Thank you for taking your valuable time to express your thoughts on the important issues before us and the tennis community. I deeply appreciate your knowledge and insights and have the greatest respect for your leadership and accomplishments. With some luck and much persistence, perhaps we can jointly undo the gimmickry and ill conceived dogmas that the USTA has offered to the tennis community as, in their view, a well conceived prescription for the development of champions.
Mr. Brown, I read your articles with interest. I want you to understand that it is not necessary that Champions are developed by USTA or ITF tournaments in later years. After all a Champion, the way I describe a Champion, is already playing PRO tournaments at the age of 16 especially girls. Boys may be one year later. Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon at 17 and hardly played Junior tournaments. NO USTA tournaments. Sampras won the U S Open at the age of 19 and was playing Pro tournaments at 16. Played lots of USTA tournaments at a young age. Forget Tracy Austin, she was a joke, so good. She won the US Open at 16 and was playing lots of USTA tournaments at a very young age and thank god they did not have Miniature tennis in those days. Lindsay Davenport won the Swiss open, CLAY, at the age of 16. Michael Chang won the French at barely 17, but played a lot of junior tournaments at a very young ,very young age. So did every Champion. What I am getting at is, that tournaments are great for kids. The more tournaments they can play the better. It is a great way to become a very good player, to develop as a person and get a great scholarship. Something that over 90 percent of juniors should have a chance to experience. HOWEVER, if you are a 18 year old girl and are not doing well on the Pro tour, the chance to become a Champion is slim. If you are an 18 year old boy same problem. That’s why you should not have your very talented kids play miniature tennis but have them play normal tennis. The beginning years are crucial in the development of the kid in what ever they do. That is where the USTA Junior Development, Patrick Mc Enroe is failing. They are not interested in the early years of development. Remember the younger years are CRUCIAL. The USTA does not understand this.. they come up with gimmicks, like miniature tennis. Great for thousands of little 4,5,6 year olds. So tournaments are great. Have these kids compete whether they are 10 or 18. Don’t make the tournaments small, make them large. The few gifted Juniors are not playing the 18’s and under when they are 18, maybe when they are 14. But don’t take it away from all the other juniors. Europe has tons of Satellite and Challenger tournaments, tons of them. Mr. Brown, I agree with you 100 percent.
– Robert Lansdorp