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Chris Howard, Courier Columnist

Stories by Chris

Howard: What’s it take to play the clay court season?

Column: My Point

It’s begun — clay court season, at least for the men’s ATP and WTA tennis tours. From April 9 to the end of the French Open, June 4th, the top men and women players in the world of tennis will be making their debut on the red sliding clay events throughout Southern USA, Morocco, Monaco, Spain, Hungary, Portugal, Italy, many other countries and ending with the French Open.

Howard: Reliving old times with a childhood friend

Column: My Point

Most people during childhood have a best friend, one who for whatever reason you become close to, playing together, going to school together, getting involved in sports, hanging out, and eventually becoming best friends.

Howard: Confidence important when making the grade in tennis

Column: My Point

Confidence can be described as a belief in one’s ability to succeed. Striking a healthy balance can be challenging. Too much of it and you can come off as cocky and stumble into unforeseen obstacles, but having too little can prevent you from taking risks and seizing opportunities—in school, at work, in your social life, athletic endeavors and beyond.

Howard: An open letter to Roger Federer

Column: My Point

Dear Roger, I am one of your many tennis fans and would like to give you my two cents maybe not of advice, but certainly of thought through the eyes of what history may hold for you.

Howard: A few weird and strange tennis facts

Column: My Point

In the 144 years that the game of tennis has entertained us there have been some unusual things that have taken place that many players may not even be aware of.

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Howard: Going above and beyond, Caprielian 35-year volunteer at Indian Wells

Column: My Point

What can you say about a person who has gone over and beyond in giving of their time and energy to help make what is now the fifth largest tennis event in the world become a destination point of special memories for millions of people.

Howard: Who said today’s game of tennis is a sissy sport?

Column: My Point

Back in the days of old when people exalted the three main sports of baseball, football and basketball as the real sports of men (and now women), the game of tennis was sometimes made fun of.

Howard: Amateur status? Who really cares

Column: My Point

At one time, being an amateur in sports was the difference between getting to play in most sporting events in your chosen field or being left out - playing for personal satisfaction, not monetary gain.

Column: Women in tennis still pushing forward, part 2

'My Point'

Wikipedia states from Suzanne Lenglen’s book, “Lenglen was criticised widely for her decision to turn professional, and the All England Club at Wimbledon even revoked her honorary membership.”

Column: Women in the world of tennis are still pushing forward

'My Point'

Since the beginning of time, it seems like men have been “King of the Hill” while women in general were forced to take a back seat.

Column: Coaching in the world of tennis, past, present and future

'My Point'

The game of tennis has roots that go back much further than the year Major Wingfield patented it in February of 1874 and the development of the player skill sets as the years have advanced have taken enormous leaps and bounds as well.

Column: Is Indian Wells the ‘Garden of Eden’ for tennis lovers?

'My Point'

"California, I’ve been blue - since I’ve been away from you,” my eyes turn westward knowing it’s time to plan the trek back to the place made famous by the likes of so many great tennis players, a place simply known as the Masters Tennis Tournament in Indian Wells!

Column: Wave of future in tennis, ambidextrous players?

'My Point'

Just imagine if Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray could play the game of tennis with two forehands hitting groundstrokes, volleys and serves, yes using both their right and left hands equally well.

Column: How to deal with aches, pains from tennis matches

'My Point'

Does your body have its own way of talking to you like mine does after playing a tough tennis match?

Column: New technology great, but tennis world misses old-school routines

'My Point'

When you’ve been “Old School” for most of your life, the younger crowd wonders why you seem to be behind the times for what’s taking place in today’s world of tennis and everything else going on around us.

Column: Tennis doesn’t prosper without the help of many

'My Point'

Build it and they will come. A profane statement to say the least, because anyone in any business knows that isn’t the way it works - not even close. Locally the sport of tennis has taken decades to grow into a viable entity and it’s been one small step after another.

Column: The first slam of 2018, the Australian Open

'My Point'

The game of tennis is pretty much a year-round sport here in Arizona and professionally.

Column: What’s in and what’s out on the dreaded line call

'My Point'

A little over a week ago I played in a national tournament in the Phoenix area and for the most part really enjoyed each match in singles and doubles. The competition was tough and people converge for this last national from all over the country. I played people from Nebraska, Texas, Colorado, California, Canada and Arizona.

Column: Preparing for battle in tournament play

'My Point'

When you decide to play in a tournament, USTA League play, or any tennis competition where you most likely will be playing others you’ve never met, there comes a rush of emotions - for various reasons.

Column: 2018 Grand Slam rule changes, and others that are being considered

'My Point'

The Grand Slam board concluded their two-day meeting Nov. 21 and decided on several changes in what will take place in the four major tennis tournaments, including the Australian, French, Wimbledon and U.S. Open of 2018.

Column: The most revolutionary device invented for tennis since the rubber ball

'My Point'

This past year and now just getting the press it deserves, Gregoire Gentil a Frenchman and inventor who now resides in Palo Alto, California, came up with a solution to the common man’s problem of calling their own lines.

Column: How does your brain work best … when playing tennis?

'My Point'

It seems about 70 percent of the tennis player you become is a result of your learning of playing skills, the basic stroke-fundamentals added to sound strategy for singles and doubles.

Column: The spirit of competition and playing the best of the best

'My Point'

It seems the human race thrives to a large degree in the art of competition - who can do what - bigger and better than the next person, team, region, section, business, state or even nation.

Column: Dennis Van der Meer, the coach of coaches

'My Point'

Who would ever guess the son of a couple missionaries living in a Southwest African village would produce one of the most well-known teaching professionals ever know?

Column: Finding your path and following it successfully

'My Point'

At certain times in our lives we take stock in how we’re doing, what we’ve done and where we still want to go and do with our limited time here on earth.

Column: Subdivision pickleball and tennis problems, again

'My Point'

This last week there was a meeting held of tennis players (in general) in regard to the Prescott Lakes recreational area and a group of pickleball players, who have asked their board to consider taking one of their two tennis courts and convert it to a couple or more pickleball courts. Currently there are two tennis courts and five pickleball courts.

Column: I’m done talking....let’s play!

'My Point'

This last Saturday I finally got to go see the movie, “Battle of the Sexes,” where in 1973 the No. 2 woman tennis player in the world, Billie Jean King, played an exhibition match in the Houston Astrodome against Bobby Riggs in a winner take all $100,000 match.

Column: New tennis inductees are very special people

'My Point'

On Sunday, Oct. 8, the third annual Park of Tennis Fame day will take place, beginning with a clinic taught by all the local tennis professionals from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and followed by our induction ceremony at noon for six outstanding local people for what they have done in and for the game of tennis.

Column: Dealing with pressure and trying to avoid the choke

'My Point'

This weekend the Southwest Sectionals were held in El Paso, Texas, represented by each area (Phoenix, Tucson, New Mexico & Western Texas) with the 55 and over division regional winners.

Column: Life is kind of cruel in the sports world

'My Point'

Don’t you think life can be kind of cruel in some ways? About the time you start to learn something really well (like the game of tennis) your body starts to tell you it won’t perform for you the way it needs to, or used to.

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Column: Bob Hampton, a tennis lifer

'My Point'

We sat down with Bob Hampton for a question and answer session about his life in tennis. Here is an edited transcript from the interview.

Column: Making the ‘Big Show’ for the 1st time

'My Point'

Once again we have a short interview with our very own Taylor Johnson, who this year at the U.S. Open will be playing her first major (grand slam) WTA event in the women’s doubles main draw.

Column: What is it about sports that make them fun?

'My Point'

Did you ever take the time to think about what makes the sport you play fun? Certainly each sport has a certain segment of people who find different things about the athletic endeavor they want to try right up their alley and other sports not worth their time and effort.

Column: Staying busy with a passion for life

'My Point'

Everyone is so different, yet so alike in what they do in a day-month or years’ time.

Column: Sometimes, I just miss those ‘good old days’

'My Point'

Guess you’re getting older when you make a statement that you miss the “good old days.”

Column: A little more on Newport and the International Hall of Fame

'My Point'

I thought the adventure to cover the Newport, Rhode Island, International Tennis Hall of Fame was about to be over when on my way flying back to Phoenix from Providence via Charlotte North Carolina the weather got the better of the airline industry and had flights cancelled so late into the night that hundreds of people had no choice but to sleep in the airport - prisoners of travel.

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Column: Past, present and future at International Tennis Hall of Fame

'My Point'

It’s a bit of a trek from Prescott to Newport, Rhode Island, but every couple years it’s worth the time, effort and money to help honor the best of the best in the world of tennis.

Column: Breaking serve by Fishing and kayaking on Willow Lake

'My Point'

Last week my two boys and wife decided to go out kayaking on Willow Lake for a couple hours in the evening. It’s become a fun recreational time with the family, checking out coves, the wild life, fishing, finding spots to jump out and hike around — and how can you beat the price of $3 for the day to go there?

Column: Learning to deal with life through tennis

'My Point'

Life has it’s up’s and down’s — you wake up in the morning at times feeling like you have it by the tail, other day’s you feel just the opposite.

Column: Time to enter Mile High Adult & Senior Open

'My Point'

The time is drawing near for all competitive and slightly advanced tennis players to look hard at their calendars and reserve the time to enter the “Prescott Mile High Adult & Senior Open,” which goes from July 14 to 16.

Column: Tennis and pickleball ... interestingly different

'My Point'

Two Sundays ago I had the distinct pleasure of getting to try my hand at the game of pickleball.

COLUMN: Passed dreams and what if’s

'My Point'

Do you ever sit back and look at your life retrospectively and have thoughts of things you might have done differently if you had the chance to go back and have a do-over?

Column: Catching up with Taylor Johnson at the French Open

'My Point'

Former Prescott resident and 16 year-old Taylor Johnson just completed her fourth major with playing this year’s girl’s 18-and-under singles and doubles events on the red clay of Roland Garros, better known as the French Open.

Column: Switch to grass courts very different situation

'My Point'

This past week I had the opportunity to play a grass court tournament in the Scottsdale area at Desert Highlands. They have four neatly manicured grass courts and six very nice clay.

Column: Tournament Prep — A balancing act

'My Point'

When players work out their tournament schedule for the year in the regard of number of events and leagues they would like to play, which probably includes — singles/doubles and maybe even mixed, how much time they can devote, money, what their body can still put out without the chance absorbing too many aches and pains let alone injuries — it can become quite the balancing act.

Column: Roger Federer skipping 2nd-straight French Open

'My Point'

Millions of Roger Federer fans are saddened to have learned that Roger will be skipping the French Open again this year, the second year in a row — the previous year due to knee surgery.

Column: Billie Jean King, riding the wave 44 years later

'My Point'

Billie Jean King, 73, was in the town of Prescott this past week with her life and business partner Ilana Kloss taking care of her parents estate and visiting the likes of our YMCA, the Prescott High School tennis facility and it’s tennis patrons (especially the kids there) in between all kinds of neat things taking place in her life.

Column: Are you playing too much tennis, or not enough?

'My Point'

Life is a bunch of trade-offs of things you have to do — even though many of them you’d probably rather not, things you want to do, obligations of various levels and only 24 hours each day, 7 days a week and 365 days each year to come to terms with who you are and what you want in this world.

Column: The vicious circle

'My Point'

Keeping any sport alive and well is a crazy and complicated circle of constant events at all levels and endeavors of operation.

Column: Roger Federer facing age, family and life on the tour

'My Point'

What can you say about the best tennis player who’s ever picked up a racquet except “Bravo” while still at the age of 35 continuing to surprise even himself with winning the three biggest tournaments of 2017, the Australian and 18th singles major of his career, Indian Wells and the Miami Open - Roger Federer.

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