Tennis for everyone

Tennis for everyone

Teaching kids with learning disabilities. Roll the ball into the center. All did it!

In 2017, the USTA (United State Tennis Association) invited the USPTA (United States Professional Tennis Association), a tennis teaching organization in Houston, to join them in being part of the new National Tennis Center at Lake Nona, Orlando, FL.

USPTA front office
USTA Welcome Center

In developing their vision for the USTA National Campus, the USTA understood how important it was to the sport’s future for them to be successful in engaging kids. For tennis to attract and retain today’s youth and millennials, they needed to increase and improve their provider network to deliver the sport in modern and relevant ways. As a result, the USTA National Campus is being operated with the aim of developing the next generation of tennis providers, a group that includes coaches, tournament directors, officials, front desk and retail managers, and stringers. To help make this happen, the campus is serving as an epicenter for experimential learning by offering internships and apprenticeships. They also share educational content of all types with tennis providers.

The USTA National Campus is an inclusive facility and is making sure they are making tennis accessible to all. The campus is open to the public seven days a week, and courts can be reserved online up to 48 hours in advance. The courts and tennis programs are low cost, with some being made available for free.

The facility has courts of almost every description–three kinds of hard courts and two kinds of clay courts. The Adidas Performance Center features six indoor courts while the Nemours Family Zone has 36-foot and 60-foot courts for youths and adults to learn to play the game.

Whether people who visit the facility are competing in a tournament, looking to develop their backhand, seeking to improve their coaching, or simply sharing the joy of hitting tennis balls with family or friends, all who come are finding it to be a mecca for tennis and a melting pot for the sport. Tennis programs are also being offered for disabled veterans and wounded service members in collaboration with the Orlando Veteran Affairs Medical Center as well as for wheelchair tennis.

Tennis is the most amazing sport. If you love team sports, tennis is for you; if you love individual sports, tennis is for you. You can play socially or competitively. The USTA has specialists who know how to teach, how to get anyone to play. Everyone can learn to throw and catch a ball. That’s how we begin when teaching tennis, learn how to run, how to turn, how to change direction quickly, how to reach, how to look and see. Tennis can strengthen your body, keep you in good health and help your posture.

Although I’m a retired USPTA member, Tom and I hit when we can. Nothing replaces that glorious feeling of being on the tennis court and hitting that ball. Some folks work out in the gym to tone the body. Some become runners to tone agility and speed.

Look at that form, Tom serving
Keep your eye on the ball

Doubles competition at USTA National Campus
USTA National Campus partial view

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Sleep always feel more important in the morning

What do you do at 3:00 a.m.? Shhh, someone might be asleep, not us. We set our alarm and were up to watch tennis, the 2017 Australian Open in Melbourne. We didn’t want to miss one stroke, from 3:30 a.m. to  9:00 a.m–for two weeks. And that was after watching from 9:00 p.m. to sometimes 1:00 a.m.

As the tournament was reaching its climax, it got more difficult to stay awake. So, we had a meeting of the minds, and decided that going to bed around 8:00 p.m. was at least a way to get in a couple more hours of sleep. When it was all over we had to come down from that high watching our favorites win. And get some sleep!

Serena William’s 23rd Tennis Grand Slam





“There was a great deal at stake for Serena Williams in the Australian Open final, far more than having to push aside her older sister” said USA Today journalist Sandra Harwitt. “For Serena, the 6-4, 6-4 win Saturday to hoist the Australian Open trophy for a seventh time establishes a record. At 35, she is the only player–man or woman–to win 23 Grand Slam tournament singles titles in the open era.”

Venus & Serena Williams sisters

Serena is thrilled. She said she feels like she has been chasing it for a long time. Once it got on her radar, she knew the possibilities. She finally succeeded at the Australian Open this year.

Roger Federer

Rising to the top is tough, but the journey leads to a joyous finale. Experiencing the win gave Roger his 18th Grand Slam. I love what Sandra Harwitt, USA Today journalist said, “So when experiencing a great victory, a champion tries to store the grand achievement, in slow motion, in his memory bank.


Nadal & Federer

At least that is how Roger Federer, 35, suggests he handles the milestones of his life, including his latest successful quest of glory — 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 win Sunday against Rafael Nadal, 30, his oldest rival in the game, in the final of the Australian Open.”

Rafael Nadal & Rod Laver. The stadium was named after Laver






Tops in tennis. How many faces can you name?

Tennis–one of my successful careers as a teaching pro, and member of the USPTA. FYI, in order to be a USPTA member, you have to pass a written and on-court exam. A member of the organization for forty years, they have awarded me lifetime membership. They commissioned me to paint a scene for their 75th anniversary in 2002. The painting is in Houston, TX at their national headquarters. Players in the painting are Jimmy Connors, Chrissy Everett, Jack Kramer, Roscoe Tanner, Billy Jean King, Pam Shriver, John McEnroe, Peter Fleming, Arthur Ashe, Fred Perry, Rod Laver, Althea Gibson, Stan Smith.

USPTA wc by Gail Ingis








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Roger Federer at Indian Wells 2013

Roger Federer at Indian Wells 2013

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer

What? I lost again. I have the best coach, I serve hundreds of balls, hit with my partner, practice my strategy. How come I lost again?

Sound familiar?

I am talking about tennis. But it could be any sport. Or anything? What keeps any of us from walking away with the trophy? Could it be a head trip? What are you thinking when you hit that ball? The difference between a good player and a great player has to be mental. It makes sense. You beat all the club players, but when you play in those tournaments, it all goes downhill.

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal

And the higher you reach, the more you need mental stamina. You might have a tough exterior, but what about your interior? Your inner workings need toughness. Even if you are a Roger Federer, or a Rafael Nadal., or a Tiger Woods. How do they stay at the top? Physically … mentally.  You need confidence, persistence, tenacity and most of all, focus.

I met Jane, a terrific tennis player, in interior design school so many years ago that I’m not saying. We traveled NYC together, studied together, built projects together. And in the summer, we hit the ball. I had just started playing and loved it. Jane asked if I’d like to learn. She had just passed a rigorous exam by the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA). I gawked at her, my jaw

Roger Federed

Roger Federer

dropped, and asked, “You teach tennis?”

Long story short, I practiced, practiced and practiced. Then I took that same USPTA exam and passed. Became pretty proficient, but I never could beat Jane. Even though she said, “What’s the matter with you? You’re now a better player than me.” She was my teacher, my coach, my playing partner, I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t beat her. I never did. Head trip. And … I taught tennis for years before I was consumed by my career in interior design.

There are mental training specialists, not psychologists or psychiatrists. In my tennis organization there are those for just this purpose.  Mental training is a critical part of success.

Take a look: Damien LaFont, PhD, Certified Mental Trainer

Juan Martin del Potro

Juan Martin del Potro

Anyone following Juan Martín del Potro? He did great this tournament. He climbed almost to the top at Indian Wells, lost in the finals to Nadal, a tough competitor.

How many of you know that Doubt Monster?  Do you believe you have more tenacity than it? Can you turn your passion into progress?


* Beautiful Blogger Award *

* Beautiful Blogger Award *

Yay! Its Thursday and I have some good news to share.

Beautiful Blogger Award

Marian Lanouette, writer, has passed The Beautiful Blogger Award to me. I am pleased, honored and grateful. Thank you for poking me Marian! Marian writes mysteries with romantic elements. Her first novel and the first in the series, If I Fail, A Jake Carrington Mystery, will be released in September 2012 by MuseItUp Publishing. Marian is from Brooklyn like me. Yay Brooklyn. Check out Marian at

And another thank you to Casey Wyatt, whom I think awarded it to me a few months ago.  But I wasn’t ready to accept such a distinguished standing. She publishes two posts every Friday. If you have a chance check out her blog at and Secrets of 7 Scribes blog, you’ll be glad you did.

Life is busy for me, always; great and grinding, I seem to find it easy to dig my own grave. Digging out is difficult, but not when you are creating and sharing like when I am doing this blog.

And here are the rules for the award, which I’m not going to follow to the letter. I like to create my own rules now and then.

Rule 1 – Share seven things about me.  I’ll do six.

1. The first is above. I like to tailor the rules from time-to-time.

2. I am bionic. Pins hold me together at the hip and my tennis-serving arm.

3. But I maintain my membership in the professional tennis teaching United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA). I taught tennis for twenty years. The painting below is in the USPTA Houston headquarters.

USPTA Watercolor by Gail Ingis Claus

4. We own three cars, but there are only two of us.

5. I failed history in High School, but I founded a school of interior design and had to teach it!

6. My favorite book is “Gone with the Wind.” And I am writing an Historic Romance.

Gone With the Wind image from the movie

Rule 2 – The next rule is to pass the award to seven bloggers. I am passing it on to five.

The award is passed to:

1. Katy Lee, Katy is a published writer and hard working dedicated home-school teacher. See more here:

2. Kate Rothwell, Kate is a multi-talented published author. She has worked as a service manager/parts runner in a Saab garage, and much, much more. See more here:

3.Thea Devine,Thea is the author whose books defined erotic historical romance.  Romantic Times calls her “The Queen of Erotic Romance,” Affaire de Coeur: “… the divine mistress of sensual writing …”

4. Julianne Stirling, ASID, (American Society of Interior Designers). Julianne is an interior designer extraordinaire, President of her own company. You can find her blog in her website links.

5. David Dunlop, David is an amazing artist, lecturer and teacher. He shares his knowledge and artistic skills with his students. His students follow him here in the USA and across the seas.

Do you have a favorite most beautiful blog?

This was fun and a change of blog direction. Last week was the start of color, come back next week for more.


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