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Virginia Tennis Board


Joined: 5/20/99 Posts: 15194
Likes: 719

I do have an opinion, but it is just speculation as no one really knows.

From say 1900 to about 1960/1970, the rest of the world had little interest in tennis. tennis like golf has always been an upper middle class to upper class sport in the USA and probably everywhere else, so American tennis clubs and country clubs were always where the tennis action was and where the best players came from. Good public courts were not common until the last 40 to 50 years. Mom or Dad played and taught their kids, supplemented by fairly expensive tennis lessons. Recreational tennis has always been popular here, but not so much elsewhere except in England and later in Australia starting in the 1950's.

IMO tennis has never attracted the best male American athletes. It does seem to attract the best female athletes, because they have no money making pro sports alternatives.

Once money got big in FB and Basketball say about 1975, the best athletes, especially the male black athletes in the inner cities chose those sports. Even today the amount of money that can be made in tennis is limited, unless you are a Federer level player and still quite small compared to the other major USA pro sports and I do not see that changing.

Various European countries then discovered tennis around 1970/1980. They always had soccer, but tennis became an attractive alternative to make money playing. A swede, Bjorn Borg, kind of started the whole continental European thing. Much later after the fall of the USSR, tennis then got big in several former Iron curtain countries, especially Serbia.

Learning to play tennis at a high level is still very expensive, usually involving hours of lessons from tennis pros. Lastly to be really good at any sport you have to have great talent, start fairly early, but also a burning desire to play and train at that sport and you have to have the financial resources to learn that sport. A whole lot of young American male tennis players come from reasonably well off to very well off families, so they have many other life alternatives and most simply do not choose playing tennis seriously. Hitting tennis ball for hours and hours day after day on hot summer days is just not much fun. In most of the country outdoor tennis in the late fall and winter is very cold and snowy, so where do you play and train? Indoor indoor tennis has become much more available, but it is very expensive just to get court time. Of course this assumes you actually have someone (usually a parent) who will spend the time hitting balls with you day after day).

As I understand it, the the USTA has chosen to throw huge money (made from the US Open) at the new junior training facility near Orlando. I do not know for sure, but if you are one of the "chosen "tennis" ones at age 12 to 14, I think the USTA will move you down there and pay for everything, including schooling, room and board and an army of tennis pros to train you. They have tried to remove any financial impediments, IMO The USTA and Boland are hoping more American male elite athletes will somehow pick tennis and then maybe 10+ years later someone will win a Grand slam.

Until now, the USTA plan seemed to basically be just hoping that another Sampras would just emerge from the existing tennis club/teaching pro system. If Boland and the USTA can actually produce a male Grand Slam winner it will be great, but it is unlikely IMO, but they are at least trying something different.

I hope you and others will respond and give their opinions on this matter.

[Post edited by 1969hoo at 10/12/2017 07:19AM]

(In response to this post by HoonDog)

Posted: 10/11/2017 at 6:09PM


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