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On Dec 19, Dave Miley posted the following on his Facebook page and explained below.
First of all I want to say how pleased I am that these changes to entry level pro tennis have been agreed and made by the ITF, ATP and WTA. This is something that the players and national and performance coaches have been asking for since 2018. Thanks to these organizations for finally listening to the players and the coaches involved at this level of pro tennis.
Now I am not laying the blame individually with ATP,WTA or ITF. I know that probably each will blame the other for the problems that came with the changes introduced over 4 years ago but they are jointly responsible.The Grand Slams also have some responsibility for not taking a stand at the time but that is because the changes did not really affect their players as they can give their players wild cards to speed their progress in pro tennis. The main problem that this illustrates is that the three organizations (with the slams) were not working together enough in the interests of the players. It took demonstrations by the players, countless social media post by desperate players and top tour coaches over the past 4 years to get to this stage…. for the ITF,ATP and WTA to go back to what it pretty much was there in 2016.
Let me remind people what happened in 2016.
We were told by ITF that they undertook the biggest player/coach survey in 2016 in an effort to understand better the situation in entry level pro tennis and to make improvements. 15000+ player, coaches and national federations apparently gave their opinion on entry level pro tennis. Then on the basis of this information, the ITF, ATP and WTA made decisions that they said would make things better but which actually had a very negative impact on entry level pro tennis. The top junior and pro tour coaches and national coaches of the top nations said (no shouted) at the time that what was being proposed was wrong and that they would have a very negative impact. At the Tennis Europe AGM in 2018 a letter was proposed and sent to the ITF, ATP and WTA outlining European opposition to the changes. But it made no difference and the changes went ahead causing so many problems. It was immediately obvious to everyone that knows and works in tennis at this level that the points for the 15K and 25 K events were too low and unfair and that the reduction in draw sizes would limit the opportunities for many players. Coaches like Sven Groenveld and Magnus Norman were vocal in their criticism. I also wrote 3 articles in 2018 warning of problems ahead. The ITF feed up from Junior to 15k was a good thing but it did not solve the major problems caused by the changes. After three years a player group was established (something I proposed in my ITF Presidential manifesto in 2019) and this eventually, 4 years after the changes were proposed and introduced, convinced ITF, ATP and WTA to return basically to what was there in 2016.
The main point of this post is to highlight the need for the ITF, ATP and WTA and the 4 slams to work closer for the good of the game in future and to listen and to react quicker in the future to constructive and well informed criticism from players and coaches. I have written about this before but I think the international rankings should be jointly controlled by the 7 organizations (ITF, ATP, WTA and the 4 slams) with some player input. This group can then decide on which events should get points (like Olympics, Davis Cup, BJK Cup and other tournaments) and the level of points necessary to have a fair and smooth transition in pro tennis from one level to the next. I believe that if you did this you will also create more income for the lower and mid ranked players with new world ranking events and circuits (e.g. Asian tour, Pan American Tour like in golf) being created. It would also force the 7 organizations to work together more often for the good of the game which I think is vital for the health of the sport going forward.
Once again well done to ITF ATP and WTA for finally making these important changes.
International Tennis Consultant
London, England, United Kingdom
JUNIOR GOLF ON TV
December 20, 2021
Yesterday I was in a restaurant for lunch. On one of the televisions they were showing a JUNIOR golf tournament - boys and girls. I don't know which one it was
Has golf reached the point where they are desparate for events to cover? OR Has golf reached the point where junior golf is that important?
When was the last time you saw junior tennis on national television?
LEAGUES SUGGESTIONS OR IMPROVEMENTS
December 21, 2021
Dear USTA Leagues and Ratings Committee:
I am writing to you as a long-time player, captain, instructor, and lifelong USTA member with some growing concerns that I have regarding league play and with some suggestions to improve it. There is no doubt the leagues have been one of the most successful programs but there have not been significant changes in years and just like other sports tennis needs to adapt to the times. I hope you will read through and have an open mind on the following suggestions.
As a reasonably successful league captain over the years, the national and sections must realize the importance of captains and how many players they recruit to the leagues and instead of t-shirts or parties simply waive league fees for anyone who is captaining a team.
Abolish the breakup split-up rule! On the surface I think it is well-meaning but when you analyze it-it hurts much more than helps league play. Going to the middle after each shot sounds like good advice too but it is not as it is the middle of the most likely shot. To think that teams will dominate is foolhardy as look at the number of tiebreakers in sectional championships. If you want a team to break up, you should limit it to the team that wins the national championship and no more. The four major professional sports leagues in this country spend more than 14 billion dollars a year to try and repeat and yet seldom ever do but for amateurs who are paying to play their reward if they get close is to break up from their teammates and friends. If you lose in the finals of a tournament, wouldn’t you want to go back and try to win it the next year? We do not abolish the pros for winning majors why do we punish amateurs? If you insist on keeping this rule at the very least, you need to make a more reasonable number of people who can stay together such as 9.
About tiebreakers let’s eliminate the Kommen tiebreaker. Why make things more complicated for weekend warriors than professionals and it should not be done indoors especially in indoor matches with people waiting for court time. A little adversity such as changing ends every six points has worked out well in the rest of tennis let’s stay consistent. People like simplicity not complication in their recreational endeavors.
If we are going to keep the three-strike system (which we should look at making changes to) Why can we not notify captain’s and player’s when they have two strikes? Then if someone gets struck out at least it doesn’t come as a surprise, and we should not strike out people in sectionals as they do not at nationals. A few years ago, if a player was promoted to the next level, they got to finish out the year at the lower level which is how it should be instead of making it seem punitive for some one who has worked hard on their game to improve. The idea is to keep people playing and enjoying the sport for a lifetime. The Pareto 80/20 rule is very applicable to tennis, and we should never forget that as an industry.
A similar point is to let players play at the level they ask to when self-rating and place them in the middle not at the high end that way if they are dominating they will get promoted but if they are not they will stay in the level they ask for as should we not trust people and let their racket determine their play as the system is broken auto rating a high school player to automatic 4.0 and anyone who has played college to 5.0 is laughably inaccurate. If you do not believe me, ask any high school or college coach.
If someone gets promoted out of the current level do not make it 3 years before they can try to appeal. A lot can change in a year especially if the player did not play competitively as there are injuries, weight gains, job issues, and other activities that generally would not make someone better older, and fatter perhaps. If you can not change or limit it to one year then at least shorten it to two years as we do not want people to go away from the sport and not come back.
Think about changing your algorithm as it has clear faults one should never get promoted for losing matches and make people's ratings available -golf and pickleball do as does UTR. We have for too long catered to the 1-2 percent who might try to cheat as opposed to servicing the 98 percent who simply want a fair shot with good competition. It is hard to explain a system where people have very high winning records and don’t get bumped and some with losing records do. If requested I can give numerous examples where the system has been way off or doesn’t make sense for instance if someone gets promoted to 5.0 in a 4.5 league in which he lost to the same 4.5 player twice why would the player who won not get bumped?
Create some new leagues and formats for players. Possible ideas might be mixed age leagues =-35, mixed- gender leagues, and advancing non-advancing leagues.
Eliminate the ridiculous 4-point matches at 40+ nationals as matches should have a winner and a loser. Again, if for some reason this needs to stay then if teams tie with another team without playing them, they should play 2 of 3 tiebreaks to break the tie does not go to games or sets lost.
For sections have each individual player pay a fee as opposed to the captain they do this already in Eastern.
Publish sites for nationals and sections earlier so if the national or section is not able to help with travel discounts at least players could have an idea of when and where play may be and try to find the best travel deals.
Be more open-minded about trying some things as you will not know if these suggestions work unless you try them. We are getting older and losing players to other sports and need to make sure that league play stays relevant.
Thanks for your consideration.
USPTA Master Professional
Burnsville, Minnesota, USA
Just read your USTA article in the December issue
The (USTA) Tennis Landscape in 2025
November 30, 2021
Well done! The truth always hurts when ego and arrogant bravado lead the way. Morris also has to go! He is a fish out of water and has lost everyone's confidence. People in the industry in the field still don't know what Net Generation is, not to mention people outside the industry whom he was supposed to attract. It is a thin veneer with nothing of substance. If the message isn't getting to the industry people how is it supposed to get to the public? Furthermore, he has violated the law about BRANDING by choosing a name like net generation.
1. People still think it's next-generation and often call it that, which he hates.
2. If it is a USTA product, that should be directly reflected and not loosely associated.
Remember, only insiders know how messed up the organization is. Outsiders value the NGB of a sport and it carries goodwill. Morris has f'd that up too.
Keep up the good work!
Mike Dowse's Resignation
December 10, 2021
I am not that surprised that he is gone. He was in an untenable position. The Deep State probably got him. He probably just could not get the things done that needed to get done. While the Deep State has been focussed on the US Open, social causes, and D&I, pickleball, and the disastrous Serve Tennis debacle, the rest of us have been focused on other things, like growing tennis.
It will be fascinating who the Board will pick to replace Dowse. The Board and the upper -evel staff have been spectacular in their inability to make good decisions. But, here is another opportunity to finally get it right. The USTA pretty much sat out and missed the latest mini tennis boom. Maybe they can find someone to help lead the USTA back to relevance. The game and industry of tennis deserve as much. I think we all hope they get it right ... they just have to. (It will be interesting to see who the board listens to as they work to find a new CEO. Will they listen to the grassroots and those who really grow the game, or will they continue to listen to the Deep State and the Good Ole Boys).
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