This is a terrific letter I hope everyone gets the opportunity to read. You have a few people in charge at the USTA who are only now beginning to realize they screwed up with this mandate. Their real problem now is trying to figure out a graceful return to what was before a good system.
Wayne Bryan in blue and Chris in black–check it out!
Just a fabulous letter, Chris, and I agree with every word. I especially like this paragraph that you write at the end: Because Tennis Associations don’t produce players. Local pros, parents and volunteers help produce players. However, they need the freedom to work with the students and they don’t need associations to mandate what they can and can’t do. And congrats on your playing back and your wonderful coaching background. Great stuff and keep up the good work . . . And I enjoyed watching Kabeer’s two tapes. Great young player and very well coached and love those sharp volleys and the fact that you are having him hit ’em . . . Hope our paths cross soon and maybe in early April when I am emceeing the ATP Event at River Oaks in Houston?
Keep battling. This Mandate will not stand the test of time. Sad, silly and stupid and too, too many great coaches and experienced parents are against it . . . And kids don’t like it either. The Mandate is over the top. Over cooked and heavy handed. Just like all the other USTA PD Mandates that have come and gone over the past 23 years. I say get rid of the USTA PD lock, stock and barrel. Once and for all . . . And watch American tennis thrive . . .
Best and thanks again for the great letter and keep Kabeer fired up and don’t let the USTA’s actions get him down. . .
I am a 67 year old teaching pro in Houston, Texas. I played on the pro tour. I am originally from England where I was ranked # 6 in the Boys 18 Singles when I was 14 years old. I immigrated to Australia, specifically for tennis when I was 17 years old. I was ranked #7 in Australia in the Boys 18 and Under Singles. I played 4 years of US College tennis and competed in 9 Grand Slams winning 5 Singles matches and 4 Doubles matches. My students have played in 37 USTA National Junior Championship Finals winning 25, including the 1978 USTA National Boys 18 Championships at Kalamazoo. 24 of my students have gone on to play professionally and gained ATP and WTA rankings, including a World #1 Ranking in Men’s Doubles ( Reneberg ).
One of my current students is Kabeer Kapasi, age 8. Kabeer is outstanding but he is now forced to play with green balls until he is at least 91/2 (11/2 years from now). He can play against and beat older players and does so during the week. He hates the green balls and doesn’t want to play in the 10’s . He wants to play in the 12’s but here in Texas he can’t do that because Texas has carried the 10 mandate to the extreme where you cannot play 12’s until you are at least 91/2 and then you have to win 4+ 10’s events to move up. Kabeer basically cannot play 12’s here in Texas until he is 10. Two years from now. How much will he improve in almost two years given his talent level? He improves by the day. It is a shame what the USTA and TTA are doing to kids like Kabeer.
I am sending a short video of Kabeer in a separate email.
I would appreciate anything you can do to allow 10’s to play up in 12’s as long as this green ball mandate is in effect. Kids like Kabeer do not have the opportunities now to achieve what US players in the past were able to achieve. Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Tracy Austin, John McEnroe, etc., who were able to move freely up to older age groups if their parents and coaches felt they would benefit from it. Do you think these players would have done better if they had had the opportunity to compete in the 10’s with green balls until they were 10 years old?
Honestly, what do you think of that? Kabeer wants to be a pro. He lives and breathes tennis. He watches the pros on the Internet whenever he isn’t playing, eating or sleeping. He has watched so much that he knows every shot sequence the pros play especially his hero Nadal.
Please don’t ruin this kids chances of success because of this ridiculous mandate especially here in Texas. Give people choices. The USA has some wonderful coaches scattered around the Nation. Coaches who know what they are doing, who know how to recognize talent and how to develop that talent. Right now, especially in Texas, we are being squashed and our talented kids are getting hurt. I am told, the TTA will meet in February to discuss things. This I was told last year. My response was, ” Do you realize how much a 7 year old can improve in 6 months ?” That is an eternity. Kabeer has improved out of sight in 6 months but he cannot get tournament experience unless he plays with green balls. He hates green balls. He says it isn’t tennis. He wants to try the shots Nadal hits with the same balls Nadal plays with. That inspires him. The green balls make him feel like he is a little kid doing little baby stuff until he gets to be a big kid.
Come on USTA open your eyes to what you are doing. I said earlier I am from England originally and I saw the LTA bungle Junior Development for years and they are still at it. They pile millions of pounds into Junior Development and have succeeded in producing nobody. Why? Because Tennis Associations don’t produce players. Local pros, parents and volunteers help produce players. However, they need the freedom to work with the students and they don’t need associations to mandate what they can and can’t do. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
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