Umpires Leave With More Cash in Their Tennis Bag Than the Tennis Players

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Money for NothingSome major athletes have made millions by showcasing their talent in public arenas, leaving matches stuffing loads of cash into their tennis bags. Roger Federer, for instance, is the top paid tennis competitor with about 41.8 million in prize winnings.  Maria Sharapova, Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick and the Williams sisters have also made a pretty penny  by playing in some of the world’s most prestigious tennis tournaments.  Although the lucky few earn a living that would be hard to spend in a lifetime, the payoff for some athletes is surprisingly small. At Futures tennis events, for example, the players may leave with less than the chair umpires.

The USTA Pro Circuit can easily be compared to the minor leagues of tennis. The circuit is composed of 88 events; “Futures” events with the prize money totaling around $10,000 to $15,000 and “Challenger” events with the total prize money running in the $50,000 to $100,000 range.

Recently, in Vero Beach, Fla. there was a $10,000 futures event where Australian player, John-Patrick Smith won the title over Brazilian, Pedro Zerbini. The crowd consisted of more than 300 tennis fans that each paid either $10 or $20 for their seat.

Smith`s prize money for his title win totaled $1,300 as well his prize money for willing the doubles title which totaled $630 which he split with his partner, American, Benjamin Rogers. Runner- up Zerbini took home $900. Zerbini was participating in Vero Beach for nine days playing eight matches; the breakdown being $100 per day.

Another player, Kriegler Brink earned $200 when he made it to the second round of the singles matches where he lost to Zerbini.

Up and coming American player, Tennys (pronounced “tennis”) Sandgren also made it to the semifinals in this Futures event and raked in a whopping $480.

The players who took place in this event were able to stay at hotels in the area and in some cases can stay for free with local families willing to help out an aspiring athlete. The hotels typically run about $125 per night. In Zerbini`s case, if he did stay in a hotel for the nine days he participated in the tournament , it would have cost him $1125, before tax, which put him at $225 in the hole!

The hotel is only one expense that the players must accept when playing at this event; although the tournament offers lunches, every other meal and expense must come out of the players pocket, so in reality, it costs some, if not all of the players money to compete in this specific event.

Surprising as it may be, however, the umpires and officials working this event may actually leave with more money in their tennis bag than the players. Vero Beach Futures tournament director, Mike Rahaley, was given $4,500 to pay the umpires and officials  (at a tournament at this level there is typically three to five umpires and officials). Not only that but the tournament pays for the official’s room and board fees which ran about $3,000.

Similar to an aspiring actor, a young tennis player trying to make it to the Grand Slams is going to have to sacrifice in more ways than one including accepting these small paychecks.  Despite the small paychecks that don`t even cover their expenses, the motivation is obvious. Leaving with less cash in their tennis bag than they came with is hopefully just a stepping stone to the “major leagues.”

Courtney Sloan is a copywriter and a college student majoring in mass media. As a copywriter with a love of tennis, Courtney has made it her assignment to research tennis news, highlights, products and more and share her findings with the tennis community. 

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The History of the Grand Slam

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Originally applied to golfing tournaments in the 1930s, the term “Grand Slam” was first used for tennis by John Kieran, a newspaper columnist. Today, The Grand Slam refers to the four major tournaments in the sport of tennis. The tournaments are ranked according to world tour ranking, public attention, prize-money, number of players and player field size. The four major grand slam tennis tournaments include Wimbledon, The French Open, the US Open and the Australian Open.

Image courtesy of Shreyans Bhansali, Flickr

The term grand slam is used to indicate that a player has won all the four major tennis tournaments in a single calendar year. For many years, the term grand slam has also been used to refer to the major tournaments themselves.
A Timeline of Grand Slam Tennis Tournament Wins
1938: John Donald Budge (Don Budge), the American tennis champion, won all of the four men’s singles titles
1962 & 1969: Rodney George Laver (Rod Laver), the Australian tennis champion, has won the grand slam twice in his seven years as the world’s top ranking tennis star
1969 – 1971: Margaret Smith Court, the Australian World No.1, won the grand slam three times; once for the Ladies’ singles and twice in the Mixed Doubles category – 1969 US Open to 1971 Australian Open
1983: Stefan Edberg won the grand slam in the junior discipline being the only tennis player to do so
Wimbledon Tennis Tournament
Wimbledon is held every year in June/ July and is one of the oldest, most highly respected of all tennis events ever held. Wimbledon, as it is commonly referred to, has a rich history of some of the world finest players demonstrating their skills on this prestigious tournament’s grass courts. Wimbledon is preceded by the Australian Open and the French Open tennis tournaments, coming third in the line-up of the grand slam events.
Wimbledon hosts five main events each year including: Gentlemen’s Singles; Ladies’ Singles; Ladies Doubles; Gentlemen’s Doubles; Mixed Doubles, and a number of other tournaments as well. Image courtesy of Kol Tregaskes, Flickr
Winners’ Records:
• Gentlemen’s Singles – William Renshaw and Pete Sampras have both won 7 titles each
• Ladies’ Singles – Martina Navratilova holds the record for 9 wins during her career
• Gentlemen’s Doubles – Todd Woodbridge with 9 titles
• Ladies’ Doubles – Elizabeth Ryan with 12 titles
• Mixed Doubles – Elizabeth Ryan with 12 titles
• Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova have both won 20 titles each and continue to hold the record for most number of wins at Wimbledon
The French Open 
The prestigious French tennis tournament is named after the famous aviator, Roland Garros. The event spans two weeks from late May to Early June and is played at the Stade Roland Garros in Paris, France. The second of the four grand slam events, French Open is the only grand slam event to be played on clay courts.
Considered one of the toughest tennis tournaments in terms of physical capabilities, the men’s five-set singles matches do not have the tiebreak option in the final set.
Begun in 1891, the first championship matches were one day events and did not have the world’s best players participating. When the tournament became fully international approximately 24 years later, a number of tennis stars began appearing on the courts of Roland Garros.
Rafael Nadal won his sixth title beating Roger Federer to become the current Men’s Singles winner for 2011. Li Na of China won her first grand slam title to take the Women’s singles French Open title. Image courtesy of y.caradec, Flickr The U.S. Open
The United States Open Tennis Tournament is the fourth event in the grand slam series of four. The tournament is held from August to September each year and hosts five championship titles: Men’s and Women’s singles; Men’s and Women’s Doubles; Mixed Doubles. The tournament also hosts additional matches for junior player participation.
Title wins include:
• Men’s Singles
Bill Larned, Richard Sears and Bill Tilden of the USA – 7 wins (before 1968)
Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras of the USA – 5 wins (after 1968)
• Women’s Singles
Molla Bjurstedt Mallory of the USA – 8 wins (before 1968)
Chris Evert of the USA – 7 wins (after 1968)
Image courtesy of Pabo76, Flickr
The Australian Open
The first of the four grand slam tournaments, the Australian Open is held over the last two weeks of January in Melbourne, Australia. Featuring Men’s and Women’s Singles; Mixed Doubles; Junior matches; Wheelchair matches; Legends and Exhibition events; the tournaments have been held at Melbourne Park since the late 1980s.
The Australian Open is a high attendance grand slam event and the first to introduce indoor play to cope with extreme weather conditions. The two primary courts are the Hisense Arena and Rod Laver Arena. The Australian Open is also the richest tennis tournament worldwide.
The current champions for 2012 include: Novak Djokovic – Men’s singles; Victoria Azarenka – Women’s singles; Leander Paes/ Radek Stepanek – Men’s Doubles; Svetlana Kuznetsova/ Vera Zvonareva – Women’s Doubles. Image courtesy of Two Big Paws, Flickr

This article was produced on behalf of Keith Prowse, the UK’s leading provider of corporate hospitality. With an affinity to sport, Keith Prowse offers official hospitality at some of the finest sporting events – visit their website for Wimbledon hospitality 2012.

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Famous Tennis Players: Profile of Andy Roddick

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Andy Roddick at the 2009 US Open

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When it comes to American tennis, Andy Roddick has been the lone hope for men’s tennis success on the ATP tour.  American tennis fans have been spoiled over the years with incredible amounts of talent.  After Sampras, Agassi, Connors, and other greats, we’ve become greedy for more quality tennis players.  Roddick has proved a solid player, but he hasn’t been able to live up to these great expectations.  Aside from his single US Open title, Roddick has been unable to capture any other major tournament trophies.  His modus operandi has been consistency over the years, rather than big victories.  Roddick nears the end of a great career where he has been a permanent fixture in the top ten, but his inability to win big titles has been frustrating for both him and the American fans.

The Andy Roddick Tennis Game and Serve

Roddick is among the greatest tennis players famous for their serves.  The Roddick serve was consistently the biggest of his day, often nearing 140 mph.  His serve at 155 mph held the record for fastest until Ivo Karlovic one upped him with a 156 mph one.  Serving has always been a staple of the Roddick game, but it has made him terribly one dimensional.  The American was once regarded as a heavy hitter–though his weapons no longer pack the punch they once did.  The forehand is less effective and powerful, while players in the men’s game have grown used to heavy hitting and Roddick’s power isn’t quite as special as it once was.  His serve is still a weapon, but it is a rarity for him to be able to back up powerful serving with consistent returns.

It was only a few years ago that Roddick’s game was a fierce proposition on the grass at Wimbledon.  He exhibited incredible performances reaching back to back finals, only to be dismissed by an unbeatable Roger Federer.  In an era without such a dominant grass player it’s almost certain that Roddick would have secured at least one Wimbledon title.

No longer is Roddick able to push opponents around the baseline with his ground strokes.  He has transitioned from different coaches over the years (Gilbert and Connors recently) finally settling on Larry Stefanki.  Stefanki’s resume is nothing short of spectacular, having coached players like McEnroe, Rios, and Kafelnikov.  The adjustment for Roddick has been to mix up his game more.  He realizes that he cannot compete in long and drawn out baseline rallies.  Smart and aggressive tennis is the only option left for success.  Well timed tactical ventures to the net are now a common part of the Roddick game.  Stefanki, and others, have brought Roddick’s game to a strategic level that really eclipses his former self.  The problem is that the power of the men’s game has passed Roddick by.  While he can no longer hang in rallies with big hitters, he must find solutions in difficult shot combinations and consistent execution.

Roddick’s Future Goals

At 30 Roddick has a few good years left if he stays in top condition.  From this point in his career it is unlikely he can still vie for grand slam titles against the likes of Djokovic, but that doesn’t mean he can’t continue to compete at a high level.  It’s unfortunate for Roddick that he has recently fallen out of the top eight.  This drop will exclude him from the end of the year ATP World Tour Finals held in London.   The next few years will see Roddick take down a handful of smaller titles on hard court tennis surfaces to add to an already impressive resume.  Unfortunately for Roddick, American tennis fans will continue to be unsatisfied with such results.

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The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals 2011

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Juan Martín del Potro at the 2009 US Open

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As the tennis season comes to a close, the last big tournament of the year is the special qualification event in London.  The ATP Barclays is unique because the draw is limited to the top eight players in the ATP tour rankings for the year.  This means that we get to witness an event that exhibits the best players who have been performing well all year long.  The draw isn’t like a normal tournament, instead it begins with round robin play that eliminates half the field.  The semi finals and finals are played in a more standard fashion, but the quality of tennis always promises to be incredible.  Players have direct incentive for each match because the  point and prize distribution for the Barclays tennis tournament depends on each individual victory.

Looking Back at the ATP Finals 2010

The tournament last year ended up in a heated final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.  Federer had something to prove after having a less than stellar year, and prove it he did.  He took down Nadal, who was ranked number one at the time, in three fantastic sets.  The Barclays world tour finals is one event that Nadal has never managed to win.  One problem is that the indoor hard court surface does not suit his defensive game.  Players are able to take advantage by being aggressive and stepping into the Spaniard’s high and looping shots.  Federer on the other hand added another tally to his resume, making the ATP Barclays 2010 his 5th year end championship title.

The ATP Barclays 2011 Preview

This years ATP final will have a lot of familiar faces.  The “big four” as they’ve been nicknamed consist of Djokovic, Nadal, Federer, and Murray.  All of these players were in the event last year, but the dynamic has changed significantly.  Djokovic should be a huge favorite for this ATP final crown considering the incredible season he has had–if he plays.  The aggressive plays and shot making produced by the Novak Djokovic racquet this year has made the season a competition for second place.  The Serbian, however, was sidelined recently by a back injury he suffered in Davis Cup play against the Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro.  It’s questionable whether he will make a full recovery in time to see competition at London in November.  If he does play at full speed it isn’t likely anyone will be able to touch him.  The fast hard courts are so well suited to his game that his main competitor, Nadal, will be at a monstrous disadvantage against him.

Barclays Tennis Comes to London

The final tour event of the year is held in London, home court advantage Murray.  Andy Murray still hasn’t broken through to win a grand slam title yet, but he has persevered as the solid number four player the entire year.  His main problem though is that he can’t crack any of those top three players.  Not a good weakness to have in a tournament where those players make up  37.5% of the field.  To win here would be a big boost for Murray and he could really use it.  The surface isn’t bad for his game, so there isn’t any reason this can’t be his tournament to make a big move.

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Djokovic Wakes up from 2011 Dream Season

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Novak Djokovic training in Roland Garros durin...

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Coming off his incredible win over Nadal in the US Open tennis final, Djokovic was unable to complete his Davis Cup match due to a lingering back injury.  The injury first made an appearance during the final with Nadal.  With only a short rest period between the final and his Davis Cup match, Djokovic was unable to recover properly and retired after losing the the first set.

Novak Djokovic’s 2011 Season

Looking back it has been quite a year for the young Serbian player.  To start off 2011 he notched 41 consecutive wins that led him to hoist his second major Australian Open title, along with a slew of victories at other prestigious events.  He was indeed the man to beat, and for 41 matches no one was able to.

An on form Federer stopped the streak in the semi-final of the French Open at Roland Garros.  Federer played inspired tennis, dismissing the circulating rumors of his demise from the top of men’s tennis.  This was a temporary lull however, as Djokovic returned to form and snatched the Wimbledon championship to add to his list of major titles.

Fast forward to the present.  We have a new US Open champion in Djokovic, who has continued to impress the whole year.  His only other loss during the regular season was to Andy Murray, in a match where he had to retire due to injury.  The absolute dominance he displayed throughout the season has truly been something incredible to watch.

Discussions are still ongoing about whether or not this is the best season ever put together by a tennis player.  While the record alone may fall short of the best ever, the competition and depth of the men’s tennis field has drastically increased since earlier days of the tour.  Even guys knocking around outside the top 100 in ATP Tour ranking points can produce thrilling and inspired tennis.

How Will Djokovic Handle 2012

It will be interesting to see how the Serbian’s new found success carries him into the next season.  After producing such a high level of tennis consistently for an entire year, can he keep up the pace?  The back injury that has all but put an end to the rest of 2011 will be a big factor.  If Djokovic can get healthy again in time for the new year of competition he will be a fearsome opponent.

The confidence and experience he has gained makes the perfect combination with his youth and dedication.  He seems to have everyone’s number at this point, though Federer has continued to pose real problems for him.  If anyone is able to stem the flow of victories going into next year it will have to be the Swiss maestro.

Stay up to date with tennis news, articles, and information at TennisShoeView.

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The difference between winning and losing is work ethic and mental toughness.

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What did we learn from the British Open?

Tom Watson gave all of us that are older than dirt and even a few that are older than rock a warm feeling by his outstanding British Open. Watson is almost 60. He fought back several times and came within inches of winning the tournament in regulation. Granted, he missed a makable putt on the 18th green to fall into a playoff and then struggled in overtime. However, his performance along with that of Greg Norman last year at the British point out 2 very important points. First, the British Open requires a lot more patience than strength and more experience than power. But the most important lesson from the Open is this. Younger players in almost all sports win or lose based on work ethic and mental toughness more often than on talent and athleticism.

In general, the work ethic of the current group of golfers is not nearly what it was in the days of Nicholas, Palmer, and Player. The equipment is much better now. The athleticism is at a higher level than in the 60’s through the 80’s. One reason that Tiger Woods has been able to dominate the golf scene over the last few years is his work ethic and mental toughness against the other top golfers.

Work ethic and mental toughness show themselves in other sports

Those same two qualities show themselves in other sports as well. Check out the off season headlines Tom Brady and Tony Romo. Brady wins playoff games while Romo struggles in key situations including the 4th quarter and playoff games.

In ProSportsDaily.com the top 4 Brady headlines are “Tom Brady, Randy Moss go the extra mile to reconnect”, “Tom Brady to Randy Moss A blast from the past”, “Knee surgeon Wins High Praise from Brady”, and “Catch up time with Brady”

How about those about Romo?

From Google we see articles like “Romo says kids should play more than 1 sport‎”, “Tony Romo broke up with Jessica Simpson”, “Tony Romo fires a 69 at American Century Celebrity Golf Tournament”, and “Is John Mayer responsible for Simpson, Romo split?‎” Nothing about football, the Cowboys, or his focus and dedication to win it all in 2009. I think Jerry Jones has a work ethic problem with his QB.

Romo enjoys the celebrity status he gets from football. Tom Brady is too busy trying to win to enjoy his.

Another example of dedication, mental toughness and work ethic is Lance Armstrong. He now is second just 1:36 behind his team mate Alberto Contador. He may value the team result at this point in his life as much as the individual win. He may or may not win the yellow jersey in the end. I think that if the leader was a member of another team, he would win it as much for his team as for himself.

But he has been away for 3 years, battled back from cancer, and is 10 years older than the majority of his competitors. He is still is leading the rest of the pack.

Golf and tennis suffer the most from so many talented players lacking work ethic and mental toughness but it shows up in other sports as well. Roger Federer and the Williams sisters dominate tennis with their minds and focus as much as they do with their physical skills. Don’t expect to see that change any time soon. Work ethic and mental toughness goes a long way to winning in any sport.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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