Tennis magazine has streamlined its design -- and so has cover boy John McEnroe. Known for his killer volleys, as well as his abusive on-court behavior, the bad boy has turned 50. He's gained some maturity and perspective, now able to pace himself and see tennis as "entertainment." But he still loves the game -- and for those who share his passion, Tennis is their user-friendly ticket to tips, gear and star profiles. Should weekend warriors need to kick up their game, head to for some video lessons.

The easy, accessible tone begins at the top -- with publisher Chris Evert, who pens "Chrissie's Page" each month. This round, she's touting colleague-turned-commentator John McEnroe. And she's so high on him, I wasn't sure whether she doubled as publicist or was writing a testimonial. Talent scouts: looking to cast a once-wild rebel with a heart of gold -- think McEnroe! Need someone to corral Lindsay Lohan, using tennis as rehab, hire McEnroe! Here, he gets a full publisher's letter, in addition to a six-page feature.

And because she's the publisher, she gets to plug in ads for the Evert Tennis Academy. Evert was a class act on the court, so it's a safe bet she's committed to top-of-the-line instruction. I'm guessing Jonah Ziff of Leicester, England, will be a future grad.

According to the magazine's "Quick Hits" column, his countrymen have hailed Ziff, all of two, as a "future Wimbledon champion." He regularly beats opponents, age six. Apparently, the diapers don't slow him down; my question: Do they play on a Mini-Me court? Will he get endorsements for a child-size Rolex?

The kid's got game, so maybe he should take his racket and slam some sense into the balloon boy's parents. Or attack Capitol Hill for obstructing health-care reform. We can't all be tennis prodigies and unlike McEnroe, most 50somethings do not work out with fervor three times a week and/or mountain bike in Malibu, where he keeps a home. Fewer have the free, all-you-can-eat health plan porked by Congress, which probably has access to quality courts, too.

However, if you've passed the Rubicon, which is to say you can't get up or down without sound effects, "The Big 5-Love" article, which supplies new tactics to cover more ground with less effort, is heaven-sent. So is the "Age Before Beauty" piece, which promises to "teach younger opponents a lesson they won't forget." Here's the first: criticize my swing and I'll belt you. Given the emphasis on middle age, it's a safe bet Tennis is enjoyed by baby boomers.

If 60 is the new 50 and 50 is the new 40 -- assuming you've been meticulous about nutrition and fitness and consider sweets the anti-Christ -- tennis is a sport that can last a lifetime. Get this: Alex Swetka is 92 and still winning trophies; admittedly, the category is the USTA tournaments for 90-and-over. First, it's amazing that many make it to 90 in shape. Second: location, location, location. He lives in Mountain View, Calif., where the climate means year-round outdoor fun. Swetka plays nearly three hours a day, five days a week. Or as my mother says every time someone loses weight: "Good for you!"

Such discipline would cut into my working, pretending to work while surfing the Net, eating, theater and email routine. I check the latter 57 times a day, which is below the national average.

But for amateur tennis players longing for a dollop of gossip, helpful strategies and a classified section that supplies nifty products, Tennis serves up nice.


Published by: Miller Sports Group

Frequency: 10 times/year


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