Tennis Parent Cautionary Tale: Gabby Price

navigator

Hall of Fame
I remember reading about this girl about 5 years ago (this article, in fact) and thinking, Her Dad is completely insane (possibly Mom, too, it's hard to tell).


Fast forward to the present day and she's 18 years old and ranked ~700 WTA. She's 5'3", wears a knee brace and has had pretty serious injuries to her back and ankles. She's getting shellacked routinely at the equivalent of Challengers-level events. Now, don't get me wrong, 700 WTA at 18 years of age is still pretty impressive (and she'll likely improve). But clearly this whole adventure has been a disappointment relative to years-ago expectations. She'll probably be an excellent college player if she goes that route (there's still time). But undersized and injury-prone at 18 does not bode well for a professional tennis career regardless of Dad's inflated desires.

Interestingly, the hagiographic articles about her stopped appearing around three years ago, likely around the time she stopped growing and started getting injured. Regardless, good luck, kiddo!

I'd be curious to know how much money the parents have put into this project... hopefully a college scholarship will make it worthwhile.
 
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Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
She must learn from Emma and concentrate on her academics along side tennis. Gabby must put more importance on academics than tennis. Only then she will succeed in tennis
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@navigator

Anyone recall 5-year old tennis phenom, Jan Silva back in 2007/08? Everyone had assumed he would be playing ATP level tennis in his late teens. His family even moved for to France for a while to train with Patrick Mouratoglou.

But it appears that he that he peaked quite young. He was only a three-star recruit for college. He ended up playing for Sac State, a D1 school.


 
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Shroud

G.O.A.T.
@navigator

Anyone recall 5-year old tennis phenom, Jan Silva back in 2007/08? Everyone had assumed he would be playing ATP level tennis in his late teens. His family even moved for to France for a while to train with Patrick Mouratoglou.

But it appears that he that he peaked quite young. He was only a three-star recruit for college. He ended up playing for Sac State, a D2 school.


No foam balls ruined him
 

HuusHould

Professional
This is all just crazy sad stuff. Reminds me of a Time article years ago predicting Donald Young would become the greatest of all time. Where is the upside?
Sensationalism, the media specialise in it, gets peoples attention. No upside for the subject usually, unless it helps them land a sponsorship deal.
 

norcal

Hall of Fame
I'm surprised Macci didn't look at her projected height, these days it's pretty tough to make it to the top level at 5'3". Sad about her injuries, hopefully she goes the college route and stays in love with tennis.
 

giantschwinn

Semi-Pro
Well, at least she can say she tried. A lot of people live in regret, the should haves and the could haves. At 5'3" and ranked 700, I would say she has maximized her potential and she should be proud of that.
 

nyta2

Professional
I remember reading about this girl about 5 years ago (this article, in fact) and thinking, Her Dad is completely insane (possibly Mom, too, it's hard to tell).


Fast forward to the present day and she's 18 years old and ranked ~700 ATP. She's 5'3", wears a knee brace and has had pretty serious injuries to her back and ankles. She's getting shellacked routinely at the equivalent of Challengers-level events. Now, don't get me wrong, 700 ATP at 18 years of age is still pretty impressive (and she'll likely improve). But clearly this whole adventure has been a disappointment relative to years-ago expectations. She'll probably be an excellent college player if she goes that route (there's still time). But undersized and injury-prone at 18 does not bode well for a professional tennis career regardless of Dad's inflated desires.

Interestingly, the hagiographic articles about her stopped appearing around three years ago, likely around the time she stopped growing and started getting injured. Regardless, good luck, kiddo!

I'd be curious to know how much money the parents have put into this project... hopefully a college scholarship will make it worthwhile.
seems like the parents were about shielding her from the attention, and making sure the desires were her own? (didn't seem like the dad had inflated desires (but maybe i'm missing other articles about them)).
sure they supported her, and maybe spent a ton, but you could say that about college tuition alone (and a "ton" for one fam, might be nothing for another)
in the end, macci wasn't wrong... having a 700 world ranking is "world class"... and that's an experience less that 1% of the world will ever have.

This is all just crazy sad stuff. Reminds me of a Time article years ago predicting Donald Young would become the greatest of all time. Where is the upside?
hehe, i've long believed that writers are just that, story tellers... they have to sensationalize... how else are they going to sell their words?
further reinforced by the journalists asking the players dumb questions
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@ronwest
This is all just crazy sad stuff. Reminds me of a Time article years ago predicting Donald Young would become the greatest of all time. Where is the upside?
Seems that lot of these young juniors are showing considerable promise early on but are peaking, wrt their peers, too early.

IIRC, Donald Young was quite dominant when he was 13/14 to 16. Often beating top juniors who were 2 years older than himself. Recall him, at 16, prevailing over Sam Query at top junior event. Sam is nearly 2 years older than Donald. Yet Sam Q, as a pro, has gotten much closer to the top 10 than Donald Young has ever gotten.

I recall that Anna Kournikova in her pre-teen & early teen years had created quite a buzz and was expected to be a future number one. However, while she did reach a #1 standing in doubles for a while, she never reach higher than #8 in singles. A SF run in a slam event and several finals in Tier I events, but she never managed to evr win a singles titles.
 

navigator

Hall of Fame
seems like the parents were about shielding her from the attention, and making sure the desires were her own? (didn't seem like the dad had inflated desires (but maybe i'm missing other articles about them)).
sure they supported her, and maybe spent a ton, but you could say that about college tuition alone (and a "ton" for one fam, might be nothing for another)
in the end, macci wasn't wrong... having a 700 world ranking is "world class"... and that's an experience less that 1% of the world will ever have.


hehe, i've long believed that writers are just that, story tellers... they have to sensationalize... how else are they going to sell their words?
further reinforced by the journalists asking the players dumb questions
There was a fancy website that has since been taken down - not sure when - chronicling her playing, media, goals, etc etc. It sure looked like a hype machine cooked up by Dad. Hey, she could probably still make it to (WTA) 300 or so... maybe, which is amazing in relative terms. Problem is, if you went to her website a few years back you'd think they were molding a future Wimbledon champion.

Here's another one (one of countless) that's going to disappoint. Instagram account: @camelotcarnello. (Yup, his name is Camelot... older brother named Lancelot... you can't make this sh1t up.) Kid's about 10 years old, very good player. Wealthy family (which is good, because this sh1t's expensive), two older brothers who were very good players (strong D1), and they're just pouring every ounce of expectation into this little guy... academies, lessons with Magnus Norman (!) and Mouratoglou, daily posts of his practice and playing. His Mom runs the account and it's just one of the saddest things ever. (She hashtags #rogerfederer for fvck's sake.) But he's got the fist pump after every single point won down, so there's that. I know, it's future shadenfreude p0rn but I just can't look away... There's a paradox at work - I want the kid to succeed (at something, at least) but I want the parents to fail... but it's hard to have both in this case.
 

FiddlerDog

Professional
Problem is, if you went to her website a few years back you'd think they were molding a future Wimbledon champion.
Every parent who goes all like this thinks they are molding a future Wimbledon champion, including those who actually mold a Wimbledon champion.
You think parents move to Florida and spend $800k to get a $50k scholarship to some 3rd rate college?
 

FiddlerDog

Professional
On a related note, this is on my list for tonight. I heard non-tennis fans talk about how great it was
 

navigator

Hall of Fame
Here is the original 2012 video of this prodigy.

Great Moments in the Annals of Parenting...

At 2:25:
Mom: And she really wants it. We don't want it for her. She wants it for herself.
Dad: Correction. I want it for her. I do want it for her.

At 3:00:
Dad: I will push her. She has to be pushed.

Poor kid.
 

cortado

Professional
Neither parent is built tall, or built like an athlete. You have to be honest with yourself, is your child going to meet even the minimum physical requirements when fully grown? If not, let them play tennis for fun and achieve as much as they can/want to.
 

FiddlerDog

Professional
Great Moments in the Annals of Parenting...

At 2:25:
Mom: And she really wants it. We don't want it for her. She wants it for herself.
Dad: Correction. I want it for her. I do want it for her.

At 3:00:
Dad: I will push her. She has to be pushed.

Poor kid.

GREENE: Marc, let me just ask you: Why did you need to make that distinction?

PRICE: I felt when you're dealing with sports or anything for the child, a parent has to be the driving force behind it. They're not going to initiate at four years old. And if I was the parent that said, OK, instead of playing four days a week, let's just play once every other week, let's play 10 minutes a day, she wouldn't be where she is.



PRICE: And, you know, failure and success right now is - we're not looking at that. We're looking at her to develop as a tennis player and a good kid. And with the lessons that she's learning at this point in her life, a kid could be 25 years old, 30 years old and not learning what she's learned at 10.

So, a pitfall to me, there's no way. Because she doesn't win Wimbledon, that's not a failure. She's a good kid no matter what, and she'll be successful no matter what she does.


 

navigator

Hall of Fame
So, a pitfall to me, there's no way. Because she doesn't win Wimbledon, that's not a failure. She's a good kid no matter what, and she'll be successful no matter what she does.

This is the lie that these kind of parents tell themselves and project to the world so that they don't feel/look like monsters. They all think they're molding a star... disappointment follows and fantastical websites come down. They try to erase the nightmare.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
Great Moments in the Annals of Parenting...

At 2:25:
Mom: And she really wants it. We don't want it for her. She wants it for herself.
Dad: Correction. I want it for her. I do want it for her.

At 3:00:
Dad: I will push her. She has to be pushed.

Poor kid.
Is this any different from a parent who says a kid has to be pushed to succeed in academics?

At the end of the day parenting does not come with a cookie cutter guidebook. Push hard and child fails you get blamed. Sit back and child fails you get blamed. OTOH if a child succeeds you will get praised no matter which approach you took.

In hoops Lavar Ball was getting blamed but lately I have seen some clips of ex athletes talking about how they wish they had a dad in their lives who did what he did.

To me, at the end of the day if whatever a parent does comes from a place of love and there is a strong bond with the child throughout their lives, then it doesn’t matter how someone on the outside perceives it. That answer can only be provided by the child no matter what we perceive from the outside.
 

cortado

Professional
Is this any different from a parent who says a kid has to be pushed to succeed in academics?

At the end of the day parenting does not come with a cookie cutter guidebook. Push hard and child fails you get blamed. Sit back and child fails you get blamed. OTOH if a child succeeds you will get praised no matter which approach you took.

In hoops Lavar Ball was getting blamed but lately I have seen some clips of ex athletes talking about how they wish they had a dad in their lives who did what he did.

To me, at the end of the day if whatever a parent does comes from a place of love and there is a strong bond with the child throughout their lives, then it doesn’t matter how someone on the outside perceives it. That answer can only be provided by the child no matter what we perceive from the outside.
The kids that don't want it and need to be pushed are not going to be successful.
If you push Tomic will he succeed? No.
The kids that succeed want it themselves without any pressure from anybody, and they will push themselves.
 

Demented

Semi-Pro
@ronwest

I recall that Anna Kournikova in her pre-teen & early teen years had created quite a buzz and was expected to be a future number one. However, while she did reach a #1 standing in doubles for a while, she never reach higher than #8 in singles. A SF run in a slam event and several finals in Tier I events, but she never managed to evr win a singles titles.
Really? She made it to 8 in the world and became a house hold name for various reasons. I'd say that she lived up to the hype. She certainly made enough money to justify the hard work.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
The kids that don't want it and need to be pushed are not going to be successful.
If you push Tomic will he succeed? No.
The kids that succeed want it themselves without any pressure from anybody, and they will push themselves.
There is no absolute right or wrong answer. Some kids need to be pushed to realize their potentials. Some don’t. The trick is knowing how to get through to them and not overdoing it to the point it starts becoming less about the kid than about the parents. But just like you talk about the kids finding that answer for themselves each parent has to find what is the tipping point for their own kid.
 

navigator

Hall of Fame
Is this any different from a parent who says a kid has to be pushed to succeed in academics?
I think it's quite different. There are almost endless opportunities for a kid who was pushed academically, even if they fall short of expectations - assuming that we're not talking crazy levels of academic pushing (which is obviously bad). If you push a kid with the expectation of becoming a successful professional athlete you're playing against the longest of odds and disappointment is almost assured.

In hoops Lavar Ball was getting blamed but lately I have seen some clips of ex athletes talking about how they wish they had a dad in their lives who did what he did.
Two issues here: (1) At what emotional/mental price? (2) Anecdotes like Lavar Ball are just that... anecdotes. There are 99+ Lavar Ball failures out there for every successful one.
 

navigator

Hall of Fame
Really? She made it to 8 in the world and became a house hold name for various reasons. I'd say that she lived up to the hype. She certainly made enough money to justify the hard work.
She's been a massive success but her skill at tennis was only tangential - it just gave her a platform for being discovered as a model and media personality. I suspect her parents and coaches (and probably herself, if she's being honest) are surprised at how things turned out; that is, that it was off the tennis court that she's made 95% of her money.
 

Demented

Semi-Pro
She's been a massive success but her skill at tennis was only tangential - it just gave her a platform for being discovered as a model and media personality. I suspect her parents and coaches (and probably herself, if she's being honest) are surprised at how things turned out; that is, that it was off the tennis court that she's made 95% of her money.
I don't think you can call 8 in the world and a slam semi as tangential.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@navigator
Really? She made it to 8 in the world and became a house hold name for various reasons. I'd say that she lived up to the hype. She certainly made enough money to justify the hard work.
I believe she was in the top 10 and singles and #1 in doubles about the same time -- around 2000. No singles titles but she did have 16 doubles titles, I believe. A bit more than half of those were with Martina Hingis as a partner -- the Spice Girls of tennis.

Physically, she had the tools to beat the top players in singles but mentally something was a bit off. She'd have some great wins against top 10 players and then blow it in the next round or two. She had a winning H2H records against Jennifer Capriati, Arantxa Sanchez V, and several other top players of the day. She also had wins against Steffi Graf, Amelie Mauresmo, Kim Clusters, Monica Salas, Martina Hingis and Lindsay Davenport. So she did have game.

She was smart to parlay her notoriety into making money in a number of ways. She had earned $3.6 million in tennis prize money but probably made a whole lot more with ads, commercials, other endorsements & modeling.

Many other girls from Russia and the Ukraine followed her lead. Most of them did not make it as far as she did tournaments but they did well enough to gain a notoriety. Many would have websites that were divided between their tennis and their modeling careers.

Maria Kirilenko was was of those girls from Russia (Moscow). She only made it to #10 in singles & #5 in doubs but she had a total of 18 titles -- 6 of them in singles. Prize money over $6.85 million. After injuries in 2013, she retired from tennis the next year at 27. She also did quite well for herself.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@Demented
She's been a massive success but her skill at tennis was only tangential - it just gave her a platform for being discovered as a model and media personality. I suspect her parents and coaches (and probably herself, if she's being honest) are surprised at how things turned out; that is, that it was off the tennis court that she's made 95% of her money.
Saw her play at BOWC at Stanford in singles and doubles quite a few times. She obviously had some tennis talent -- at the BL and at the net.

It was her mom who initially developed Anna's game. But Nick B blames her mom's hold over her for not letting them fully develop her talents, particularly the mental side of her singles game.

I recall hearing about this skinny blonde Russian kid, about 11 or 12 yo, at Nick B's tennis academy. In her preteens / early teens, there was much speculation about her being #1 in the world when she got older.
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@navigator
Really? She made it to 8 in the world and became a house hold name for various reasons. I'd say that she lived up to the hype. She certainly made enough money to justify the hard work.
Just to set the record straight. Pretty certain that a skinny, young Kournikova had no modeling aspirations as she was developing her game as a young girl. Doubt that she was doing any modeling at all before she filled out in her late teens:

Anna K at the 1992 Orange Bowl, Miami

At 1:08 in the video below, we see skinny Anna walking thru during a 1993 Andre Agassi practice session at Nick B's Academy:


Even in '95, when Anna K joined the pro tour, she was still quite thin / bony.
 
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StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
I remember reading about this girl about 5 years ago (this article, in fact) and thinking, Her Dad is completely insane (possibly Mom, too, it's hard to tell).


Fast forward to the present day and she's 18 years old and ranked ~700 WTA. She's 5'3", wears a knee brace and has had pretty serious injuries to her back and ankles. She's getting shellacked routinely at the equivalent of Challengers-level events. Now, don't get me wrong, 700 WTA at 18 years of age is still pretty impressive (and she'll likely improve). But clearly this whole adventure has been a disappointment relative to years-ago expectations. She'll probably be an excellent college player if she goes that route (there's still time). But undersized and injury-prone at 18 does not bode well for a professional tennis career regardless of Dad's inflated desires.

Interestingly, the hagiographic articles about her stopped appearing around three years ago, likely around the time she stopped growing and started getting injured. Regardless, good luck, kiddo!

I'd be curious to know how much money the parents have put into this project... hopefully a college scholarship will make it worthwhile.
its still a pretty incredible achievement to be 700 in the world at 18.
how bad really are her knee, back, ankle injuries? i had a bad ankle injury from soccer and i barely played

also just the process of aiming high and achieving a lot in itself is part of why sport is great character building
 

Bambooman

Rookie
The kids that don't want it and need to be pushed are not going to be successful.
If you push Tomic will he succeed? No.
The kids that succeed want it themselves without any pressure from anybody, and they will push themselves.
Agassi. Although much later he was able to.
 

Bambooman

Rookie
If you start a kid at 4, by the time he is 7 he will appear more talented than other 7 year olds. YOUR KID IS NOT TALENTED. He just started earlier and played longer than the other kids.
There is some truth to this but the talent will also be apparent at 4 in the first place.
 

giantschwinn

Semi-Pro
I know a guy who took his 7 year old to all the experienced coaches in town so they can evaluate his kid and tell him if the kid can make pro. Basically he is just looking for justification to spend all these money and time on tennis. Parents like to hear coaches say their kid is talented. Coaches say it because it doesn't cost anything to say it. Do you really think any coach is going to tell you to your face that your kid is not talented?
 
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