Pro Tour Age Restrictions? Yay or Nay?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by Craig Sheppard, Dec 21, 2004.

  1. Craig Sheppard

    Craig Sheppard Hall of Fame

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    I watch the Tennis Channel a lot, which is great for getting a glimpse at some of the players on and off the court, especially in interviews. I'll have to say I have not been impressed by some of the younger players in interviews--especially those on the "womens" (girls) tour. Some of them barely sound like they would've graduated high school. (Others--you know who you are Maria--sound like complete giggling idiots) There are some that sound educated, which is great. Good on them.

    So--what do you think of a proposal such as one requiring players to graduate high school (or some form of secondary school in whichever country they hail from) before they can enter the tour? (Even better would be college, but let's not get crazy) I believe there's already a restriction that they must be at least 16, but I really don't think that goes far enough...

    There would be a few advantages to this though. One would be that players would be adults when they started earning money, so they would be responsible for their own money as adults, ending the "parent feuds" (hopefully).

    Another benefit would be more highlight on the junior tournaments. Because everyone would know who would be turning pro at 18/19 (or upon graduation), there would be some more focus on those late teens. Just a thought. Tennis is after all, quite a mental game.

    Craig
     
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  2. arosen

    arosen Hall of Fame

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    No way Craig, aint gonna happen. Too much cash at stake. You are dreaming a nice dream, though. Some of the players interviews remind me of movies like Dumb and Dumber, except that the idiots are for real. Capriati is the worst, IMHO. Even if she puts two words together, you know its the same thing she said a million of times before, a thought so simple she can hold it in her head and spit it out on occasion.
     
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  3. Deuce

    Deuce Banned

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    Seems like a good idea to me.

    Things were different in the past - with Andrea Jaeger, Tracy Austin... things were more innocent - parents weren't seeing dollar signs in their children's eyes back then; agents weren't conniving manipulators, and sponsors weren't paying out millions. And still both Jaeger and Austin played only a few years on tour before 'burning out' both physically and psychologically. This resulted in a restriction in the number of tournaments kids can play each year on the pro tour.

    Today, in the ridiculous age when parents are planning their child's (and, of course, their own) fortune before the child is even conceived, and the other parasites (agents and sponsors) are always seeking 'fresh new flesh' - literally - children need more protection than ever.

    Sadly, one cannot count on parents to protect their children today. Instead of vulnerability and innocence, all many parents see in their children's eyes are dollar signs.
     
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  4. jhhachamp

    jhhachamp Hall of Fame

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    I definitely do not think they should put an age restriction for playing professional tennis. Many women reach their peak around 17 or 18, and are done by the time they are 20 or 21. Having an age restriction could mean that many of the top women in the world cannot play professionally and is not really fair to them, especially if their games go downhill early.
     
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  5. woodie55

    woodie55 New User

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    I thought that there was an age restriction on females of 16 before they could turn professional and that before that time they could only play in a limited number of tournaments in the calendar year. However, there is no age restriction on males. Mind you I could be wrong about this too.

    Woodie
     
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  6. Camilio Pascual

    Camilio Pascual Hall of Fame

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    There would be more attention to juniors tournaments as you say. This could be ruination for the WTA, since it would be quite possible for the 2 best women's players to be teenagers. Graduating from high school should not be a prerequisite as it can seriously harm a young person's earnings potential for life, especially a player who peaks at a young age such as Hingis or Seles & maybe Sharapova? There's a lot more to life than reading Billy Shakespeare and doing quadratic equations.
     
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  7. pound cat

    pound cat G.O.A.T.

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    If you had to "graduate from high school" to be on the men's tour, you'd have Vince Spadea, Roddick, Blake & a couple of others as constant opponents. Pro athletes have no interest/time to stay in school, as their success depends on devoting their life to their sport. They'd be rolling on the floor laughing at the suggestion that they should have a high school diploma to prepare for their future.
    Ask Agassi or Sampras if they think they should have stayed in school instead of joining the tour at a young age. Ask the women the same question and you'd get the same answer.
     
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  8. mlee2

    mlee2 Rookie

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    Pound cat makes a good point.

    Federer dropped out of school at a somewhat early age, from what I hear. Safin and Hewitt: I'm more than half sure they left school early, as well.
     
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  9. pound cat

    pound cat G.O.A.T.

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    Safin went to Spain by himself at age 14 and I would say that was the end of his formal schooling.
     
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  10. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    So in other words, stay in school and you won't make money. Drop out and become rich. There's a lesson to be learned from this.
     
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  11. Camilio Pascual

    Camilio Pascual Hall of Fame

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    In better words, if you have what appears to be world class talent, don't let high school become an impediment. There is always coaching to fall back on and that sure beats workin' for a living!
     
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  12. rhubarb

    rhubarb Hall of Fame

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    I believe the tournament limitation for the WTA goes up to the age of 18. Even Sharapova had a restriction this year. With so many cases of burnout in the last few years, I would agree with this rule.

    On the men's side, a player who's not physically mature wouldn't be able to make much headway on the ATP tour, so a superimposed age restriction has not really been necessary. Donald Young, however, seems to be under pressure to turn pro due to his earning potential. It will be interesting to see how he fares if he does.

    I think most top players would admit their schooling suffered, due to the long hours dedicated to the sport for many years long before they turn pro. But don't forget, being on tour brings its own education.
     
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  13. pound cat

    pound cat G.O.A.T.

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    If you're a world classs athletic talent, you can do whatever you want after you retire Or nothing at all. I can't see any of the top 10 coaching when they retire. They don't seem like the type who'd be interested in sharing their expertise.
     
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  14. Craig Sheppard

    Craig Sheppard Hall of Fame

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    There's a lot more to life than tennis, and there's also a lot more to being a tennis player than just tennis. There's business issues, social issues, and socialization issues.

    Kids are now looking up to other kids. Is that right? IMHO, I don't think so. And the kids their looking up to--the ones doing the interviews--don't always exemplify the qualities of a role model. They're snippy, giggly, short tempered, and sometimes illiterate.

    I wish I had been old enough to see Arthur Ashe in his prime. From the clips and interviews I've seen, he's what kids should be using as a role model these days, not a giggling teenager who's just won a million dollars to blow on clothes and an SUV.

    Craig
     
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  15. bigserving

    bigserving Semi-Pro

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    Lots of good points here so far. When a ranked, visible player sounds stupid in an interview it reflects on all players, in a way.

    It would be good for the game of tennis in that players who were ready to compete now, but were not old enough, may spend more time on the practice court improving their game. Especially on the women's tour. As it is now, if a player can return serve and hit groundstrokes all day long, you have a chance at earning money. No need to learn to volley. Groundstrokes are the focus of kids and pre-teen players. As a result, we all know exactly what to expect in any and every professional women's match played. Two players, banging away from the baseline.

    Take Donald Young for instance. At age 14 ready for the pro minor leagues. If he were unable to play professionally, he may spend a few years improving his game. Maybe even learning to serve and volley. That would be good for the game.

    All that being said, I don't believe in depriving someone of earning a living in their chosen profession whenever it is that they are ready.
     
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  16. The tennis guy

    The tennis guy Hall of Fame

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    Regulations, regulations. It doesn't resolve the problem at hand. Players sound stupid in interviews is cause for regulations? Graduating from high school can change that?There will always be stupid people. What are you going to do about that? People have Ph. D can still sound stupid in interviews. People are different. Accept that and move on!
     
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  17. rafael

    rafael Rookie

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    I would love it. Other sports require college/highschool degrees to compete. But the problem is with tennis is that you improve by playing better opponents. Those opponents, after a while, aren't going to be found in the same state/country as you are in and in order to play them takes money which unless you are sponsered or a professional you won't be able to do.
     
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  18. Deuce

    Deuce Banned

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    Craig wrote:
    "...(Arthur Ashe is) what kids should be using as a role model these days, not a giggling teenager who's just won a million dollars to blow on clothes and an SUV."

    Well said, Craig.

    Camilio wrote:
    "There's a lot more to life than reading Billy Shakespeare and doing quadratic equations."

    I agree - that is essentially the reasoning I used in leaving high school at 15 years of age. I quit school because I wanted to learn something.

    But there is far more to life than one's monetary value, as well. Money and fame are not among the more valuable elements life has to offer. In fact, both of these elements often do far more harm than good to people – the history of fame and riches is rife with tragic tales of children who had “too much, too soon” - and that is why children in particular should be protected from exposure to, and entrapment within, these elements, and so be free to enjoy the more valuable and less damaging elements that life has to offer. This holds true today, in particular – when sports has become so closely meshed with ‘entertainment’, and more and more demands are made of the ‘rich and famous’. It's not something that kids should be made to deal with.

    I don’t necessarily believe traditional schooling is the alternative answer – it holds little value for me. I do very much believe in a true education, however. And I do feel that these kids definitely need protection – from their own innocence, ignorance, naiveté, and vulnerabilities; and from the manipulative greed of agents, sponsors, tournament officials, and, sadly, their own parents.
     
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  19. PusherMan

    PusherMan Rookie

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    Not surprised to see the reaction of TW's socialist crowd. Demonizing money at every opportunity. As if the less affluent are somehow free from challenges of life.

    I could really care less if a 16 year old won a million bucks and blew it on clothes and an SUV. No child of mine would do such. I probably wouldn't think too highly of the parents that would allow such to happen, but it's THEIR children. I'll be damned if I allow someone to lecture me on what is appropriate for my children. I give the next man/woman the same respect. Unless obvious abuse has taken place, of course.

    More 'regulations' will do nothing. It's just a shame so many look to regulate EVERY damn thing. Take care of your own, for crying out loud! Leave the next man alone.
     
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  20. jhhachamp

    jhhachamp Hall of Fame

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    well put pusher
     
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  21. Craig Sheppard

    Craig Sheppard Hall of Fame

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    Deuce, can you elaborate on how you intended to learn something outside of school? Obviously I realize you mean learn the ways of the world and other things they don't teach in school. I'm just curious what ways you think someone can accomplish this, or what way you intended to--did you want to get a particular job, want to travel, join the military, etc... If it's too personal sorry, don't bother. I was just interested in your view b/c it's different than mine (standard schooling, good college, etc...)

    Thanks,
    Craig
     
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  22. Deuce

    Deuce Banned

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    "Social progress makes the well-being of all more and more the business of each."- Henry George

    Craig, to answer the question properly would take several days - or weeks - of discussion. But to try to answer briefly here...

    I see traditional academic education as being very limiting. I felt like I was locked in a closet in school – in high school. Primary – or elementary school is tolerable. We learn the basics there, and I was thankful for that - although there is certainly much more progress to be had in home-schooling a child than in any public or private primary school. But in high school, at an age where we are developing our own unique and individual perspectives on many things, we are actually told in school what is important, based on what society in general feels is important. Thus the growth is stunted, and the blossoming individual is reduced to being a mere follower. His identity is taken from him before it even gets the opportunity to develop. We must conform and follow. If we do not, we FAIL. We FAIL to conform and to follow. This fear of failure - and subsequent ostrasization - intimidates the majority into forfeiting their true individuality. I, though, view such ‘failure’ as being much more of a true success in establishing an independent and personal identity. In short, I preferred to determine for myself what was important to me – and I could not do that within the restrictive environment of high school.

    “What does education often do? It makes a straight cut ditch out of a free meandering brook.”
    ~ Henry Thoreau

    As for the alternative to school – that depends on the individual. If one wishes to travel, then travel. If one wishes to contribute to the killing of others, including very innocent and defenseless people, then join the military, where there exists at least the potential to do that. For myself, I was interested in society and people and people’s relationships with each other. So I observed people. On the bus, in the street... and I talked with them, trying to find out what makes them ‘tick’. I do this still. It fascinates me.

    I was also interested in philosophy. So I went to the library and read. By reading good writers, I learned to write well. I learned all of this outside of school. Had I remained in school, my exposure to writers would have been limited to what I was told to read. (There is not much time outside of school and homework to pursue athletic interests, as well as read extensively, and so staying in school, I concluded, would have stunted my growth.)

    Caring about and helping people also interested me. So I’ve hooked up with a few ‘grassroots’ organizations – not the ones who can afford to produce slick TV commercials, but the ones which have no 'showbiz' exterior – where I’ve been able to both help others, and learn extensively from them. Observation and experience are the two best teachers on Earth.

    I believe that schooling, as it exists today, encourages not true learning, but mere memorization. Students memorize without truly learning the Hows and Whys – the only goal is to pass the tests and get your papers, and, the way the school systems are structured, it is very possible to get one’s ‘papers’ (diplomas, degrees, etc.) without actually learning very much at all. I see dozens of examples of this every day. I firmly believe that people learn much more efficiently when they hold a genuine interest in the subject being ‘taught’. But even in the best case scenario, where people actually do learn in school, what they learn is what the school system – and therefore society – wants them to learn – which is not necessarily what they’re interested in. And so the ‘learning’ is hardly complete. It is limited.

    In the end, it’s up to the individual whether he or she wishes to merely follow the beaten path (in which traditional schooling plays a major role), or to cut out a unique path of his or her own (in which self reliance plays a key role, thereby inherently including yet one more very valuable element).

    “I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.”

    ~ Robert Frost
     
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  23. PusherMan

    PusherMan Rookie

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    Man, Deuce, you're usually on point, but that one was a little strange. What military are you referring to? Do you actually know anyone who serves? Have you served? Something tells me your experience in this area is lacking.

    We all know the world has killers. Most of them don't the join the military. They prefer the civilian life. You may wanna keep that in mind as you go about your mind opening journeys.
     
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