Let’s continue to discuss tennis academies and development of strong tennis players. So, there are more than 40 tennis academies in USA that provide full time boarding for their students, from the giant Nick Bollettieri tennis academy with 500+ tennis players to small family-operated academies with 15-20 players. Almost all of them use modern marketing techniques and include in their messages words like “our unique program, method… we are not like others”, etc. I think that some of them are much better at marketing and sales than at tennis coaching.
The main competitors for all of these private tennis academies are the USTA Player Development Program centers. “The mission of the USTA Player Development Program is to develop world-class American players through a clearly defined training structure and competitive pathway as well as through the implementation of a comprehensive coaching philosophy and structure.” That’s what it says on their website. I would like to see a list of these world-class American players, which were developed by USTA. For me “world-class American players” means at least top 20 in the world.
Both the private tennis academies and the USTA Player Development Program claim that they have the best coaches, as well as everything that is needed to develop great players and future American champions. They have worked for many years and the only questions I have right now are:
Where are these new American tennis champions, where are the new Evert, King, Agassi and Sampras?
The best American tennis players right now, like Serena and Venus Williams, Andy Roddick (if someone remembers that Roddick was #1 in the world?) aren’t very young and were developed many years ago. My personal opinion is that all of them are great players and they deserve full respect from the tennis community.
What about Ryan Harrison? He definitely has potential to become a top 10 player, but he needs to to grow emotionally. Steve Johnson and Jack Sock are another two players who have a lot of potential. They may reach the elite group in the tennis world, but maybe not.
In my opinion, this is a very modest result considering the thousands of tennis coaches, hundreds of tennis programs and tennis academies and the USTA Player Development Program.
Why did American tennis stop developing elite tennis players? I asked that question to many famous tennis coaches and specialists like Johan Kriek, John Evert, Taylor Dent and many others. All of them agree that tennis in the US is not very popular at the moment and global competition has increased.
But anyway, thousands and thousands of American junior tennis players compete in tournaments and train on regular basis at all these tennis academies and unique programs. Why are so few good players developed? Why are most good players in college tennis foreigners?
Oscar Wegner, author and creator of Modern Tennis Methodology told me that the reason is that:
“proper technical information is missing. There is too much false data out there, impeding real progress.”
Johan Kriek, two-times Australian Open champion thinks that American tennis academies almost do not develop world class tennis players:
“Because there are virtually NO former Grand Slam winners that even attempt to coach, they either are too rich, get involved with coaching a top end current player, or do not care or they just do not have the will to go into something that is actually very difficult to do well. Look around….is Agassi really doing it, Sampras, Courier, McEnroe..? Nobody is involved with daily coaching, every day!”
I asked Nick Saviano, a famous tennis coach and an author of the book “Maximum Tennis” whether he would be able to create an elite tennis academy that actually produces top 100 (or better) players consistently if he was given a $10 million grant (or whatever he needs). He answered “yes”.
So, maybe USTA should give money to coaches who proved their qualification instead of spending it on their program that has not produced elite tennis players for many years?
What do you think guys?
If you enjoyed this article, please don’t forget to tap ❤. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you!