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Subject: Coach Bryan back to USTA PD GM Patrick McEnroe…
Patrick McEnroe: I admire the passion that Wayne Bryan brings to the sport of tennis. I applaud all that he has done to help his sons, Bob and Mike, become not only an amazing doubles team but genuinely great guys.
Wayne Bryan: Very kind to say, Patrick, and thanks so very much. And thanks for all you have done for Mike ‘n Bob and our US Davis Cup Team through the years.
Patrick McEnroe: Some of my greatest and most memorable experiences in tennis involve the Bryan brothers and all that they’ve done for our Davis Cup team and American tennis.
Wayne Bryan: My happiest and proudest moment was the day you and Andy, James, and the Bros.all brought the big and beautiful Davis Cup back to the United States in Portland, Oregon on Dec. 5, 2007. You might even remember my long letter of thanks and congratulations that I wrote to you in the wee wee hours that night.
Patrick McEnroe: That said, I couldn’t disagree more with Mr. Bryan’s opinions on the myriad subjects—including 10 and Under Tennis and USTA Player Development—that he addresses in the “open letter” that has now been prominently featured in several tennis-related blogs.
Wayne Bryan: Funny, I regularly correspond and talk by phone and in person to lots of coaches and parents across the country, and I dashed off that e mail to a couple of coaches and it seems to have gone viral and ended up on blogs hither and yon, including this one by Colette Lewis. But I sure stand behind every word I wrote and still do.
Patrick McEnroe: It’s easy—and frankly, it’s long been fashionable—to cast a blanket indictment against the USTA.
Wayne Bryan: Well, let me say right here at the top of the show, that it is not at all easy to criticize the USTA! Ask thousands of parents and coaches out there in the real world about their fear of speaking out to the USTA. It is palpable and it is pervasive. You play ball you get this, you don’t play ball and there will be negative consequences – – – real or perceived, it is out there.
Patrick McEnroe: That’s neither new nor notable.
Wayne Bryan: I’ve been in tennis for a dadgum long time now and I have never heard more negative criticism toward the USTA than I hear right now. This level of criticism is, in fact, new.
Patrick McEnroe: I think all of us at the USTA would agree that a lot of past criticism has been deserved, but Mr. Bryan’s scattershot attack…
Wayne Bryan: One’s man scattershot attack is another man’s focused and concise and positive criticism.
Patrick McEnroe: … is so full of holes, hearsay, and half-truths that I feel compelled to address it.
Wayne Bryan: Ha. Ha. If it is so full of holes and hearsay and half-truths, why did that e mail go ballistic all over the US after I only sent it to a few people? The messages of that e mail resonated. Big time.
Patrick McEnroe: Let me first say that the USTA has a clearly-defined mission—to promote and develop the growth of tennis. The USTA wants more people on more courts in more places; that is our charge as an association. As General Manager of Player Development, my specific charge is to help produce more Top 100 players…
Wayne Bryan: Right there from Jump Street is where I have my biggest disagreement with you and the USTA. The USTA first mission is right on the nose and is achievable. They should provide a fair and level playing field and great and exciting programming. That’s what AYSO Soccer does. WhatLittle League Baseball does. The USTA should not be responsible for producing the proverbial Top 100 players by coaching. Programming yes, coaching no.
“And, I will add one last comment to this thought about the USTA trying to control/be involved with tennis player development: NO OTHER SPORT DOES THIS! AYSO soccer doesn’t try to govern how soccer coaches develop in the private sector; Football – NO, Baseball – NO, Basketball – NO. Not even FIFA, which could be considered one of the most powerful sport organizations in the world doesn’t get involved in player development – they let the professional soccer clubs develop their own talent from age 4 on up to pro level in each clubs own system.”Chris Boyer
Patrick McEnroe: …with the goal that we have more of them competing into the second week of the majors.
Wayne Bryan: Wonderful goal. But best left to the private sector – – – coaching is creative and fast moving and must be accountable at all times.
Patrick McEnroe: That’s a different responsibility but, in the long run, achieving that goal is at least partly reliant on getting more young people involved in the sport.
Wayne Bryan: Bingo. There is where we 100% agree. More juniors and adults playing the great game would be better for them and better for our country in general – – – for so, so many obvious reasons.
More kids playing and the by product would be more pro players. The broader the base, the taller the pyramid.
I’m all for Patrick McEnroe and all the current USTA PD Staff getting out there and rolling up their sleeves and coaching each and every day. Dawn to dusk. Each day. And on weekends too. And even in the rain. Motivate. Inspire. Take kids to college matches. Pro Matches. Support JTT. Support High School Tennis. College Tennis. Help kids with their tournament schedules. Make it Fun. Have energy. Enthusiasm. Creativity. Help youngsters climb the tennis mountain while learning the great lessons of life.
Just don’t mandate. Don’t tell all the great and good coaches and parents all over the country how they have to do it.
Don’t require that all U10s have to play with soft green balls!
Patrick McEnroe: The world has changed—and tennis has changed with it.
Wayne Bryan: 100% agree.
Patrick McEnroe: Our challenges as an association and a sport continue to evolve. Let’s face it, in a rapidly-changing global environment, if we’re not changing and moving forward, we’re essentially going backward.
Wayne Bryan: Yes.
Patrick McEnroe: Tennis is simply not the same sport that it was 20 years ago—even 10 years ago.
Wayne Bryan: 1000% agree.
Patrick McEnroe: Anyone who was paying attention to the second week of this year’s Australian Open realizes that the bar is being raised as we speak. Tennis is much more of a global sport today, probably the most global…
Wayne Bryan: 100% agree and that is a wonderful thing.
Patrick McEnroe: …other than soccer. It’s true that Americans don’t dominate tennis the way they once did, but the truth is that because of globalization, Americans don’t dominate any sport the way they once did.
Wayne Bryan: 1000% agree.
Patrick McEnroe: Even sports once considered traditionally “American,” such as baseball and basketball have become much more international.
Wayne Bryan: Yes.
Patrick McEnroe: Given all of that, if we want to ensure our place at the table, we need to have a strategic vision…
Wayne Bryan: You can have your strategic vision if you are in the private sector, but when you mandate your strategic vision and it chills the private sector, you are going to get blow back. And you are.
Patrick McEnroe: … that encompasses every level of play and player…
Wayne Bryan: Again, that is a pretty big enchilada to make us all eat.
Patrick McEnroe: … — from beginner to pro.
Wayne Bryan: That is chilling to me.
Patrick McEnroe: Tennis has often been criticized for being too expensive and inaccessible. Those criticisms have truth to them; they are challenges that all of us involved in the sport face. And these are specific issues that the 10 and Under Tennis initiative addresses. When Mr. Bryan says that tennis, “grows from Main Street,” and from “solid, fun, dynamic programming,” he’s absolutely right.
Wayne Bryan: Ha. Ha. 100% agree, of course.
Patrick McEnroe: Tennis is indeed a sport that grows upward from its grass roots, and by making the sport easier for kids to play and enjoy, they’re much more likely to get involved in it and stick to it.
Wayne Bryan: Yes.
Patrick McEnroe: That’s exactly the idea behind 10 and Under Tennis, and for any sport, that’s step one.
In terms of 10-and-under competition, the rule change adopted by the ITF and the USTA has, in fact, opened the door for more kids to get involved in junior competition.
Wayne Bryan: Well, hold on here a second. This is where the rubber hits the road. No one is against graduated learning in sports or music or anything really. I have used it with all my players in tennis or music for that matter for a long, long time, but what we are all specifically against is tearing down regular tennis for 10s. We say, have all the green ball or Nerf ball tournaments you want for U6, U8 or U10, just don’t eliminate regular tennis for those that want to play it. Create, don’t eliminate!!
Patrick McEnroe: Two years ago, fewer than 10,000 kids were involved in tournament play and in the USTA’s Jr. Team Tennis program.
Wayne Bryan: I love JTT and it started right here in Ventura County and spread to SoCal, then NorCal and now it is a national USTA program. Tennis makes a great team sport and lots of kids like to play on teams.
Patrick McEnroe: Now, that number has risen to more than 32,000.
Wayne Bryan: The Mandate did not do that! Right here in SoCal the 10s have dropped off dramatically this year.
Patrick McEnroe: We’ve still got a long way to go, admittedly. We’ve only begun to scratch the surface of our potential. But more kids are trying tennis, and we feel confident that this rule change…
Wayne Bryan: Again, it is not the ill conceived and harmful Rule Change.
Patrick McEnroe: … will open the door for more kids to get involved—and stay involved—in our sport. And that’s a good thing.
Wayne Bryan: The approach is muddled between marketing and player development.
Do not confuse QS and graduated learning with the U10s Mandate!
Patrick McEnroe: The idea that the more-talented or more-accomplished kids are somehow being held back or hampered by the rule changes that include shorter courts, properly-sized racquets and slower-bouncing balls is absurd. Mr. Bryan says he can produce, “all kinds of kids around the country at 8, 9, 10 who can flat out nail the ball.” I’m sure that’s true, and in fact, I’ve seen plenty of them at our Regional Training Centers and our three USTA training centers. But I’m equally sure that there’s not a single sport that makes its rules for the one-half of one percent of the kids who play it. For the kids who truly are that good, they can—and should—do what the best kids in tennis and all sports have been doing for years: play up at the next level.
Wayne Bryan: Wow. I and so, so many other coaches in the country 1000% disagree with that assertion right there. Have you spent time coaching 10s, Patrick? I say juniors should never play up unless they are dominating a division and not getting challenged – – – and the absolute worst time to be forced to play up is from the 10s to the 12s!!!
Patrick McEnroe: It’s important to emphasize that this rule change applies only to tournament play for kids 10-and-younger.
Wayne Bryan: But, my friend, Patrick, that is test tube time. That is Jump Street. That is the most important time in the tennis journey!!
Patrick McEnroe: It’s equally important to note that the ability to “flat-out nail the ball” doesn’t exactly translate into a bright future as a player.
Wayne Bryan: Of course, not.
Patrick McEnroe: We’ve all seen examples of that time and again.
Wayne Bryan: Look, let’s call a spade a spade, you have a much better chance of getting hit by lightening and killed that ever being in the top 100 on the pro tour. To me, what the USTA Mission should only be about getting more kids playing and deriving the wonderful benefits of this magical sport.
Patrick McEnroe: Indeed, by playing with properly-sized equipment and a softer ball that allows for longer rallies, we will be much more likely to develop smarter players who understand how to construct points; not just those who can smash a yellow ball through the back wall. In doing that, we’ll have more players who understand how to compete—and are better-prepared to do so.
Wayne Bryan: That is your take and your opinion and that opinion is being rammed down our throats. I and so, so many other coaches respectfully disagree.
Like John Lennon sang, we are only saying “Give peace a chance.” We say give regular 10s tennis a chance. Run your soft ball tournaments up the flag pole and spend millions upon millions on ads, just let regular tennis continue for U10s. If no juniors enter regular tennis for U10s, discontinue it. Let the market place decide. Let Main Steet, USA, decide. Not White Plains, NY.
Patrick McEnroe: Jose Higueras, USTA Player Development’s outstanding Director of Coaching, often has said that this country has produced plenty of players who can hit the ball, but far fewer who understand how to play tennis. We believe that the new 10 and Under competitive structure can go a long way to developing smarter players, providing them with a more solid foundation and understanding of the sport, so that by the time they progress to the next level, they’ll be able to do more than “nail” the ball.
Wayne Bryan: Have you seen green balls played with in the wind, in the cold, and on clay courts? Have you seen all the drop shots going on all the time? Have you seen really good junior players have to be dumbed down and playing with green balls? Have you worked with players since they were 4 or 5 or 6 and see what they are capable of on the tennis court? Can you imagine how they or their parents or their coaches would feel when they are ready to do well in the 10s when they are 9 or 10 and then they are smacked with this Mandate?
Patrick McEnroe: That would certainly be a huge help to all of us in Player Development, a group which, despite what Mr. Bryan may believe, work pretty darn hard to provide the most talented young players in this country—and their coaches—with the tools they need to achieve.
Wayne Bryan: Not about the PD Coaches as individuals. Like and respect them all. Know they work hard. I wish they would come out and do it in the private sector. Know they would do well and coach lots of players right on up to the top. I am against National Coaching. I could write 10 pages about that. But this e mail is way, way too long already and I am sure nobody is still reading. If they are, they are in need of a complete neurological examining. And fast.
Patrick McEnroe: Mr. Bryan likes to point out that the USTA has never developed a Top 10 player. I would ask him, “Who has, from start-to-finish?”
Wayne Bryan: Where do you want me to start and stop? I can give lots of examples.
Patrick McEnroe: The USTA has, for years, played a vital role…
Wayne Bryan: Again, this is one of those points where we massively disagree. Rather than“Vital” I would simply insert the world “Small”. Do exit interviews with players that the USTA has so called played a “vital role” with. We must be living in a different world.
Patrick McEnroe: … in the development of many top professionals, but the idea that any one person is responsible for the development of any individual player is ludicrous.
Wayne Bryan: Bingo. There is again we diverge. No Peter Graf, no Steffie. No Stefano and Denise, no Jennifer. No Jimmy, no Chris. No, Gloria, no Jimmy. No Richard and Oracene, noVenus ‘n Serena.
Patrick McEnroe: Players evolve, players change, players progress. 100% agree. It’s an ongoing process and always has been.
Wayne Bryan: 100% agree.
Patrick McEnroe: The coach or parent who got a player from point A to point B may or may not have the tools or know-how to help take the player to the next level.
Wayne Bryan: Those that can’t can then select who they want to help with the journey, but at no time do key people step out and not continue their support.
What’s more, the economics of tennis almost always come into play for most coaches, who often have to decide whether to stick with a player or with a full-time job at their club or academy. That’s a tough call, and an important one, both for the coach and the player.
Wayne Bryan: A tough call, but it should be their call. A kite rises against the wind.
Patrick McEnroe: Whatever the scenario, whatever the need, we’re there to lend our support to both the coach and the player so that the player can progress.
Wayne Bryan: No. You want them to come to Boca. You want them to have your USTA coaches. You want control. You want to say on TV that this player trains at Boca rather than telling the truth and naming their home town and their home coach or their parents that has done most of the work through the years and who has been with and behind the kid through thick and thin. When I buy a strawberry shake, I’m paying for the shake and not the cherry on top.
Patrick McEnroe: But contrary to what Mr. Bryan believes, USTA Player Development isn’t in the “cherry-picking” business. We’re in the business of helping the best young players get better by providing a controlled environment in which they will have the best chance of developing.
Wayne Bryan: Yeah, yeah. I’ve been hearing that for a real long time now. You are, in fact, in the cherry picking’ business. Why not just go out and create players from age 4 and 5 and run them on up the flag pole then. No, you all want to take the cream of the crop and only work with them in the proverbial eleventh hour.
“One of the things I haven’t read in the last few emails, is the relationship with a private coach. It takes years to build that trust between coach and player; it takes years for a good coach to not only impart wisdom, but to truly make their student believe in themselves. Admittedly I might not be the best or most technical coach out there, but given time, I can make a player believe they can be a world beater. To me the heart and soul is what’s missing in the PD program, not the expertise. Being one of those coaches who has had “promising juniors” swept away from them I have seen that over and over through the years. Often, the players do not improve much and some go the other direction. This is something that most of us just shake our heads at.” Bob Hochstadter
Patrick McEnroe: Our Player Development staff devotes a remarkable amount of time—often years—communicating with kids, their parents and their coaches to decide on the best path of progress for each individual so that they can make an intelligent and informed choice. If they decide to work with us, we do our utmost to provide them with the best training, the best advice, the best competition, and key financial support.
Wayne Bryan: Why not just give those golden dollars to local coaches to continue working with the kids. It must be working if the youngster has reached that level of tennis. Are all your coaches really that much better than other coaches that are out there? You got 10 or 20, I can give you another couple of hundred just as good. What about all our college coaches? American private tour coaches?
Patrick McEnroe: After all, in order to improve, you need to be in a place where you can regularly compete with the best…
Wayne Bryan: I’m all for getting players together to work out and compete. Why not move it around from club to club or academy to academy.
Patrick McEnroe: … you don’t get better in a vacuum.
Wayne Bryan: And you can also ruin a player with a coaching change or a national approach. How would Jimmy Connors have done with National Coaching? How would John McEnroe done withNational Coaching? The Williams Sisters? Andy Roddick?
Patrick McEnroe: What we provide are more opportunities for the best to come together, compete with each other, and get better.
Wayne Bryan: Sure sounds nice when you say it like that. Lots more complex than that. Talk to kids who have been in the system under your regime and others. They do not share your rosy and self serving assessment.
Patrick McEnroe: Mr. Bryan suggests that the USTA’s thrust is to “get rid of the influence of parents and local coaches.” Again, that’s absolutely absurd. We are well aware that all of the kids who come into our program get their start in other places, and we applaud the parents and coaches who get these kids involved in tennis and nurture their development.
Wayne Bryan: Why not say their names on National TV telecasts. Still waiting for that to happen. And, again, that is the essence of it all. The USTA PD program always says that, but they do not truly do that. That want the credit. It’s human nature. It’s the way with bureaucracies.
Patrick McEnroe: Indeed, since I’ve been in this job, my appreciation of the importance of coaching at every level has increased tenfold.
Wayne Bryan: It is artistic. It is magical. It is creative.
Patrick McEnroe: I think we can—and should—do a better job of acknowledging those who’ve helped develop these kids along the way, but the idea that we’re out to exclude anyone is ridiculous.
Wayne Bryan: May I be so bold as to disagree with that completely?
Patrick McEnroe: Indeed, the amount of time that we spend annually meeting with and exchanging ideas with private coaches is off the charts. Just last year, USTA Player Development conducted 57 camps at our Regional Training Centers, where we were able to touch thousands of kids, parents and coaches. We’re not in the business of exclusion, we’re in the business of inclusion and enhancement.
Wayne Bryan: And mandating and dictating. You send out mandates on how they should be run to coaches that cringe and hate it. They want to do it their way.
Patrick McEnroe: We’re in the business of giving these talented kids more options for pursuing their highest goals within this sport, assisted, of course, by the input of their parents and coaches.
Wayne Bryan: I simply disagree with that assertion.
Patrick McEnroe: None of us are about to apologize for that.
“The lack of top players was in part due to administrators micro-managing the talent by assigning coaches to players rather than letting them choose their own development paths. There’s no evidence that more dollars are going to help the game anyway, otherwise Great Britain would have many more players than they have. You’ve got a situation here where coaches are assigned to players and that’s not an ideal scenario. I just believe in a different philosophy where the player gets to choose their own coach and that builds the trust and respect and that should be supported financially and in non-financial ways. I think a much moredecentralized system and a system that has more freedom in it is the sort of environment where talent and creativity can flourish. I think the model we have now suppresses creativity, which you need to produce players.” Paul McNamee
Patrick McEnroe: As in most criticism aimed at the USTA, Mr. Bryan is fond of citing the “massive staff expenditures” of this association. Yes, we’re extremely fortunate to have the revenues generated by the US Open…
Wayne Bryan: Yep.
Patrick McEnroe: … to help us fund our programs and hire talented people, but to hear Mr. Bryan tell it, you’d think our water coolers were filled with Dom Perignon.
Wayne Bryan: I will not set forth all the things I have seen regarding the way money is spent in the PD world, but if you want to push me on it, I will be happy to reveal that kind of thing and also what American pro players now and through the years truly think about USTA PD.
Patrick McEnroe: I make a very nice living—I don’t apologize for that either.
Wayne Bryan: I’ll just pull my punches and make no comment about that.
Patrick McEnroe: But the truth is that a lot of my very talented staff take less money to work for USTA Player Development than they could make if they took their talents elsewhere.
Wayne Bryan: Wow! I just disagree with that. I know what USTA PD coaches made when they were on the inside with the USTA and I know what they make when they go back to the real world. Again, may I disagree on this point?
Patrick McEnroe: They choose to be with us because they have a genuine passion and they want to play a part in our mission.
Wayne Bryan: Hmmm.
Patrick McEnroe: And in fact, it’s important to note that the majority of the revenues that are generated by the US Open aren’t directed toward Player Development, but go back into the game’s grass roots…
Wayne Bryan: That is just fine.
Patrick McEnroe: … allowing more people of every age to get involved in the sport of tennis. All of us at the USTA feel that’s a good way to invest that money.
Wayne Bryan: You haven’t read any missives from me about that.
Patrick McEnroe: Some six years ago, the USTA Board of Directors felt it was important to get more players involved in Player Development because they believed it was important for American players to be competitive at the US Open in order to ensure the long-term health of that event. The impetus for me to come on board was that the USTA said it would be fully-responsible for the development of those players who chose to be with us; that we would have our own training centers where the best players could come together to get better. I was hired, not as a coach, but as a General Manager, charged to put the best people in place to help achieve that goal and come up with an overall direction for the program. In the four years I’ve been on the job, that’s what I’ve worked hard to achieve, and that’s what I’ll continue to do.
Wayne Bryan: I have no doubt of your passion and that you believe you are doing the right thing for American tennis. I disagree with a National approach to coaching and think it is fraught with danger and harm for the sport in this country. For the past 23, PD has been the biggest impediment to the growth of tennis in this country. Each regime that comes to power says they will be better than the last. They are the ones that will lead us to the Promised Land.
Patrick McEnroe: Mr. Bryan bemoans the fact that I’ve hired some foreign coaches…
Wayne Bryan: Yes. I feel we have more than enough great coaches in this country. Maria Sharapova grew up here working with American coaches. So did Tommy Haas. Anna Kournikova. Dmitry Tursunov. I am not against foreign coaches per se, I am just against them being hired by theUSTA. I think US Open WCs should go to US kids. I’m also against American college scholarshipsgoing to foreign players. Especially in this very rough economy!! I think Miss America should be from the US. I think to be President of these United States, you should be an American citizen and be born in the USA.
Patrick McEnroe: … he decries the fact that none of my coaches have children that are champion players. Frankly, I’m offended by the former and amused by the latter. I still recall the best coaching advice my father ever gave me as a junior—after splitting the first two sets of my match, he told me prior to the third set to, “do what you did in the set that you won.”
Wayne Bryan: I like that. Smart guy that, JP.
Here is one quick little story on USTA Player Development that happened yesterday which shows once again why I agree with you that the USTA should not be involved in coaching:
We, as well as all the juniors that we coach are members of the USTA. Everyone supports the USTA by paying dues, get the juniors in NJTL, coach and play in Junior Team Tennis, coach and play in CTC’s, pay big entry fees to all the USTA/SCTA sanctioned tournaments, pay for all the travel expenses to all these events. Lots of investment made by the parents to give their kids to do the very best in USTA run events.
Yesterday I am in Indian Wells coaching a team at the Junior Team Tennis Playoffs, (great USTA event)! and I have some juniors playing in the USTA Regional Tournament Segment. As I am watching a junior I work with play the USTA Regional playing against a “USTA , Home Depot trained player”, a USTA national coach is behind the fence coaching his player during the match. First of all, now the USTA is coaching against my player and doing it against the very rules set by the USTA. The father of the player I coach, walks behind the fence to ask him to stop coaching during play. This coach is his foreign accent, says to the father, “Well, you should respect me”.
So the USTA wants all these players to play in the USTA tournaments, but while you are at the tournament, we are going to send our USTA sponsored players and coaches and not only coach against you, but actually not abide by USTA rules set in respect to the coaching during play. Dave from Southern California
Patrick McEnroe: Where a coach is born or what their kids excel at is not my concern. I’ve tried to hire the best and the most passionate; I’ve tried to hire those who excel at—and enjoy—working with and developing kids. Our Director of Coaching, Jose Higueras, has coached some of the greatest ever to play the game, but his real passion is working with kids, and his understanding of the sport is second-to-none.
Wayne Bryan: I also have a very high opinion of Jose and consider him a friend. Great player, great coach, great and positive guy. Are we always trying to get better?
Patrick McEnroe: Are we always looking to improve? Absolutely. But let’s just say I’m extremely comfortable with everybody’s resume and their proven passion for the sport. Wonderful…
Wayne Bryan: … and dedicated and caring coaches one and all.
Patrick McEnroe: Mr. Bryan wants the USTA out of the player development business, out of the coaching business and out of the rule-making business. O.k., he’s entitled to his opinion.
Wayne Bryan: Thanks.
Patrick McEnroe: But if the governing body of the sport isn’t making the rules, then who will? Doesn’t someone have to take the lead? Doesn’t someone have to organize and promote the sport?
Wayne Bryan: Yes, but get some consensus and don’t just cram mandates down our collective throats without taking the temperature of 9, 10s, and parents and coaches and sections across the country. Why did my e mail roll and resonate? People out here are hacked. Put your ear to the ground and listen.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of great coaches and people out there teaching tennis that really want to do the right thing. We need always to keep the coaches empowered and believing that their own ideas and initiative are embraced.” Chuck Kriese
Patrick McEnroe: When I took this job, I knew there would be rewards and I knew there would be challenges. I knew that every decision we made would have its supporters and its detractors. I really do appreciate the passion that those involved in tennis have for our sport; I think that the people who put a face on our sport are second-to-none in that regard. I understand a lot of the criticism and I’m happy to take most of it—where it’s constructive and where it’s deserved. The buck stops here. Certainly, when Americans don’t fare well on our sport’s biggest stages, nobody is calling the local pros—they’re calling the USTA.
Wayne Bryan: And they should. I like this well written and reasoned paragraph. The higher up you go, the more you have to help people. Not about yourself. About others.
Leading is ultimately about bringing people together.
Patrick McEnroe: Because of that, our charge is to do what we can to make our sport—and our players—better and more competitive in this highly-competitive global environment. That’s what we’re working on every day and that’s what we’ll continue to do. We are prepared to address any and every short-term concern with an eye toward long-term benefits. We can’t—and we won’t—allow short-sightedness to interfere with long-term vision.
Wayne Bryan: Does this final sentence mean that you think that I and those that disagree with you are short-sighted?
Again, I say, leave it to the private sector. Do what the USTA does best and get out of coaching from the top down. Never has worked. Never will work.
These are my heartfelt and very respectful views.
Hey, by the way, you can relax, you will 1000% get your way with all your ideas and mandates. You are the United States Player Development General Manager after all and I have zero power and no budget and no staff . . . and after your well crafted response above I am sure everyone will agree with you and your vision.
And here’s something we can both agree on – – – I know you are as pumped as I am about the stunning victory of our USA Davis Cup Team this past weekend in Switzerland! Away on clay withRoger Federer playing two and winning 5-zip…
And just think how good Johnny Isner and Mardy and Mike would have been had they been forced to use soft green balls in the 10s…
Wishing you and your family all the best and thanks for your personal kindness to me through the years…