Join Date: Jun 2010
As I have noted, the USTA is basically a monopoly and in-house changes, once they’ve been adopted, are difficult to come by. When the USTA eliminated national play for 12 and under players in 1989, it took 10 years to undo this mistake! If this newly adopted schedule is not changed before it is officially implemented, it could affect a whole generation of U.S. tennis players. At first glance, the goals in the proposal may seem admirable. But a closer look will prove that these reductions in opportunities for all but the top players are not only unfair, they will ultimately kill the future strength of the sport.
As parents, coaches, players, and friends of tennis, we must now all speak up and demand that our sections INDIVIDUALLY re-examine the 2013-2014 proposal, using all available expertise at our disposal. I urge you and those in your section to look at the USTA’s goals in this proposal and its implementation factors. Contact your section president, let him or her know you oppose these changes for all the reasons I have stated.
As well, go onto the USTA website and read its own documents on this matter for yourselves, especially the position statement titled “A USTA Junior Competition FAQ: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Proposed Changes to the USTA National Junior Competition Schedule.” Think about the questions, and the USTA’s answers to their own questions. You will see, as I have, that final adoption of this proposal will not only severely limit our kids today but will do long-term damage to junior development and all kids’ affinity for the game.
After reading the Q&A, it will become clear that ostensibly the USTA’s proposal basically amounts to taking opportunities from everyone because some may be more challenged (whether by financial means, where they live, or when they were born) by the national schedule than others. This is wrongheaded. In a country as great as ours, the USTA can and should find other, more creative ways to help those who have challenges, including, in the case of financial concerns, even assessing a fee from all players at tournament registration that would go into a scholarship fund for those players who do need assistance. But to restrict opportunities for all based on an arbitrary analysis aimed at helping what amounts to be a few, is backward-thinking. In fact, as you will see after reading the proposal, the entire idea is flawed at the outset.
When you talk to juniors, coaches, tournament directors, umpires, and parents at junior tournaments, which I do almost every weekend, almost all are against these changes. It is clear that if any junior tennis players, coaches, tournament directors, and parents were consulted, the sample must have been very small.
In closing I want you to think back to the old USTA Level 3 National events that were steeped with tradition – Copper Bowl, Gator Bowl, Peach State, St. Louis Gateway, etc. Many players were introduced to the national competitive scene though these great events – but this is no longer the case since these were swallowed up by the present USTA Level 3 Regionals held on only four weekends a year. With their loss, the only national exposure a player can get is through the USTA Nationals, which are now being drastically reduced. I cannot believe this is what the USTA intended with their adopted proposal, and I urge you to join with me in reversing this action.