+ Sad news in the tennis world. Yesterday came word of the death of Steve Johnson, Sr. A prominent coach, fixture on the Southern California tennis scene for more than 35 years, Steve also become more widely known recently, when his son, classy ATP World Tour pro Stevie Johnson, emerged as a superb player and first-rate sportsman. Our condolences to the Johnson family and all others who were touched by Steve’s grace, kindness and wisdom.
+ One more for the books. Tuesday’s column on new tennis books overlooked one that definitely falls into the must-read category. Veteran journalist Carole Bouchard (no relation to the tennis player) has authored “The Quest,” a deep probe into Novak Djokovic’s successful 2016 campaign to at last win Roland Garros and complete both the career Slam and become the first man since Rod Laver to hold all four majors at once.
+ USTA league tennis: the good, the bad and the ugly. Spring well underway, summer near -- for recreational players, this can only mean weekends heavily devoted to USTA league play. The good: The chance to test oneself in the cauldron of competition and perhaps even meet new tennis partners. The bad: More emphasis on winning than building skills. That new second serve you’re working on? Alas, playing on a team often demands you park it and just lob in that reliable but meager puffball. The ugly: the Machiavellian juggling of doubles teams, wherein captains put the lower team higher, shift a better team to a lower spot and so on. A proposed solution: put each team into a hat and draw to determine opponents.