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ATP Rankings – Not a Single Teenager in the Top 100

ATP Rankings – Not a Single Teenager in the Top 100

Earlier this week Roger was interviewed in Singapore prior to heading to Melbourne for the start of the Australian Open.

He was asked about the biggest change in tennis and towards the end of his answer he cited court speeds and new technology as a big reason why not as many junior players are coming through. He also revealed the statistic there isn’t a single teenager in the Top 100 ATP Rankings. I think that’s a very sad state of affairs for men’s tennis so I thought I’d write a little bit about it.

No Teenagers in the Top 100

No Teenagers in the Top 100

I find a statistic like this pretty alarming, if you go back 12 years to 2000/2001 there were quite a few teenagers comfortably within the top 100 Federer, Hewitt, Roddick and Nalbanian all spring to mind.

Now the youngest guys we have in there are Ryan Harrison and Bernard Tomic who are both 20 years of age. Which yeah, are close enough to being teenagers but other than those guys there’s nobody really close with most around the 22/23 age group.

There’s certainly nobody really young on the verge of breaking the top 10 with only Raonic at 22 looking capable. There’s Dolgopolov too but based on his recent performances I see his ranking heading South. So where are the next crop of juniors coming from? I’m not sure.

Are the slowing of the courts to blame?

Tennis Court Speeds

I have to say I think think this is one of the main factors as to why juniors struggle to break through because slower courts make the game much more physical and give the advantage to older more seasoned opponents.

When you’re a teenager you’re still not fully developed so going up against older guys that are more conditioned means that the longer the match wears on, and the longer the rallies; the odds significantly switch in their favour.

If you go back to 2005 when Andy Murray first turned pro, he struggled to keep up on even the faster courts like grass and hard courts breaking down with cramp and showing fatigue. Imagine if he was 5 years younger and turned pro in 2010; he’d be in an even worse position and it’s likely his ranking wouldn’t have risen as quickly as it did back then.

Slower courts make matches longer and as Roger pointed out in his interview, it gives young players less chance to hit through an opponent or go through a real hot patch that sees them across the line. Rather than just come up with 1 brilliant shot, they have to string together 10 or 15 to win a point.

You could argue that’s a learning experience but I find it a little unfair and there needs to be some kind of middle ground where some courts let players win points with a great return and others where they do have to grind a little bit. At the moment it’s far too lopsided in the favour of slow courts.

Why aren’t the courts designed to help juniors? Well perhaps because juniors aren’t the money making machine on the ATP tour, nobody really knows them and they don’t really generate the ticket sales that guys who’ve been around for a while who have an established fan base are able to.

But surely that’s a short sighted view; as once all those guys retire, the sport could drop off a cliff?

How would I get more juniors coming through?

I’d take a two fold approach:

  • Speeds up the courts in general
  • Completely overhaul the LTA

Speed up the Courts

I’ve explained most of this above but faster courts give players more of a puncher’s chance to win games and improve their rankings. The only way players get better is to play better players but if they’re ranking doesn’t allow them to enter the better tournaments and slower courts hinder their qualifying then they’re going to struggle to break through.

By speeding up the courts the ATP would be able to bring through juniors, create more entertainment and ultimately develop more complete players. What is tennis without shotmaking, flashy winners and fast paced rallies? Pretty boring I think.

Overhaul the corrupt and poorly run LTA

Being from the UK I do take an interest in British tennis and I think it’s fair to say the LTA is an absolute joke in general but even more so when it comes to developing young players. I don’t know if it’s the same globally (although the USA junior tennis system seems to be in a state) so I’ll only look at what can be done in the UK.

The LTA have no track record in producing good players yet year on year spunk cash like it’s going out of fashion. Just last week we had a report of LTA Chief taking home a whopping £604,000 salary for effectively doing and achieving nothing.

Organisations like the LTA have no real interest in developing young talent, the people that run bodies like them are only interested in what they can get out of it, not what they can give back. Securing funding and making sure a percentage lands in their back pocket is the main aim, not producing a future British top 10 player.

In it’s current format the UK doesn’t have a chance of producing a junior that can compete at the top levels because they don’t know how to find talent, or what to do with it. It’s too elitist, badly run and completely inaccessible to the average kid on the street. They waste time and money on the elite performance areas that clearly only allow players who’s parents hang out in the right circles.

When I was at school, we had 4 tennis courts (since been demolished to make way for a new building), but they weren’t used to play tennis, the nets were rarely, if ever up and it wasn’t a sport that was encouraged. I can only imagine that’s gotten worse in recent years as more and more PE lessons are taught from the classroom in the UK so kids can learn the ‘theory’ behind playing sports. If the LTA were to be overhauled they need to get into schools and create links with local tennis clubs so that tennis can be played for free.

This could be a whole post in itself but to start bringing juniors through the LTA needs to switch its focus to Grass Roots level sport and make the game more accessible. There are plenty of public courts, but many of them are poorly maintained and finding a club and paying a tennis coach is completely unrealistic for the average working class family.

I quite like Mark Petchey’s suggestions on how he’d set about the task but whether or not he can get in there and get his hands dirty is a completely different matter. The powers that be in the LTA are far too comfortable at the minute on their inflated salaries and little work approach so I doub’t they’d allow it to happen but I’d like to see him try.

As a tennis fan, is the fact there are no young players breaking through worrying to you? And how would you go about changing it?

About Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer - I'll pretty much try and watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Fed and tennis in general.

65 comments

  1. Yeah I agree. But I think the worst thing about the current situation is the excitement the game is missing out on. Tennis history is full of fairytale stories of teenagers bursting through the ranks to do the impossible. Sampras – US Open 1990. Becker – Wimbledon 1985. Even Agassi’s success or Hingis in the women’s game. I know all of us here want to see Roger winning all Slams but, lacking that wouldn’t it be great to see some young upstart power his way to a title? These stories are a vital part of sport and the game is denying itself at the moment. The best we’re getting is a run to the 4th round of a slam before the norm takes over. Universal slower courts are damaging the sport in many ways and things must change.

    • Hey Stephen,

      Yeah very true man, when was the last time a youngster caused a surprise? I guess it was Federer vs. Sampras. No others spring to mind. Maybe Tomic doing well at Wimbledon beating Lopez but that wasn’t really like whoaaa!

      Jonathan

      • Well, you forgot about many great results Rafa done as a teen :) also, Gasquet beet Federer in Monte Carlo 2005 when he was 18 years and 9 months old. In Cincinnati 2006 Murray defeated Federer when he was 19 years and 3 months old. But, at the end of 2008. everything stopped for teenagers and U20 players, Harrison and Tomic done few good things but that’s it I’m affraid :(

  2. Not in Top 100.. there’s no teenagers in Top 250 players, which is just sad

    • Wow, I didn’t know that. That’s crazy really!

      • Yeah, here’s list of U20 players in Top 300 at the end of 2012., and Jiri Vesely as 263th best player

        #52 Bernard Tomic (AUS, 1992) 825
        #69 Ryan Harrison (USA, 1992) 710

        #137 Denis Kudla (USA, 1992) 402
        #150 Jack Sock (USA, 1992) 375
        #172 Agustin Velotti (ARG, 1992) 299
        #179 Diego Sebastian Schwartzman (ARG, 1992) 292
        #184 Javier Marti (ESP, 1992) 272
        #194 Facundo Arguello (ARG, 1992) 245

        #209 James Duckworth (AUS, 1992) 230
        #217 Yuki Bhambri (IND, 1992) 220
        #235 Guillherme Clezar (BRA, 1992) 202
        #242 Damir Dzumhur (BIH, 1992) 197
        #249 Daniel Kosakowski (USA, 1992) 188
        #263 Jiri Vesely (CZE, 1993) 183
        #264 Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO, 1992) 182
        #280 Renzo Olivo (ARG, 1992) 167
        #282 Taro Daniel (JPN, 1993) 165
        #291 Henri Laaksonen (SUI, 1992) 155

      • Thanks for that, very interesting!

        Where did you get it from btw?

  3. I follow U20 players in every Pro tournament since the start of 2011., more than 1500 tournaments in these 2 years :)

  4. The LTA dont really care about developing the younger generation. If you look at their interviews in the past, they say they are doin alot to get more youngster in Tennis. Yep thats Ok if you can afford it to join a club. The LTA are currently on the bandwagon of Murray who has a personality of a wet mop, and is Scottish, where are all the English players! Majority of the rest are so lower down the rankings with hardly much help and support. The LTA past record is diabolical with no one taking proper resposibility. They are happy to coast alone and do their deals behind closed doors. When someone does have ideas to take things forward these people are always shuned because of dirty politics. Just like Fed, Murray wont be there forever what will the LTA do then.

    • Very true mate. They haven’t achieved or produced any young talent. They can’t even lay claim to Murray as his Mum moved him across to Barcelona to develop when she realised they were inept so he’s not even a product of the system. If he came through the LTA he’d probably be outside the top 100!

      Agree 100% too, I doubt they will change because they are all self interested.

  5. That is very sad. Great piece, by the way. Teenagers breaking through are one of the joys to watch in tennis because they are so young and fresh. It’s no wonder guys like Ferrer, Tipsarevic, Berdych, Tsonga, Almagro, Seppi, and the like are all playing their best tennis in their late 20s.

    • Agree with Kyle, great piece. I really like the last part and think you should do a follow-up post when you have the time. And it’s not only tennis that needs to get into schools, but sports in general.

      • Thanks ;)

        About shaking up Junior tennis and trying to get schools to play? I may do.

        School sport is non existent over here. Lazy PE teachers and too much health and safety procedure to follow. Screwed it all up.

    • Cheers Kyle.

      Yeah there needs to be some young talent coming through. Guess Goffin, Dimitrov and Tomic are maybe the future generation but would be nice to see some 18/19 year olds mixing it up.

      • The last teen who really broke through ferociously was Nadal, and that was 8 years ago (time flies!). I think Tomic, Goffin, and Dimitrov could really have good years, and wouldn’t be surprised to see Grigor win a title. They all could do well in the majors too given the right circumstances and that would be great for their development.

        After seeing the big serve of Kokkinakis, I can’t wait to see him in a few years.

      • Yeah Dimitrov might have some confidence now. See how he does in AO.

        Not seen Kokkinakis to be honest. Might Youtube.

  6. Another excellent post, Jonathan.

    No teens in top 250…..wow.
    Tennis needs some radical change, faster courts and faster games, yes! But also tennis in general, say attitude especially in UK I guess. At least here in France where kids are encouraged to do sports as wednesdays are half day if not totally off and every local council has a tennis club offering weekly lessons less than €200 for a whole year. It is everyone’s sport here not just for the well-offs. You can see seriously old people playing incredibly actively and loads of happy chappy kids hitting balls with the rackets bigger than themselves, never see empty courts in a fine day.

    Personally, tennis is a game not an endurance race or a fitness contest, I want to see more tactics and techniques. Love to see a great talented teen against an experienced smart player with his skills on a super fast court, such as you know who?

    • Thanks.

      Yeah I think France has it sorted when it comes to tennis, as usual we are light years behind. You can get a license over there right to play? No coincidence they have a lot of players coming through and ones who are established. I can see Gasquet threatening the top 5 this year if he stays injury free. Big week for him in Doha, he needs to build on that.

      I agree, tennis is a sport about skills and finesse. Playing aggressively and trying to hit winners. Not a grinding sport.

      • Gasquet played some of his best tennis since long time, didn’t he? It was a strong mental hold for him in the final. Although I don’t like him staying far behind the baseline, really impressed by his powerful BH. Compare to Spanish players, French are interesting and varied in style but mentally wobbly, aren’t they? So well done to him.

        When you join a local public tennis club, you will get a license from La Fédération Française de Tennis automatically or included in the fee, I believe.

      • Yeah he was good. Maybe it’s a step for him. Can still seem him choking in the slams though. Like you say, they are all mentally wobbly. Guess it’s just genes or something!

  7. Hi Jonathan. I don’t know much about the British systems that you have going now, I suspect that you’re right about a re-organization. I can’t help but disagree though about court speed. I’m glad that the courts are playing slower these days. I remember in Wimbledon past that it was getting really boring when some of the serve and volley players could dominate so much and had such a huge edge. I think that it has evened out just right. I like the fact that the points have to be longer and more strategy involved. Also, with the power in the men’s game right now there is no shortage of guys who can hit winners from anywhere on the court. In my mind it’s perfect the way it is. Some good serve and volley can be seen from Fed, Raonic, stepanik, Llodra, Isner, tsonga, Dr. Ivo, etc. I think that serve and volley should be used as a tactic and not as an over all style of play for guys who have basically a big serve and not much else. As players keep getting bigger having faster courts will give them too big an edge, and make the game too quick and boring like it was years ago. As far as the young guys are concerned, I think that staying in School longer would help them mature, and also have a good plan B to fall back on if they don’t make it in the pros. A good college education never hurts. I vote for keeping the status quo. Tim

    • Hi Tim … I have to say i totally agree with Jonathan with regarding court speed. What has happen is that all tournaments including the GS have all been affected badly. All the Pros agree that change of court speed has to happen. What they should do is have the all Majors at different speeds , from slow to fast and thrn have selected tournaments also with various speed. They have even stopped taking about the US open tennis balls were once the lightest so the ball used to go fast. None of the Grand Slams play as they once were, Navratilova commented that Wimbledon nowdays plays like Roland Garros, which is a big shame.

    • Can’t agree with you on the court speed man. Wimbledon might have been a bit boring in the 90′s but it’s gone way too much in the other direction. The slowing of them kills the game. It has to be variable across the year from slow through to lightening quick. That way we see how different players cope in different conditions. If all conditions are the same, and she court speeds are identical we end up with players that aren’t complete.

      What you’re suggesting is almost anti-tennis in that it becomes out and out grinding. Tennis is a sport where agressive play should be rewarded, and especially so on faster courts.

      If you watch last years Australian Open that match is about anything but strategy, it was about 2 players waiting for the one and other to make an error. Which is why it went on for nearly 6 hours. Those long rallies weren’t enjoyable. Total anti climax.

      Quicker courts breed more talented players and more complete players as they are able to play on different surfaces with varying speed. That’s the way it has to go in my mind otherwise it becomes a sport purely about physicality and less about skills with the racket.

      Jonathan

      • 100% correct, my man.

      • Not quicker courts but courts with varying speed. Nobody want to see those three shots or even one shot wins a point kind of tennis. Sorry I’m not interested in fast court tennis all the time. Fast court breeds talented players? Not necessary, maybe one dimensional players, like those with big serves but nothing much in their games. Maybe the likes of Isner, Raonic, Berdych may win their slams if all courts are fast courts.

        Not all rallies are boring; Rafa and Murray are two of the best tactical players around. Their 2010 WTF SF match was the best bo3 match that year. Fedal matches are also not boring and there’re nice long rallies too when they faced each other. I certainly find Fed/Rafa matches more interesting than say Fed/Raonic or Fed/Delpo matches.

        What they should do it get a good balance of slow, medium and fast courts. Clay should be slow, grass fast, hard courts medium to fast, that way players are tested on each kind of surface using different tactics.

        Rafa/Nole/ Murray are all more talented players than the current batch of youngsters IMO. If we say that the courts back then when they’re teenagers are quicker than now, then all the more impressive they were when back then, the three of them were able to beat Fed on the quicker courts, which was Fed’s forte. Oh, bearing in mind too that the likes of Davy, Roddick, Blake for examples could hardly beat Fed back then.

      • Agree with most of your points, like I said in the comment above; court speed has to be variable across the year from slow through to lightening quick. That way we see how different players cope in different conditions.

        Currently all courts play so similarly i.e slow, that a general speeding up of certain courts would give that level of variety. I’m not suggesting clay should play fast, but courts like Miami are way too slow.

        I think you’re point about Rafa/Nole/Murray vs Fed compared with Fed vs Dayydenko/Roddick/Blake is kinda flawed though. Davydenko leads the H2H vs. Nadal and Roddick leads the H2H vs Djokovic.

        They’re not more talented than the up and coming generation now, just much stronger physically which when the vast majority of courts play very slow, gives them a huge advantage.

        The game as become far more physical which is less about tennis in my opinion and more about endurance and fitness. Those things should play a part in matches, but they shouldn’t be the main factor in the outcome of it. Just a part of it.

  8. It’s true, the LTA, just are not getting it right with the juniors, they put on Id days but only kids who play great already get picked, yet it’s supposed to be about having talent and potential as well. My son who is ten has jumped through every hoop, he wins tournaments and has a good ranking, but no one wants to help, you just get put down and overlooked . It’s totally depressing!

    • Hey Jo,

      Yeah I can well imagine. Sadly if you’re not part of the circle of trust within the LTA whereby you have a Wimbledon debenture, or schmooze with the powers that be then it’s hard to get anywhere. I mean look at these guys coming through, Broady etc, they are all out of the same mould with parents connected at the LTA. Sad but true.

      Jonathan

    • Hi jo… The LTA are a disgrace myself and my younger brother went through the same thing. My brother entered a LTA tourny in Knaresbourogh U 14s . He won the tourny by beating the LTAs current no 1 junior and county champion. Dispite my brother becoming the West Yorkshire and county champion and all other tournys he entered, no one from the LTA or other scouts ever gave any help or support. If your son who is clearly talented got the right support he would probably be a great player for the future. The LTA are failing badly with their system. They need a huge overhaul.

      • Hey man,

        Sounds like a typical story that I’ve seen in a lot of sports including cricket etc. I never played tennis when I was at school so didn’t have any dealings with tennis coaches or clubs / LTA. But I know exactly what you’re talking about. Always about who you know, not what you know really. Not enough goes on at grass roots level.

        Knaresborough too, pretty close to where I live!

        Jonathan

  9. Please note that guys like Rafa/Nole/Murray grew up playing on fast courts during their junior days ( ie during the late 1990s to early 2000s), so they’re able to play on fast courts and now adapt their games well on slower courts. Even though Rafa grew up on clay, he won junior competitions too on the fast hard courts. As I’ve mentioned, all three of them were able to beat Fed on the fast hard courts, Rafa at Miami 2004 and Dubai 2006; Nole at Montreal 2007 and Murray at Cincy 2006, when they’re still teenagers or barely 20yo. This was something Davy, Roddick or Blake found hard to do (ie beating Fed).

    Davy was 0-8? Or 9 or 10? against Fed until WTF 2009 when he got his first win over Fed! Strange that he couldn’t even beat Fed on any one surface! Yes he did beat Rafa on the hard courts, but he’s 0-4 against Rafa on clay! Their rankings said it all. The fact that Davy, Roddick were ranked behind Rafa/Nole and later behind Murray too right back during 2008 said more about the talent of the three young guys, when Davy and company were still in their prime back then. Fast or slow courts, they couldn’t beat Fed; so to me that’s the difference between them and Rafa and company.

    • Hi Cynthia,

      I don’t think we’re here debating about whether or not Rafa/Nole/Murray are capable of playing on fast courts; we know they are, and it’s no surprise, since they are fantastic players. But it is the case courts are all veering towards one speed: namely, slow, nowadays. Surfaces like the US Open have slowed considerably recently, and Wimbledon is a shadow of its former self in terms of speed.

      Perhaps to you, the slower courts promote a more attritional style, and I agree that the tennis is currently terrific. But we can’t just hang people out to dry, people who may have talents for serving and volleying. If we look at at that way, we are denying them the opportunity to play their way. Maybe it’s one-dimensional, but we don’t propose a quickening of ALL courts, just some. The players who can only serve will do well 3 tournaments a year, and the rest is down to him/her adding to their game. To illustrate this, consider the clay court specialists of the modern day. Players like Ferrer, Almagro, and Montanes have started doing well at other tournaments, whereas the grass court specialists, such as Mahut, are obstinately unable to make an impact on a surface that doesn’t encourage serve-and-volley. I think the ideal is for there to be courts for every style, and that would separate the all-rounders from those benefitting from durability and stamina over touch and court awareness.

      John

      • The problem is how many among the youngsters still learn to play S&V? Even you quicken most courts now, we won’t be seeing more S&V. How many pure S&V players around these days. I can think of only a handful, Llodda, Mahut, maybe Gille Muller and Feli Lopez? Among the top ten, only the top four guys plus Tsonga could play with some S&V, Gasquet maybe. Players can’t learn S&V overnight. They have to train from young.

        I’m not against quickening some courts, but to quicken some hard courts and not slow down those clay courts that were already quickened in the past few years is not helping in distinguishing among different playing surfaces. Why do people not protesting about clay courts now playing like hard courts, with the FO, Madrid and Rome clay courts playing quicker these days like their hard courts? The Fed/Nole FO 2011 SF is a typical example when both players were playing like its a hard court.

        I’m not sure the current batch of teenagers are taught the S&V style to begin with, so I’m not sure they’ll play that way if its on the fast courts. Maybe they should start training the young pre teen players the S&V styles and get them to play on fast courts.

    • Nadal, Djokovic and Murray all grew up on clay courts. So they’re not adapting their games to slow courts, they grew up on them. Why do you think Nadal is so good on clay?

      Nadal has never defended a tournament off clay. So to say he’s a brilliant hard court player isn’t a very compelling argument. He performed well on them in 2010 and hasn’t since. Is he good on hard courts? Yes. But amazing? No.

      Miami isn’t a fast hard court.

  10. Hi Jonathan , just to add to the earlier post regarding the tourny we entered in knaresborough,the person who helped us was our school P.E. Teacher. He told us about the competition. 3 of us went and we had 2 Tennis raquets between us, tap water in a bottle and packet of crisp. During the final by brothers raquet strings snapped, so he used my friends raquet and he still won. The LTA were present that day but once the trophey was given, all the staff , officials and LTA were talking to the runner up and his parents for a long time. Looking back at your statement your words coudnt be truer of who you know? Afterwards we found out the kids mum and dad work for the LTA. But dispite my brother clearly having alot of talent only one congrats was given during the presentation we never heard from them ever again.
    There must be similar stories elsewere in uk, with so many talented kids who probably live in a diprived area or in the system who will never be picked or given a chance to shine. The grassroots of tennis is where the LTA need to change also. Who knows we could have the next Federer who comes from outside the elite inner cirle.

    • Hi,

      Yeah it will be like that across the country. I think it’s the same at all the clubs, it is round here for sure at the ones I know of like Heaton, Ilkley etc etc. They are all over priced and full of clowns. Shame really.

      Jonathan

      • Hey Jonathan, i didnt even know there was one in Heaton, I actually live in Heaton, unless its a different Area u r talking about. I think keith Lemon said it the best, the LTA are ” A BAG OF CLOWN SHOES!!

      • Hey,

        The Heaton I’m talking about is in Bradford. Near St. Bedes School and Bradford School of Management. That the one you are thinking of? There’s Heaton Tennis Club at the top of Emm Lane.

        Jonathan

  11. Hi… I have just seen the draw for AO , Federer will be joined by Murray as they are in the same half. This means a potential semi final with fed and murray. Meanwhile Djokovic has been handed a fairly easy passage to the final with jus berdych in the way. It looks likes somebody really wants the djoker to win. What a unbelievable B.S. Draw!! I really am pissed off now. What a joke of a draw or is just me being too emotiinal. Anyway we shall see what happens, hopefully all will be OK and Roger will still overcome all obstacles and win no.18.

  12. Hi Johnathan..WOW I know exactly were it is. My nephew goes to St. Bedes, i am trying to get him into Tennis. I live about 15 mins from Emm lane. I am too old now but i am trying give back the knowledge of sports ie Tennis and Football to the younger generation and my community. Maybe they could have better luck in sports than myself and my brother.

    • Ah cool, I don’t live that far from there either really. Played tennis in Lister Park a couple of times but not recently. Heatons indoor courts are nice, but membership is expensive.

      • Hi mate….. I myself play at Lister Park in the summer, but mostly play at Zara’s Sports centre, its £2.50 per hour but generally they let u play for a lot longer. Even though its outdoors the courts are quiet good. Ill probably might see u playin at lister park in the summer lol. Cant believe its just a small world eh!!

      • Cool! Never heard of Zara’s but just looked it up. How many courts are there? I know, very small world!

  13. I was interested in all the comments. I actually am advocating a spectrum of courts from slow to fast as it now is. I just don’t want all the tournaments to start speeding up the ball and surfaces. It’s nice to see some aces but when service games end in about a minute with no action, that can’t be considered interesting in my book. How can it get any better to watch or more difficult to do than win 4 slams in 1 calendar year on 4 different surfaces to achieve what the real term “Grand Slam” means? Great blog jonathon keep up the good work. The eternal optimist, I’m picking a rested Fed to go all the way. Gooooo Roger!

    • Hey Tim,

      Nah me either, I want a mix of speeds, slow, medium, fast, super fast. Just to see how players cope.

      Bold prediction with Roger, but he’s capable!

      Allez les suisse!

      Jonathan

  14. Regarding the AO draw once they separate the 1st and 2nd seeds, do the people from the tourny just fix which player plays who or do they pull out no. from a box? To me this draw looks very fishy to me. Pat Cash should of kept askin the person about the draw more. With proper explaination of how they did the draw. This again looks like another behind closed doors
    dealings. ” A dont Ask dont Tell policy”. Do they do this at tournament? Me personally think that when millions of pounds are involed in sports therer is always an element of corruption at an high elite level. But the public are non the wiser thats is also how they fix the odds cos someone knows something that we dont. The time honoured tradition of 5 years is most likely true. Its the same for example in WWE when u r champion. But i really hope that Federer breaks the tradition. All the publicity and media promotion are heavly towards Murray and Djokovic. But this can be a good thing as there is less media pressure for Federer. Come On Fed Express ! U can do it !

  15. Hi my friend, at Zaras they have about 9 very good tennis courts, the tarmac/astroturf is miles better than lister park. Plus u generally dont have to wait hours for a crappy court! Let me know if u ever come down in the summer. Which ever lister or zaras cos most likely i be playin a little to get exercise. Cheers :)

    • Cool! I play at Northcliffe Park quite often if you know it? But the courts are getting pretty run down. Too many kids play football on them and generally just mess around with the nets so they all have huge holes in! Might give Zara’s a try.

      • Hi… Yep i know of northcliffe park, theres a golf club next to it if am right. But i didnt know that r tennis coirts there. Lister park the courts r nearly always full thats why i rather pay a little amount to play at semi- decent courts. But next time u play either lister/zaras or northcliffe in the summer please put on a post a day early and would like to shake ur hands and have a little mess around of tennis if that is ok with u. In the meantime i look forward to reading ur next tennis analysis.

  16. Hi jonathan… I really think u should apply for a post in a Tennis related job. I feel u have more than enough knowledge than the tennis organisation. Plus with ur ideas u could have things movin in the right direction for once. I can see the elite having an heart-attack Ha Ha!

    • Haha thanks. Not sure what kinda role I’d want though. The corporate world isn’t something I want to get into which is pretty much how the LTA / ATP runs. Too much internal politics / ass licking, it’d drive me crazy!

      • You dont realise even though u dont want ajob in the corporate world, people like urself can make a big difference. But i undetstand fully ur sentiments its not ur character to do certain things. Thats the difference between u who have high morals and the corporate who will do anything for fame/profits etc.

  17. Hello All, excellent posts here as usual! Jonathan, are you my long-lost twin? Just about everything you say above I completely agree with, ha,ha. Regarding the LTA, I completely endorse the points made here, viz. that they are a self-serving organisation with no regard for anyone but their own nasty, egotistical self-serving ways… why don’t Sport England, or whoever the LTA are responsible to, chuck out the incompetent management with immediate effect and tender those positions to those who are truly committed to developing the sport of tennis and ALL youngsters who take part.. these people will be passionate, experienced and most of all be persons of integrity. Perhaps people here should start canvassing Sport England for immediate change?
    My own sport of athletics has disillusioned me for years as the east Africans, and in particular the Kenyans, have ruined distance running in the last 15 years or so… they have driven the caucasian male and female distance runners away from the sport as they have little chance of success against them. And what does the governing body, the IAAF, do about it? Well, it buries it’s head in the sand! The powers that be at the LTA and the IAAF would get on impeccably !!
    As regards sport in general, if the European Union wants to do something useful for a change, they should make sport compulsory for ALL school children, and only a doctor’s letter should preclude any child from competing. I played up to six sports daily for three hours a day after school, every day, and this has made me the person I am today. It is disgusting that the majority of kids in Europe today are denied the joys of sport due to self-serving, nasty people, who care nothing for anyone but themselves…

    • Hi paul … I agree with u of what uhave said. Nowadays kids hardly play sports. That is because they become nerds of games of ” call of duty” . The x box and playstation this is where they play there imaginary sports. The younger generation have become diss-allution to reality. What idle the kids have become.plus the organisation dont help unless u r part of their circle.

    • Hey Paul,

      Yeah they should restructure. But they’re all in it together I think, happy to cruise along earning their bloated salaries. No real goals, it’s not run like a business, they get the funding and splash it around making sure enough goes to their pension fund.

      I’m not an expert on Athletics but I’m not sure you can really blame the Kenyans for lack of British/White athletes. Those guys are just born to run long distances so you can’t really hold it against them for competing and winning. It’s not like the UK has ever dominated that field anyway but if anything they should serve as an extra motivator for Western Europe to train harder and try to compete against them? We sucked at Cycling until we started with a plan to get good at it and look at GB now, one of the dominant forces.

      The worse thing about UK Athletics for me is we don’t have any good middle distance runners over like 400, 800 and 1500. We used to be good at those but now we’re nowhere.

      We live in a nanny state now mate, too many health and safety requirements and PE teachers that can’t be bothered. I finished 6th form about 7 years ago now and it was already well on the way then so god knows what it’s like now. Sport was becoming theory based taught from the classroom. No wonder kids are all fat and can’t even do simple things that require basic co-ordination.

  18. I think to understand the lens one needs to look through is that Tennis is a business. From seeding more players to slowing the courts down to other recent changes in the game, the idea is to protect a player’s brand as much as possible, and this, in turn, creates more revenue dollars from TV and even on the grounds at live tournaments. IN business, the idea of a recognizable brand is a large factor in purchases and repeat purchases. The same is true of tennis. So the longer and more recognizable brands you have in a draw in a tennis tournament, the more spectators you have and the more that they spend (this last point is just my belief that they spend more).

    All modifications to tennis are primarily designed to generate more income for the tournament and sponsors. We could check this to see if a teenager spend effort and money developing themself as a name and brand, and also they do well, if modifications are not made for them (wildcards etc.) to gain ranking points easier than otherwise, and thus rise in atp rankings faster than their contemporaries. At any tournament now, players that are known and not highly ranked are given wildcards because people know them, and perhaps not for the reasons otherwise told to use by the tournament committees.

    Remember when only 16 players were seeded at big tournaments? Lots of formerly unknown young players scored upsets and made it into the late rounds of the tournaments. The ATP and WTA learned their lessons and decided to seed more players. This also indirectly or directly gives the players that are already in the top 32 a longer and more financially rewarding career.

    • Hey William,

      Thanks for the comment, yeah, in a nutshell it all boils down to money and how much the guys that run the sport can get out of it.

      I like your idea for developing the Justin Bieber of tennis to see if they make allowances for him just because they know he’s a cash cow and they can use him as a puppet to get more $$.

      Jonathan

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