Platt was named one of the top 5 tennis teachers in the United States by
Tennis Magazines Buyer's Guide May 1991. Mark was commended as an
outstanding tennis marketer through his programs. One of those programs --
Beginner's World Tennis was conceived in 1984 by Mark
Platt to provide an all-encompassing program specifically geared to the
beginning tennis player: parties, team tennis leagues, community-based
lessons and special events.
This year alone, 10,000 men, women, teenagers and children will learn to
enjoy tennis on many different levels, thanks to Mark, his energetic
staff and the Beginner's World Tennis innovative approach..
Beginner's World Tennis Serves
World Tennis introduces the game to the new student, an average
of seven out of ten players commit to the sport... the national average
is only five out of ten new players. Beginner's
World Tennis prides itself on progressive instruction and high
energy demonstration along with participation. Beginner's
World Tennis is the place for you to learn to play tennis in a
relaxed, non-judgemental and friendly atmosphere.
us today or find out on the web for current program schedule.
Q + A on the court with Mark Platt
How did you get your start in tennis?
Director, Beginner's World Tennis
began my tennis career in the 1960s when I enrolled in a free tennis
program in University City, Missouri. I was fortunate enough to take
private lessons from Earl Buchholz, Sr., who was the premier grass roots
tennis coach at that time. His son, Butch, became one of the top eight
players in the world.
What made you want to teach tennis?
love of tennis continued and in 1976 I started teaching tennis and
directing the free University City tennis program. Teaching tennis is
very rewarding because it gives me the ability to mentor junior players
to help them further their education and realize their life's passion.
To help accomplish this personal goal, I developed the Rockwood School
District Tennis Program which is a middle school tennis league between
all six Rockwood middle schools. This inspired me to create a Mobile
Tennis Academy, which helped expand tennis to include children and young
adults from the Clayton, Ladue, Parkway, Hazelwood, Mehlville and
Lindbergh School Districts.
Do you have any memories as a coach that stand out for you?
of my most memorable players that I coached was Yelena Podorozhansky.
She become a nationally-ranked USTA player and because of her hard work,
she received a full tennis scholarship to the University of
Missouri-Kansas City's six year medical program. Sharre Smith is another
young woman I currently coach and mentor. She attends Whitfield High
School and is a number one seed and district champion. One of my current
tennis instructors, Kelsey Brendell, started out playing pee-wee tennis
with me when she was in kindergarten. She continued playing in my
tennis program, Beginners World Tennis, through high school,
became a three-time state medalist and received a full tennis
scholarship to college. She has been working for me for the last seven
done some work with the St. Louis University freshman orientation
program, introducing tennis to young people there. Tell us a little bit
For the past 10 years, as part of the
freshman orientation at St. Louis University, I've operated a very
successful tennis rally. The F.U.N. event (Freshman University Network)
called "You've Got the Hookup" which has over 500 participants. During
one freshman orientation, I noticed a small group of Chinese
international students looking lost so I invited them to participate in
the event and they loved it. In 2011, Sam Kelner, Intramurals and Sports
Clubs Program Coordinator at St. Louis University, invited all 600
Chinese students to come to our event. In the end, 300 Chinese students
attended last year and thoroughly enjoyed the tournament. Sunrise
Chinese Restaurant even provided food for the event.
Why do you think it's important to use tennis to reach out to different populations?
addition to providing tennis instruction to all age groups, I've always
enjoyed being able to facilitate social networking for the greater St.
Louis area with diverse groups. I have created large outreach tennis
programs in over 50 gyms and tennis facilities that have created
exposure and inclusion to our tennis community for all ethnic
backgrounds. These programs include beginners to potential US Open
champions. Currently, Alan Okanovic, who is seven years old and of
Serbian heritage, is a fine example of how strong grass-roots tennis
programs are to help identify and foster future champs.
What is your favorite thing about tennis?
anyone, young or old I wholeheartedly endorse tennis! This is a sport
that lasts a lifetime. It allows you to set individual goals, develop a
plan to meet those goals, and give back to your community. It's also a
great way to meet people and develop friendships that can last a
lifetime. Many of my students have volunteered at USTA Block parties,
St. Louis University F.U.N. Tennis Rallies, Rally Tennis for Cancer Care
and at the Central Institute for the Deaf. So I encourage everyone to
What do you like to do when you're not on the tennis court?
I'm not teaching tennis I love yoga, playing the drums, playing golf
with my wife, Jeannie, and gourmet cooking. One of my favorite things to
cook is a rack of lamb with Dijon mustard. My friends tell me I make
the best Italian meatballs with stuffed mozzarella. They're delish!
Source: USTA Missouri Valley Summer 2012 Edition