudden improved, especially without a coach by my side. I’m playing on my own savings and a little bit of money I raised. I was up 5-1 serving in third and I can’t (more…)

Josh Dixon

August 1, 2019

August 1, 2019 “I must have been around 9 or 10 years old when I picked up a racquet and truly understood what it was like to hit a tennis ball. I was spending so much time in school or in gymnastics that tennis was an outlet for me to hang out with friends in a ‘normal existence’. When my tenure at Stanford came around, it turned into a stress reliever from the gymnastics training. The Bank of the West classic was at Stanford every year. Prior to the tournament we would sneak onto center court when it was lit up and pretended we were playing a grand slam final. Looking back, it was kind of crazy. When I was living and training at the Olympic Training Center for gymnastics, tennis provided a mental relief from the intensity of Olympic sport. I attend as many tournaments as I can and it’s always a dream to hit with some of the Pros. In the gymnastics world, no matter the circumstance (training, US championships, World Championships, the Olympic Games) it’s recognized that it’s you vs the moment, versus the pressure, versus yourself; you’re completely on your own. There’s nobody to interact with, (more…)