Sunday, January 27, 2019


Is The Tennis Landscape in Miami Changing for the Better?

If you build it will they come?  The Dolphins and the IMG (the owners of the Miami Open) believe they will. With the 60 million dollar transformation of the Master Series 1000 event held in Key Biscayne since 1987.
The Miami Open has long been a pioneer in tennis offering the “Winter Wimbledon” concept in the mid 1980’s and was the first tournament to unveil “hawkeye” technology on Stadium Court allowing players two replay challenges of line calls during each set.  Since then the brand itself, while thriving, struggled from a real estate stand point to keep up with Madrid, Shanghai, Rome, Cincinnati and Indian Wells stadium upgrades and expansions.
The Magic City is known for it's aggressive real estate development. as condo development is a major currency in Miami.  The new tennis facility at Hard Rock Stadium fits this ethos as questions are starting to be debated about the growth of the tennis economy and the innovation of a tennis tournament in a football stadium’s parking lot.
Here are 13 Questions curated by Backhand City.  Polling included tennis fans, industry insiders and on social media.  Here were the most popular concerns among Miami tennis fans:
What do you think will be done with the courts during the 50 weeks when there is no Miami Open going on?
What will the center court experience be like inside the stadium?
Will the luxury suites seem too far away to see a tennis match?
Could it become and high end private club for tennis players?
What will tailgaters make of the tennis facility in their parking lot?
How much would you pay to play tennis at Hard Rock Tennis Club?
How much will tickets be at the new facility?
How much will parking be?
How long will the commute be from downtown Miami?
Also, what will happen to Crandon Park Tennis Center?
Will the tired facility get a facelift by the county?
What will they do with the Stadium at Crandon Park Tennis Center?
How happy are residents of Key Biscayne now that the tournament is on the move?
Get ready South Florida the Miami Open is coming to a parking lot near you in March 20-31, 2019 just 2 months from now.
After thirty-two years, the tournament affectionately known to long time residents as the Lipton is having it’s last hurrah in Key Biscayne this March.
Brian Lutz is a Tennis Professional and Blogger in Miami, FL

Hint:  Need tickets to the 2019 Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium? Check out the Miami Open Tennis Ticket Guide  to help your buying decisions.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

A Tennis Players Guide To A Good Night's Sleep

It was very funny scene watching Nick Kyrgios mockingly fall asleep at the the US Open a few years ago. This was more immaturity and apathy than sleep deprivation but drives home our point none the less on the importance to your energy levels regarding a good nights sleep.


The key to high energy on the tennis court is getting a good night’s sleep.  Not the focus on what time you get up in the morning but what time you go to bed and how quickly you can fall asleep once you lie down.  Falling asleep in an efficient matter is the most important part as studies reveal reaching and maintaining REM sleep make you feel better when you wake up.

Here are a four tips I’ve been using that help me fall asleep fast so when the 5:45am alarm clock goes off I feel relatively refreshed for my early morning tennis lesson.
My last tennis class wraps up between 9:30-45 in the evening typically so one the first things I think about when i get home is get a shower and keep the lights dim.  I don’t turn on any overhead lights and keep just enough light so I can function as I shower and drink some water to rehydrate. Depending on how I feel I will also have a light bite to refuel what I burned off the last hour or so of my workout.  If I go to bed hungry I can’t sleep.
NASA has done a lot of study on light and your eyes to fool your brain into going to sleep.  They even go as far as recommend you connect with your inner Corey Hart and “Wear your sunglasses at night” to ease your brain into a sleep pattern.
Light has a big affect on your brain so I try to not do any computer work or look at my phone since the brightness of the screen awakens your brain.  My body is tired but I need to get my mind on the same page as well.  There is nothing worse than being exhausted and awake.
I tend to watch sports when I get home.  I like a recap on a Tennis Channel match or a live NBA game from the West Coast.  One thing I started doing is turning off the sound.  The crowd energy and commentators are pumping you up as well as the sponsors.  Ever notice how the TV gets louder during a  commercial?  I find the games more enjoyable when you aren’t influenced by the audio and watch it visually. You actually see the performance differently. Especially, professional tennis matches.
I have gone as far as adjusting the brightness on my TV so it isn’t so bright in the evening.  I typically, start to dose at this point  so you will have to be aware of how this would work for yourself.
This is a big one for me.  I sleep better when there is a  chill in the air. I like to bundle and have one leg outside of the covers. Scientist have tested this out and recommend this technique.  I actually have my thermostat set to turn down in the early evening so when I get home its at the optimal temperature.  Now if you are married, have a roommate etc this can be a tricky topic as everyone has their favorite temperatures! My optimal temperature is 71 Fahrenheit (22 Celsius). has some great tips on air temperature as well as a sock tip for your feet that I use.
This is a great breathing tip I got from a friend.  Meditating your heart to a lower beats per minute is crucial to falling asleep. If you have a FitBit you can actually monitor your Beats Per Minute and track your sleep data to follow your sleep patterns.  To help yourself fall asleep try this exercise:
  1. Inhale a big deep breath to a count of four.
  2. Hold your breath for ten seconds then release slowly for a count of six or until your lungs are empty.
  3. Repeat several times until you doze off.
I’ve utilized this technique frequently and typically fall asleep and don’t remembers finishing the exercise!
So if you are having trouble sleeping try out these four tips to get your body on track.  Be patient as your won’t be perfect. Over  time you can build up your habits and start to feel your energy levels increase on the tennis court.
Brian Lutz

Monday, January 14, 2019

Player Profile: David Sherby - To be inspired - that's the secret

We connected with David Sherby from   I’m in creative services, which straddles the line between marketing, creative, and operations. It’s a role where I get to use both sides of my brain, usually on a minute-by-minute basis. Which in part explains why I like tennis: there are always fundamental mechanics to follow, but you also have to “see” where the next shot is coming, or going. I enjoy golf, racquetball, staying fit in general, cooking / grilling, music and travel. I moved to Austin in the early 80’s - it sure has changed quite a bit, but still one of the best places to live.  

1. Which league are you a member of?
I was ready to get back into a league, but not the old one. It was too limiting on play (once a week, no playing a double or third match against another player). I had desire to play more and found Tennis-Austin, researched some of the players and saw 2 of the guys from spring playing in this league. A quick chat with one of them and I joined the Fall2018 league, 3.0-3.5.

2. How often do you play?
I like to play 2-3 times a week now. It’s been great mental & physical exercise, and helped with my overall ability to focus on a task. With the number of equally skilled players in my division and the league software interface, it’s not hard to schedule a match. I think that’s one of the biggest benefits of Tennis-Austin.

3. What do you like most about the league?
David from the top of the Eiffel Tower
 Upfront, what I liked about Tennis-Austin was the super flexibility to play as much as I wanted, that there were a dozen+ potential opponents to schedule with, that there was a divisional playoff, and a national championship (one can dream, yes?). What I’ve found is a lot of players like me trying to get better, everyone is super supportive of each other, I’ve made some good tennis friends and budding rivalries, lots of player & match stats to pour over, and an engaged admin team that keeps the playing skills fairly equal among the division players: no ringers stealing the fun out of a lower division ranking.

4. Tell us about your most memorable match(es)
The really tight matches are the most memorable, and win or lose I always come away with a new piece of knowledge about myself / skills, or how to play better against my opponent next time. I’ve only played 25 matches, but the ones against RayG, LarryP, TomL, BrianD and YolandaR have made my mental “best of” list. Each time we play it’s a fair challenge, super enjoyable, each player hits great shots, the momentum swings back and forth, and we seem to have a good time playing. As Ray says before each match, “Let’s have FUN!”  I think that’s as key to the spirit at this level as much as anything. No one’s handing out million dollar checks to the winners, that I know of! Some days you have it, some nights you don’t. Keep playing.

5. Do you have any other interesting comments about your experiences with the league?
Overall, the quality of people I’ve met. Win or lose, there’s always a good spirit to the match and relationship. I feel like I’ve broadened my circle of friends. I KNOW I’ve improved my play.   AND, I no longer worry about how I’m going to play in that occasional doubles match with my friends. Sure, it’s a different game than singles, but when I started acing my serves and hearing, “Dayumm - where’d THAT come from dude?!” : the knowledge that I was no longer the worst on the court was AWESOME.   (Sometimes it’s the little things in life.)

6. How did you get started playing tennis?
In the fall of 2017, I was invited by a good friend to sub for a weekly doubles match, as one guy was out rehabbing his knee. I had played as a kid without any formal training, but had stopped playing for, oh, a few decades. Needless to say my initial time back on the court led to a lot of frustration. I’ve always been athletic but my mechanics were a complete mess. My friend (and new friends) must have been desperate! But I was hooked.

Then the 4th came back from rehab and I was relegated to playing once a month. Bummer! I knew if I was to get any better I needed to play a lot more. So after joining a different league in the spring’18, and going 0-6 (yeah, it was that bad), I took the summer off. Took lessons. Bought a modern racquet. (WOW!) Toyed with adding lead tape variances for better weight & feel. Watched YouTube vids of the greats. Hit thousands of balls and serves on our neighborhood court. Met a neighbor and practiced once a week with them. I got better; not 4.0+ better but my confidence was there.

7. What level player are you? (NTRP rating)

8. What do you love about tennis?  
.....It's a pure natural rush. Plus, playing better tennis has inspired me to take better care of myself. Diet, exercise, positive outlook, new friends and challenges... all of these are part of living a better life. Tennis is a sport where, if you’ve some natural talent and/or a desire to practice, learn and become better, you can hit shots as seen by the greats on TV!  It’s both mental and physical. One-on-one competition is pretty bare bones, and coming away with a W is a great feeling. Practicing and then hitting that screaming forehand bullet down the line to the corner in a match when you really need it - unequalled. Stuffing an ace or three, and then getting applause from your opponent - priceless.  I can’t hope to hit a 30ft jumper over a 6’0” or taller dude, but I can hit these shots on a tennis court. It’s a pure natural rush.

9. Who are your favorite pro players? Why?
No offense to Roger, Serena and Rafael, but I gravitate toward underdogs and up and comers. Juan  Martin del Potro, because of his massive serve. Sloane Stephens, because of her tenaciousness.  Alexander Zverev - just seems to have the “IT” factor and great future.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Tennis League Network is proud to announce our partnership with Elite Tennis Travel

Tennis League Network, llc (TLN) is proud to announce our new partnership with Elite Tennis Travel (ETT). 

We caught up with Lisa Scholtes, managing partner and Adriana Isaza, CEO from ETT over the holidays to learn more about their company.  

Q. What services do Elite Tennis Travel provide?
ETT creates custom tennis and cultural immersion trips to gorgeous destinations around the world. Whether you’re a player or a spectator, we can design the ideal trip for you.  We already know lots of great league members in the NYC area, and we’re excited to connect with other tennis enthusiasts from across the US.

Q.  Tell us about yourselves.  How’d you get involved in the tennis travel business?
Adriana was a pro tennis player and a tennis instructor for many years, and combined her love of the game with her interest in travel to launch ETT.  She started by taking her fans and students to big tournaments, so they could experience the matches through the eyes of a professional tennis player.  

Lisa has no tennis skills whatsoever, and has been faking an injury for years.  Luckily, she worked in sports marketing for a long time, and can occasionally come up with a good marketing idea.  So, she gets to stick around.

Q.  What do you like most about your job? What was your most memorable trip?

We both love getting out and meeting fun people with similar interests. We’ve made many lifelong friends through our tennis travels – it’s been really rewarding.  Also, we’re grateful that we get the chance to travel to incredible places. We both love our program in Cuba, but Adriana will always have a soft spot for the Barcelona Open, which was our very first destination.  

Q.  What are you planning to offer to TLN members?

Our goal is to introduce members to unique tennis opportunities that they don’t know about, or assume are out of reach. Maybe the French Open is on your bucket list?  We can help you get there. Or maybe you need a fresh idea for a tennis get-away weekend with your teammates? Come check out the new Rafa Nadal Academy in Cancun. Whatever your tennis dream is, we want to help you achieve it.  We’re really excited to be part of the TLN family. Thanks for having us!

Currently Elite Tennis Travel is offering packages to Indian Wells and Havana, Cuba. We'll be keeping our marketing page for ETT up to date:

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Fans and Media Salivate Over Roger Federer vs Serena Williams at Hopman Cup

Written by Brian Lutz / Backhand City

Tennis is the only sport where the gender comparison won't seem to go away anytime soon.  The 2019 tennis season started off with an intriguing exhibition match at the Hopman Cup with a mixed doubles Fast 4 format featuring Grand Slam champions Roger Federer and Serena Williams.  As you will notice in the clip below the mainstream media thinks it is a real match and not a paid exhibition.

All of this "battle of the sexes" in tennis got me wondering. How has women's tennis evolved since the 1970's?  Where is it going?  What does the data say?  And what innovations are on the horizon for the women's game?  Lastly,  is all of this comparison with the ATP good for the WTA?

How do you feel about gender matches in the Tennis League Network? Would you like to see more mixed gender matches in your league or on television amongst the professionals?


It started in the early 70s when 55 year old Bobby Riggs dismantled then number #1 Women's tennis player in the world Margaret Court entitled the Mother's Day Massacre.  Four months later Billy Jean King then took the growing movement of gender equality to another level beyond tennis with the Battle of the Sexes tennis match. Ninety million American viewers tuned in to watch them play in the Houston Astrodome where King won in straight sets.  Yet with all of the good that tennis has brought to women's rights it led me to wonder.  Does Women's tennis suffer from comparison?

Brian Lutz is blogger and tennis coach in Miami, FL.  Check out more of this story in depth on his blog: Backhand City