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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.

HEAD Gravity Tennis Racquet

Who Can Move the Needle? Anyone?

 

August 1, 2021

Hi Rich,

 

Great article with Noel & Fernando, very interesting to see innovation happening in the sports space.

 

By way of intro, amongst a bunch of other ventures, I run a startup consultancy called wippd - we work with early-stage startups and first-time founders as their Shadow CEO; we also build remote teams in Malaysia for our clients which saves them c.80% on ordinary salary cost.

 

I’ve been working with Noel for a while now, and I can vouch for his passion and vision to develop the tennis space. He is a great networker and extremely passionate about transforming the game. The remarks he made in the interview are not only relevant but also core to the evolution of the game with future generations and talent development. I’m pleased you featured him as he embarks on his journey to take tennis to the next level.

 

Once again, great piece on both of them - a brilliant read.

 

Best,

 

Raj Mendhir

USTA Sections Executive Salaries Star Ratings

August 2, 2021

Thank you for the ED salaries article. 

 

Hope you are well and thank you for all you do. I work for the ABC Section. But it does not mean  I agree with a lot of what is going on.

Cheers,

 

NN

ABC Section

USTA Sections Executive Salaries Star Ratings

August 6, 2021

Rich,

 

Thank you, Rich, and some very kind words and rating.  Our team of section staff and volunteers along with State staff and volunteers are working as hard as we can to support more grassroots tennis and increase the player bases for all play.

 

Cheers,

 

NN

BCD Section

Neuro Tennis

Getting Youngsters Involved

August 6, 2021

Rich,

 

A tennis friend and I were thinking, what’s it going to take to jumpstart more youngsters getting involved in our tennis sport? The Olympics are in their last two days and I’ve watched my fair share of the different sports. The athletes are off the chart with their skillsets, physicality, mentality, and endurance.

 

Somehow, someone and somewhere, these competitors were exposed, inspired to get engaged in an activity. All the thousands of athletes, coaches, trainers, and management staff, started out as beginners and developed into world-class.

 

So, it got me thinking of two iconic examples of bringing our sport to the people. The popular Nike commercial featuring Agassi and Sampras randomly stringing a tennis net across Wall Street and playing and hitting tennis shots. How cool and fun to see the best in the world doing their thing out of nowhere. Just imagine and picture, if the USTA would have colorful vans, automobiles emblazoned with tennis graphics driving in a neighborhood and setting up a portable net and demonstrating shotmaking, and inviting the kids and/or parents to participate. Handing out racquets, balls, and other related tennis equipment and accessories. The popular “Ice Cream” truck and their “audio jingle” get the kid's attention, so let’s create a tennis theme for them to look forward to, as well. Literally making it so easy to be engaged in their “comfort zone” setting and atmosphere.

 

And my second thought is the crazy movie, Wayne’s World from back in the early 1990s. Wayne and Garth playing street hockey with friends in the street. Again, an activity right outside their homes. The easier you make it, the easier you enjoy it.

 

I’m sure this has been thought of or even applied in ways before, but if so, let’s get the industry behind an effort that will stick and have a lasting impact. Other racquet and paddle sports have an advantage with their smaller court dimensions and the availability to set up in easy settings outdoors and indoors. I view many “makeshift” playing conditions from ‘round the world on the Internet and I wish they had more to work within their conditions. Spec Tennis could really be an asset and a potential platform. Kudos and props to Nate and his initiative to get people on a court.

 

Enlist volunteers, get local automotive sponsors and other outlets to make this happen in a community. Olympics coverage has been 24/7 for two weeks and the US Open is ready to follow at the end of the month. So organizations, it’s ideal time to “do something” positive to influence kids and families that tennis is cool…

 

If you can just walk outside the house and shoot hoops, jog, and/or whatever, hopefully, the tennis industry and USTA will provide a tennis-themed version of the ever-popular and friendly neighborhood, Ice Cream truck…tennis on wheels is coming to your street. Who knows, maybe your next-door neighbor can be a tennis champion someday…Let’s give ‘em a shot.

 

Leo Estopare

Deuce Something

Wichita, KS

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Pickleball Kicking Out Older Players

 

August 12, 2021

Hi Rich,

 

Is it the fact Pickleball doesn’t want us?  Or, is it the money the tournament directors and others now make?  Who knows.  We, the super seniors 70-90+, cannot get any answers.

Here are the facts.  My friend Lola wanted to be #1 in the country in the 80 division at Nationals, the most respected tournament in the country.  Unfortunately, they placed her in 70-74 saying she was too good for her division and the other players didn’t think it was fair to play her.   She lost badly, so she quit tournaments.  My friends Gail and Dennis were one of the top mixed teams around but when they turned 70 they never played in their age division.  They quit tournament play.  A friend on the East Coast who played Wimbledon and is top-ranked in her youth now in the 75s in Pickleball cannot even find a tournament with her age group.  She has to play down. 

My story is similar.  I entered the 70+ division singles in Oregon.  There were 5 in the division.  But, they put me in 50+, 25 years younger, saying I was too good and it wasn’t fair for anyone my age to play me.  When I created a fuss they kicked me out of singles.

Can you imagine tennis saying to Kathy Bennett and Liane Bryson, the top women’s doubles team in the 70s, they are too good and cannot play in 70 but must play in 50+.  How about Brian Cheney or Jim Parker top men’s players in 70 and 75 saying they have to play younger?  What do you think 90-year-old Jane Lutz would do if forced to play 25 years younger?  All of them would quit. That’s what’s happening with ALL the best Senior Pickleball players. 

The first 10 years I played, the tournaments were age only, awarding 3 medals per each age group and 12-15 teams per division.  Today, a 70 division awards 3 medals to each rating 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5 totaling  15-18 medals, and 50-60 teams per age.  Great money for the TDs and the governing body of Pickleball.  Anyone over 70-74 is now called a plus.  Pickleball doesn’t offer a 75 division only 70+.  The best players in each age group are forced to play younger.  Why pay the big entry fees, travel expenses, housing only to be forced into a younger division. 

There is no honor in trying to be the best older player in Pickleball.  Pickleball discriminates against the best Sr. players and no one cares.

 

Barbara Wintroub
Palm Desert, California

Pickleball Kicking Out Older Players

August 12, 2021

Barbara - You are SO RIGHT!  $$$$$ is driving and shaping the future of pickleball and there is absolutely no concern or sentiment for senior + players regardless of the fact that many of them/us have been instrumental in growing the sport into what we have today.  Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be an answer or solution.  I can tell you what a treat it has been for so many of us to watch you and the Daceys et. al. play at the level you played that resulted in raising the bar for so many!

Phil Dunmeyer

THE SAD TRUTH ABOUT USTA LEADERSHIP

 

August 26, 2021

USTA Leadership are either liars or incompetent.   Until they fix problems or show full transparency, then in my book they are both.  If they can admit to being incompetent, they can get the help they need.  Everyone has to face up to not knowing how to do something at some time in their lives.  If the USTA does not act proactively to fix its many issues, it’s less than 10 years from becoming irrelevant.  The competition is already empowered and eating away at the USTA influence.  So many great private programs are emerging. Pretty soon, no one will be able to hear any noise that they make. 

My belief is that many of the stars pulling out of the US Open have something to do more with something under the surface.  What is it?  Could it be secret Vaccine requirements?  Is doping quietly being enforced?  There has to be more to the story because it doesn’t pass the sniff test. 

Naomi can’t stand attention, so she poses for the cover of a magazine, then stands to light the torch in front of hundreds of millions of sports fans.  Uh-huh…   Is she calculated, or naive?  Are the people behind her calculated or naive?  Are fans calculated or naive?   I’m tired of her act, but hopeful can pull an Agassi, grow up and become a positive stateswoman for the sport, instead of an Instagram model.  

I was going to watch a pickleball video on the controversial chainsaw serve, but first I had to watch an ad on YouTube for Swollen Prostrate treatment.  Haha.  Then I looked into the creepy eyes of geeky pickleball psychos, and knew that tennis is safe!   The not-so-great athletes who are world champions of pickleball do not impress, tennis still lords over most sports with the supreme athleticism required to play it. Now get those players paid down to 500 in the world. 

 

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them

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