THIS MONTH IN TENNIS CONFIDENTIAL
Why Tennis Should Embrace Clubhouse
Tech and Other News
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HISTORY OF THE GAME
Lawn Tennis began in America when Mary Ewing Outerbridge of Staten Island , NY returned from a Bermuda vacation with an armful of crudely strung bats. These rackets were held in customes for they did not know the purpose of the rackets and what duty they had to charge on them.
WHAT I DIDN'T WRITE IN SOME AUGUST ARTICLES
Not too hot for our Premium Members!
by Rich Neher
I thought this may be of interest to our Premium Members. It is well known that I don't hold back much and say it as it is. It's the main reason why the majority of our subscribers read the newsletter. For August I decided to tone some articles down a bit and tell you what I really feel about some details in them.
I wrote, "Let's face it, excitement is not in the USTA's DNA. So, who's going to step up to the plate to fill in that void? Is there anyone out there with new ideas that could excite millions of kids and adults alike?"
To be honest while I think that both Fernando Segal and Noel Walsh are able to move a little bit of needle in their particular segments, I do not get the feeling that they are able to create the excitement I am looking for. It needs to be seen what segment that is for Fernando. We know more after listening to over 100 speakers. How exciting is that? :-)
Walsh's segment is clearer: tournament players and upcoming professionals. His efforts will add a lot of play occasions to competitive players, no doubt.
I wrote about the Pacific Northwest section of the USTA: "Executive incomes look excessive and not justifiable. The entire section looks top-heavy. Is that what they call Mission Incapable?
That statement stirred some trouble among my collaborators who are mostly tennis professionals who know their USTA sections really well. One of them wrote, "If I was a section CEO I might raise the issue that nonprofits are not required to make a profit, i.e. they are supposed to invest in their members. They can fairly claim they are doing that. If you had additional information, you could look at their "investment" in programming. In many cases, the programming is their means of justifying their existence. It is just like a university, where teaching students is not a primary responsibility in many cases. Staff is expected to generate revenue to pay their salaries. The question for you then becomes, "What are these folks doing to increase participation in the game?"
In other words, while the PNW section only received one star what if they are the best in increasing participation? Would that then not mean Mission Accomplished?
I view the article as a discussion starter. Hopefully, some of the sections will respond with comments that show they are actually doing things that increase participation and further the brand of tennis. I really don't care what they are doing to further their existence. My question is: What are they doing differently after COVID-19?
I wrote about my meeting with the (now) CEO Trevor Kroneman and President Bob Hochstadter of that section. The meeting was friendly because Bob and I know each other for quite some time. Trevor and I had only prior email interaction.
Bob expressed to me that they really want to forget the 18 months of former CEO Marla Messing as soon as possible. It is quite clear to me that our reporting led to her demise because we made her shenanigans public. Otherwise, she may still be in office. That's how much power she must have wielded over everyone there. Everyone, but Bob Hochstadter, of course. A club owner who knows what's good for tennis!
I've got to say, I was thoroughly impressed because in the 15 years I knew the SCTA I learned that open and honest discussion is just not in their DNA. It has something to do with that 'Good old Boys Club' the USTA is famous for. And that club actually had a female member, too. For decades, Annette Buck was the worst of them together with Bob Kramer and Bill Kellogg.
I listened to Ed Shanaphy's podcast with Doug Cash. These are both experienced tennis managers but Doug's assertion that in some clubs in the Northeast you can’t have a court without a pro is really far fetched in my opinion, if not complete nonsense. He continues to say that pro-led court time is "obviously, a little more expensive but more fun, too."
I don't know what Doug was smoking but in my book there is fun times with a pro and fun times without but more fun? No way.
Doug’s all about raising prices now while you all can. He says, "Our product is too low priced and the pro compensation system needs to change." While I am all for a fair compensation of tennis professionals I'm also seeing that Doug could prices is clubs out of the market. So, whatever cloud Doug Cash is on, he better come down soon.
TENNIS BOOM RADIO EPISODE 12: "DOES TENNIS NEED THE USTA?" PART 2
I don't want to just glance over the fact that the company the USTA hired to do all their future customer service functions is headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Like so many times before, I get that distinct feeling that someone is getting rich from that transaction. Why else select a Canadian company, right? Similarities come to mind when looking back at the selection process for ClubSpark which so far ended in a fiasco. I still haven't found out who got rich from that deal but I was told I'm getting close. I was told the people involved were ITF President Dave Haggard (ex-USTA), ITF Board Member Katrina Adams (Ex-USTA President), former USTA CEO Gordon Smith, former USTA CEO Community Tennis Kurt Kamperman, and current USTA CEO Community Tennis, Craig Morris.
I was always thinking when Kurt Kamperman retired why did he move to Canada? I hope he didn't HAVE to leave the country. We may never know about that, of course but, holy moly, Kamperman moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Coincidence? There's no such thing, people. The (in my eyes disgraced) ex-USTA Executive under whose stewardship we lost millions of players in the United States, who grabbed Cardio Tennis only to see it (almost) die, who I was told created the rift between the USTA and the PTR, and who decided 3 years after moving to Lake Nona that "we really should have a business plan for that place, hahaha" is the new CEO of Tennis Nova Scotia in Halifax.
Hmmm.... Does not pass the smelltest. If he really was involved in it, hold on to your seats, folks. What could possibly go wrong?
July 12, 2021, TENNIS BOOM RADIO Episode 12
Topic: 'Does Tennis Need the USTA?' Part 2
Special Guest: Mickey Maule USTA Managing Director, Engagement and Services
Mickey Maule mentioned the USTA's transition to a service organization in his opening remarks. He also confirmed that an outside company was hired, Blue Oceans Group from Canada, to take over the USTA's customer service. Blue Ocean Group staff is currently in Orlando being trained by USTA staff.
Btw, Blue Oceans Group happens to be headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia. And guess what? That name came up recently. Remember? Kurt Kamperman, the ex-USTA CEO under whose stewardship community tennis declined almost into irrelevancy, is the new CEO of Tennis Nova Scotia with office in Halifax. Coincidence? There's no such thing, people.
I have not the genius of Tilden nor the physical qualities of Borotra or of a Cochet. If I have sometimes succeeded in beating them it is because I have willed with all my force to win, to utilize the means which were within my reach.
-Rene Lacoste, 7-time Grand Slam Champion (1927)-
Tough Draw by Eliot Berry
Some Tech News That May Interest You
As seen on Morning Brew: What is a Flying Car?
As seen on Morning Brew: Airspeeder says it had the first successful test flight for its electric flying racecar
Does that have ramifications for Tennis? Supreme Court Win for College Athletes in Compensation Case
As seen on Morning Brew: The US' digital divide is about more than just access
As seen on NPR: A Guide to Understanding Gender Identity and Pronouns
Spiideo Releases Portable Automated Camera for Sports
Sports-focused video recording company Spiideo has released its new camera solution called SmartCam. SmartCam is a portable version of Spiideo’s existing video capture technology, which uses AI to track the movement of play across a field or court, making a camera operator unnecessary.
Spiideo’s portable SmartCam weighs under 8kg and has a setup time of less than 10 minutes. It can be mounted on a tall tripod above the field or court, allowing for greater visibility and a 180-degree field of view.
As with previous Spiideo products, the SmartCam can also be used to stream live footage if connected to the internet via ethernet or WiFi network.
Apple is dragging Microsoft, Google and the entire PC industry into the 21st century
As seen on Morning Brew: A Rundown of New Crypto Rules and Regs Around the World
As seen on SportsTechie Daily: Oura Health Rings to Monitor U.S. Olympic Surfers
Oura Health is providing USA Surfing’s Olympic team with health and fitness monitoring rings as part of a new partnership. Oura started collaborating with the World Surf League in April.
Oura rings collect a wide range of biometric data, including sleep and activity, and provide Readiness, Activity, and Sleep metrics to help users understand their recovery. Last year, Oura partnered with the NBA, the WNBA, NASCAR, UFC and more.
Current world No. 1 surfer Carissa Moore—who, along with Caroline Marks, will represent Team USA during surfing’s Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games—also became an Oura brand ambassador as part of the announcement.
“With my Oura Ring I’ve been able to train more thoughtfully and focus on recovery,” Moore said in a statement. “Based on my sleep data, I feel energized and prepared to take on this exciting moment with confidence, knowing that I’ve trained and recovered well.”
As seen on Morning Brew: What Makes Quantum Computing So Hard to Explain?
Arthur was an ambassador of what's right.
An ambassador of dignity and class.
Arthur Ashe, Citizen of the World, HBO Sports Documentary (1994)
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