The women's circuit has also changed a great deal, in the past 20 years.
It started slowly in the 90's with Monica Seles, and has been evolved by the likes of Sharapova and the Williams sisters, so that now there is a legion
of very strong and taller athletes, who make the baseline their fortress and throw cannonballs as a response to any shot coming their way.
They are,though, in its overwhelming majority, and in my honest oppinion,
very much one-dimensioned in their game plan system and use of tactics.
They hit hard, but basically always as hard, no speed variations.
They have a great deal of control in their shot lines, but they don't change them.
They aren't able to close points at the net, or be confortable outside the baseline.
They don't have a flexible and/or creative defensive game, at all.
The vast majority of them, don't posses a solid second serve.
So, in my oppinion, the women tennis players are predictible and easy to figure.
Easier said than done, one still has to cope with their devilish rythm and pace.
But, in my oppinion, there is a place there for a girl who can PLAY THE GAME.
An athlete who is a TENNIS PLAYER with all the letters, an all-rounder.
A player who can not only control those lines and the pace, but also be tactically able to vary her game, based on her needs.
A girl that can slide and slice, who can pull up a disguised drop-shot or a short crosscourt to defend from out-of-position.
Someone who can rely on her serve, to get free points but also throw a solid second at any time in a match.
Somebody who makes a great return and comes up to the net to close it up with a simple short crooscourt volley.
The training systems for women around the World don't put their focus into producing such players.
They stick to the legacy of the above mentioned "big-hitters", and train them so that they become just what they are.
And it is a succesful formula, if you have strong, tall, disciplined, focused and talented material to work with.
However I think that any talented young girl can learn how to play in more dimensions than one, be a complete player.
It takes belief, courage, an open mind and lots of work, but, the way I see it, a player like that it's not impossible to form...
And a player like that has a shot at the top!
This here is a letter for all the Parents of children who have made Tennis their main passion, and therefore might be looking for some help and/or guidance to better develop the full potential of their kid's tennis.
If you allow me, I would like to tell you a few things that I have learnt, while devoting my entire life to this beautiful "game", only for you to
hopefully get a clearer picture regarding your children's tennis, whom are probably dreaming about turning Pros and maybe winning
I just said it like that, without real knowledge about your personal case,
but I know one thing. I know it far too well.
When the "Tennis Virus" hits a kid, it hits hard...really hard!!!
And debating with a Teenager about his/her dreams, it's not a simple thing to do.
So, I consider of vital importance that those parents of young wannabe Pro's,
get a bit more information about the World that their children are dreaming about
entering, with all the pros and cons, and the matters that will surely affect, in
some way, the order of the family.
Me, personally, I decided that I "WAS GOING" (please note the "was going" instead of a "wanted") to be a Tennis Proffesional at the age of 12, after only two years of smashing down with yellow bullets,every wall I found in my way.
I know now that the "was going", actually was probably a key factor in me reaching my selfset goal.
It was pure determination and confidence in achieving it, alongside of course,
with all the support (moral, financial and any other possible way) of both my parents, who trusted my will and possible talent, and all the different coaches that they patiently paid for, while I was still developing as a player.
And yes, I became a Player. I have been a Pro for 16 years (1989-2005), Top 100 ATP in singles and doubles.
I have travelled the world, I have met loads of people, learnt five more languages and made some money,while doing what I loved to do most......play Tennis.
But I also left my family and lifelong friends behind at age 14, to live and train in Barcelona.
I was seeing them about twice a year.
And even so,I have enjoyed it all so much. The playing, the winning,the work and the physical pain of the trainings,the places and its people, the planes, the foods.....absolutely all of it!
For all that, I will be eternally grateful to this very special Sport.
The times, however, have changed. The Men's Pro Tennis circuit is much harder now than it was 15-20 years ago,
The competition has multiplied, good training programs are not that rare anymore
and aspiring players work from a very young age and for many many hours.
Let me try to put this into a more understandable perspective.
There is a very thin bottleneck, when it comes to the future of Tennis Players.
There is a total of about 140 male Tennis Players every year , which make enough money to cover expenses and put something on the side to invest in their future.
There is about 3 to 4000 male youngsters working hard and good to become tennis players.
I think this numbers explain a lot about the toughness of High competition Tennis.
(This numbers are roughly accurate. With the China Tennis Boom, there are probably many, many more)
Basically, what you can realise here is the fact that, over 90 % of the young players who are dreaming about becoming Pro's and make money with it (and we are talking here kids who can play, who got some talent, not Mega academies fresh flesh)...well, they just won't make it there, they will not achieve their goal...and this is simple Math, not speculation or oppinions.
And so, after 30 years inside a Tennis court, I have come to realise that it is very important
for the families in this situation, to get an accurate idea of their Kid's real Potential.
And what I understand for POTENTIAL, which can also be so-called TALENT,
it's something that cannot be taught or trained, it is a birth gift.
It has got little to do, aside from a few exceptions,with the success that a kid might be having in his age group , even if it's International succes.
The potential, you can see already in the way a kid holds and manouvres his/her racquet,
the way the ball flies away hitting a forehand over shoulder height, the different spins given to a serve without having properly learned it, the timing in the ball contact, among many other things
(hand-eye Coord. , reaction speed, amount of fast muscle fibers,etc,etc).
Tennis has become a Sport of Ball contact, not so much of legs running behind the ball, no more chasing , there's no Time!
The ball must be HIT.... HARD...EARLY...AND ACCURATELY. That is the present and near future inTennis.
What we want, what we offer is to help you uncover your kid's real potential, and help you get a clearer picture.
Because I know how hard it is, the money that it costs and the sacrifices that must be made.
Because I have a son pursuing the same dream.
And because I just love to work with kids and youngsters on a Tennis court.
Give me a chance to help you out. A few days maybe shed a bit of light for the beginning of the path.
Thank you for your time.
Founder of the EBAprotennis project.