Tim Mayotte’s Reply to the Wayne Bryan Letter

Tim Mayotte

Tim Mayotte was hired by the USTA to run junior  programs at the National Tennis Center.  Tim’s playing career included winning the NCAA Championship in singles, getting to the semi finals at Wimbledon and being ranked as high as #7 in the world.  His career earnings was $2,663,672 and he won 12 singles titles on the ATP Tour and 1 doubles title.  This letter – by Tim Mayotte – appeared on Johan Kriek’s Facebook page.

NOTES: pd = USTA Player Developement.  The Player Development Department is tasked with overseeing all of the USTA player training programs, selection of National Teams, developing the National Junior Tournament schedule, running the U.S.Open and all related events and coaching National Players and professionals under the USTA banner.

wayne = Wayne Bryan (father of the Bryan brothers – Mike and Bob

jose h = Jose Higueras – Director of the USTA Elite Player program, former coach of Robbie Ginepri, coached Federer in 2008 for the clay court season and was himself ranked as high as #6 in the world.

jay – Jay Berger – formerly #7 in the world.  Jay is Head of men’s Tennis for the USTA.

patrick = Patrick McEnroe – General Manager of Player Development.  He is the younger brother of John McEnroe.  Patrick got to a career high of 28th in the world in singles and reached 3rd in the world in doubles.  He was a semifinalist in singles at the Australian Open.  He was Davis Cup Captain for 9 years (longer than anyone else in history).

boca = Boca Raton, Florida.  The USTA Training Center – Headquarters is located in Boca Raton, Florida.  The USTA Training Center – Headquarters features 9 hard courts and 14 har-tru clay courts. Additionally there are another 15 tennis courts accessible at a nearby private club.   As part of the new training facility, the USTA offers player housing for promising young players who are entering high school.  The USTA Training Center offers dorm-style living arrangements, a state-of-the-art fitness center, classrooms, offices and a conference facility.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

after almost two years inside the usta player pd i strongly agree with wayne’s outrage over the misuse of funds and the arrogance of that organization. when jose h, jay berger and patrick were around (which was very rarely) i tried to put them on court with some of our 8, 9, and 10 year olds. jose flatly said no

clearly out of discomfort. jay shared a court with me and was unable to see even the most basic technical changes needed and patrick would bark words parroted from jose’s thinking like “receive the ball.” that had no relevance in the context of what we were working on with the kids. none of the three asked what we were doing or how we were trying to do it.

i understand wayne’s outrage that this group mandate, forces, others to do what they know nothing about. it is my understanding that none of them have ever been to a 10 and under tournament. when i was hired to start and run the usta at the open site i was told to develop “a pipeline of top young 8-12 year olds.” it became clear they did not know how to teach and train and at that point neither did i. my associate lee hurst was great and as i

learned from him we veered from jose’s “philosophy.” when jose visited we were told change to mirror boca. after months of arguing my need for a different approach i found no option but to leave. the predictable has happened; they terminated that group and now only work with players 14 or over who commit to home school. so hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars and thousands of hours served to only drop players leaving them and parents in the lurch, alienate local pros and deepen the cycle. it was outrageous then to see patrick on tv broadcasting when he could have been on court learning about jr development (isn’t a million a year enough) or jose ensconced in palm springs with the usta paying to send player to his fancy ranch. its all such a waste.

Patrick McEnroe

i do think a comprehensive, in-depth, coaches training program should be developed so we can create more great coaches like you guys.
coaching is one of the most complicated endeavours i have been a part of requiring a knowledge of technique, motivational skills, psychology, parent management, etc. we need more and more systematic training.


13 responses

  1. Wayne Bryan loaded the bases and Tim Mayotte hit a Grand Slam!

  2. Not to be trivial or maybe to point out a psychic phenomenon but the picture labeled Jay Berger is actually Chuck Kriese. I can’t believe he is not courted by the USTA. A year before he retired from Clemson he had a team of mostly Americans up to #5 in the NCAA (and mostly guys he really developed) and then when he went to SE Asia he helped a girl go to number 1 in the world and this little girl had a huge winning record against Americans. Chuck is a proven developer and an original thinker.

      1. Tim,
        I attended the Tucson meeting and agree with you and Wayne. Please contact me for follow up. I taped some of the responses and would like to share them.

  3. Thanks for your insights.

  4. My age group was the beginning of the USTA development team that resulted in the end of american tennis dominance. What drove the demise? Nick Saviano. I saw this guy destroy players such as Brian Dunn, David Witt etc. This was not a coach but an ego. He was the head and foundation for what we now call the USTA junor program. Is it any suprise that today it is filled with a bunch of disconnected “coaches” with limited junior coaching experience that are using the platform to enrich themselves and provide a platform for their names? Tim is right. A name player does not equal a great coach. To be great you need to put your time and effort into being a great coach at different stages of the game. In fact if a coach is not fully devouted to their craft he/she can destroy a player. Bravo to Wayne and Tim for calling it out because the USTA should be truthful. Either be a marketer to produce money or be an investor in players resulting in more fans. Don’t say you are an investor when reality you are more about marketing as a means of capital return.

  5. Michael Jordan is the GM for the worst team in the NBA, so great players do not mean great coaches. PMc got this job for one reason, his brother.

  6. This is interesting… I teach tennis …I always try to teach the current or correct form..however I have seen a lot of poor tennis intruction .. for years I have noticed the difference between the us players and the rest of the world,,its like a time warp.. the us dropped off so far and for the most part the coaches are so stuck in the past..its a joke

  7. Incompetence rules the world! I know this is true even here in my home state. At our most recent sectional qualifying tourney myself and a college coach 5of the seven seeds in boys 10s and 3 of the seeds in girls 10s. And every one of them in the top 15 in the section. You would think the USTA at our state level would take notice and recruit us coaches to help develop other players from our state but they did the opposite. The state office of USTA hosted a 10 and under camp to bring the best kids together to train…which is great except they never contacted myself nor my friend to help out or even run the camp. Instead they did what they always do and stick to the “good ole boy system” of scratching each others backs. I say let them eat cake! I will continue to develop my players and vow not to ever help them out unless there is total change.

  8. The USTA PD is flawed in every way a bureaucracy can be flawed; Most importantly is the fact that USTA PD “philosophy” or “Theory” of developing a champion is wrongheaded.

    A bureaucracy cannot develop champions because champions are first fighters and then players and no bureaucracy can afford the destabilizing effect of employing a fighter within the walls of the bureaucracy.

    Having fighters as coaches is essential since only a fighter can train a child to be a fighter. Other countries where players grow up in a world of conflict are more likely to have a fighting spirit and, hence, will be better candidates to become a champion. I do not see any USTA executive with a fighting spirit and certainly the USTA PD principals are not fighters as proven by the fact that they can successfully function in a bureaucracy.

    In America, kids grow up without having to fight for much of anything and thus do not develop the fighting spirit that resides within all of us so it is mandatory that this spirit be rekindled by the coach.

    There is yet another obstacle to the USTA developing a champion. Champions appear from” nowhere”. Their origin is mysterious and unpredictable. Hence, to find one, we must cast a wide net. That is the very opposite from what the USTA PDP is doing.

    A wide net must enlist the entire tennis community not exclude it as does the USTA PDP. Coaches from the “well known” to the “obscure” must be enlisted in this process. That is where a bureaucracy could possibly be useful: Establishing a national, unbiased process whereby coaches from every corner will be able to contribute to the search for champions without limiting the process.

    A formula for the “Wide Net Program” can be worked out in detail. Its principle specification is that it must respect the fact that champions have appeared always throughout history, and within every enterprise, randomly.

    Implementing the Wide Net Program does not require a fighter, just a good planner and administrator. It seems that the USTA should be able to do this quite well.

  9. We continue to teach backwards: the USTA generally associates itself with players who have ALREADY been trained by other pros. Until the USTA actually hires pros who not only know how to take beginners and develop them through a foundation that will allow them to reach their potential, they will only be responsible for a tiny % of players who move through the ranks. There are countless youngsters who have the talent, motivation, and desire to become our next tennis champions. Unfortunately, the USTA, through its waste, inbreeding, and exclusiveness has clearly been proven over the last generation to fail in the very goal that they claim is their mission statement. In my 35 years in tennis, I have seen clearly how the USTA continues these trends. We will have tennis champions, but they will seldom be produced through the USTA. Yet, compared to our wealth and country size, we will not produce our legitimate fair share of tennis champions until the USTA looks at itself in the mirror with an objective eye.

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