by Wyndi Kappes, Photography by Elle Wood
Richie Shapiro | Age: 49
18+ Men’s and 40+ United States Tennis Association Captain and Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association Co-Captain
While the pandemic brought many things to a halt, it ignited a new passion for tennis in Richie Shapiro. A regional sales director for EmployBridge, caring father and dedicated basketball player, Richie turned to tennis when play was stopped due to concerns around the coronavirus. After just a year spent shifting his focus to a new sport, Richie has already garnered city titles and competed at the state level. The key to his success? Preparation, visualization and plenty of water.
Q: What do you think is a common misconception around nonprofessional sports?
Richie Shapiro: Guys tend to have a weekend warrior mentality around sports, like, you can get up and play without training. You really can’t do that and not get hurt at this age. You have to prepare if you are going to be competitive.
Q: How do you train in preparation for a match?
RS: I think it often goes understated, but I am a big believer in walking, adequate stretching and hydrating! I have never been a big runner, but I invest in taking care of my body, whether that be stretching for several minutes before a match or going to Dr. David Levinson, my chiropractor, once or twice a week.
Q: Do you have any pregame rituals?
RS: Before I start a match, I prep, plan and think out my strategy. I spend time visualizing specifics like where I want my serve to land. I also prefer to carb load (rice, pita bread, etceteras) before matches, although some might say I like to carb load too much in life!
Q: Why do you think more men should get involved in recreational sports?
RS: There are so many pressures on all of us in life. Playing tennis is one of the few places I can carve out ‘me time.’ This dedicated time allows you to joke, have fun and fill your bucket back up before going out into the world again.
Q: What else do you do to stay healthy and happy across the board?
RS: The two easy answers, spending time with my family and spending time in my faith. Over the years, I have found I am happiest when I am in a situation to bond, grow and develop relationships with others.