And Happy New Year and hope you and your family have had a wonderful Holiday Season . . .Have received a few e mails, texts and calls from coaches across the country lately saying that Kurt Kamperman is saying Coach Bryan only feels there are 1,000 kids in the US who should be playing with regulations tennis balls. I would like to make the record crystal clear here:
1) Yes, I think there at least 1,000 kids in the American U10s that play very fine tennis, indeed, and I think that any number of young juniors who want to play with regulation yellow tennis balls should be allowed to.
2) I am 100% against the USTA Mandate that does not allow U10s that have the desire to play regular tennis in tournaments.
3) I have utmost confidence in American coaches and parents and if they say they want to have their young players compete in tournaments with regulation balls, I think they should.
4) The argument that “Oh my gosh, if we had a ‘dual path’ with yellow balls and green balls then everyone would play with yellow balls” is sad, silly and stupid. Let the parents, coaches and players decide. I have way, way, way more faith in them than I have in the USTA and USTA PD.
5) Again, the USTA has spent millions upon millions in ad campaigns and on their U10 Program. Again, it should have been a U6 or U8 campaign. That is Jump Street with other sports and that is how we can compete with soccer and swimming and TBall and Softball and gymnastics and ice skating and video games and MTV. Then the USTA could have come up with something new: U6 Events! Rather than eliminating regular tennis for 10s they could have added tennis for U6s and U8s!! Create, do not eliminate!!
So to reiterate – - – I do not think there are only 1,000 U10 players in the US that should be using yellow tennis balls!! I think as many young players as have the inclination and desire should be able to hit and compete with yellow balls anytime they want. So did all those in attendance at that large meeting of SoCal coaches at the venerable Riviera Country Club last month. (Check with your Craig Jones to get verification of that fact). And so does every parent and coach I speak to as I travel around the country.
*** It is high time that little Lincoln Bellamy who practices with yellow balls all week in his lessons and workouts be allowed to play with yellow balls in his weekend tournaments – - – rather than being forced to use green balls.
*** It is high time that talented little CJ Roddick and Kabeer Kapasi be allowed to play a U10 tournament in Texas. Imagine – - – Texas will not even allow these two passionate and hard-working players to play a tournament in Texas!!! They are saying to them and their great coaches and knowledgeable parents – - – we know what is best for you and if you do not play with green balls in tournaments – - – we will not allow you to play tournaments at all! Texas will not let them play tournaments until they are 11 years old!!
*** And 9 year-old phenom Graham Clark in the Pacific Northwest.
*** Or incredible 7 year-old Nico Trullenque of Houston.
If there was ever an example of the Emperor has no clothes - – - there it is!!
Wow! Thank goodness this Mandate was not around when Pete Sampras, Jim Courier, Michael Chang, Lindsay Davenport, Venus, Serena, Andy Roddick, Mardy Fish, Mike ‘n Bob, and Ryan Harrison were coming along!!
To change gears here, Mike, Bob and I have had as busy an “off season” as we have ever had:
*** Exos and charity events in St. Paul for Eric Butorac’s Charity; Shreveport for Ryan Harrison’s Wounded Warriors Benefit; Sao Paulo – Brazil with Roger Federer and Serena; Dix Bay for Trevor Short; Necker Island for Sir Richard Branson; Atlanta for the USTA and Lifetime Fitness; Sarasota for Rem Reynolds; and Tampa for Prince.
*** Mike and Lucie Williams from Wales got married on November 25 at the Four Seasons in Santa Barbara, with DC Captain Jim Courier in attendance along with DC coach, Jay Berger, Mardy Fish, Justin Gimelstob and actress Kaley Cuoco from the Big Bang Theory and Maroon 5 guitarist James Valentine. Mike’s Uncle, Judge Carl Bryan, did the ceremony. The couple honeymooned for six days at the Four Seasons in Costa Rica before resuming their Exo Tour.
*** Coach Bryan emceed most all these events, plus Toronto with Andy and Milos and Serena; Chapel Hill for John Isner’s Charity Event; while speaking at coaches conferences New Braunfels and the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades.
*** Bob and Mike are both now in in Camarillo and we and are working out at the Spanish Hills Country Club and getting ready for the Oz circuit in January.
*** They will have their usual busy schedule in the early part of the year. Their tentative events are: Sydney, the Australian Open, the Davis Cup at Jacksonville, San Jose, Memphis, Delray Beach, Indian Wells, Miami, and Houston.
By the way, of the 15 clinics I have done for juniors, adults and families hither and yon over the past three weeks, I did not see one single green ball in any of the teaching baskets I was given to use . . .
We are all hopeful for a rationale and reasonable “tweak” in this harmful and ill-conceived U10 Mandate. Look forward to seeing you and David at the Davis Cup in Jacksonville and breakfast, lunch or dinner on me . . . Hope to hear the progress that is being made on repairing our broken National Schedule and Ranking System and how it is going on addressing the glut of foreign players in American college tennis and the loss of some 400 college tennis teams over the past few decades. I am also anxious to hear your opinion of our USTA PD program after giving it a complete review.
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