Foreshadowing of what is to come?
THIS IS A LETTER ON ZOO TENNIS....
( Is JB really PMac?)
This is my first attempt to “blog” so please excuse me if I make do not write in the correct format. I have been involved with this issue for many years--as a director of a junior academy, as an NCAA Division One coach, and as a tournament director for a National Championship. I am not yet a parent of a national junior, but I am a parent and I understand the passion we all feel in regards to our kids. So, in other words, I feel I have a good grasp of the issues surrounding this proposed schedule and I would like to throw in a few thoughts:
1. Some of the postings I have read have acted as if the USTA didn’t ask for or listen to parents, coaches and players before they came up with this proposal. That is 100% untrue! There have been taskforces, committees, town hall meetings & open forums, etc. for over 10 years regarding the tournament structure.
2. I think everyone realizes that the tournament system is not efficient and it is not producing the number and quality of top players that all of us would like to see. When 90% of the USTA’s operating revenue comes from the US Open and top Americans sell tickets & sponsorships, this is important!
3. The USTA, whether you like them or not, is the governing body of our sport. Everything they do is to promote the sport and to grow the sport. Nobody on the staff or on USTA committees is trying to force decisions, they are simply trying to make the system better!
4. Lastly, unless something changes with the USTA bylaws and structure, this new tournament proposal can’t be “paused” or thrown out. There might be ways to slow the implementation or to alter a few things, but instead of trying to get this stopped, why don’t we all try and add some constructive comments and build a new tournament structure that will produce results!
My quick thoughts for improvement of the structure are as follows:
1. The best argument for keeping the 192 draw can be made for the 18’s. These kids have grown up with the current structure and it is wrong to change it on them in their last year of juniors. Plus, college coaches need to have an opportunity to watch players compete, and the National Championships have always been their best place to do that. So, leave the Boys and Girls 18’s as is for now.
2. For all of the other National Championships, keep the 128 draw. There needs to be consistency throughout all of the age divisions, eventually even the 12’s. If the 10 and Under initiative that the USTA is championing works, then they are going to need 128 draws in the 12’s in the near future.
3. The idea of a qualifying tournament, to me, does not make a lot of sense. It is just keeping the same format and calling it something different. With the new structure, Sectional Championships will qualify one player and then each Section can decide how to distribute their other quota spots. If a Section would like to hold a qualifier then they can, but we don’t need to have players flying in to these National Championships for a chance of qualifying.
4. On the Winter Nationals, I agree. There has always been a national tournament that time of year and there is no reason not to offer something when kids are out of school. I like USTA team event concept, so keep that, but then run the Winter Nationals for the others.
5. Having 6, or even 8 regions I agree makes more sense. Kids need to have opportunities to compete against players outside of their section but shouldn’t have to travel so far to do it. And make these Regionals a big deal, so kids feel as if they are playing a National event!
Lastly, we need to all step back and look at the big picture here. We all want the same thing. For one reason or another, we love the sport of tennis, we love the positive impact it has had on us and our kids, and we want our kids to have the best opportunity to succeed! Let’s all agree on that and have some positive exchanges of ideas!
Last edited by tennis5; 09-28-2012 at 11:42 AM.