Here Is the Formula to Become a Money Making Tennis Pro


  • Starting vision to make it happen
  • 1/5 part Crazy Parents
  • 1/5 part Willing kid
  • 1/5 part Loads of Money
  • 1/5 part knowledgeable coach at right time
  • 1/5 belief and competitive spirit
  • Little handful of luck

First, parents and coaches need to understand that neither makes champions. This is key; the champion is within the kid. So, it’s the parents and coach’s job to guide the impetus of the kid so the kid can decide if this is something that he needs. The need to be a champion is a rare trait.

Once you have this a vision needs to be crafted along with a plan for the kid. Suggestion: get serious after 16, before makes little sense even though the coaches will push for earlier, resist this.

Now that you have a starting point it is key that the parents are crazy, not in the demented way, but in the supportive, willing and spending inordinate amount of time in support of the kid’s vision and desire.

A key here is that the parents are educated in the impossible probabilities and yet still decide to give it a shot. It is important that both parents have a common vision and different support roles. If these parents start having different views, it most likely will not work out.

Sometimes, you need it to be the job of one of the parents, driving the kid here and there and sooner or later it becomes a job for one of the parents.

Next is the 1/5 part willing kid, this can be confusing as all kids say they are willing, but few understand what that means. Willing kid does not mean wanting something only, it means willing to work, learn, listen, sacrifice, and be able and willing to do what no one wants.

Let me give you an example, we constantly tell our kids to go hit the wall for 30 minutes with a routine in mind. They seldom do it, Borg, Vilas, Azarenka, Noel had to be removed from the wall as they would spend hours by themselves. Also willing in this day and age, means studying the game without the need of being taught, and taking the time to read the great books and learning from other coaches on their own time.

Most kids talk a good game to state that they are willing, the reality is most are not willing to put the sacrifice it takes. If you are a parent of a kid with such characteristics, get educated on how to help channel that desire into, gasoline for an attainable dream.

The next 1/5 is super critical, you need loads of cash for trips, coaching, tournaments, more coaches, hotels, flights etc. etc. It seems like it never ends. The key here is to understand that every kid and parent will hit the money wall guaranteed at some point. There will be many who think this wall won’t come, let me be blunt it will.

The key is to hopefully get results at the proper ages so that you can help from the USTA or find a willing investor. Key to understand in this important part is that, although money is important, having a willing kid is much more. If you look at the top pros, most of them come from modest means. Therefore, while money counts, alone it is simply not enough.

Now we have to add a key ingredient which is a willing coach. Those are hard to come by as one needs to know about them before committing time to them. One also has to know that the best (usually more mature) coaches should be teaching the kids early on. This is very important to understand.

Tennis is a game of time, and to have a money making pro, you need to be taught well so you build on the learning and not have to pay again to unlearn and learn again the right way. This is instrumental in not wasting time and money. In my opinion, the key is to have a coach that knows and also cares for the kid more than your cash. This is almost as hard to find as a needle in a haystack. But, they are out there, look for them.

Also be aware of the showman coaches, they talk a good game but their intentions are not remotely near yours. Learn to screen out the salesman from the professionals. At every stage of the career, you need different coaches. You need to know when you need what. If you don’t understand this you are wasting time and that is something you cannot afford.

One key point on this ingredient: this is the secret, the kid needs to learn to be his own coach this is the goal.

The last ingredient is a never ending belief and competitive spirit. What exactly does that mean? It means that if you have a kid that competes in tennis, but not in other meaningless stuff. He is not competitive.

For example if your kid does not compete in chess, ping pong, races or anything. He or she may not be competitive enough. To be money making pro you need competiveness in your DNA and that means compete to win at everything.

This ingredient is a tough one, as most kids compete but not at everything. That is why there are few money making pros in the universe.

To conclude you need of course a little bit of luck. Truth is though that if you do what you are supposed to everyday, luck will come and your kid will be ready to use it. Luck is a product of circumstance and opportunity and not under your control. The harder you work, the luckier you will become. I promise.

Now that you know the secret of a money making tennis pro, you realize why it is so hard to become one. Too many factors need to workout at the right time. It almost seems impossible. Truth is it is highly improbable that any kid will be a pro even if they win whatever tournament. Certainly having a system like the USTA has to develop players makes no sense given these requirements. Would you not agree?

If we want to have more money making pros in this country, the solution is very easy. Just grow the game, the champions will come. More players, means more crazy parents, more coaches to choose from, more fit people, more opportunities for all.

Keep in mind the USTA has not grown the game in the US in the last 30 years, and the way it is managed it is not about to start. Good luck if you give it a go. Call me if you need help. Half of you reading this article will agree with me others will not. All comments are welcome. I can be reached at @palenquej

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Here Is the Formula to Become a Money Making Tennis Pro — 10 Comments

  1. USTA job is not to make players and not to grow the sport, their main job should be to promote and support every tennis sector in this country; local, state, private, public, manage tournaments and local events…. like you said, tennis players will come and go and one day some champion will show up among thousands. Tennis is a boring sport for most kids and parents that prefer team sports over tennis, so the participants in tennis will never grow or go down big time; it will be the same forever. There is nothing that one country and organization can do to change our sport to make champions, to grow it and make it more popular… PERIOD
    People in tennis has to stop trying to reinvent the wheels, tennis is a especial sport that will never change.

      • Hi
        Once again a good article. Anton Usta does not develop players they feed on the kids that are promising players. Look at the coaches that worked with them before USTA came into the picture, private coaches. There is always the exception to every rule. Each kid is individually different they Get developed with time. And yes it’s finally nice to see that the USA have good kids at the grand slams, let’s see what the future will bring.

        • USTA is responsible for the whole tennis picture in the country. How can you measure their success & fail? By competitive players results only, as it is a measurable & visible result of unvisible work.

          US is dominating on all levels of modern tennis except adult male, but it will also change soon – American boys just need some more time to grow.

          But tennis will always be less popular than American football or basketball, because of its sports nature. So do not measure USTA success by % of involved kids. Measure by growing success of fixed % involved.

  2. Last Wimbledon, girls draw: last 8, 6 (six!) girls from US among them + 15 years old Anisimova already playing ladies Grand Slams main draw. Boys situation is also very promising.

    So do not tell that USTA is such bad. It is definitely the best tennis federation of the world (by results).

    • if you think it is the USTA{s job to produce players, i respect that but i do not agree with that. The USTA{s job is to grow the game and the only way to measure that is how many more players play year after year. In this country the richest, in the last 20 years the population has grown 24%, tennis participation has shrunk to 0.002% of the kids population. We can agree to disagree.

  3. You can stop reading this after “do not get serious before 16”. Girls now win junior Grand Slams being 15. To reach that, they work like a pro from being 10-11. It is not a guarantee, you will become a pro, but without that approach you definitely won’t.

    • Tracy Austin won everything by 18 and retired by 20. Jennifer capriate somewhat similar story. The fact that girls today play earlier at a higher level does not mean it is the right way, plus you are looking at the absolute best of best which are e xtremes. The woman{s average top 100 age in 2002 was 22 years of age. Today it is 26 years old. In other words 18% later than just a few years before. The average pro career is 10 years, you don’t want to be injured, drained and broke in 4 of those 10 years. We can also agree to disagree.

      • When 15-16, any player must be ranked at least inside top-500 ITF Juniors ranking to have a realistic hope of turning pro. The alternate way is to play adult ITF tournaments, but in this case a player must show his/her ability to win over top-200 juniors in Juniors or ladies tournament (Muguruza case).

        No exception. If player is not “serious enough” to play on top-500 level till 16 (its ITF Juniors Grade 2 Main Draw level), there is a very tiny chance to become a pro player. It is just too late.