Be a Tennis Champion
Early in November, I ran into the person who brought me into the tennis business. Alexander McNab was the editor of Tennis magazine in 1987, when he hired me as an associate editor.
My tennis experience at that time was minimal but, thankfully, Alex took a chance on me. A lifelong tennis player and fan, he guided me through the intricacies of the sport and of the industry, and — whether he realized it or not — fostered a love of the game that continues today. When I saw Alex, I mentioned what I was doing in the industry, and that I was very thankful that he had brought me into this business.
As fate would have it, a week after seeing Alex, my more than 20-year career with Tennis magazine abruptly ended. (My full-time job in the last few years was to head up a division that worked with the USTA to produce USTA Magazine. But declining budgets led to a reduction in frequency of USTA Magazine, which led Tennis to shut down our division. Thankfully, though, this doesn’t affect my role with RSI.)
When he heard the news, Alex was one of the first to call and express his concern, something I truly appreciated. And I realized something else. Certainly for me, Alex has been a true champion of tennis.
In this issue, we honor our Champions of Tennis award winners. And as I’ve said in the past, while we only mention a handful of people in these pages, there are probably thousands of others out there, like Alex, who can be considered real “champions” to others in this industry. It could be a coach, teaching pro, tennis director, business executive, or other mentor — chances are we all can point to someone who brought us in, made us feel welcome, showed us the ropes, and helped us develop a passion for this sport.
Whenever I talk about our Champions of Tennis awards, I always say that they “honor the unsung heroes” of this sport. Especially now, as the economy continues to slide and confidence in business continues to go south, it’s important that we all do what we can to honor those who brought us into this sport that we love, and helped us to make a living at something that, for many of us, we may not actually consider “work.”
But even more than that, it’s important that all of us become mentors to others who want to get into this sport, or maybe who need a little convincing that this sport is for them. We need to spread the tennis word, and — like Alex McNab — each of us needs to be a “champion” to someone else.
See all articles by Peter Francesconi
About the Author
Peter Francesconi is editorial director of RSI magazine.