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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.

HOLDING THE USTA ACCOUNTABLE

October 24, 2023

Hi Rich! 

 

Like always, I appreciate all you do to protect and promote tennis. If not you, there wouldn’t be anyone. 

 

Yes, keep questioning and holding the USTA accountable. Was so glad to see you read right through the $3 million donation for refurbishing tennis courts at the US Open and wondering how much will be used for PB courts. It’s crazy to see what’s going on and the USTA’s inability to follow their mandate to “grow and promote tennis” as the national governing body for the game in the US. 

And that’s where I think you should get them. Get Pro Publica or a similar publication to do an article on them selling out the game and 20+ million tennis players in the US. Not sure if you ever saw it but NYT did an article about the USTA conflict of Interest issues. It got a lot of buzz and some board members resigned as a result. I think something of that magnitude would get some heads rolling.

 

They are back to their old tricks in so many ways but as a non-profit and the governing body of tennis in the US, I think the biggest issue is their lack of following their governing documents which gives them their nonprofit status AND I think they have a huge conflict of interest in supporting and growing another sport. It’d be interesting to see if it has been done in any other organization where the governing body supports and grows another sport, to the detriment of both the growth of players and courts for the sport it is supposed to grow. 

 

If not for the USTA’s support would PB be where it is today? The 1,000s of QuickStart courts in the US, how many are now PB courts? Kamperman’s PB pilot in 2019. How many thousands were given to it?  Isn’t that when PB really started to take off? How much did they spend on PB-dedicated courts and programs at the National Tennis Center? Mid-Atlantic and other sections doing the same. How many USTA-funded tennis courts built with the sweat equity of tennis volunteers and players are being converted to PB courts? When you look at the totality of it, how much money has the USTA put into PB versus community tennis? 

 

How many tennis players are so disheartened with the lack of support for their courts and game, that they’ve quit playing tennis and/or conceded to PB? 

 

If you haven’t seen it, there is a new site on FB called “ Save Americas Tennis courts”  There’s also a good one on sound mitigation. People are really starting to fight back on both fronts. 

 

Attaching some things they’ve posted: 

 

“Kurt Kamperman, the chief executive for the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla., updated the audience on coach accreditation and mentioned that for the current academic year, there are now 11 Professional Tennis Management programs at colleges and universities around the country. Kamperman also discussed the pickleball pilot program currently underway for lining tennis courts for pickleball play.”

                                                                                                          - 2019 TIA Forum

 

USTA National Campus

https://www.ustanationalcampus.com/en/home/play/pickleball.html?fbclid=IwAR0BJZjsecwtluIf1_f-CYwtzIAZfI3nxb6zMTIL9QG_PiASmjo5ixax1J4

 

https://www.usta.com/en/home/stay-current/midatlantic/Pickleball_Pilot_2023.html

 

Instead they should be reposting articles like this. 

 

https://boulderbeat.news/2023/04/21/tennis-courts/

 

I just read on another FB page that tennis in Florida is booming. Where is the tennis voice? The promotion machine? The USTA? 

 

So yes, after having said all that, please keep holding the USTA accountable. 

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them

October 25, 2023

Rich,

There seems to be data (racquet sales) saying the party is over.  We have two city courts near our house. This summer they have been vacant more than the previous two summers. 

 

It will not show up in the participation numbers because people are playing both PB and tennis.  They may be playing tennis 5 times a year now instead of 20 times.  Why is the USTA promoting PB?  It is not to help the pros.  It is all about power.  The pros are too stupid to see it. Stupid as in the 43rd sequel to the movie Dumb and Dumber.

 

PTA and PTR are fake providers of PB certification. If somebody gets hurt because of bad instruction, I would think they could get sued. What about Safe Sport as it applies to PB?  (which is a struggling Woke organization). It is only a matter of time before something happens.

 

Regarding the USTA and its non-profit status, I think people can file a complaint against them. 

 

Keep going.  What you are doing is important.

 

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them

October 10, 2023

 

Rich,

There is a lot of good information in your newsletter, information people can learn from. I guess it is like Playboy. Do you read the articles first or look at the pictures?

 

I think it also says it is important for you and others to continue to hold their feet to the fire and address issues.

 

I remember I always looked forward to Gene Scott's publication because he addressed the issues.  I stopped what I was doing when it arrived and at least skimmed the magazine.  I did not do that with any other tennis publication.

 

Good work.

 

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them

October 2, 2023

 

Rich,

I liked the October issue! 

I think it is humorously ironic that USTA SoCal was grouped with the stories about rape and sexual assault.

Bill Patton had a very logical article – lessons learned with experience.

The Commish was hilarious.

The comments about USPTA and the new President were perfect, particularly the Go Woke, Go Broke comment. 

The Rolling Stones article was hilarious.

 

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them

USTA AND PICKLEBALL

October 5, 2023

 

Rich,

The USTA does many things that are good for the sport. Rather than focus on doing those things better, they are guilty of mission creep and all the problems that go along with it.

 

Mind you, I don't have anything against PB. I don't like how it has caused people on both sides to behave badly.

The USTA is hypocritical, greedy, and full of egomaniacs. If they really cared about PB, they would rescind the requirement that courts with PB lines cannot be used for USTA events. 

 

I'm guessing Tim Russell is falling all over himself to comply with the USTA's wishes.  I am not sure if the college coaches would support him.  For them, this is a zero-sum game. If money goes to PB, that is less money for their programs and facilities. Many programs are struggling for their existence. 

 

The PB players reminded me of members of our society who refuse to accept the rights or viewpoints of others. Many of these folks do not appear to be athletic. They seem to be one twisted ankle away from ending their careers. That does not make for a bright future for the sport.   

 

It is my impression the USTA thinks they can just apply their tennis programs to pickleball and the programs will stick. For example, JTT is a bad program in tennis imo. I don't believe the adult leagues are transferable to PB en masse. I hope the PB junior programs will not cannibalize the tennis programs!

 

Are they going to try to force JTT and USTA leagues on the PB players? I have played in volleyball leagues and softball leagues over the years. Not once were the leagues run by associations. They were run by the city rec department and no mention was made of the association.

 

The b ig question is: Will tennis be better off because of the USTA's intervention in PB?

 

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them

RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY MAGAZINE NOV/DEC 2023 ISSUE

October 18, 2023

Rich,

72 pages  - some interesting stories.  Nov/Dec Issue 

RSI must be doing well - lots of advertisements - good for them.

 

Some highlights:

 

  • Life Time opened its largest outdoor pickleball development, with 22 new courts adjacent to its Kingwood Club in Humble, Texas - Why is it adjacent rather than part of the club? Are they going to sell the tennis club and keep the PB courts because it has a better ROI?

  • Tennis Channel and PPA form a 24-hour pickleball channel – is pb really that interesting to watch? A 24-hour channel, really?  What is next, the "Watching the grass grow channel?"

  • USTA to have a fund of $3 million to refurbish 200 parks courts – a nice gesture, but certainly not overly generous.

  • USTA starting partnerships with organizations – where is this headed? Is this effort genuine or is it another example of “Hi, I’m from the USTA, I’m here to help!”

  • Nice article by Pete Scales about playing hurt.

  • Market forces – Sales are down over last year and barely up over 2019.

  • USTA App – And how is this useful? My NTRP changes once a year. Do I need an app to track that?

 

 

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them

October 16, 2023

 

Rich,

I think the comments by Sharapova and Paul are interesting.  The U.S. does not have a tennis culture.  Tommy Paul is #2 in the U.S. but nobody knows it and nobody cares.  

 

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them

USPTA

October 22, 2023

Rich,

 

The last day to vote in the USPTA board election between Lane Evans and Jason Gilbert is October 23. Evans supposedly resigned from the National Board because of a falling out with Feisal. I think it is safe to say they are not on each other's Christmas Card lists.  It will be interesting to see what happens if Lane is elected and Feisal is hired.  

 

The USPTA WTCA relationship is weird. Occasionally, Embree would do a photo-op with them.  WTCA believed that you should educate everyone (men and women) who teaches women to play tennis. I took a WTCA class on coaching women which was great. I have listened to some of the webinars put on by the USPTA women's committee. There are some great women in the USPTA. Some of the USPTA members on the women's committee seem to hate men as if that is the mission of the committee. It has been that way since the committee was formed around 1990.  I attended two of their meetings. Barb Braunstein tried to get them focused.  I think they reverted after she left.  

 

It is going to be interesting to see what happens with Trish in charge.  The same can be said if Feisal is in charge. 

 

The USPTA is in a sorry state right now. There are some extremely talented pros who could do great things for USPTA, but they don't want to deal with the crap. 

 

It will be interesting to see if USPTA loses members at the end of the year.

 

What a mess.

 

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them

October 23, 2023

 

Rich,

Feisal would be the end of that organization…he is a classic suit at the most…all politician again and only chooses those who he likes…asap. Tennis Congress, took it from being a hallmark program that preached healthy living, environment improvement and more green focus per founder P.J. Simmons, to his own pet project…

 

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them

TEE TIMES ON SALE NOW

PLAY FROM THE UPPER DECK INSIDE COORS FIELD!

October 16, 2023

 

Rich,

Interesting use of a baseball stadium during the office season.  Maybe they could put pickleball courts in left field and the golfers would get bonus points every time they hit one of them.

 

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them

October 11, 2023

 

Rich,

Safe Sport is under fire for being ineffective - actually they cannot handle things in a timely manner. 

If USTA has tried to cover up something heads have to roll at the USTA just as they did elsewhere. 

If it is true, this is a mega scandal. The coach is Norm Varquez. Wonder if he was PTR or PTA?

 

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them

CAN DAVIS CUP BE SAVED?

September 29, 2023

 

Rich 

 

How Haggerty could ruin the Davis Cup ( twice) is beyond me. 

Wasn't it obvious to everybody?

I agree with you that every single year is way too much cf The Ryder Cup which is now a mega beast but wasn't always that way

 

Hoping all is well with you.

 

best  Mark

 

Mark Jeffery

Camberley, England

United Kingdom

USTA AND COLLEGE TENNIS

September 29, 2023

 

Rich,

The USTA publicly says they support College Tennis but I'm sure internally they think that College is a waste of time for talented players. They are sure this time could be better spent in USTA Player Development. 

There are some people in USTA who think they are the only ones who know how to teach tennis.

 

The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them

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ONE-QUESTION SURVEY FOR OCTOBER 2023

QUESTION

How do our readers rate our job of holding the USTA's feet to the fire? (Comments are welcome)

COMMENTS​​

  • Don't spread yourself too thin.

  • keep up the good work

  • To much promotion of your own products & ideas.

  • Gene Scott was a constant critic of the USTA. But, he always had solutions to his criticisms. You could emulate Gene Scott and his helping to grow tennis.

  • Focusing on the shortfalls of USTA takes away energy from the real promotion of Tennis. This summer in 10 weeks Beginner's World Tennis TM completely focused on new Tennis business projects and not on dealing with the frustrations and angst of USTA and the result was 10 projects scheduled for implementation. Galaxy Tennis Rating TM " making tennis fun again" is the first launched now October 2023. F.U.N.TM Padel and Satellite Tennis Center TM (indoor tennis practice facility ) are both scheduled to launch January 2024. June 2024 - 4 more projects get implemented 1)Satellite Tennis Center TM (backboard) 2)FUN TM Tennis 44 3)FUN TM Padel 44 and 4)FUN TM Tennis 60

  • Unlike the self-appointed "Conscience of the Game," Gene Scott, TCB actually names names, like Kurt Kamperman, who needs to be outed as the lightweight, Peter Principle poster boy he was (is). Thanks for pointing out how bad the aloof, dismissive, megalomaniac John Embree was (is). Lubbers? What a joke. Now that bad actors in our profession know they can't get away with anonymously damaging the game and people who love the sport, they will undoubtedly behave at least somewhat better - at least to avoid an embarrassing legacy. Thanks for naming names - it's the only way to help clean up the tennis industry.

  • There is nobody in the industry who addresses the issues. There are too many leaders who are puppets. There is no transparency and the industry numbers are suspect. The teaching pros don't have a voice in the industry and they should. It is easier for pros to ignore the USTA, USPTA, USPTR, and ITA and just to their own thing. Is that in the best interest of the sport? Thank you for speaking out!

  • Keep going after the USTA. They have not been relevant for years. Somebody besides Javier needs to do so (He has become so obnoxious that his excellent arguments are drowned out by his own rhetoric). This mid-month was worthwhile (about Cincinnati) but many times isn't worth your time; so skip it unless you have some real news.

  • Of Course the USTA is looking to take over for the USPTA and PTR

  • Keep holding their feet to the fire!!

  • more fire. the usta is cronyism at it’s worst

  • Lots of tennis opportunities to focus on

  • Keep doing whatever you’re doing.

  • So many things you and your mentor Javier opine about USTA are wrong, out of context, and disrespectful. Neither of you really know about growing tennis, quality programming or retaining players. You know a lot about what you think you know.

  • Always enjoy reading!!!

  • Love the information!!!

  • I enjoy receiving the newsletter. I appreciate your concerns. Thanks.

  • I enjoy keeping up with the tennis world with TCB. Thank you

  • If there was not that section holding USTA feet to the fire I would not read TCB. There are very few outlets that has the strength and smarts to inform everyone about the failed monopoly that control Tennis.

  • bravo

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