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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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MEN'S SENIOR TENNIS

July 1, 2022

DearTennis Club Business. 

 

A private organization, the National Senior Men's Tennis Association ( NSMTA )works to promote tournaments, players, and events for the benefit of senior men's and women's players as well. Recently, they added National, Sectional, FL Grand Prix Series, Family, and ITF events into their www.nsmta.net website to make it a one-stop location for senior players to find events by section. They also have archives for tournament historical references, links to other worldwide tennis sites, tennis vendors, and more.

 

They are doing this work, as far as I am aware, without USTA financial or admin assistance. To preserve and promote tennis to senior players should be paramount to the USTA! The USTA needs to fund the NSMTA and, without meddling in their clear and concise information, support this organization in every way possible. Here is a group promoting tennis, not pickleball, to seniors! Here is a group that is obviously passionate and dedicated to promoting tennis! They currently require memberships to fund their work. USTA, take a few dollars from player development and put it in this bucket so everyone can benefit. 

 

Thank you.

 

Marc Moran

TENNIS VS PICKLEBALL... THE GLOVES ARE OFF

August 4, 2022

Hi Rich,

 

Once again, tennis makes national headlines for the wrong reasons. Yesterday, The Peninsula Tennis Club in San Diego had an episode involving tennis players against pickleball players over courts and playing time. It became enough of an issue for law enforcement to intervene and restore order at the club among its members and management.

 

I get it, that tennis players want to maintain their “Turf” and keep tennis courts to themselves. Fair enough, if the courts are in playing demand keep it that way. However, if the courts are not in use and the new game of pickleball can create participation and play, then by all means have at it. Has this become a Jets v Sharks II…

 

Here’s my take on the commonly expressed issue of noise distraction to tennis players by the constant “pop” of pickleball. It for sure is noticeable especially when you have multi-courts and doubles games going on. Is it really enough of a distraction to actually inhibit the game to be accepted by tennis players? Is it just an excuse to not appreciate the game for what it is or is it a competition?

 

If tennis players can accept “Cardio Tennis” with its format of many people on a court hitting a few balls, running an obstacle-like-type course, calisthenics and loud encouragement to hit & move and stay active, plus throw in loud MUSIC at courtside, then noise is not legit. Cardio Tennis has been a popular program for new participation in our sport but it’s an annoyance for many tennis players with its activity and components. Tennis players show a “blind eye” if tennis is connected regardless of distraction…pickleball is not a connection to many in the tennis world.

 

I’m first and foremost for tennis but pickleball has its place as well. Remember tennis folks, that pickleball success is mainly due to former tennis players and their past playing background to jumpstart the “overnight phenomena” of pickleball growth. Someday soon, tennis players may transition into pickleball or other paddle sports. Tennis is a” game for a lifetime”  but maybe not for everyone in these times.

 

P.T. Barnum, once said, there’s no such thing as bad publicity…he didn’t factor tennis from back in the day. Our sport has enough questionable media and press coverage within our professional tour and its players. Let's not filter problems of recreational, fun, and social play into drama and discourse at the courts. Our sport somehow continues to be “mainstream” even when it gets in its own way…

 

Everyone be careful what you wish for…Tennis Anyone!

Leo Estopare

Deuce Something…

Wichita, KS

USTA LEAGUE FATIGUE

August 7, 2022

Rich,

 

Covid has been raging through my summer team. We only have a measly six matches and I had three players out with Covid at the same time along with injuries. I spend hours a day revising lineups due to Covid and hunting down players to register for Fall Leagues. It’s unreal. To make things more frustrating, the area league coordinator over here will not give credit or refund. I gave her a piece of my mind and told her we can’t plan to get Covid or get ill or injured only during the first two weeks of the season. It's ridiculous. I cannot believe there’s a deadline for this. If a player doesn’t play, give them a refund. And they don’t understand why players are quitting the USTA.

 

The USTA is such a money-hungry piece of garbage, I find it hard to keep feeding them. 

 

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them

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TENNIS CHANNEL - USTA - USPTA

August 14, 2022

Rich, 

 

I stopped watching tennis after the French Open. Screw Wimbledon for their stupidity.  It is funny (sad) that the Tennis Channel screwed up the Washington tournament. Some of the women activists had to have had cows in the parking lot because they were discriminated against.  I don't know if it is fair to call it discrimination if TC is too stupid to know how to discriminate.  The good news is that curling was not shown instead of the WTA finals. 

 

I have heard that USTA could have possibly gotten Djokovic into the Open - don't know if that is fake news. They are in line to win the Casper Milquestoast award of the year for being spineless. They are not going to go out on a limb on something that matters. Does tennis really want them trying to negotiate with pickleball? 

I'm impressed with Ramona at USPTA.  It would be great to see her in an organization that had a boss who could mentor her and utilize her capabilities.

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them

TENNIS INDUSTRY UNITED - 'TRY TENNIS FREE' PILOTS

August 6, 2022

Rich,

 

Different person in charge at the USTA, same old story, different actors.

 

When pros had pro shops, many of them had specials with new racquets - discounted strings, instruction, or merchandise.  It is ironic that many years ago many pros had pro shops and they did that because they were entrepreneurial.

 

Today pros are EXPECTED to give FREE instruction so others can benefit from it. In this case, the retailer can make money. Remember, the pros were chased out of the industry by greedy manufacturers who cut the teaching pros out of the distribution channel by giving favorable prices to mass warehousing companies.)

 

Around 1990, the USPTA started Tennis Across America Day.  Pros held special USPTA events on that day to introduce people to the sport - for free.  The downside was that not all pros could do it on the same day.  That seemed to work because the USPTA kept track of who participated and what they did. 

 

At some point, the USTA stepped in and called it National Tennis Month.

 

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them

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USTA NATIONAL CAMPUS/PICKLEBALL/PADEL

August 2, 2022

Rich,

 

Has anyone ever explained why the USTA converted kids courts from the Nemours Family Zone rather than from regular courts many of which are not used anyways? I know it was cheaper but what does that say about their commitment to junior tennis and claiming that kids' tennis is important to them?

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them

RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY MAGAZINE

August 17, 2022

Rich,

 

Congrats on being mentioned in RSI.

 

I thought it was interesting that Kim Bastable was chosen to write an article on Safe Sport.

 

The industry must be doing well. There seemed to be a lot of ads in the mag and very little content.

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them

COMMENTS FROM THE AUGUST 1-QUESTION SURVEY

QUESTION

What do you think the USTA should do in regards to the growth and popularity of Pickleball vis-a-vis tennis, if anything?

RESPONSES

  • Embrace it

  • Pour money to SAVE tennis courts from being converted to pickleball, let them BUILD THEIR OWN DAMN COURTS!

  • The USTA needs to support legal efforts/cases to reduce the noise of PB - not just for adjacent nearby tennis players, but for local residents, as well. There is no reason PB can't change the ball and/or paddle. USTA could pay for the lawyers that represent some test complainants. They can start with "right-to-quiet-enjoyment" lawsuits filed by homeowners, rather than trying to go the code enforcement route. It worked to stop ball machine and basketball noise decades ago.

  • The sport is in a lose-lose situation. Business trends dictate that USTA adopt PB and bring it into the family. The USTA is not capable of managing tennis, they certainly can't oversee two sport.

  • Be sure to not allow for tennis courts to be REMOVED for pickleball. Why aren't the Pickleball dimensions adjusted so that they fit into the service box, then all tennis courts would also be "pickleball courts".

  • USTA should be more active in each local markets.I live and work as a teaching pro in Clearwater ,Fl and have never met the USTA rep.

  • Why should they do anything? After all, the "T" in USTA stand for tennis. I am tired of this low-esteem so many organizations have about tennis. Tennis is a sport that stood the test of time. It's still popular. Maybe because of covid, but there is another surge in active players. Nation-wide tennis is the far more popular sport. I do not have a problem with pickle ball (I like all sports)--but do have a problem when tennis courts are lost or tennis pros are asked (forced) to teach it. Pickleball players will tell you it's the fastest growing sport (and is growing by %) but tennis is also growing. And tennis will be around 50 years from now. Don't know if pickleball will be so popular in 50 years. Other sports in the past have been even more popular than pickleball but today are not. Bowling was everywhere for a while. Racketball was supposed to take over tennis, too, but never did. I've met plenty of people who tried pickleball and really liked it. Then, after a while found it boring and came back to tennis. Pickleball is easy to learn and that's one of its positives, but it is also too easy compared with tennis which is more challenging and therefore more interesting to many. I think the UPSTA, PTR and USTA see the pickleball thing as another way to make money or attract members. Finally, pickleball is great and a lot of fun, but tennis pros and teaching organizations should keep in mind that the pickleball players aren't big into spending money on lessons. Once they know the rules and how to play they just want to play and have fun. Nothing wrong with that but the tennis culture at clubs is heaving into lessons and programs (which is where the money is). USTA has no business in pickleball. Let pickleball get their own money-grubbing organization.

  • Not embrace pickleball so much. Don't chase the money and hot topic. Stay true to tennis

  • Work with pb to align their courts with junior courts.

  • I think tennis should embrace pickleball. For struggling clubs and public facilities it could be a revenue source. I think the USTA should rethink the 60’ jr courts and adapt to pickleball dimensions of 44’ CTS. Share the courts instead of taking tennis courts away! IMO

  • Partner with Pickleball and Padel

  • Given their reverse Midas touch - maybe they should not do anything.

  • Add pickleball lines on both sides of the net

  • Do a better job promoting tennis.

  • Why should tennis players lose courts to pickleball players? The facilities were built for tennis! USTA should fight for its courts.

  • Stop promoting pickleball and emphasis the recent growth of tennis instead. They are two different sports but Pickleball's PR is excellent and the PR for tennis sucks. Devoting an entire tennis magazine recently to Pickleball was insane. Pickleball is trying to take over existing tennis courts in public recreation sites here in San Diego and the USTA sits back and just watches....Let Pickleball build their own facilities!

  • Join in the fun!

  • Tennis is 5 times as popular as pickleball. USTA shouldn't give Pickleball the time of day. They are a group of cheapskates that have nothing else to do but whore courts away from tennis. Wait until USTA trys to collect a dime from pickleball players abd then they will finally get the message.. All pickleball wants is everything for nothing.

  • Promote tennis as a cheap sport (which they never do) since they think that Rolex and other luxury products appeal to the majority of our citizens. Have all the TSRs (Tennis Service Representatives) monitor their local governments to promote tennis court maintenance in the parks and keep tennis courts from being converted to Pickleball; and then work with their district and section boards to lobby said governments. Bring in the leagues to help with lobbying efforts.

  • Spend money promoting tennis or get over that others are more popular

  • Accept that pickleball is here to stay. Build courts and incorporate into existing tennis clubs. Charge same rates as tennis courts. Adopt pickleball - lots of potential $$

  • The main issue is to admit that Pickleball is a competitor and as such should have already done SWOT analysis on this. They should be collaborating with PTR and PTA and the pros in the trenches. There are a number of things that can be done but the reality is the only real money that could be made in Pickleball is tournaments (which tennis dominated years ago before leagues took over), and member dues. Pickleball Players in general are cheaper, spend less money and not invested into the sport as much.

  • Double down on Touch Tennis! 21" Jr Racquet and a weighted Foam Ball. Court is 25% of a full size tennis court. Or some type of Similar game that uses the 36 foot court and or the Pickle ball lines. Also do a study on the amount of injuries from stooping falling backwards and knees, hips and arms.

  • Absolutely nothing! It’s the United States TENNIS Association- period.

  • Should welcome and promote the sport!

  • Stop building Pickle Ball Courtd and or converting tennis courts to dual usage. It will go the way of Racket Ball. The TV coverage is poor quality and the game itself doesn’t televise well. The noise is unpleasant

  • Build more Tennis Courts!!!

  • Nothing. There is public interest in both.

  • Do a better job of actually promoting tennis.

  • Don't help it grow!

  • Stay out USTA! You’ll only ruin it

  • USTA should do nothing because Pickleball is not tennis, there should be a USPA.

  • It is a lose lose for tennis. One has momentum one does not. If they embrace it, they lose older players and maybe newer ones. But if no plan for new players it's a double loss. If they do not embrace it and have no programs for the young, they also lose.

  • Promote adult beginner lessons with colored balls as easy to learn like they did with play tennis America. Promote recreational family tennis.

  • Change the leadership at USTA and change USTA

  • Nothing….. it’s need its own sanction.

  • Embrace Pickleball..as opposed to ignoring or opposing pickelball. Same for platform tennis.

  • Make a league out of it!

  • Have to keep tennis courts from being converted to Pickleball through offering programming at grassroots level.

  • start playing pickleball

  • Promote SPEC TENNIS !!!!! It has all the positive characteristics of PB plus all the elements of Tennis. Three huge attributes: (1) much easier start-up curve than full-court tennis; easy to learn, and sets a good foundation for moving on. (2) ideal for injured and/or aging players with issues in hips, knees and shoulder. Smaller space and slower pace makes it accessible, and they still have the joy of playing the game they love. (3) much easier mixing of playing levels than full-court tennis. Creates a very positive atmosphere. On top of that, the 20 x 44 court is ideal for red-ball tennis for U8 and some U10 players. The small court will appeal more to the younger kids when it's a stand-alone (rather than a modified large court).

  • Embrace it, provide facilities and perhaps lower costs at clubs for tennis- our local tennis facility which is a 10/ a day charge is very busy- our local club which is 250 a month - less so

  • Nothing.just do a ccx real job if promotingbtennis vcd which bbn is a vastly better game and stop allowing pickelball to use and convert tennis courts.

  • we are losing older players so why not introduce them to the green ball. They will have longer rally's and be able to get to the ball easier..

  • USTA should build more new pickleball courts and NOT take away or convert existing tennis courts.

  • STOP PROMOTING PICKLEBALL.

  • The USTA should not do pickleball's work for them. If PB is big enough to have a tournament on CBS national tv on Sunday afternoon in mid-August, they are big enough to have there own HQ, broadcast channel, etc. Why is the first thing you see at the Home of American Tennis huge windscreens with "Pickleball" on them? Before you seen at tennis court the the National Campus (of TENNIS), you seen Pickleball and Padel. Stop lending comfort to the enemy, who is making the growth of tennis more difficult. PB leadership is laughing at the USTA ... the USTA is helping PB take our players ... PB is just sitting back in amazement that we are killing ourselves. The USTA's primary job is to grow and promote TENNIS.

  • Switch all red ball guidelines to pickleball size court and net specifications. Phase in over 5 years.

  • Continue to show pickleball tournament matches. Some of us play both tennis and pickleball. It is not a "you can only play tennis or pickleball, not both" issue. There is plenty of room for both sports to coexist.

  • I’m at ground zero as pickle ball is trying to take my neighborhood public courts along with every public court in Phoenix. They should step in and join the fight as public courts are the grass roots of tennis. Pickle ball is stealing from tennis cuz it has no infrastructure and it needs that from tennis. USTA should adopt quickly a no tolerance for changing any tennis courts to pickle ball anywhere in the US. I speak to anyone on the issue as I have evidence , community surveys being rigged , as these guys have a playbook and they are e executing it. mt10srig@gmail.com

  • Work with them and learn from them at what a good job pickleball has done with engaging new players and making them feel welcome

  • Find a way to work together and be a partner with pickleball to help both sports communities. Stop fighting it and figure out how to learn from the reasons it is so popular and take advantage of the new interest in racquet sports.

  • Teach to the highest commen denominator, it is a more skilled sport, and tennis should be looking for its way of letting athletic competition be its priority. Pickelball, bowling and golf, great for a beer with your friends.

  • USTA needs to develop a plan for reaching out to Municipalities, to emphasize that it is a mistake to convert tennis courts into Pickleball space (and list the facts and industry figures). Tennis should not be supporting Pickleball in any way

  • Nothing, other than make tennis great again. Stop trying to make Tennis another sport. Tennis is already an amazing sport. Trying to react to other sports will bastardize the sport further and soon tennis will be unrecognizable....with no players.

  • Simple. Take a course in marketing 101 and learn to promote the game. Sadly, pickleball knows how to do it and is making a mockery of tennis. They know how to create enthusiasm and passion! Don’t compete with pickleball, don’t promote pickleball. Instead, promote and market tennis.

  • USTA does tennis Pickle ball should have their own organization. USTA should be putting all out effort to promote the building of tennis participation. We are not an allsports organization. Tennis has been around for a long time let's keep the TENNIS ball in play.

  • Try to kill it

  • USTA should offer assistance in helping promote their sport, but should also assure that destruction of tennis courts is not a means to pickle-balls' success.

  • Do a better job at making tennis programs especially in the public sector more attractive, interesting, accessible and affordable to the general public. Tennis pros, players, and enthusiasts must get involved in grassroots programs and activity in communities, parks, schools, boys / girls clubs, YMCAs and where it is easier for more potential players to easily get involved. Tennis is expensive to learn! Most recreational players are self taught. More group lessons and clinics taught than privates. Reward pros/players who are ambassadors in the public and grassroots sectors. It is not just the USTA's job to make tennis accessible and a sport for all.

  • Embrace it. Here to stay. fighting it only looks bad for the usta

  • Don't cooperate. Stop calling it a "complementary sport" or a "pathway to tennis." Promote tennis, not "racquetsports."

  • They should work on promoting the game of tennis and distance themselves from pickle

  • I do not think that pickleball should be televised on the Tennis Channel in place of ANY professional tennis matches. And I do not think the USTA should include pickleball as part of its purview.

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