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Chris Howard, Courier Columnist

Stories by Chris

The majority of tennis courts in today’s world are of a hard surface, concrete or asphalt — but that hasn’t always been the case. Up until the 1960’s, grass and clay courts were prevalent and each of those surfaces as well as hard courts have their own special characteristics.

Tennis has been in my life since the age of 12. During that time most experiences have really been great. But a few things I could have done without, and remember I’m just talking about tennis.

Spending five days back in the area (Newark, Ohio) you grew up and seeing old friends jogs the mind, memory and fun days of past.

The following is an interview with Taylor Johnson, who learned to play the game of tennis here in Prescott as a child at the Prescott Racquet Club.

Today is May 1 and the temperatures are now at a level that tennis players are thinking about playing earlier in the morning to beat the heat or a bit later in the afternoons to early evening and with those thoughts who they’ll be playing against, where and in what organized events or just calling a friendly foe for a match.

Each of our high schools (Prescott and Prescott Valley) have tennis teams for both boys and girls and its quite often, just like all sports, that some of these young adults will become quite proficient and wonder if they just might be able to get a job in this unique field.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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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.

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.

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.

By Chris Howard, Courier Columnist February 26, 2018

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.”

By Chris Howard, Courier Columnist February 19, 2018

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.

By Chris Howard, Courier Columnist February 12, 2018

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.

By Chris Howard, Courier Columnist February 5, 2018

"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!

By Chris Howard, Courier Columnist January 29, 2018

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.

By Chris Howard, Courier Columnist January 22, 2018

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

By Chris Howard, Courier Columnist January 8, 2018

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.

By Chris Howard, Courier Columnist January 1, 2018

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.

By Chris Howard, Courier Columnist December 26, 2017

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

By Chris Howard, Courier Columnist December 18, 2017

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.

By Chris Howard, Courier Columnist December 11, 2017

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.

By Chris Howard, Courier Columnist December 4, 2017

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.

By Chris Howard, Courier Columnist November 27, 2017

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.

By Chris Howard, Courier Columnist November 20, 2017

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.

By Chris Howard, Courier Columnist November 13, 2017

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.

By Chris Howard, Courier Columnist November 6, 2017

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?

By Chris Howard, Courier Columnist October 30, 2017

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.

By Chris Howard, Courier Columnist October 23, 2017

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.

By Chris Howard, Courier Columnist October 16, 2017

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.

By Chris Howard, Courier Columnist October 10, 2017

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.

By Chris Howard, Courier Columnist October 2, 2017

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.

By Chris Howard, Courier Columnist September 18, 2017

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.

By Chris Howard, Courier Columnist September 11, 2017
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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.

By Chris Howard, Courier Columnist September 4, 2017

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.

By Chris Howard, Courier Columnist August 28, 2017

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.

By Chris Howard, Courier Columnist August 21, 2017

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

By Chris Howard, Courier Columnist August 14, 2017

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

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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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.

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?

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.

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.

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

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?

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.

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.