Ok don't believe anyone that tells you that Tennis is cheap to play ....once you get good at it,TENNIS is a an expensive sport !! and costs are huge. We miss many talented athletes that start in tennis only for parents to find out that to succeed at a high level the cost is beyond them.Tennis is a unique sport its an individual sport and for most its an elite sport for those that can afford it outside the local Saturday Morning Junior Interclub.How many juniors would have made it had they had the financial support available to them.There are not too many success story's with out a major financial commitment by families to get to the top.Of course when you do the rewards are great.Getting there is the hardest part.Grasshoppers is bringing in new kids to the system but what is in place to keep these juniors in the sport.Statistics will show we will lose 70% of these juniors by the time they reach 14 years of age.The drop off from 14-17 years is again huge!
Lets break it down with different types of player's starting with
1.The Novice Player - Ok for a start lets get that player ready to play. Initial cost will include EQUIPMENT ,New Racquet a good junior racquet will set you back $200 NZ ,shoes $120.00,attire another $100.00 so all up $420.00 to get you started. Ok then you have to join a club $50-$100 depending on location and you have to take some group tennis lesson at around $150.00 a term.( two terms) So $420 for equipment $100 for club membership and $300 for two terms of group coaching. Outlay for the year is $820.00.
2.THE REGIONAL PLAYER -To make a regional team for say a National teams event you will of course upgraded your tennis racquet and because you will be playing more events tournaments and local events you of course will break strings more regular.So you will need two racquets which will set you back $800.00.Don't forget the new Racquet bag $100.00 ,At least 5 restrings a year $200.00 ,the more specialized coaching from $50-$70 an hour and usually at the very least juniors will take an hour lesson per week .Do your maths over 48 weeks of the year.Now you are going to tournaments outside your local area also accommodation transport etc. So you wont get much change out of $3500.00
THE NATIONALLY RANKED JUNIOR- These juniors are winning National titles or ranked in the top 10 of their age group in the country.Juniors are committed to tennis everyday of the week.Most juniors are having 3 Individuals with their private Coach and doing at least 3 squads a week.Also they are travelling oversea's and ITF junior tournaments.There will be not much change from $16,000.00.And that is just for 1 year taking in Travelling Coaching Accommodation and equipment and clothes.
So you are Now on the Circuit - Ok you are now stepping up to ITF Men's and Women 's Futures tournaments.These events are world wide and it is fact you cannot stay in New Zealand to get ahead and you will need to travel so lets keep your first year basic, Airfares etc 10,000.00 Food $3,500.00 Coach at $100 @ day 100 days 10,000.00 ,Car Hire /and Local travel $3000.00. I have roughly based it on playing tournament's in the USA ,Mexico,Spain,Canada and UK. Now many cannot afford a coach so do it independently and unless your Roger Federer you will not survive. So a basic year figure is around $30,000.00. You are playing mostly qualifying and not eligible for Main Draw benefits. Once you do start making Main Draw's at the Futures and challengers it gets a little easier...but unless you win a few not much!
By the time you are 21 I would hate to add up the amount of money that has been spent.The fact is and you can look at the Journey men and women competing in these events trying to get a break and a decent World ranking many will fall by the wayside simply because they cannot afford the expense.
I see so many talented juniors that I know do not have the money behind them to further their talent have to leave the game and I see many Top ranked juniors that have been "spoon fed" fall beside the way side because it has been Mummy Money that has got them too a false ranking and cant handle the heat when it gets tough.
Nations like New Zealand have to single out these players with drive and determination and back them ,too much waste is on players that never will be appearing in Main draws at the Grandslam's. I'm sorry but if your a female and you haven't reached the top 100 by 20 forget it. And men at 26 and if you haven't cracked the top 150 by then forget it it also.We have to do better in nurturing the younger player's and to educate these juniors and parents on how disciplined you must be with training.I have to say that you only have to look at some of the Face book pages and you will see how the drinking culture for younger people take over and that includes our so called talented juniors.Can we change a culture ,this I am not so sure.!
Please be free to comment on costs and problems you are faced with in trying to get ahead with your tennis .Attach to this post.