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Monday, January 20, 2020

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Monday, January 13, 2020

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2019 ORACLE CHALLENGER SERIES: Donald Young Secures Wild Card Into 2019 BNP Paribas Open

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Congratulations are in order for Donald Young, as the American has secured a wild card into the main draw of the 2019 BNP Paribas Open.

The fourth event in the 2018-2019 Oracle Challenger Series is underway at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden and Young clinched one of the two men’s wild cards by advancing to the third round of the tournament and taking the leaderboard lead with 80 points going into his third round match against Lloyd Harris. Yong’s admirable run, coupled with several American losses yesterday, have cemented his claim to a main draw wild card into the 2019 BNP Paribas Open.

Full article here.

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2019 ORACLE CHALLENGER SERIES: Donald Young, Jr. Keeps Wild Card Hopes Alive As He Defeats Fellow American Thai-Son Kwiatowski

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Donald Young, Jr. In 2019 Oracle Challenger Series

 (Oracle Challenger Series) In a three-set tiebreak victory over World No. 267 Thai-Son Kwiatowski, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(4), World No. 214 Donald Young kepts his wild card hopes very much alive. By securing a second round appearance at Oracle Challenger Series Indian Wells, Young is guaranteed at least 5 ranking points which, when added to his current total of 70, places him even with fellow Americans Roy Smith and Reilly Opelka, neither of whom are playing the Indian Wells event.

A seasoned player who has spent 15 years on the ATP Tour, Young, who was once ranked as high as World No. 38, is no stranger to the BNP Paribas Open and hopes to capitalize on Oracle’s unique tournament format to earn himself a wild card.

Up next for Young is number 10 seed and World No. 122, Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland.

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Black History Month: Dr. John A. Watson, Arthur Ashe Childhood Coach, Life Celebrated With Virginia Senate Resolution

Sunday, February 28, 2010


Celebrating the life of John Andrew Watson, Jr. Agreed to by the Senate, March 9, 2006 Agreed to by the House of Delegates, March 10, 2006

Black Tennis Pro's Dr. John A. Watson, Childhood Arthur Ashe Tennis Coach Life Celebrated With Virginia Senate ResolutionWHEREAS, John Andrew Watson, Jr., was born in Greenville, South Carolina, lived a rich and
distinguished life, and full of years at age 85, entered into eternal rest on February 17, 2006; and
WHEREAS, at the age of two, his family left Greenville to settle in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where John Andrew Watson, Jr., was reared with his three brothers and two sisters; and
WHEREAS, John Andrew Watson, Jr., was educated in the Bethlehem Public Schools, and attended Howard University until he interrupted his studies to serve in the United States Army during World War II from 1943 to 1946, and was present when General George Patton's forces liberated Paris; and
WHEREAS, after the war, John Andrew Watson, Jr., returned to Howard University, where he
earned a bachelor's degree in Romance Languages, and the desire for higher education compelled him to return to France, where he earned the Certificate of Graduate Studies, the equivalent of a master's degree, in Romance Languages from the University of Paris; and
WHEREAS, John Andrew Watson, Jr., joined the faculty at Virginia Union University in 1948 as an associate professor of Spanish and French, and, for 10 years, he concurrently taught Spanish at Virginia State University; and
WHEREAS, while teaching at Virginia Union University and Virginia State University, John Andrew Watson, Jr., earned a doctorate in Spanish at Catholic University; and
WHEREAS, with impeccable and impressive teaching credentials, John Andrew Watson, Jr., served as a member of the faculty at Howard University and as chairman of his department at Virginia State University for more than 30 years, and also held the position of professor and chairman of the Department of Foreign Languages at Virginia Union University, where he served for more than 57 years until his death; and
WHEREAS, John Andrew Watson, Jr., was noted for two speeches, and for 58 years he drilled the first speech into his students in the Department of Foreign Languages at Virginia Union University, in which he stated that "the mind learns how to learn when it learns a second language, and if you do not learn a foreign language before you leave college, you have left something behind"; and
WHEREAS, while at Virginia Union University, he discovered a new passion––tennis––which he taught himself to play well enough to become the University's tennis coach in 1959; and
WHEREAS, John Andrew Watson, Jr., coached tennis at Virginia Union University for 43 years, and from 1959 to 1987, his team never had a losing season; and
WHEREAS, John Andrew Watson, Jr., delivered his second speech for 46 years each June to tennis players packed into the bleachers at Battery Park before the opening of the Southeastern Open Tennis Tournament, which he had directed since its inception, lecturing and demanding "the highest level of sportsmanship, no bad language, no throwing down your racquet in disgust, and no temper tantrums"; and
WHEREAS, John Andrew Watson, Jr., demanded that his team and tennis students be sportsmen and more than just tennis players; he had the reputation of stopping grown men during matches and pulling
players off the court for less than good sportsmanship conduct; and
WHEREAS, John Andrew Watson, Jr., equally well educated in the finer aspects of tennis, achieved a Virginia District #6 ranking, held rankings within the top three senior divisions of the American Tennis Association (ATA), and was a finalist in the senior division of the ATA Championships in Boston; and
WHEREAS, while playing tennis at the old Brook Field courts, the only place in Richmond at one time available to African American athletes, he met nine-year-old Arthur Robert Ashe, Jr., assumed the youth's tennis instruction from his previous coach, and helped the future champion to hone his early court skills; and
WHEREAS, John Andrew Watson, Jr., coached Arthur Ashe, was his constant practice partner until Arthur Ashe's departure from Richmond at age 15 to train with Dr. Walter Johnson (who also coached Althea Gibson), and is credited with turning Arthur Ashe into one of the world's greatest tennis players; and
WHEREAS, Richmond native Arthur Ashe won 51 titles during his tennis career, became the first African American player named to the United States Davis Cup team, the first African American to win the United States Open, and the first and only African American man to win Wimbledon; and earned respect and a reputation for impeccable sportsmanship, a quality he undoubtedly learned under the tutelage of John Andrew Watson, Jr.; and
WHEREAS, John Andrew Watson, Jr., also made a name for himself in local tennis competitions;
was among the first four African Americans to play in the Davenport City Tennis Championship when it moved to Byrd Park in 1967; served as the longtime president of the Richmond Racquet Club and first vice president of the American Tennis Association, the oldest African American sports organization in the United States; and was inducted into the Mid Atlantic Tennis Hall of Fame in 1992; and
WHEREAS, he was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and was actively involved in
community service, volunteering for many years as a tennis coach for the Richmond Department of Recreation and Parks; and
WHEREAS, John Andrew Watson, Jr., believed that tennis was a sport for a lifetime, and through the game he touched the lives of many young people, saving many from a path of destruction by introducing them to tennis, a portal to a different life, and secured hundreds of scholarships for them during his tenure as director of the Southeastern Tennis Tournament; and
WHEREAS, he derived great personal satisfaction from knowing that so many children and youths of diverse backgrounds had benefited from his instruction and encouragement, and had developed into productive and successful citizens; and
WHEREAS, the lives of many have been enriched through the life of John Andrew Watson, Jr., and his family, friends, students, and colleagues and the people of Virginia mourn his loss, but will cherish his memory and legacy; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED by the Senate, the House of Delegates concurring, That the General Assembly hereby note with great sadness the loss of John Andrew Watson, Jr.; and, be it
RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the Senate prepare a copy of this resolution for presentation to the family of John Andrew Watson, Jr., adopted son and distinguished educator and tennis coach, as an expression of the General Assembly's respect for his memory and gratitude for his service and contributions to the children and youth of this Commonwealth.

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2009, Celebrate With Service

Monday, January 19, 2009

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Conversations: Exclusive With Donald Young, Jr.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Black Tennis Pro's Donald Young ConversationsOn Monday, August 26, at the U. S. Open we saw 19-year-old Donald Young, Jr. give fellow American James Blake all that he could handle before going down in defeat. Watching Young battle Blake for every last point was the best that I personally have seen of Young since he transitioned from the ranks of the juniors onto the ATP Tour.

A lot has been voiced about the current status of Young's game and whether he is where he "should" be at this point. Since having the legendary John McEnroe utter the words "...has hands like another lefty I know very well," expectations for Young have been what I considerably high. The coming of Donald Young out of the juniors has been loudly and consistently heralded. The problem with that kind of lead in is living up to it. When Young wins, it's expected; when he loses, he's not all that he was purported to be. I would imagine that the pressure of that kind of press and commentating has got to be burdensome. After speaking with Donald I am pleased to say that the news surrounding him has far less to do with him than it does with those who craft it.

I had no particular expectations for the type of personality that I would be speaking with when conducting my interview with Young, but it was a sincere pleasure to speak to someone as polite, courteous and respectful as he turned out to be. My thoughts immediately turned to his parents because his behavior was evidence of someone having been conscientiously parented.

I also had the pleasure of speaking with both Donald Sr. and Illona Young, it became immediately apparent where Donald, Jr. received such an affable nature. My conversation with Donald Jr.'s parents/coaches will be revealed in the Wednesday Coaches Corner on October 1.

Though Donald's schedule was busy, we managed to cover the essentials.

Shelia: Let's talk about you first. Tell me about your childhood and growing up.
Donald: I am an only child. I grew up in the Hyde Park area of Chicago. We lived there until I was 14. I definitely enjoyed the people, the weather wasn't that good.

Shelia: When did tennis begin for you?
Donald: At three years old.

Shelia: When did you know that you liked tennis? That you were good?
Donald: When I was five, six years old...I played my first tournament.

Shelia: Tell me about being coached by your parents. Do you find that there are advantages to being coached by your parents?
Donald: That you like playing cause your parents are watching you. From the beginning to now they've been there; no one else knows you better. People come in for a lesson, but you are with them 24/7 talking about it. You don't have to get to know them.

Shelia: Disadvantages?
Donald: When you don't want to do something you still have to be responsible with everything, and you have to work when you are playing, because they are worrying about your behavior and how you are representing your parents.

Shelia: Which parent is the toughest?
Donald: I guess it would be dependent on the subject. I would have to say, probably my mom; she's very detailed.

Shelia: Let's talk about the ATP Tour. After having so much success in the juniors, did the thought of transitioning to the men's tournament concern you?
Donald: I was playing some Tour and pro circuit tournaments before I was done with juniors. It was different knowing that I couldn't go back and play juniors, Kalamazoo.

It was different because I had to get into playing more weeks than we used to. It altered what you thought about tennis, how hard it is when as a junior thinking how some guy at 200, 100 or 80 in the world is, and then you play that someone and they are really good!

Shelia: Did you have friends of the same age that were making the transition at the same time that you were?
Donald: None of them kind of kept up with me, no. They either went to college, thought it was too hard or didn't play for other reasons.

Shelia: What do you think about the Tour now that you've been playing for awhile. Are you encouraged by your progress thus far?
Donald: It was different when I would go into the locker room and everybody was 28-30 years old and I was 17, 18. Some of the American guys were nice, Andy, James...And going to Davis Cup, Fish, Courier, McEnroe, Gullickson...

In general, the tour itself, this is what I wanted to do and I just want to keep getting better at it.

Shelia: With so few American men at the top of tennis and even fewer Black men, do you feel personal pressure on the tour?
Donald: When I am playing, and get off the court, I kind of just...I have to always look in the mirror everyday...when I'm playing, I don't think about that really. I will get it from other people and they will say it. I am pretty excited about it myself, personally, that they have that much confidence and faith in me. It doesn't really bother me, it brings support when I play.

Shelia: I was so disappointed to see you and James Blake paired against each other in round one of the U.S. Open. What were your initial thoughts when you saw the draw?
Donald: I was pretty upset playing the number nine guy in the world...unfortunate luck of the draw. Then I got excited to play in the Arthur Ashe Stadium at night with television coverage.

Shelia: I thoroughly enjoyed the match, and if you just had to walk away in round one, I thought that you walked away in good fashion. What were your thoughts immediately after the match?
Donald: If it had to be, it still worked out well, it was a win win situation...though obviously you want to win those matches

Shelia: What are your thoughts about it now?
Donald: I was pretty excited. I felt like I could have won. I realized that I can play big, I have to believe that I can do it.

Shelia: Did the match present you with anything that you will keep in mind for future matches?
Donald: I am excited. I took away that now I can actually play the ranking right now. I feel like now I have confidence.

Shelia: Tell me about your life goals in and outside of tennis.
Donald: I want to get back to making the main draw of the Australian Open. To win a title would be great for me. I want to get my ranking up to be one of the top players.

Outside of tennis there's not a lot of time. I don't have anything that I want to do right now outside of tennis. I do want to help kids, African-American kids, my parent's academy helps that.

When I am at home I participate with the kids. I've picked a couple of them up from school, they were excited for me to do so.

Shelia: Is there anything that you would like readers to know about you?
Donald: Just that I am working hard as I can.

Shelia: Okay, time for some fun facts. What do you enjoy doing during your down time?
Donald: Driving

Shelia: Your favorite foods?
Donald: Italian

Shelia: Your favorite book, and what are you reading right now?
Donald: The Da Vinci Code. I'm currently reading a book given to me by Allen Fox.

Shelia: Favorite Movie?
Donald: The Matrix

Shelia: Favorite type of music?
Donald: R&B and Hip Hop.

Shelia: What are you currently listening to on your iPod?
Donald: Trey Songz and Young Jeezy

Shelia: Favorite video/computer games?
Donald: Wii bowling

Shelia: Favorite sport outside of tennis? Team?
Donald: Basketball - Dallas Mavericks

Shelia: Favorite vacation spot?
Donald: Vacation?

Shelia: Favorite grand-slam tournament?
Donald: U.S. Open

Shelia: Favorite place to be?
Donald: Home

Photo Getty Images
A special thank you to Ayona Anderson at Axis for coordinating this interview

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Wednesday Coaches Corner: Morris King, Jr., Part II

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Black Tennis Pro's Coach(l)Naseem Eslami (2nd from left) Maryam Eslami (2nd from right) Coach King (r) Shabnam Eslami

Author Prelude

The Wednesday Coaches Corner began on May 14, with very kind favor. It is the one who found it necessary to remind me that coaches are indeed Black tennis professionals too, whom I continue to explore today.

This weeks segment, which concludes my *EXCLUSIVE* interview with world class coach Morris King, Jr. primarily discusses the coaching life and experience of “Coach King.” It is definitely not for the faint-of-heart. This part of the interview is straight up, no chaser in your face high voltage revelation. So much so that I guarantee you will have to read some passages a second time (at the very least).

This interview is about the coaching aspect of the life of Morris King, Jr., and it is what it is, his own personal experience, and that’s exactly what I want you to walk away from this read knowing, his life experience as a Black world class tennis coach.

There is only so much time and space to accommodate an individual interview, so at the conclusion of this interview Coach King is open to further exploring any of the information that is included in either Part I or II of this interview. You are welcomed to comment, email or contact him directly through information that will be provided at the end of this interview.

Morris King, Jr.'s Opening Statement, Part II

“In beginning Part II of this interview, I am reminded of a controversial statement made by Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder at a Georgetown restaurant in front of reporters. The portion of his statement that got everyone’s ire up was that the slave owners of old used to “breed his big Black to his big Black woman so that he would have a big Black kid.” Actually, that statement is historically correct.

But the portion of his statement that remains far more damning and racist is where Jimmy “The Greek” warned “if Blacks take over coaching like everybody wants them to, there is not going to be anything left for the White people.” THAT is the very damning, racist statement that sends a subliminal instruction to Whites to block competent Black coaches. That form of fear mongering is the racism from which I (and other) Black coaches suffer, especially in the tennis community. It is very much purposed.”

“I come from a culture that won’t allow my daughters to play tennis because they are female. It is almost the same in this country when you are told ‘no, your daughters cannot play because you come from a low income family. The USTA (United States Tennis Association) is a political machine, and the total system is a failure.”
Ali Eslami

As I began to compose all of the notes that I have taken during my conversations with Coach King, and the brief one that I had with Ali Eslami, I was stymied for hours on the manner within which to present it. Coach King and I established a wonderful rapport during this interview and enjoyed some very light moments. It didn’t dawn on me just how literally depressing the totality of this information actually was until I was alone with the information and attempting to organize it in an appealing manner. There is nothing appealing or easy to read about about cultural bias, systematic racism, and veiled parity.

From the joys of coaching, to the high point of being selected to advise on the rise of Venus and Serena Williams, to the disappointment of rejections as a contract coach, Morris King, Jr. has and is experiencing a coaching career that is mired in the invisibility of the private Black tennis coach.

From the days that Coach King would work independently as a youth to learn tennis because of the inability of a Black youth to get into the local country clubs in Jacksonville, to defending his reputation against Tennis Week Magazine based upon the lies and lies of omission by Amer Delic, continuing his commitment to a sport that few even know that he is a part of is remarkable.

In the early 90's Coach King made moves to bring his life forward in a direction that did not include tennis. “I became a professional manager for entertainers, models and athletes along with other endeavors, tennis was unwittingly growing on the side. It was not purposeful or planned whatsoever.”

“At a certain point I realized that I am now a tennis coach, but it may not last. This was a response to life.”

Today Morris King, Jr. is a world class coach serving as the founder and director of MAGIAN World Class Tennis, which specializes in highly competitive, individualized training utilizing the patented and unstoppable “MAGIAN style”. Additionally,
  • King is the first “world class” coach in the history of his home city and state of Jacksonville, Florida.
  • Coached touring pros, nationally ranked “top 10" international/national juniors from four countries with two being #1s as well as many other accomplished juniors, collegians and PTR/USPTA teaching pros. (Accomplished this ALONE; that is, without having assistants do the work, then robbing them of the credit.)
  • Creator/developer of the patented “MAGIAN Style.”
  • Former certified USTA Official (6 years).
  • Former USTA Clinician.
With all of this, Coach King’s attempt at consideration to secure contract players such as Jelena Jankovic most recently, are met not with a resounding no, but with a silent lack of response.

Even at his own alma mater, the University of Florida, with two coaching positions open at the time, Coach King gave consideration to taking on a collegiate position in coaching tennis and discontinuing his professional efforts, once again King was rejected.

In an attempt to determine why coaching opportunities for a Black world class tennis coach exist as such, an investigative journalist took it upon their self to take a long hard detailed journey into the history of Coach King in relationship to accomplishments, player history and much more, because surely there must be a reason why a Black tennis coach cannot seem to secure the same coaching opportunities as an equivalent or lesser White coach.

One such attempt in the life of Coach King where the desire resides on both sides of the equation is with the Eslami sisters, Naseem, Maryam, and Shabnam, the daughters of Ali Eslami (www.triplethreattennis.com).

The quote at the top of this interview from Ali Eslami was acquired during a brief conversation with him. Mr. Eslami has had the opportunity to have his daughters work with Coach King, and has not been impressed with the coaching that his daughter’s have received since that experience.

“Coach King is the best coach I have ever come across. His expertise, humbleness and willingness to help us...” said Eslami, who has great respect and admiration for Coach King and equal if not more disappointment with the USTA.

Eslami was referred to Coach King by none other than Richard Williams, the father of superstars Venus and Serena, who had previously personally sought out Coach King to assist in taking his daughters to the next level. King likened his capacity in the coaching of Venus and Serena Williams to that of football coaches, saying “I was more like an offensive and defensive coordinator with Richard (Williams) being the head coach calling all of the plays.”

“Richard Williams’ accomplishment was made in brilliance and craftiness. With no tennis background or accomplishments, he mimicked the duties of an NFL head coach and brought in other coaching coordinators as necessary.”

Eslami basically agrees with King’s position saying, “Richard Williams is a visionary and a businessman. He knew what he wanted and where he wanted to go, he had a plan and was willing to take that next step to support his daughters.”

“What happened with Venus and Serena is far removed from the norm of parental coaching, unless that parent has experience coaching tennis, says King.

“Currently being coached by parents or USTA coaches that will never be able to deliver them to the championship status that they so desire, are youth with respectable potential. Unfortunately they are unable to climb out of the first and second round losing box that they are in because their coaching situation does not move them forward, but instead stagnates their growth.”

One such player is Ahsha Rolle. “I was approached by the parent of another youth about a very talented young lady whom this parent thought I might be able to help. He stated ‘this girl needs a real coach.’ I thought it would be great if I could get her on the map. I was willing to help her free of charge, with the parents picking up expenses. I never had the opportunity to speak to the parents, but I really would like to have helped her move her game forward.”

When asked about the viability of Black coaches in tennis, Coach King’s response was a very dry “there is no viability, they are non-existent.”

“Just take a sample. Every time you turn your television on for the next six months, ten years, whatever, count the Black coaches that appear as the players are being discussed. We are not there.”

“If you dare show that you are good at this, and that you can coach players to beat their players, your visibility went from 0 to negative 100. When they realized that I was good, they took the safety off."

I asked Coach King how he saw the current state of tennis, “the talent pool is down across the board. Blacks who have been around the USTA’s development program for years who now are showing up and tricking Black people into thinking that they are new, are NOT new - just politically feasible.”

“Having now completed this interview, I would like to say thanks for having given me this rare opportunity. You have been a most delightful interviewer. I hope that the readers become more enlightened because of your efforts and that you have the greatest of success and a positive effect on the problems that have plagued us throughout history.

Morris King, Jr.

Related links:

“About MORRIS KING, JR., Black, Pro Tennis Coach & World Class...” (the independent investigative expose that gives a vivid behind-the-scenes insight into how Blacks are kept down and/or out of professional tennis) - www.protennisexpose.net

“Practice Of Hiding Black Pro Tennis Coaches Attacked!” - www.mmdnewswire.com/content/view/1364

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The Wednesday Coaches Corner: Morris King, Jr. , Part I

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Black Tennis Pros Wednesday Coaches Corner
Author Prelude

Today is the first segment of the Wednesday Coaches Corner. I am very excited about it. Loving what we see transpire on the courts is inevitably a direct correlation to the coaches that train, mentor and advise the players.

Even so, it was never my intention to delve into the lives and activities of the coaches, primarily because that is not an experience that I am familiar with. However, my first profile, Morris King, Jr., contacted me a short while ago and questioned my not covering the Black coaches who are indeed Black tennis professionals themselves. It took me a minute to come around, but he eventually made his point.

Since Morris is the impetus for this new feature, it is only proper that he would be the first coach profiled. His interview will take place over two installments. I don't know that this will be the standard framework for these interviews, but Morris brings a lot to the table and I want to share as much of him as is reasonably possible.

On Thursday, May 8, 2008, I began interviewing a world class private tennis coach. Within five minutes we were laughing as if we had known one another for years. By Friday, May 9, I was interviewing a friend, the point at which this interview took on a life of its own.

This man with with the deep voice, personality to spare, depth of thought to share and an honest streak that could cause fear, was very open, and allowed me the freedom to probe his life as much as I chose. He responded elaborately in some areas and minutely in others.

Whatever the result of my inquiry, I could not have spent better days engulfed in some of the most intriguing, entertaining one-on-one conversation that I have enjoyed in a long time.

I was speaking with someone who's life's pursuits have taken him from substitute teaching, to banking, to even running for a seat on the city council. By no means is Morris King, Jr. going to be bored with the story that his life tells when it is all said and done.

For those of you who do not know this Jacksonville, Florida native, it is my intention to simply introduce you to him and peak your interest in him as a coach. The second half of this interview will take you deep inside the coaching world of Morris King, Jr.

Morris King Jr.’s Opening Statement

“White players hire White coaches, Hispanic players hire Hispanic coaches, Japanese players hire Japanese coaches, Chinese players, hire Chinese coaches; Black players hire White coaches (except where the coach is the parent, of course).

But also, Black players that don’t have money allow the USTA (the United States Tennis Association, the national governing body of tennis) to come in, finance them and ruin their chance of becoming a champion as a result of the USTA’s pitiful coaching.

However, the bright side of the story is that, at least, the Black player is now able to travel all over the world at the USTA’s expense, and NEVER be properly coached to win a championship or to become one of the top players in the world.“

I was completely floored when Morris concluded his statement. It was very frank, and it immediately allowed me to look behind the curtain of Morris’ perspective on a number of issues.

I honestly did not know where to direct my interview due to the severity of this statement. I wanted to further consider and make inquiry of his very strong words. I wondererd to myself "what is the validity of this statement? what is it's purpose? do I want to print it?"

Eyebrows raised in contemplation, I was literally locked in thought, but we moved on.

Morris is a smart man, an educated man committed to excellence, community and tomorrow. It is readily evident in his conversation and the body of actions over his lifetime. His dedication to the growth and prosperity of the youth that he comes into contact with is heartwarming.

He has that ability to consistently massage and apply his knowledge into a conversation in a comparative and analytical sense. I admire people who can do that. It's a strong factor of foundation and belief in one's self.

After learning of these aspects of Morris King, Jr. the world class tennis coach, I became even more enthralled with the man that aspired to this point. What was, and is this man seeking, and in that quest, how did becoming a private tennis coach present itself?

Here are a few critical points of growth in Morris’ life:

  • achieved a bachelor’s degree in Public/Business Administration from the University of Florida, after having completed the first two years of college at the Ivy League Columbia University in New York City on academic scholarship;
  • formerly a city official in Jacksonville, Florida;
  • formerly a financial analyst at a former leading Florida bank;
  • formerly a personal/professional manager of entertainers, models and athletes as a private businessman;
  • formerly involved in international affairs consulting with third world countries;
  • has been a board member of a renowned civil/human rights advocacy organization; and
  • is a paralegal, among other accomplishments and affiliations.
I found each of these events interesting as I listened for what exactly caused his evolution into a tennis coach. Whenever I would ask for a direct statement to that effect, Morris would always say “I didn’t pick tennis, tennis picked me.” I definitely understand such a path. Sometimes each of our paths in life evolves differently from how we originally envision it.

Morris eventually shared with me that he began playing tennis at 14 years of age, and that his game was self-taught from reading books and watching television. "Learning to play like this enabled me to later sharpen my analytical ability to fix problems inside of the game of others. I became a stickler for 'technical purity.'

Of course the most significant point of Morris’ evolution as a tennis coach occurred when he was approached by Richard Williams to inject his brand and philosophy of tennis into the development of the now superstar sisters, Venus and Serena.

Today Morris operates Magian World Class Tennis, among other business endeavors. Magian World Class Tennis specializes in highly competitive individualized training utilizing the patented and unstoppable “Magian Style.”

Before this segment is over and you begin waiting for next week's installment of my interview with Morris , I concluded this portion of the interview with him as I do with anyone else that I interview - Fun Facts! I like to know what makes people tick personally, what cracks them up, what music they groove to, etc.

When Morris and I began to talk about those things that relax or bring him pleasure, it was uncanny how much we had in common. At the pinnacle of that commonality is his love of my favorite style of music, jazz. I truly enjoyed hearing him share the artists that he listens to, that his father enjoyed, the problem with a lot of current day jazz artists, etc. Yet another elongated conversation.

Next in line, the brotha is a trekkie. How satisfying was that for me? Very. He could do no wrong in my eyes after I found that out. I was now in deep interest. I don’t meet many trekkies, so when I do, I take note. Of course we had to discuss which Star Trek we considered the best, what it was that Benjamin Sisqo (Avery Brooks) brought to the franchise as the first and only Black captain, and of course how James Tiberious Kirk will always be THE captain of the franchise.

While we didn’t seem to enjoy any of the same authors to date, he too is a voracious reader. Morris is currently reading Confessions of an Economic Hitman, The Wizards of Langley: Inside the CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology, and Dope, Inc.: The Book That Drove Henry Kissinger Crazy.

His all-time favorite books? The Autobiography of Malcolm-X, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and Behold a Pale Horse.

I then asked Morris if he had any favorite vacation spots, his response, “What is a vacation? Explain that to me.” Okay, guess not.

"Well, foods, tell me what type of foods are your favorite, and don’t say chicken." Morris took a few moments to set up his disdain and outrage at my disparagement of what he so lovingly calls, “the negro national bird.” He then began to very humorously, basically preach and praise the hallowed and mighty fowl. I laughed with my mouth wide open. Morris has consistently caused me to give up my cool all throughout this interview. I did not like it initially, those of you who know me know that I’m a control FREAK! However, I have had such a good time getting to know him that after time passed, I just did not care anymore.

He finally admitted that he loves seafood.

Morris has a funky list of beverages that he loves, with Pepsi (the “elixir of life") heading the list. Closely followed by Mountain Dew and Earl Grey Tea (and why not, it is Picard’s favorite brew).

Lastly, I asked him about marriage and relationships, the short and long answer is the same, "I am a single heterosexual male - looking."

In part II of this interview, while I will primarily explore Morris' life as a tennis coach, I will continue to share aspects of him that I find interesting, uncommon, endearing and even perplexing.

There is much more to Morris King, Jr. Meet me back here on May 21 to find out what that is.

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Posted by Shelia
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Murphy's Law on Black Tennis Pro's!

As I traveled across the country on Wednesday, a calamity of errors gathered together and prevented the Wednesday Coaches Corner from appearing in a timely fashion.

I appreciate the fact that many of you are looking forward to this new aspect of Black Tennis Pro's and wrote me today wondering what had occurred.

Without going into extreme detail, suffice it to say that after a day like no other I've had in the recent past, the first part of my interview with Morris King, Jr. will be up shortly.

Thank you for your continued interest and support of Black Tennis Pro's. I'm working as hard and as quickly as possible to resolve these issues.

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Posted by Shelia
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The "Wednesday Coaches Corner" To Premiere

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

On Wednesday, May 14, Black Tennis Pro's will premiere a new weekly segment, the "Wednesday Coaches Corner."

The primary goal of this segment will be to introduce professional Black tennis coaches and explore their roles in and out of tennis, obtain their perspectives on the state of the game as it relates to professional Black tennis players and discuss what needs to be done to bring more Black players into the game.

The first coach to stand in the corner will be Morris King Jr. King is the professional tennis coach that Richard Williams hand-picked in 1997 to assist him with the rise of his now champion daughters, Venus and Serena, to the top 10 in the pro rankings.

In a two part interview, King will share who he is personally and professionally, and give us a glimpse inside the world of a professional Black tennis coach.

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Posted by Shelia
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