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We are allowing anonymous Letters to the Editor because we understand your position and have experienced USTA backlash to dissenting voices ourselves. Please be aware whenever a letter is signed with The Commish it's always a tennis director, a teaching professional, a vendor or a USTA insider who is in fear of retribution. Thank you. We look forward to the day when everyone can voice their opinion freely and without fear.

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WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH

March 27, 2022

 

Rich,

 

Because our industry has a variety of pieces, they are all in different places when it comes to attracting and including women as professionals in our sport.  I will speak to the organizations that I work with on a daily basis.  As the National Director of World TeamTennis, I am extremely proud that our Community Division is run by 3 women and our players are at an equal 50% men and women because of the coed format.  This is also true for the WTT Professional league players on the teams and 20% of the Team’s General Managers are women.  As the VP of the PTR and Lynn Rolley serving as our new President, I feel that we are leading by example.  28% of our PTR members are women and we are actively striving and recruiting with our newly launched PTRW program. Our incredible PTR staff is led by more than 50% women.  As Billie Jean King has always said, it takes at least 1/3rd to make a difference! Our sport was a leader in creating equal prize money for men and women as I am sure others will comment on.  At the local level, I am seeing more women coaching both boy's and girl's high school tennis teams.  I know when I started coaching, I was the first female to coach a boy's high school tennis team in our league and the men did not accept me and even asked me to leave when I arrived at my first coaches' meeting because they said there was nothing I could offer a group of young men and should not be coaching them.  It has been 35+ years and I am still coaching the boy's and the girl's teams at my inner-city high school!  As there are more and more women entering our profession, we are attracting more women as they see role models like Pam Shriver and Tracy Austin commentating on television or Liezel Huber running large tennis centers along with raising their families!  If you can see it, you can be it!!

 

One of the most influential women in the history of our sport was Eve Kraft.  She was a visionary that fought to get the industry to look to communities when the USLTA focused mainly on the US Open. In 1954, she founded the Princeton Tennis Program (which is still alive and well today)!  She wanted to teach tennis to the masses! In 1971, when Princeton University first admitted women, she became their first women’s varsity tennis coach and lead them to 3 undefeated seasons! She was the pioneer of community tennis organizations and she wanted to help communities, everywhere, establish these organizations and initiate group tennis instruction and programming so the masses could learn the game at affordable prices.  She created the USTA's Education and Research Center in Princeton where she began creating and distributing teaching resources.  She co-founded and directed the USTA Tennis Teachers’ Conference and helped to establish the USTA Foundation. She played an instrumental role in helping to create the USTA league program, schools programs for PE teachers, and anything that would help provide tennis to large groups in parks, schools, colleges, etc.  She lead the way and mentored women like myself, July Levering, Anne Humes, and many more community leaders. One of the most prestigious awards, presented by the USTA each year, is the Eve Kraft Community Service Award which recognizes community leaders that spend their lives bringing women, men, girls, and boys to our life-long sport of tennis. She is truly one of the most influential women in the history of our sport and I know she inspired me and many other women in our industry to provide tennis for the masses!

 

I do not know if Serena Williams will be able to add another Gand Slam title but I am sure she has many more amazing accomplishments ahead of her as a mother, leader, player, businesswoman, and an inspiration to others!

 

Delaine Mast

National Director

World TeamTennis Community Leagues

Professional Tennis Registry PTR

TCB CONTRIBUTOR GARY HORVATH

March 14, 2022

 

Rich,

 

Thanks to Gary Horvath for the player demographics data and in-depth analysis he provided in his March Tennis Club Business article. It's obvious Gary did a bunch of research so he could provide important information that is very valuable to anyone who makes their living in the tennis industry.

 

Steve Milano

Executive Director

U.S. High School Tennis Association

USTA

March 4, 2022

 

Rich,

 

I received an email yesterday asking me to do an assessment of a 7-year-old player who is playing orange ball tennis. I have not seen him play, but he is supposedly bored to death because he has no competition.

 

The kid can either play 6 tournaments or I can assess him.  I would assess the player at orange ball 1. They have orange ball 2 and 3 levels, although they don't have orange ball 2 and 3 tournaments.

 

The USTA has set up an elaborate process. As a pro, I have to listen to a 25-minute video where the USTA shows what they think a player has to look like before they go from orange ball to green ball.  Notice in the green ball document, they expect players to be able to hit scissor kick overheads before they move to the yellow ball.

 

The USTA did a wonderful job laying everything out and making the video. They say the player should not be assessed in one sitting, but over time to get a fair rating. What is going to happen when you tell a 7 or 8-year old that you are assessing them so they might be able to move to the next level?  That is a great way to put unnecessary pressure on a kid when the focus should be on fun.

 

As the NGB for tennis and the accreditation organization for the sport, they have demonstrated they do not have a clue about assessment processes. In fairness to them, there is no way to fairly assess players.

 

I follow the development of the USTA pathway - the intent is good, but the execution is off base.

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them

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INDUSTRY

March 28, 2022

 

Rich,

 

This email went out to USPTA members today. (ICL Academy becomes the “Official Online Secondary School Platform” of the USPTA)

To me it shows why the USPTA is rapidly becoming irrelevant. Instead of focusing on creating value for the members, Embree is out working to creating partnerships with a secondary school platform. What a joke.

 

  • Does Embree think that the 5 million new players that the USTA claims to have brought into the sport will want to use this?

  • Does Embree think that most of his members are teaching in situations where their students will have a need for a product like this?

  • Does Embree know the future of the sports is grassroots tennis, not academy tennis?

 

Isn't it time for the USPTA to get a CEO who understands the sport and cares about the needs of the members?

 

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them

February 8, 2022

 

Rich,

 

I saw the following link to the PTR program at the University of Florida.

http://www.tennisindustrymag.com/news/2022/01/ptr_teams_with_u_of_fla_create.html

 

Does this mean the USPTA has a program? Does the PTR have a program?  Are they the same program?

 

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them

March 24, 2022

 

Rich,

 

My issue is about the treatment of athletes from Russia and Belarus and other countries in that region.  I am opposed to the way Ukraine is being destroyed and people on all sides are being killed. The WTA and ATP have chosen not to put flags by the names of players from certain countries, as if they think that will matter to the politicians who are making the problem worse. The actions of these organizations are a form of virtue signaling and it accomplishes nothing because neither the WTA, ATP, nor world citizens understand what is driving the conflict. The conflict will be over and how will the WTA and ATP rebuild the bridges they have burned with the players? Putting people in silos does not create unity. How are all countries going to deal with the intended and unintended consequences of the sanctions and loss of property and lives?  Are we going to immediately put flags by the Russian players' names the minute the war is over?  And how will the destruction continue after the conflict ends?  As a purist, it is sad to see how politics prevailed at the Olympics, the Australian Open, and now on international tennis. 

 

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them

March 25, 2022

 

We are hearing the USTA bragging about the addition of 4.9 million players in two years. That is great if it is true. Have the PTR and USPTA added new members (Probably not because they are too busy having a pissing match with each other)?  How many new courts have been built?  How many new clubs or park facilities have been built - in some cases, local governments have received a lot of COIVD money? How many more balls have been sold? 

 

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them

March 26, 2022

 

Rich,

 

Madison Keys was asked an odd question in an interview. They asked why she didn't say she was Black because her father was Black.  She said, "I am an American."  If everyone had that attitude we would have fewer problems. It is great to be proud of your heritage, but we all have to find a way to work together.  It is an interesting world we live in.

 

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them

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