Tennis Industry magazine

 

Take Charge of the Sport

A longtime industry insider says it’s up to all of us to keep this sport vital.

By Jill Fonte

Some years ago, when Kurt Kamperman was president of the Tennis Industry Association, he asked everyone at an industry gathering to stand up if they played tennis at least once a year. Everyone in the room rose. Once a month? Most people remained standing. Twice a month? Some sat. By the time Kurt got to twice a week, few remained standing.

We industry insiders spend a lot of time strategizing ways to get more people playing. We also consider ways to get existing players to play more often. To what extent, however, are we part of the solution? How often do we play? How much tennis consumerism are we responsible for?

As tennis aficionados and avid players who also are involved in this industry, we have an indisputable interest in helping our sport to thrive, especially in these challenging economic times. How can we directly shoulder responsibility for our sport’s vitality? Here are some suggestions:

If you’re reading this publication, you’re likely earning some or all of your living from tennis. Perhaps you own a club, work in a pro shop, sell equipment, resurface courts, string racquets, give lessons, consult, write, or work for the USTA. No matter what hat you wear, please ask yourself, “What more could I do to bolster the health of our industry?” At the very least, get out and play.

Let’s see everyone remain standing when asked whether we play at least twice a week.

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About the Author

Jill Fonte , who plays tennis at least three times a week, has had a lifelong love of tennis on both a personal and professional basis. She was the owner and executive director of the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association for 20 years and has served on the TIA board of directors for many years. As an executive coach and business consultant, she is currently a Principal in Business Visions Group and has addressed tennis audiences throughout the country through her involvement with the USTA, USPTA, PTR, TIA, USRSA, and various global suppliers. A longtime local and national volunteer, she currently chairs the USTA's National Tennis Innovation Committee, and serves as the Vice President of Marketing and Communication and a member of the governance, strategic planning and personnel committees for the USTA Middle States Section.

 

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