Q. Billy. How old were you when you began playing tennis?
A. Lloyd. I played recreational tennis at 16 years of age; started playing competitively at around age 36.
Q. Who influenced and contributed to your love for tennis?
A. Nehemiah Atkinson. I watched him play a match in my high school gym. He moved and played so well; it impressed me very much as a high school student.
Q. Where were you born? Where did you play tennis growing up?
A. I was born and raised in New Orleans. I played tennis on basketball courts and in empty lots. Tennis courts were not available for African-Americans doing the days of segregation.
Q. Where did you attend high school? Attend college?
A. I attended Walter L. Cohen High School and Grambling State University.
Q. What were your majors at Grambling?
A. Bachelor of Science in Health, Physical and Safety Education, Driver’s Education and Safety (Traffic), English; Master of Science in Sports Administration.
Q. What professions have you had and presently have?
A. 1. I taught Health and Physical Education for 30 years. I also coached football, basketball, and track. 2. I became a certified tennis teaching professional for PTR (Professional Tennis Registry) in 1984. 3. National Tester for PTR 4. presently teaching and coaching at Audubon Tennis Center.
Q. As a football coach, I understand you had a close professional relationship with Coach Eddie Robinson at Grambling. We all know him as a legend, having served as head coach for 56 years and having 408 football victories. Would you share for our readers your relationship, and how he influenced you as a coach and teacher?
A. Coach Rob had a lasting effect on 98% of anyone he met. He never seemed angry; always smiling, but he knew what to say to make one want to “run through a brick wall.” He treated everyone fairly, but he let you know that you had responsibilities that had to be followed. He always dressed and carried himself very well.
Coach Rob made you do the best you could in whatever you played. I have always tried to pattern his methods of coaching and getting along with people.
Coach Robinson was invited many years to give motivational talks to the New York Yankees baseball team.
Q. As a teaching professional you have a distinguished list of credentials on your certificate? Please explain how you earned these credentials?
A. I was certified after taking the PTR workshop. Afterwards, I was appointed a National Tester by Dennis Van Der Meer, who was President of the PTR organization.
Q. What brand was you first tennis racquet?
A. Head racquet—-AND still using it.
Q. You are a member of the Louisiana Senior Olympic Games “Hall of Fame”? Will you share what is award means to you?
A. I was between 60 and 65 years of age when I was inducted, and it meant a great deal to me. However, I was more impressed watching the older seniors receive their awards.
Q. Which of the four tennis majors do you most enjoy watching? Why?
A. I enjoy watching the U.S. Open played in New York City; mainly because the spectators seem to be free and have fun.
Q. Would you mention a few of the most skilled tennis players you have played against or watched in your career?
A. Nehemiah Atkinson, Arthur Ashe, Beau Holton, Lester Sack, Dick Lungo, Bush Seavey, Clay Williams, Dennis Van Der Meer, James Ridgely of Washington D.C., Don Bly of Louisiana and California, Art Breakfield of New York, Vidal Easton, David Cartwright, George Baker, Charles Perkins, Mike Pierce, Clarence Hines, Chris Barbe,
Ed Rubin, Marcus Carliste, John Hanson, Joe Goldtree, and Bill Murray.
Q. You were the Director of the Nehemiah Atkinson Tennis Scholarship Foundation. What is the status of this Foundation?
A. The Foundation held some great tournaments, which was the main source of revenue. We gave numerous upstart $500.00 scholarships to high school student tennis players. The Foundation has been defunct since 2005.
Q. You are a well-respected and widely known advocate of youth tennis in the New Orleans area. What role are you presently playing in the very important effort?
A. I can do nothing by myself. Presently I am at Audubon Tennis Center teaching some kids and they are improving every day. Chris Barbe gives me a lot of lead way to have this program. Plus, the parents are very cooperative.
Q. As a Southern Tennis Association Delegate to the American Tennis Association, what are the current goals of your organization?
A. Junior development; Junior development; Junior development!!!!!!!!!
Q. Place of Worship?
A. Second Zion Baptist Church #1 in New Orleans; since I was six years old.
Q. Who are your all-time favorite professional tennis players? Both male and female?
A. Wimbledon Champions Arthur Ashe, Venus Williams, Serena Williams; and Louisiana native Chanda Rubin.
Q. Please share with the readers some of the “high-lights” of your teaching professional career?
A. We introduced tennis to over 12,000 kids one summer here in New Orleans. The USTA (United States Tennis Association) representatives came here to see if it was true. We had cleared and painted lines on over 72 tennis courts. Chris Barbe also made 15 courts available to us at the City Park Tennis Center. It was AMAZING! People could not believe it, but it happened!
Q. Please share a few of the most humorous and/or enlightening happenings you have experienced?
A. Nehemiah and I were playing doubles in a tournament in Houston, Texas. I noticed after beating the opposing team 6-0 in the first set that one of the players was wearing an elbow band above his elbow. I told Mr. Atkinson that the fellow was in pain because of where he was wearing the band. Nehemiah, who was a very nice gentleman told the fellow he should put the elbow band below his elbow. We almost lost the match: 6-0; 5-7; 6-2. I say, “If is ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Q. OK Lloyd! I am trying to get a FREE lesson for our readers. If you could get your tennis students to completely follow your instructions to become a better tennis player, what would be those three instructions?
A. What’s Important Now
B. Make your second serve your best serve
C. Keep and direct the ball in play