If you win, say nothing. If you lose, say even less.
Ryan Taucher
PTR Teaching Professional

When I was 13 or 14 years old, my family was at a summer church retreat and a fellow member of the congregation asked my parents if I was keeping busy. Turns out, not enough! In addition to playing baseball, my parents thought I needed more activity. Turns out, this fellow taught tennis at the Jefferson Tennis & Swim Club. I’ll never forget my first lesson, hitting balls over the fence onto the side of a very steep hill. I must say, I was warned repeatedly not to do this, but didn’t learn the lesson until I had to go and fetch them. Never happened again! 

The summer quickly passed, and so did tennis. Baseball remained my game of choice until a couple of years later, when I discovered two fundamental things about myself:

  1. I wanted to have greater control over winning and losing.
  2. Playing tennis would permit me to remain a part of a team, while relying on individual performance.

I played varsity tennis in high school until dislocating my ACL. Turns out, having additional lessons would have been useful. My recovery took over a year. During my sophomore year at Duquesne University, I returned to the courts. 

In 2001, I met Augie Garofoli from USCTDP and former coach of the Peters Township High School tennis team. Augie invited me to assist him, and my official coaching career took off. 

Eventually, I pursued a master’s degree in Exercise Science and spent ten years working as an exercise physiologist. I returned to teaching tennis as a full-time career in 2022, joining USCTDP and coaching the USC High School Girls’ Tennis Team. 

Oh! If you recognize my favorite saying, it’s attributed to Paul Brown, co-founder and first coach of the Cleveland Browns, a team named after him, and later a founder of the Cincinnati Bengals. His teams won seven league championships in a professional coaching career spanning twenty-five seasons. 



Favorite Female Pro: Martina Navratilova

I guess I’m stoic at heart, and so is Martina. Reminiscing about the tough times growing up in a communist country, she said, “You have to be stoic. You can't feel sorry for yourself, or you would be crying all the time because you don't have any freedom.”

Martina’s a tough woman―and that’s what I love about her.

Favorite Male Pro: Andre Agassi

Andre has been called the greatest service returner ever to play the game―and here’s one of the greatest tennis stories ever:

“Boris Becker beat me the first three times we played because his serve was something the game had never seen before. I watched tape after tape of him and stood across the net from him three different times and started to realize he has this weird tick with his tongue. He would go into his rocking motion and just as he was about to toss the ball, he would stick his tongue out. It would either be right in the middle of his lip, or it’d be to the left corner of his lip. If he was serving in the deuce court and put his tongue in the middle of his lip, he was either serving up the middle or to the body. But if he put it to the side, he was going to serve out wide.

…The hardest part wasn’t returning his serve—it was not letting him know that I knew. I had to resist the temptation of reading his serve for most of the match and choose the moment when I would use that information on a given point to execute a shot that would allow me to break the match open.”

After retirement, Andre reports, “We went out and had a pint of beer together, and I couldn’t help but say, ‘By the way, did you know you used to do this and give away your serve?’ He about fell off the chair. He said, ‘I used to go home all the time and tell my wife, it’s like he just reads my mind. Little did I know, you were just reading my tongue.'”

Favorite Tournament: Wimbledon

Breakfast at Wimbledon. Brings back sweet memories as a teenager watching Wimbledon in the morning as I had a bowl of Cheerios. It became a July tradition.

Favorite Stroke: Second Serve

While the first serve is used as a big weapon by many players, the second serve is really where matches are won and lost. Sure, it's great to have a huge first serve that can win you free points. But it’s the effectiveness of your second serve, particularly under pressure, that can really make the difference.