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My Big Break

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  • johnyandell
    started a topic My Big Break

    My Big Break

    Let's discuss Nick Bollettieri's latest article, "My Big Break!"

  • johnyandell
    replied
    doc, All excellent points.

    Leave a comment:


  • doctorhl
    replied
    Fascinating. But my beef is those parents that are chasing their own dream through their kids and cant see what they are up against. Sending a kid off to boarding school tennis academy at age 12 is criminal if it is not the kid's dream. It is also criminal if it is obvious that they don't have the athleticism required for the pro level. I'm not belittling the majority effect of the work ethic, desire, etc, but it can only take you so far at that level. Data of pro speed/strength/reaction time/body measurements need to be published so parents/kids can see where they are located on the continuum before making that big move.

    Leave a comment:


  • bottle
    replied
    What good writers both of these players are. They convey the experience.

    Leave a comment:


  • stotty
    replied
    Absolutely fascinating, nickw. It's clearly a tough gig out there. I met an Austrian coaching in London a few years back who echoed the exact same story as Millman and Groth. In the end he had to give it up. He had no regrets, however, other than he would sorely loved to have gone a little further up those rankings.

    Leave a comment:


  • nickw
    replied
    Originally posted by stotty View Post

    Yes expenses...and then there is taxes. Still, even if he nets a half or even a third of that money it's a lot more than Stotty will likely earn in his lifetime. I am curious if there have even been any studies on tennis player income in the pro ranks and what the expenses really come in at?
    Expenses and taxes do drain the funds, but then there is sponsorship as well as prize money on the flip side. Here's a couple of blog entries that are a few years old now, but do well to paint a picture of what life is like outside the Top 100. Interestingly both guys came close to Top 50 after these entries, Groth has fallen away again, but Millman looks to be establishing a Top 100 position.

    Sam Groth has spoken about the difficulties faced by lower ranked players. "I'm a professional tennis player. I live in Melbourne and my world ranking is 256. I returned home yesterday from the US Open, where I was the first alternate for the qualifying draw. Had I made it, my prizemoney would have covered my flights, and maybe a couple of nights in the hotel. Instead, I have just added another hefty amount to my bloated credit card bill. I turned pro after the 2005 Wimbledon junior tournament, where I made the boys' doubles final and embarked on a career of travelling the world, staying in nice hotels and making great money. Or that's how I thought it was going to be! I have been running at a loss every year since. If it wasn't for the fact that I joined the Australian Institute of Sport at 18, and have received massive support from my family, tennis would not have been an option. In 2009, I played main draw singles at the Australian Open and collected my biggest pay cheque, $19,400. Not bad, right? After racquet stringing, the payback for coaching required by my AIS contract and hotel expenses, I took home $1 - and that's only because the system won't allow a payout of $0! Last year, after shoulder surgery and an extended break from the sport, I decided to come back and give tennis another crack. Financially, it's still just as tough. I have the support of Tennis Works (a coaching centre), a racquet contract with Babolat and sponsorship from Healthwise Active to help with some of my travel, but for the most part I'm doing it alone. From 13 tournaments this year, I've made a total of $20,343. Flights, hotels, food, racquet stringing, clothing, and any other expenses you can think of mean that I've spent close to that much again. You share rooms (or if you're lucky, stay with a host family), take a round-about flight because it's cheaper, and eat where you can - not ideal when it comes to maximising performance, but what you need to do to survive. The life of a tennis player outside of the world's top 100 is tough. The guys you see on TV each week are doing well, but it's the guys you don't see who are really battling. Believe me, I love what I do - if I didn't, I wouldn't still be out there. It's a full-time job, even where I'm ranked. You train every day, just as much as the top guys, so that when you do get the chance you'll be ready to take it. There's talk about a player boycott of next year's Australian Open. The grand slams are important events that generate significant revenues, and the players who perform there should share in an acceptable percentage of those revenues. That view is supported by the playing group - from the very top to the bottom. The issue is not confined to the majors, though. There hasn't been a prizemoney increase at Futures tournaments - which sit below the grand slams, ATP Tour events and Challengers - since they started in 1998. I don't have anything against the top guys earning big dollars, because they are the guys who put this sport on the map and bring the crowds through the gates, but they all started at the lowest level, and so will the players who succeed them. This is not a hard-luck story. I love playing tennis, I've been to more than 40 countries, I've made wonderful friends, had great times. Everyone who steps on a court wants to one day win Wimbledon, and I'm no different. It's the dream that sustains you, even when the danger sometimes is that the credit card might not."

    Millman would like to spend more time at Wimbledon and on Rod Laver Arena. Instead he spends far too much time on less inviting surfaces - the airport floors in Barcelona and Frankfurt and the hard, irritating chairs of a dozen railway stations throughout Europe and Asia. Millman, the No.5-ranked men's tennis player in Australia, reckons he has had a good year, fighting back from seven months of injury to crack the world top 200 and finishing only $12,000 out of pocket after slugging it out in gruelling matches around the world. The 23-year-old is preparing to play the qualifiers at his home event, the Brisbane International, starting on December 29. He is one of dozens of top international tennis players battling to make ends meet despite appearing in ATP events and even Grand Slams. Last year, Millman lost in a tiebreak in the third set against Bernard Tomic at a Challenger tournament in Caloundra. While Tomic has been driving a yellow Ferrari with "Sincity" number plates around the Gold Coast, Millman drives his father Ron's Holden Astra with more than 200,000km on the clock and a propensity to stall. While some of his rivals enjoy five-star luxury during competition, Millman and dozens of players like him find tennis a hard slog on and off the court trying to build ranking points through the Futures and Challengers events. "I've played in some pretty ordinary places," Millman says. "And I've slept on a lot of airport floors and train stations. If you don't have a lot of money, sleeping at airports is something you have to do if you want to live your dream. When you play the ATP events a lot of the time your hotel is paid for, so getting a soft bed rather than a night on the airport carpet is a real incentive to make it to those bigger tournaments." Playing the Futures circuit, the lowest rung on the pro ladder, has served up more than few eye openers for Millman, now ranked 198 in the world. "I played at a place called Pitesti in Romania and I don't think I saw a car the whole time I was there, only a few carts," he says. "I got food poisoning in May in Daegu in South Korea, which put me out for a week and then two weeks later I played another Futures tournament in Korea at Gimcheon and it was really tough." The South Korean tournament offered a total prize pool of $15,000. The Australian Open next month will offer $30 million. "A lot of players in Gimcheon were pretty down about their career choices that week," Millman said. "The hotel was horrible, it was outside the city and some of the players were getting food poisoning. No one would deliver food from the city out to the hotel so most of us would stay at the courts from seven in the morning to 10 at night and order pizzas because going back to the hotel was so depressing. I was watching an Aussie guy playing doubles at a really important stage in the match when this scooter drives straight up to the court and the rider walks out into the middle with his pizza boxes and tries to get the guy serving to pay. The player ended up double faulting and getting broken and he went absolutely nuts. It was that sort of place and that sort of tournament." Millman left Gimcheon for the far more prestigious Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany, an ATP tournament on grass, though he could not afford the $A380 a night at the tournament hotel. "Tennis might be a glamour sport," Millman says, "but it's very much a top end sport. If you crack the top 50 you can make a lot of money. The prizemoney in ATP events and Grand Slams has probably gone up 1000 per cent in the past few years, but for guys playing Futures and Challenger tournaments the prizemoney hasn't increased for decades. You can be fighting to improve your ranking and still come up against top players in Challengers, such as James Blake, Florian Mayer and Fernando Verdasco. In Bangkok in September I'd beaten two good guys to make the quarter-finals. Then I played (Israel's) Dudi Sela who was about No. 80 in world. I lost but I felt I had a good tournament. I came away with $1500 for the week. It cost me more than that to get there." Millman says the biggest hurdle facing Australian tennis is a lack of grassroots tournaments. Millman helps fund his travels by playing club tennis in Ubstadt-Weiher, a village of 2000 near Heidelberg, Germany, in a competition run like club football. He keeps his followers entertained with stories of his travels on his website penned by himself and father Ron, a former football star in Queensland who won the 1984 Rothmans Medal. In 2012, Millman gained a wildcard to Brisbane and he hopes to qualify for the main draw next week at the Queensland Tennis Centre. "I've had great support from my family and friends," he said.

    Leave a comment:


  • klacr
    replied
    Originally posted by stotty View Post

    Glad all is well. It all looked a bit scary my side of the pond.

    My mother lives in Maine. It's bloody freezing up there. What amazes me is why so many houses in America are made of wood. If you built a wooden house over here, we would consider it a shed and it wouldn't be worth much. You probably couldn't sell it. We use bricks for ours. They are stronger, last longer, take far less maintenance, and, crucially, don't blow down in a wind.
    It does get cold in Maine. But they have some absolutely glorious Seafood and the only thing that matches that are the people. Lovely place.

    Can't speak for the rest of America or the world but in South Florida all homes that are built must be up to code and mandated by law to be able to withstand winds up to a Category 3 Hurricane. Homes in the Caribbean islands and other parts of the world are not, thus making the damages and images more terrifying. Most homes here lost a few branches or a downed tree but usually not much else. The Florida Keys got pulverized and that was expected considering they are remote and on multiple islands. Strong winds and immense storm surge for homes that are, geographically speaking, in a bowl surrounded by soup, makes for a dangerous cocktail if a hurricane arises. Thats the price you pay for wanting to live in paradise.

    Kyle LaCroix USPTA
    Boca Raton

    Leave a comment:


  • stotty
    replied
    Originally posted by klacr View Post

    Stotty, thanks for inquiring about me and thanks to many others, including gzhpcu, John and GC. Your consideration, respect and kindness does not go unnoticed.

    Kyle LaCroix USPTA
    Boca Raton
    Glad all is well. It all looked a bit scary my side of the pond.

    My mother lives in Maine. It's bloody freezing up there. What amazes me is why so many houses in America are made of wood. If you built a wooden house over here, we would consider it a shed and it wouldn't be worth much. You probably couldn't sell it. We use bricks for ours. They are stronger, last longer, take far less maintenance, and, crucially, don't blow down in a wind.

    Leave a comment:


  • klacr
    replied
    The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.

    I am here. I survived what the news said was going to be a Category 5 death blow to Boca Raton. The news was wrong. However, we did receive a rather fierce glancing blow by one of storm bands. Some people in town were without power. I was one of the fortunate few that did not lose power...until The electric company came to assess and repair the damage to the unlucky few and in the process ended up taking out my power!

    As for the storm itself, just some heavy sideways rain in brief 30 second spurts with some sustained winds upwards of 80+ MPH. I was outside during some of this, taking it all in, gesturing, posturing and pushing the chest out as far as it would go. Much like a matador inside the bull ring. As a native Floridian (a rare sight nowadays) I have been through these storms for 30+ summers. They don't scare me as much as the people who panic from it and flee. But of course, they are never native Floridians. I am what you would call "Florida Fierce". Stand outside in a hurricane and take it all ion, wrestle an alligator, deal with Miami traffic. They are all rites of passage and make me who I am. Irma was a minor inconvenience, but in no way was she a soul crusher. Other women have come far closer than her.

    Stotty, thanks for inquiring about me and thanks to many others, including gzhpcu, John and GC. Your consideration, respect and kindness does not go unnoticed.

    Kyle LaCroix USPTA
    Boca Raton

    Leave a comment:


  • stotty
    replied
    Originally posted by johnyandell View Post
    Stotty,
    But you got to wonder how much Santoro spent in expenses--a third to a half of that $10 mill??
    Yes expenses...and then there is taxes. Still, even if he nets a half or even a third of that money it's a lot more than Stotty will likely earn in his lifetime. I am curious if there have even been any studies on tennis player income in the pro ranks and what the expenses really come in at?

    Anyone heard from Klacr since Irma? He's a strong lad who probably stood out there and served into that wind just for fun, but all the same it would be nice to know he's okay?

    Leave a comment:


  • johnyandell
    replied
    Stotty,
    But you got to wonder how much Santoro spent in expenses--a third to a half of that $10 mill??

    Leave a comment:


  • stroke
    replied
    Originally posted by johnyandell View Post
    Not exactly a flattering review but I can't wait to see it.
    yes

    Leave a comment:


  • stotty
    replied
    Originally posted by johnyandell View Post
    The dream has no reality! Only kids and families who attach too much to it. Nobody actually makes it in pro tennis--20 men and 20 women make real money.
    It's a bit of an exclusive club as well. It's been the same 20 or 30 knocking around for the past decade or so it seems like: Tsonga, Berdych, Monfils, Simon, Lopez, Ferrer....etc, etc. Clearly it's not so easy too get a foot in the door.

    I researched the living a number of players some time ago. Santoro impressed me the most. He had a career high ranking of 17 in the world but actually spent most of his long career hovering between 35 and 70. He split the tour with over $10 million in prize money. Not bad. He had his head screwed on and exploited the doubles market nicely. He had an injury-free career too as far as I could see. Many other players I looked at didn't do nearly as well as Santoro.

    I went on a course a few years back and met an Austrian who spent 7 years trying to cut it as on the pro tour. He had a career high of around 280 (can't remember the exact ranking) and spent time in the 300s as well. He was a decent player but left the tour over $700,000 in debt. Luckily, and remarkably, a sponsor picked up the tab. He now coaches full time in London. It's tough game making it at tennis. Only a mug would gamble their life savings to attempt it.

    Leave a comment:


  • johnyandell
    replied
    Not exactly a flattering review but I can't wait to see it.

    Leave a comment:


  • klacr
    replied
    Interesting Film review about a tennis flick featuring Nick.
    http://www.indiewire.com/2017/09/lov...17-1201874476/


    Kyle LaCroix USPTA
    Boca Raton

    Leave a comment:

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