Title-Letters.png
June-Letters-Opinion.png

THIS MONTH

Dave Miley
London, UK

Leo Estopare
Wichita, KS

Brian Lutz
Delray Beach, FL

5x The Commish

Everywhere, USA

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.

Gravity_660x220.jpg

25 Cents Prizemoney

May 9, 2021

Rich,

 

I came across this post from a player that had lost in an ITF 25K event and received 25 cents prizemoney after entry fees were deducted. It’s really amazing to me that a player ranked 300 in the world can be losing over 100 k per year to play on the professional tour. Why nobody is listening? It’s not fair that players that have given up so much in their life to reach this level are left in this position.

 

They are great athletes and play at such a high level. If you do not believe me then walk around at a grand slam qualifying and you will see the level and the quality of the play.

 

Why is nobody in power listening to these players? The top 300 men and women should be able to travel and play with a coach and to make a good living. In golf over 500 male players make in excess of 100,000 in prizemoney playing on the tours.

 

Why not in tennis?

 

I have written about this before and put prizemoney of the top 300 players  as an objective in my manifesto- Together for tennis-ITF strong- when I ran for ITF President.

 

I know that the grand slams have increased their prizemoney. This has made a big difference to players ranked in the top 150.  But the ITF, the tours and the 4 slams have to look to do more. They need to work together for the good of the sport.

 

A link to an article I wrote for the ATP coach magazine 3 years ago is below:

 

I saw an article today in Bloomberg about the plans for the professional tennis players to have their own organisation to negotiate at arms length with the 7 organisations running tennis circuits and events and the need for the 7 big organisations, the ATP, the WTA, the 4 Grand Slams and the ITF, to work together for the good of the sport.

 

In 2018 I authored an article that ran over 5 issues in the ATP coach magazine, Elite Tennis, entitled “Let’s put a big TEN into TENNIS.  Below is the 5th part of the article focusing on the 10th point of the article which formed a big part of my vision and manifesto when I ran unsuccessfully for ITF President in 2019 and which I see is still very relevant today. One important point is that in any business you cannot be both the employer and the union and this is what the ATP and WTA try to do. The article is below:

 

 

• 10: Ensure that the 7 major tennis bodies work together for the good of tennis.

 

In my opinion, tennis has never been more fragmented than today with the key tennis stakeholder doing things independently without really considering, in combination, the bigger picture of the good of tennis. I have so much respect for the ITF, the ATP and WTA tour and the four grand Slams who all do so much for tennis. They are, with the top players, the most important influencers of tennis and are the ones that can bring about changes to the game if they agree to work together.

 

I think that all seven organisations at the top of tennis should recognise that, whilst each should continue to work to improve their own part of tennis, they also have a duty to our great sport to work together for the good of tennis and to recognise that by doing so they will all benefit in the long run.

 

I am going to say something that most people actively involved in professional tennis are thinking but not often saying out loud. The professional men and women should have an independent player union that is separate from the ATP and WTA tours. No matter how hard you try, and there are great people working in the ATP and WTA, you cannot be an employer and a union at the same time. It does not happen in any industry that I can think of. I think having the player unions separate would, not only simplify the administration of tennis at this level, but it would also ensure less conflicts of interest. The players union would be independent of the tours and could negotiate in a normal way with the various bodies running professional events and all seven bodies would in turn have to consider the views of the player’s in making decisions.

 

With reference to the good of the game, I think there are some top line objectives that the ITF, the Grand Slams and the men’s and women’s tour could agree to work together on including things like:

 

o That the top 400 male and female players should make a good living from the sport o That there should be big professional tennis events in every region of the World o That they should all should work better to increase tennis participation worldwide and not just in their own nations/event locations.

o That Players at the Pro events should be used better to promote the sport o That the sport of tennis should be positioned in front of Governments, IOC etc as the model sport for life (men and women/healthy/clean from doping/sport for life etc)

      

I am sure that together they can come up with other “top line” objectives and ways to work together for the good of   tennis. But the main point is that they need to see that it is the sport and its future that is the most important thing. And if tennis is healthy, everyone benefits.

 

 

Conclusion

The Tennis “Product” at all levels of the game should adapt to the needs and lifestyles of the customers and the Governing Bodies should work together to make the game more attractive to play and to watch.

 

Tennis is a very conservative sport and I am sure many people that have been involved in tennis for many years will think me naïve in my thinking and in the Ten points that I have suggested to make tennis a healthier sport. I have always been struck by how comfortable people are with the status quo especially in professional tennis. The proposed ITF transition tour is a great example of this. What the ITF have come up with is pretty much what has been there for the past 40 years. A global circuit, a global ranking, $15,000 events, 32 draws and a circuit with players earning the same prize money and having the same costs. The only real difference is no ATP and WTA points. Not exactly thinking outside the box!

 

As I said in the introduction, I know from experience that change in tennis is not easy, but I also know that when people in tennis work together, change is possible. I experienced that on a number of occasions in junior tennis.

 

More people playing, more people watching and more people buying tennis coaching and equipment. That’s a healthy sport. To achieve that, we all need to work together to give the tennis customers what they want by adapting the tennis product to people’s needs and lifestyles.

 

Let’s put a Big Ten into Tennis today and make it a healthier sport!

Dave Miley

StonesNet-032020.jpg

Passion

April 30, 2021

Rich,

 

I appreciate being included in your Letters section of the recent May issue ’21. I wish the tennis fans would have been as passionate about the transformation of the Davis Cup, as the soccer fanatics are about maintaining what seems to work for them. It took a strong fanbase and top leadership to say, Not Happening on my watch, to a potential Super League of select teams.

 

The USTA needs leadership like that, and a mutual cooperation that does what’s best for the game, it’s daily players and friends of the sport.

 

Thanks,

Leo Estopare
Deuce Something

NeuroTennis-April2021-2.jpg

TNNS Tokens

April 30, 2021

That crypto token seems flawed in concept since crypto is permissionless by nature and their model is loyalty.

Brian Lutz
Tennistip.com

PTR-Ad-0321.jpg

Safe Play

May 20, 2021

The last I heard Safe Sport had a huge backlog. I don't know if they do interviews. (Source: USPTA National Board Members at divisional conferences)

 

Hats off to the USPTA for suspending more than 2,500 members who were not in compliance with the Safe Sport requirements. Initially, Safe Sport requires pros to watch a video that addresses sexual harassment, bullying, and the treatment of athletes. It also includes a background check. Pros are periodically required to update their status.

 

There is no charge to the teaching professional. In many cases, their pros work for employers who have similar requirements. 

 

Safe Sport gained attention and came into prominence when Larry Nassar was accused of multiple violations of young women who were part of USA Gymnastics.

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronounce: They/Them

MILLIONS WASTED ON PLAYER DEVELOPMENT

May 12, 2021

It all starts with the Sections and that’s where the real failure is. They have no grassroots programs that funnel into Pros, facilities, tournaments. The USTA needs to take half of the PD money and put it into scalable and replicable grassroots programs. THEN, when there’s good traction with high-level juniors, dump more back into PD. Seems like business 101 to me.

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronounce: They/Them

SERVE TENNIS

May 13, 2021

Clubspark is vendor number 5 (or so) in 20 years of complete incompetence when it comes to technology. Hundreds of millions of dollars wasted. The issue isn't the vendors, the issue is USTA doesn't know how to manage a software project, and they don't have the subject matter expert that can architect and plan a platform that's good for their mission of growing the game.

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronounce: They/Them

USPTA NATIONAL BOARD VP MARK FABER ON A 2020 SURPLUS BIGGER THAN IN 2019

May 20, 2021

He forgot to mention where that surplus came from, haha. It’s good to have rich friends. But, seriously, I have heard that same story from three different board members in the past 15 months. The USPTA is playing games with their financials. They are intentionally misrepresenting what is going on.

 

I am not suggesting they are dishonest or that they are blowing money - they are trying to cover up something.  It destroys their integrity.

At a high level, they need to discuss where their revenue is generated, what their major expenses are, and how the USPTA is investing in the members. They also need to talk about their assets and liabilities.

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronounce: They/Them

SERVE TENNIS

May 26, 2021

Serve Tennis appears to be a catastrophe in the making that will probably rival their high-performance Player Development program and Net Generation.

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronounce: They/Them

Do you like our content? If you do so, please consider supporting us.  For as little as $1 a month, you can help ensure the long-term future of TENNIS CLUB BUSINESS.

Click here to support and please share this with all the tennis lovers you know.