Recently I was asked to become a member of a special advisory council for USTA player development, so apparently I am now officially entitled to share my opinions about what is happening in American junior tennis.
So let me start by making a few comments about a topic no one ever talks about publicly: the enormous amount of cheating now going on in junior tennis. Maybe the most shocking thing is that it’s so prevalent in the younger divisions, the 14 and unders, and even the 12s.
I’m not talking about an occasional bad call here and there. I’m talking about a culture that almost sees cheating as part of the game, almost as a strategy to use at certain times to win matches. Somehow that is now ok.
More and more the families are getting involved in the gamesmanship. They are clapping and cheering on every point, including clapping when the opponent kid chokes or makes a bad error.
Here’s another horrible story. In a first round match in another national tournament, the family of a younger player who upset a seed in the first round ran on the court and carried her off on their shoulders. Carried a 12 year kid off the court after a first round match! What’s going to happen if this kid wins a match in the junior French Open?
Sometimes you see the adults in the families yelling at each other from opposite sides of the court. I won’t go into details but I even know of some incidents that have ended up in physical confrontations with the dads exchanging blows.
So what’s the solution? The tournaments and the USTA have to step in right now and get this problem under control before it becomes even more widespread. I mean enact a zero tolerance policy.
Read the whole article – HERE