How To Get Tennis Lessons From Serena Williams

How To Get Tennis Lessons From Serena Williams
[Illustration: Aaron Lloyd Barr]

Want Serena Williams to come over and troubleshoot your backhand? Sorry, that’s probably not going to happen. But a new online education platform lets you come close. Called MasterClass, the San Francisco–based startup launched in May 2015 with online courses from the tennis superstar, Oscar-winning actor Dustin Hoffman, and mega- selling novelist James Patterson (tutorials from Usher and photographer Annie Leibovitz are also in the works). Unlimited access to each multi-installment class costs $90, and while the instruction tends toward the remedial, the teachers’ wisdom and charisma make the videos more entertaining than typical instructional clips. Here’s a quick look at MasterClass’s core curriculum.

James Patterson

Duration: 3.5 hours (22 lessons)
What you’ll learn: How to launch a career in writing, from devising plots and characters to promoting the finished product
Best quote: “Try and write every chapter as if it’s the first chapter in the book—as if it’s that important. Don’t write a single chapter that doesn’t propel the story forward.”

Serena WilliamsPhoto: Star Max, AP Images

Serena Williams

Duration: 2 hours (10 lessons)
What you’ll learn: Tennis funda­mentals, as well as more advanced concepts like “controlling the court”
Best quote: “When I’m behind in a game I relax, because I realize usually it’s not going to get worse than this. …Someone with nothing to lose can be a very dangerous opponent and a very dangerous person.”

Dustin Hoffman

Duration: Over 4.5 hours (24 lessons)
What you’ll learn: A little about how actors create memorable characters, a lot about Hoffman’s 55-year career
Best quote: “I don’t want to see [actors say], ‘This isn’t me, it’s the character.’ Come on, we’re all everything. We’re all mean bastards. We’re all funny. We have all those aspects to us.”