Racket Man

2 March 2022
Bob Allcorn ’69 (center) with tennis stars James Blake, Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, and Jim Courier.
Bob Allcorn ’69 (center) with tennis stars James Blake, Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, and Jim Courier.

In an effort to fend off boredom during the pandemic’s early days, Bob Allcorn ’69 downloaded a word game onto his iPhone. It proved to be a short-term distraction. “I think I broke it,” he says, chuckling. “I tried to play at a higher level and it just stopped working.”

Searching for a substitute, the Rutgers-educated attorney and self-described “strategy freak” came across a stack of notes he’d compiled over the past 17 years while taking doubles lessons with his wife, Dorothy. “We traveled the world together,” he says. “And we always made sure we went someplace that had a good tennis pro.”

Having previously published an 800-page treatise on prelitigation tactics for New Jersey lawyers, Allcorn decided it wouldn’t be too tough to turn what he’d learned firsthand from instructors such as storied American coach Nick Bollettieri and touring pro Vimal Patel into a succinct, tip-driven guide. “There are a lot of similarities between litigation and tennis,” says the 75-year-old. “The first of which is determining how to exploit the other side’s weaknesses.”

The resulting book, Doubles Domination: The Best of the Best (2020) is blowing-up online, in large part because of viral praise from Grand Slam legends including Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe. It features hard-won (and lost) advice on stroke selection (“The lob is the most underrated and under-utilized shot in the game,” Allcorn says), in-game tactics (“The bottom line? Get to the net and stay there,”), and ideas for improving one’s mental game and oncourt communication skills.

“You cannot be serious!!!! The best doubles book of all time was actually written by someone who isn’t a tennis pro?” raves McEnroe. “Amazing, but apparently true.”

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