Going Pro After College

Discussion in 'College Tennis Talk' started by JStar7, Feb 11, 2010.

  1. JStar7

    JStar7 Rookie

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    What are the odds of turning pro after college? If you don't recieve an offer right away to turn pro, can you play futures and satellites after College? Also, what are the odds of someone turning pro from DIII school?
     
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  2. duusoo

    duusoo Rookie

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    DIII, Eric Butorac. Turning pro has less to do with what division of school you played at. Look how many players that have had appearances in Grand Slam events attended Tyler Junior College, or Loraedo Jr. College. Probably more than have played in the Big 10. But, remember each year, about 4 new players come on. Bottom line, you have to be awfully good.
     
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  3. Miami83095

    Miami83095 Rookie

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    John isner did it, he is getting good, FAST !
     
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  4. nfor304

    nfor304 Banned

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    You dont need to get some kind of offer, you just do it if you have the means and the desire. Winning and actually making a living is the hard part and where most players fall short
     
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  5. scraps234

    scraps234 Hall of Fame

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    Great post I agree completly above
     
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  6. nfor304

    nfor304 Banned

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    It's probably a pretty high percentage of college players who 'go pro' to some extent and try their luck at futures events.

    Its just a very small percentage of those who ever see the top 100 or even get to challenger level
     
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  7. Kick_It

    Kick_It Semi-Pro

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    college players do play futures/challengers they are just limited in how much prize money they can accept by the NCAA as a condition to be eligible for future competitions. when i was in college the intent of the rule was you could keep enough money to cover basic costs like travel - but at best you could break even. check what the current rules are.

    there really is no "offers" to turn pro unless you're really talented - like donald young or tiger woods (as a golf player) and a management firm wants to sign you and offers you a contract with lots of money - and/or an equipment manufacturer does the same thing - which would be extremely rare.

    k_i
     
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  8. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

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    If you mean going pro as in playing futures after college then sure that road is open to you. If you mean making a living as a pro then that is another story. It all depends on your financial situation and how long you can afford to chase your dream. Once you are out of college remember this is your own money you are spending and the travel and training costs are expensive can add up fast. You don't win enough money to cover your costs until you make it to the top level.

    A lot (I mean maybe a couple dozen, not the majority) of college players take a year or two to try and make it as a pro. Not very many stick around past that. Three are also DI All-Americans who quit competing after college because they know they won't make it as a pro.

    Butorac is the exception and not the rule. I can't think of any other player from DIII who had any semblance of a pro career.
     
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  9. ilikepigs

    ilikepigs New User

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    I bolded the part that I'm confused about. Do players get "offered" or "invited" to become a pro? Does this mean that the ATP will cover their travel expenses, equipment, etc? I'm confused as to how it works...

    Anyone know?
     
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  10. hityellowball

    hityellowball New User

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    Fwiw Butorac was number 1 in singles and doubles at Gustavus Adolphus, and he pursued being a professional doubles player, which is much easier (very difficult still obviously) than making it on tour in singles. I believe Butorac never really tried making it in singles as it would have been too difficult.

    There are lots of good D3 players who can compete with anyone, but I doubt you'll ever see a D3 player from now on make it top 100 in singles. They simply wouldn't be there if that was the priority.
     
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  11. cmb

    cmb Semi-Pro

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    lets be clear here...the ATP/ITF does not care about any but taking your money away. They won't do * to help you out. If your an american hopfully you have alot of money to waste because that what it will take. If are european...you probably wont be asking this question anyway
     
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  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I'd think, less than one out of 10,000 top college players MAKE money playing tennis after graduation.
    Does Isner actually make money, or is his expenses paid for? Some people claim it takes more than $80,000 a year to cover travel, hotel, trainer, coach, and incidental fees.
    Very few college players make that much money off tennis.
    And given playing time and a couple years of college tennis, they basically know whether it's going to be worth the effort or not. Not....many know they can't crack top 100, but continue to TRY breaking into the pro tour.
     
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  13. Kick_It

    Kick_It Semi-Pro

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    What I remember (20 years ago) was basically everyone ranked below 200 in ATP would not break-even on costs.

    At that time you basically had to make top 200 to have a chance to make money.

    I don't know what it is today.

    Clearly very few will do well making money by competing in professional tennis tournaments. If you can - more power to you.

    Good Luck! K_I
     
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  14. Matt H.

    Matt H. Professional

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    one of the guys on the team when I was at FSU "went pro" for awhile, but ran out of money trying to get his ranking high enough to get into decent tournaments to make money.

    For a D1 player, here's out it goes:

    during the off season you travel around trying to qualify for futures and challengers. If one is in your area, sometimes the tournament director and the college coach have an agreement and gets a wild card or two to give to the players.

    My hitting coach has a player who went pro after 2 years at University of Miami. Played a bunch of challengers, made a few ATP tournaments, and made Indian Wells main draw last year. Money wise, i'd say it takes 20k a year to cover expenses.
     
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  15. jmhs

    jmhs Rookie

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    This looks to be a couple of years old, but estimated expenses to attempt to play pro appear to be nearly $50,000 a year (see Estimated Tennis-Related Expenses) just over half way through the document below. The rest of the materials tell you how difficult it is to finance professional tennis:

    http://www.willboe.com/WillBoe_2007_SponsorshipPacket.pdf

    BTW, I saw this guy play in college once in 2006. He would loudly yell out, "BREAK HIM," as his opponent was getting ready to serve on a break point. Can't imagine him getting away with that in any kind of pro match. I'd think he'd get whacked over the head with a racquet after the match.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2010
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  16. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

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    BTW, I saw this guy play in college once in 2006. He would loudly yell out, "BREAK HIM," as his opponent was getting ready to serve on a break point. Can't imagine him getting away with that in any kind of pro match. I'd think he'd get whacked over the head with a racquet after the match.[/QUOTE]

    You see a lot of gamesmanship in college, one guy from Minnesota still makes me mad thinking about him due to his behavior and he used up his eligibility about 2-3 years ago. There was a New Zealander also who acted a real jerk on court, played for some D1 school in the south I seem to remember.

    It all depends on the officials, many are old and dont really care or pay attention, others care more about noise and foot faults and are on some power trip. I once saw terrible calls and the umpire refused to overrule anything then walked over to the crowd and told a guy (looked like a parent) that he couldnt touch the chain link fence that he was watching through.

    A minority are actually pretty good.
     
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  17. ClarkC

    ClarkC Hall of Fame

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    I suppose you could look up Isner's earnings and see if you think he is covering his expenses. Then you would have an answer to your own question.
     
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  18. Fee

    Fee Legend

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    No, no one gets offered or invited to turn pro, its your decision. All you have to do is get an IPIN from the ITF, show up at a Futures event, win some main draw matches for points, accept the prize money, and voila! you are a pro tennis player. Making money at it is another matter entirely.

    The ATP doesn't give you money, they actually take money from you in the form of 'dues'.

    As mentioned before, if a guy is REALLLLLLLLY good, then he might get interest from an agent/agency such as Octagon, IMG, or BEST. Your agent will try to get you wildcards and sponsorship/endorsement deals in exchange for about 12% of your earnings as long as you are under contract. Any money they give you upfront is kind of a 'loan' (unless its specifically a signing bonus) and they will take that money back from you a little bit at a time until its paid off.

    Isner is now covering his expenses, since he got so far at the USO last year. He was probably just below even before that (unless Nike is giving him cash as part of their deal, but I thought that was an equipment only arrangement).
     
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  19. nfor304

    nfor304 Banned

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    I think today its around 300, or regularly playing challengers where you break even. I hit with a guy who was a highly ranked national junior, and a few of his friends are ranked 200-800 now. He says the guys who play the challengers make enough to get by because at that level you get things like accommodation taken care of by the tournaments as well as the jump in prize money. The lower ranked guys get by playing money tournaments, playing club tennis and for the lucky ones money from the AIS(aus institute of sport grants)
     
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  20. EP1998

    EP1998 Semi-Pro

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    He is still out there playing so perhaps the citizens of Fairfield County came up with the cash. Not sure who would invest in this guy though - not pro material at all. That sounds mean but let's be real.
     
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  21. LSStringing

    LSStringing Rookie

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    John Isner has already made $320K for 2010...and we are only in February. Can he pay his expenses? Let's go ahead and say, "YES". And while we are on the subject of pros, our favorite D3 player, Butorac, has already made $30K in the first two months of this year. In my opinion, these guys are doing just fine.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2010
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  22. hityellowball

    hityellowball New User

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    It's not mean. It is realistic. I was a good D3 player and the guy that won the D3 championship a couple years ago was in my conference, and he was on another level to myself, but he would struggle to beat good friends of mine in D1, and then they struggle vs top 200ish players, and then the top 200 struggle vs top 100 etc etc etc.

    Tennis has many layers to it that separate players at the higher levels. It's not that certain guys hit the ball so ridiculously others can't do it. Most very good tennis players can play great tennis, it's more of the question of the % of time you can keep it up. That's why you see guys such as Ferrer, Gonzalez, Robredo struggle vs Nadal/Federer. They simply can't keep up that insane level of tennis up for 5 sets. They can for 2-3 sets. Whereas the guy ranked 100 can maybe have 1 set of insane tennis then their level drops.
     
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  23. Kick_It

    Kick_It Semi-Pro

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    I agree with prior post - basically only the top few survive at the next level and there are many levels.

    E.g. a small portion of great HS/teenagers seem to do well in tough college tennis, and from there it repeats to satellites from there the top 10 or so make it into ~ top 400, and then top 200, etc. IMO the competition is an order of magnitude tougher each step up the ladder you take.

    A few of my friends made it to 400, and one made it as high as ~140 on WTA a year out of college. It's not easy. Lots of traveling to middle of no-where in search of weak draws and easy points - if that still exists today.

    I see parallels with kids in other sports like basketball, where you'll see tons of HS kids, dozens of good college players - though probably 2 dozen who make it into the pros, and a very few rare who make a multi-year living doing it in the pros, and perhaps once a generation a player like Jordan.

    It is a tough way to make a living - more power to you if you can pull it off,
    K_I
     
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  24. justinmadison

    justinmadison Semi-Pro

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    Wow, what a great example of how hard it is to make it in pro tennis. The cost breakdown in the link above shows just how expensive it is. He estimates $50k / year and it looks like that is the low end of the range. BTW, he never won a round in the main draw of a futures tournament. He only won 2 total matches in qualifying. He was #1 in DIII.

    ATP prize money for 2009 – total combined prize money worldwide doubles and singles
    #100 Rajeev Ram $301k
    #200 Vincent Spadea $209k Played 29 tournaments 12 – 29 record Weirdly made most of his money losing first round in the bigger tournaments … ranking went down all year
    #300 Joachim Johansson $96k
    #400 Yuichi Sugita $52k Played 26 tournaments 39 - 24 record. Won two futures for $1,300 each Traveled all over the world kicked major butt, and broke even
    #500 Walter Trusendi $32k Played 23 tournaments 39 – 22 Won one future for $1950, lots of simis for $500 each

    Basketball salaries 2009 US Only
    #100 Marko Jaric $7,100,000
    #200 Randy Foye $3,575,761
    #300 Hamed Haddadi $1,620,000
    #400 Stephen Graham $825,497

    Baseball salaries 2008 US only
    #100 Brett Myers $8,583,333
    #200 Alex Gonzalez $4,700,000
    #300 Doug Brocalil $2,500,000
    #400 Andrew Brackman $1,184,788


    Why do we continue to wonder about the state of US professional tennis? The best athletes are going to go to the top paying sports, that’s just how life works
     
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  25. Delano

    Delano Rookie

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    Thanks for posting some real numbers! I knew that the drop off in tennis salaries was steeper than in top paying sports like basekteball and baseball, but I never did look at the actual data.

    By the way, where did you get this info? Is it available for the top 10, 20, or 50?

    Another factor - tennis (and golf) tend to have high sponsorship/endorsement potential. This won't make the slightest difference outside the top 50, so it would only be of interest in the top 10, but it'd be interesting to know how total compensation looks when you compare the sports.

     
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  26. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

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    Here's the Forbes list of the top 20 athletes in earnings in total comp (including endorsements):

    1. Tiger Woods, $110 million
    2. Kobe Bryant, $45 million
    2. Michael Jordan, $45 million
    2. Kimi Raikkonen, $45 million
    5. David Beckham, $42 million
    6. LeBron James, $40 million
    6. Phil Mickelson, $40 million
    6. Manny Pacquiao, $40 million
    9. Valentino Rossi, $35 million
    10. Dale Earnhardt Jr., $34 million
    11. Roger Federer, $33 million
    11. Shaquille O'Neal, $33 million
    13. Oscar de la Hoya, $32 million
    13. Alex Rodriguez, $32 million
    16. Vijay Singh, $31 million
    17. Kevin Garnett, $30 million
    13. Lewis Hamilton, $32 million
    17. Jeff Gordon, $30 million
    17. Derek Jeter, $30 million
    17. Ronaldinho, $30 million

    Sharapova is the top earning female athlete in the world with $26M, followed by Serena at $14M, then Venus.
     
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  27. zettabyte

    zettabyte New User

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    And don't forget, all those tennis players paid for their expenses.

    None of the baseball and basketball players paid to fly anywhere, stay in hotels, or paid anything for coaching, training, or medical rehab. Which makes the net difference even larger.

    Athletes play what's popular in their culture, and what's popular in the culture pays the most money.

    The Tiger Woods effect is a perfect example of how the increase in the popularity of a sport can raise the money paid to those who play it.
     
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  28. Cross-court

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    I just hate how pro tennis is. I won't say it's unfair, because it isn't: if you have the means to do it and the skills no one will stop you and you have a chance. But it's so hard, and unless you make it to the top 10, it's not even worth it, unlike other sports.

    So would it be accurate to say that, if you don't have the money, you might as well forget about becoming a pro?
     
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  29. Kick_It

    Kick_It Semi-Pro

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    re: "So would it be accurate to say that, if you don't have the money, you might as well forget about becoming a pro? "

    ... Absolutely not. There are many reasons to pursue pro tennis. Just don't expect a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow ;-)

    If you're only in it for the money - I'd do something else. There are many other opportunities with a higher reward/risk ratio.

    Good Luck! K_I
     
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  30. Cross-court

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    I wouldn't be in it only for the money. I would be in it because it's the sport that I like the most and it would only be meaningful to me if I could play at the highest level and against the best. This is just me but I wouldn't be happy just playing with the same people and casually.
     
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  31. Cross-court

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    What would you have to do if, say, you wanted to play in the qualifying rounds of any grand slam, or of any masters series like the Sony Ericsson Open?
     
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  32. Cross-court

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    Actually I think I have to re-phrase my question; what I wanted to ask was:

    If you have the skills to play pro tennis (i.e. the game and the fitness), but you don't have the money to pay what it would take to go around traveling, the basic expenses then, you shouldn't even bother or try it?
     
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  33. Don't Let It Bounce

    Don't Let It Bounce Hall of Fame

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    Quite true, but I think s/he was asking about money as a prerequisite rather than as a motivation, and the answer certainly seems to be that, yes, you need money or access to it to make the transaction from amateur to professional.

    A guy from my small hometown was sponsored by a group of local businessmen to try and make it on the PGA tour. He did, and he has had a long and rewarding career, but I believe this is an example of a long shot coming in, and of an investment driven more by community spirit than by low risk-reward ratio. This thread's warnings about the long odds and high costs should be heeded.

    From another era... The guy who taught me the most about coaching tennis was a journeyman tour player in the late 60's and early 70's. He got by on peanut butter sandwiches (when he could afford them; air when he couldn't) and the generosity of more successful players. I'd be surprised if that were possible now.
     
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  34. Kick_It

    Kick_It Semi-Pro

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    If you don't have lots of money - I'd go by talent and results in terms of getting a tennis scholarship to a strong tennis college and having decent results there. After that by winning local prize money tournaments to subsidize more grandiose travel and tournament ambitions.

    It is possible but it isn't extremely likely. But then again, cracking the top 200 is even less likely - but you have to have a certain degree of success to get to that point.

    People do it. Look @ where Monica Seles or Maria Sharapova came from. As I understand it, they weren't rolling in the dough but they found a way to do it.

    If it's meant to be, it's meant to be.

    Good Luck! K_I
     
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  35. Cross-court

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    So would you say that going to a college where you will be able to continue playing a lot of tennis and is very strong, would be a good thing to do?

    Right now I'm at that stage - deciding what to do, what college to go to and those things.

    I was thinking about finding something in Miami. Which are the best places for tennis in this country?
     
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  36. Cross-court

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    Yeah, that was it...


    Yeah, this would probably work only if you were the next Federer haha...
     
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  37. Kick_It

    Kick_It Semi-Pro

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    I'd go for as competitive of a college as you can - unless you're already ~top 50 in the world in ITF in Juniors (and presumably have some ATP/WTA equivalent from futures).

    You want to see how far you can go and where you stand against the best. Be ready for it. Here's the trick - you need to be able to live with the results of it.

    At least that's what I did for college and I'd say it worked for me. I consciously passed up smaller schools that offered me full or partial scholarships for a school in a tough D1 conference where I had to walk on and did walk on after beating many others.

    I found out real quick where I sat in the world order, and turned out (20+ years ago) that the #400 player in the world was dramatically better than me, and that I realistically thought I would not get to that level in any realistic amount of time. I won a few qualifier matches but continually got it handed to me by the ~400 in the world ranked players.

    That was a tough pill to swallow at age 20 - but I pursued my dream, and now I look back at it with no regrets. I met lots of great people and friends, got to travel to many places I wouldn't have gone to and learned lots of life lessons along the way.

    Fortunately I realized at the time I should pour more of my energy into those classes I blew off to go to tennis practice - yet got B-'s in without going to class and got a decent job that's paid the rent quite well ever since.

    Would I make a dime playing professional tennis for a living - no. I'm not much the sleep in a tent and drive everywhere kind of guy - but I could have done that for a while. Now I'm glad I didn't though cause it got me on a great career path at a good time.
     
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  38. Cross-court

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    Yeah. Looks like the problem with going to a college to keep playing good level tennis is the fact that you're in a college - you can't dedicate yourself only to tennis:???:

    I have a friend that used to play tennis with me last year and the first month of this year back in my country. He's from El Salvador. I don't really know what his rating was, but I would say that he was probably a 5.0 (I say "was" because he has stopped playing that much tennis and is now concentrated more in soccer and school, so he's dropped his level somewhat). He was very good, but he's very short (he's probably like 5'4"-5'5") so that affected his serve a little, but he still had a good serve when he was "on", it was very heavy.

    The thing is he went back to his country early in january to play a tournament - I think he called them "qualys" or "qualies" - and I don't know if it was a sort of futures tournament or something like that, there were players all over the world there. He says he has an IPIN or pin number from the ITF which allowed him to play there. He lost 4 and 4 though hehe.
     
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  39. JStar7

    JStar7 Rookie

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    I have major aspirations of going pro. I've been progressing quickly as a tennis player and have been playing nonstop for two years straight, which is how long i've been playing. I've gone from cut from JV my sophmore year, to Practice Squad/Bubble team my junior year, and now I will most likely be in the top 12 lineup my senior year, possibly top 7 if I beat the right guys. I've gotten offers from small D1 schools and have been accepted into some big schools, but I'm debating whether or not to take the small school offers or try to walk on a big school. My financial situation is not great, and wherever I go, I will most likely have to take out a ton of loans. I wanted to see everyone's reactions to gauge my chances of trying to chase the dream and I thank all posters that have contributed to this thread.
     
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  40. DownTheLine

    DownTheLine Hall of Fame

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    Dale Jr. is ahead of Fed and he hasn't done anything in 5-6 years :/ That list is just sad.
     
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  41. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    That's absolutely wrong. The players conservatively estimate that they start making GOOD money when they get inside the TOP 100. HOWEVER, that only takes into account one form of the game -singles. A player ranked in the top 200 singles and top 75 doubles can make a reasonable living.

    All of that fails to take into account that after playing professionally, even if you haven't made a fortune, you have skills and a resume which can give you a non-playing career. Guys in other sports might be more successful players but, when they retire, they'll struggle to find jobs working in that sport. There's only so many jobs coaching or managing football teams but there's always an opportunity to set yourself up as a tennis coach.
     
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  42. Kick_It

    Kick_It Semi-Pro

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    Not in my case; I'm glad I was in college even though it consumed lots of my time. I'm glad I had something decent to fall back on as a backup plan.

    Realistically I could tell at best after a ton of improvement I'd max out at the no higher than 500 range but that seemed like a stretch.

    Everyone is different but I'll tell you it is _LOTS_ harder than you think it is.

    Now if you are better than I was - more power to you.

    Good Luck! K_I
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2010
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  43. Cross-court

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    True .
     
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  44. Cross-court

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    Yeah, it's very hard, and all the more so if you're not *at least* 5'10"+
     
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  45. duusoo

    duusoo Rookie

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    Lets put this one to rest. How have the last three NCAA champions done on the pro tour, where are they? You have to be so good to make it out there. The turn over in year is no more than 4-6 players, that is what you are shooting against. I remember in my days, Francisco Gonzales from Ohio State was fantastic, I used to get three, maybe four games against him. He went on the tour for a few years, got no where! Also, you need to get through that window before you are 22, that pretty much takes out any 4 yr college player. That is why is you really want it, head to the fantastic junior colleges in Texas or California. One year we played Tyler as a warm up, they took out or 2-6 singles players. It's a tough world out there.
     
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  46. ClarkC

    ClarkC Hall of Fame

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    What success on the ATP tour can you point to for former junior college players? I am not sure how your recommendation to go to junior college follows from any of the points you made.
     
    #46
  47. duusoo

    duusoo Rookie

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    The age factor. Some of those schools are intense, and you can have your game at the top, and head out at 19 or 20. It's not a point that there is a vast array of JC players out their either. My entire point is that unless you are superman it isn't going to happen. But I think you can ramp it up faster in sunny JC locations, gain top competition, and be better off (younger) if this is your dream. You aren't going to get the same playing indoors in the Big 10. I'm just attempting to bring some reality to this.
     
    #47
  48. duusoo

    duusoo Rookie

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    Try Brad Gilbert
     
    #48
  49. ClarkC

    ClarkC Hall of Fame

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    Nice try. Your point is that players need to turn pro at 19 or 20, meaning that 2 years of junior college is all the time they have. Brad Gilbert went to junior college for two years and then went to Pepperdine.

    Your whole point makes no sense, anyway. A player can turn pro after two years at a four-year college. So, if your point about age is correct, then the comparison is between spending two years at junior college or two years at USC or Pepperdine or Georgia or wherever. What is your evidence that it is better to spend two years at junior college than two years at a Division I program?
     
    #49
  50. Kick_It

    Kick_It Semi-Pro

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    I tend to agree w/ Clark. If you're really good - you'll make it at a top school.

    Not that school is a sole predictor of success - but I'm a fan of the "if you can make it there - you'll make it anywhere" line of reasoning.

    Regardless of where you go - at the end of two years of college tennis - you should know where you fit in the world order.

    Go out play futures/satellites/challengers during the off season. See how you do.

    If you can consistently beat players ranked 400 or better, I salute you. Congratulations, keep going from there.

    I knew how hard that was 20+ years ago and it's probably tougher now. Good Luck! K_I
     
    #50

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