I believe the main reason tennis is slowly dying in America is the cost for a school system or city municipality to build & MAINTAIN a tennis court. How much does a tennis court cost to build? Roughy $15,000 for a clay court and $28,000 for a hard court (in the southeast). This is not the main problem. The main problem is maintenance on these courts. A hard court cost about $3,500 a year to maintain BUT that’s only if you are putting away $3,500 a year when you need to resurface. Resurfacing a single court can cost up to $15,000 every 5 years. Most budgets don’t account for this type of maintenance. Most schools that build courts will build about 5-7 of them without thinking about the cost to keep them up. They end up looking like this:
Old Worn Tennis Courts
When kids play on these courts they have no clue to what real tennis is like. Your tennis balls end up turning black after about 10 minutes and you slide all over the place getting the ball. The ball also does not act as it should on a newly resurfaced court.
Newly resurfaced tennis court
What do you think is causing the downfall of tennis in America?
I decided to watch the LaCoste future of tennis commercial on YouTube and it really made me think about the future of tennis. How can players monitor their game and get more into the game? What can tennis associations & media do to make the game more exciting?
So I watched this video and was really sucked in. Was it realistic…. heck no. Was it fun to watch like the movie “The Matrix”, yes but without an additional book to read to explain the meeting. What could the world of tennis pull from this video? Here’s a few ideas:
1. Create a tennis racket with a small computer inside the handle and sensors on the frame that records how you hit every shot and the movement. Heck you could have an microSD card slot in the bottom of the racket that would allow you to easily transfer your entire game into some software program on your home computer. With this information you could replay your rackets movements and get advice on what you need to improve your game.
This is like the Dixx digital putter but for tennis. Someone has to get creative and make this like Babolat, Prince, or Wilson and they would make the front page of any tennis publication.
2. I think the USTA needs to get more involved in the public school system and offer guided programs with the help of volunteer teachers and trainers in the area. Have a USTA trained instructor show up at each high school once a year and give kids an idea of what it takes to play in college or the benefits of playing the game your whole life.
3. Help other tennis players find someone to play of their skill level. The USTA’s find a partner program is horrible. I signed up for years ago and they never seemed to be able to find me a partner. Luckily I was wondering around earlier this year and found Tennisopolis. This is a social tennis community site that actually was alive and ended up finding 33 players in my area, 5 that matched my 4.5 NTRP skill level.
4. Create new tennis court technology that makes it less expensive to keep up the local tennis courts. How many public tennis courts have you seen in shambles while the indoor and outdoor basketball courts are in tip top shape? Many city governments don’t mind the initial cost of a tennis court, it’s the expensive upkeep that’s the problem. We need longer lasting court surfaces that require less maintenance. Who is really working on this? Court manufactures are definitely not motivated to do this since they make so much on maintenance.
What do you think should be done to improve the future of tennis?