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My Email to USTA


Last night, I sent the following email to USTA President, Dave Haggerty, and copied several other people, including members of the Junior Competition Committee, coaches, tournament directors, and journalists.  I hope to get a response and will post it here when I do.

Dave, I wanted to ask this question during the Atlanta listening meeting a couple of weeks ago but didn’t get the chance, so I figure I’ll ask it now . . .

What is it going to take for you and the Junior Comp Committee to put a stop – or at least a pause – to the 2014 changes and go back to work to develop a schedule that is inclusive, cost-effective, flexible, and provides clear pathways to Kalamazoo/San Diego, a college scholarship, and/or the professional tour?

You’ve now seen, heard, or been exposed to:

A Facebook page against these changes that has gone, virtually overnight, to nearly 1300 “likes” while the USTA Jr Comp page is at fewer than 150 “likes” in a year’s time;

Virtually every prominent person in US tennis – including coaches, industry people, and tournament directors, among others – speak out against these changes;

An online petition opposing the changes with over 1000 signatures to date;

Listening tours where you have personally said that over 90% of the people are against these changes;

Sean Hannity being so outraged that he has devoted time on his National shows to speak out against them – and he got on a plane and met with your team in Chicago;

Geoff Grant and Sean Hannity both offering to personally fund new professionally researched plans;

And college coaches saying that if these changes go through, they will start recruiting at ITF events as opposed to USTA events which could lead to more foreign players taking college scholarships away from our US juniors.

We all know that over 95% of players, parents, coaches, tournament directors, and people in tennis think these changes are some of the most detrimental ever to come out of the national office. They will make tennis cost more, make kids miss more school, create a very unfair playing field, create 2 classes of play in the US, and cause hundreds if not thousands of kids to quit tennis altogether which could have a snowball effect on the decline of tennis in this country. Additionally, for the best kids outside of Southern, Florida, and Southern California, there will now be little to no competition to help them develop.

And, I found out this week that USTA changed the seeding criteria at the National NJTS events for 2013 [Click here to go to the new seeding rules on USTA’s website] . How did I find out? Because I am one of the 141 “Likes” on the Jr Comp Facebook page and the notification came through my newsfeed. Had I not been paying very close attention or had Facebook decided NOT to post the notification on my feed, I would never have known. And, even though I shared the information via the ParentingAces Facebook page and Twitter account, there are still tons of families just finding out about the rule change now that seeding has been posted for this weekend’s Regional Segment tournaments. Believe me, you have a lot of very unhappy parents and players out there tonight!

There is barely a person in tennis who doesn’t understand that you are a victim of the politics of the convoluted governance and committee systems at the USTA, but on behalf of the tennis industry, is there ever going to be a time when what is right for tennis trumps the politics of the USTA?

You have the whole industry jumping through hoops, going to meetings, writing articles, offering to pay for surveys, and it has come to a point in time where it is just not fair. We all need to get back to our lives.

· One-half of the committee members who made the changes are no longer on the committee

· We have new leadership at the USTA

· Tim Russell is no longer on the Junior Comp committee – let alone its leader

· Player Development is no longer involved

Admit it or not, you have sent a clear message that the USTA messed this up by getting rid of most of the people responsible for these changes. For that, tennis thanks you.

But please don’t leave us with the remnants of these people’s work. Use it as a jumping-off point (if you just can’t bring yourself to scrap it altogether) to create something better. As I’ve said before, our kids deserve at least THAT.

I keep hearing over and over again how nothing I (or anyone else for that matter) am doing will change USTA’s mind, that this is a done deal, that I’m just wasting my time and energy trying to convince y’all to go back to the drawing board. I hope all those people are dead wrong.


I look forward to your response. Thank you.


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