loris bertolacci

Sport, Health and Fitness

Current Pennant Tennis in Victoria

I am aware that some clubs pay quality players to play Pennant in Victoria. But from my information it simply is  a small amount of money relative to what is needed year round to sustain travel, food and accomodation. Added to this is the tyranny of distance so that players miss tournaments and in effect gain little amounts, unless they are at home doing nothing.

Also I understand these clubs do their best. It is just the system, marketing and timing of Club Tennis that needs revamping in Australia.

February 24, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Club Tennis in Australia and ATP rankings!

Players cannot play Pennant Tennis in Australia and get ATP points. Nor in Europe. But at least in Europe players can play for their clubs and make lots of Euros. Good money exists in CLUB TENNIS throughout Europe. In Australia we have the AIS and High Performance programs underpinning tennis development and they do a great job. BUT! So young and so removed from senior ranks.

What is missing is the fact that the average age in ranking lists is 25. Plus or minus but exactly like other sports. Now if a good player is 17 years of age in Australia and you tell him to hang in till 22.5 before he or she makes a breakthrough, you will lose business as a coach or fitness trainer. That is 2016 approximately. Phew! But that is the equation 90% of the time.

So when players spin out of these AIS programs or Development programs due to many factors such as injury, age, poor form, poor perceived potential, their own decision etc, they are often on  their own. Highly ranked players do get some funding now but again I am talking about 18 to 22YO ranked from 1000 to 200 approx.

So then the problem becomes finance. Even those that can afford the process find it tough. What about an 18yo from an average family that has an income less than $70,000 total and has already invested heavily in their son or daughter since 7YO. Too many people in tennis in my opinion think everyone earns $250,000plus and has massive amounts of money. My GUT tells me that our tennis talent resides in a lowe socio-economic strata. Just too expensive a sport. The odds of making it are close to zero and the cost is frightening.

So at 18 and often devoid of assistance this player then has to decide. They may be ranked 701 in the world which is ok. They can play a bit. They still believe in themselves which is crucial. So how do they afford coaches at $70 an hour, racquets, travel, food and ongoing educational needs. Parents have had enough. Often splits families. The player cannot earn money because of the silly ATP/ITF schedule that requires huge funds to travel and earn points.

We have very few good tournamants in Australia and the PRO circuit is too spread around irrelevant venues and costly again. Why not have the PRO circuit in Sydney and Melbourne where players,coaches and facilities are concentrated? It costs a huge amount to get around to Darwin and Berri etc.

At least in a country like Italy, players can play Club tennis and earn enough money to propel themsleves around the circuit. It is so easy to travel in Europe. Siriani has underpinned a career using this method and in Europe players working their way through the rankings use this method to stay alive through the crucial early 20’s and even 24 to 26. Forget the TOP 10. We know prodigies come early. That is another quest. To find the Agassi or the Nadal. That is why TA is working hard in promoting TOMIC. he is a talent and has the potential and is 17.

What I am talking about is TOP 100 and TOP 200 players.

We do develop young talent but it simply is the most expensive sport and least rewarding sport I know to play. A top 300 player in the world loses money. What a weird sport. Who can afford to lose money? Top 300 in Soccer. Phew. Top 300 in Soccer invests in real estate and Top 300 in AFL does very well also from day one!

So we need to develop CLUB TENNIS in Melbourne and Sydney and it has to be a tight and very lucrative schedule where OZ players can make good money that they then can use to uderpin their year.

I cringe when the OLD GUARD say our players should learn to struggle. Sure they should do it hard. But lose heaps of money? No! And should their parents foot bills. No! Not when so many make money out of the business of  tennis. In some ways I am a hyporcite because part of my income is helping tennis players with fitness. But that is the equation. It costs money to improve in these sports.

Added to this is the expensive and non lucrative PRO circuit around Australia. A sure way to get the odd ATP point and see Australia and lose more money.

So I really think that CLUB TENNIS is a fundamental thing that does exist in Europe and does finance MATURE AGE players. No reviews or studies are needed. Just go to Europe.

If a player could bank $30,000 a year playing 2 to 3 months of Club Tennis this would provide incentive to young players in Australia to keep playing and not throw it in often a year or two before they are ready to blossom.

After all how many people go to work at TA to lose money?

February 24, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments