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Communication Is the first Winner You Can Hit For Your Team

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By Luke Jensen, French Open Doubles Champion

Tennis stars: How is the game? Are you ready for league season? Are you excited about getting back on the court with your team? I absolutely love league season — more challenging opponents and tons of great experiences to have. Nationwide, tennis leagues are the heart of our game. And the unsung heroes are the team captains who deal with all the challenges navigating a season of ups, downs, and fielding a lineup! My goal for you is to have the most positive season your team has ever had. Being around teams at every level of play, I found that when everyone takes personal responsibility for their part of the positive team experience, things are always better no matter what the team’s record is.

Communication is always the first winner you can hit for your team. Keeping your team captain well-informed of your life schedule allows the leadership to plan accordingly. Inevitably, life will get in the way of your tennis season, but as soon as things get organized, your team’s lineup and matches will run smoother.

Be clear with your captain and provide him or her with details such as what court you prefer to return on, the three players on the team you would like to compete with if possible, or even if you have no problem playing with a weaker player on the team — ha, ha! But I’m serious! My siblings and I who played the Grand Slams in doubles were always taught to be the team player that will play any line on the team with any player on the team. This role for the team can be as important as a win. The captain can count on you in tough lineup situations, and that alone is a team win!

Remember that things may — and always do — change. So, be adaptable to new partners and playing a side with which you’re not as comfortable. Playing with positive energy — and exhibiting positive body language — can lift your team.

Make this the best league season ever! No matter what the record ends up being, build great friendships through the sport we love. And when in doubt, lob!

Over the last decade, I’ve always shared my journey through the game of tennis. From stories from my playing days, to what I’ve learned from my coaching opportunities, and even lessons learned being a director of racquet sports at various facilities. The Tennis Gods have always challenged me with wonderful opportunities that move forward my love for the sport.

The last two years, I’ve been coaching Coco Vanderweghe on the WTA Tour. It was fantastic! So much fun! To be competitive at that level again is the closest thing to being on the court. Vanderweghe retired right after the US Open in 2023, and I began looking for another coaching opportunity at the professional level. Opportunity arrived in ATP player Abraham Asaba from Ghana. He’s playing the futures circuit around the world and as I write this, we are playing in Tunisia.

It is so much fun going back to this level of competition. Everyone is so good and so committed to climbing the rankings. The practice courts are packed every day! If they are not on the court, the players are in the gym. If they are not in the gym, they are running sprints and stretching in the parking lots. There is an incredible energy. Awesome Abraham is playing soon in the Africa Cup that will give him an opportunity to represent Ghana in the Paris Olympic Games.

I will keep you all informed of Abraham’s progress and unique stories from the world of professional tennis.

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