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The Butterfly Tennis Effect

Talking what’s is happening in International tennis, when you have seeing thousands of articles, comments, posts, begs, critical statements and a lot more about the occurring situations in our sports with ITF/ATP/WTA and all what we are suffering right now with these changes, it reminds me a short story  called “A SOUND OF THUNDER” written by a giant like RAY BRADBURY. Let me give you an analogy with tennis.


When you consider the chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the crucial and very close dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of specific nonlinear system can result with a tremendous impact, producing large differences in later state. Let me go forward to comment on this short Bradbury´s story.
This takes place far into the future where time travel is very common and tells of a young man named ECKELS who was headed back in time to hunt dinosaurs.  During this trip, he gets frightened by a huge T-Rex, scurries off the path they have been told to stay on, and accidentally steps on a small butterfly.
Even though it was nothing more than a small insect among billions of them, when Eckels returns to his own time and the real world, he finds that the world he had left had drastically changed. Nothing is similar.
The language wasn’t quite the same. People behaved differently and act strangely. There were even different people running the country.
All because of a SMALL “STEP” that he had taken in the past. Everything changes.
What if we consider that similar paradox is happening in our tennis? International government bodies took a huge change, probably without to consider that they are stepping on thousands of butterflies. It means that dreams, wishes, hopes, confidence, pathways, development plans in place, actual tennis careers are possible being destroyed or at least, change forever.
When Mr Haggerty poled himself to be ITF President he made a statement that he will work in that position to increase the money income in tennis. Well, great commitment but selling the family jewellery to any cost???
The Davis Cup (losing BNP Paribas Sponsor after 17 years of support), the betting agreement (70 millions but compromising all pro players on development stages with WTT changes without more money and a lot of problems) , the Junior ranking (selling right to IMG, I don’t know what are thinking guys for Mouratouglou, Nadal, Sanchez-Casal, Good to be Great and other Academies, about it), all without respect the overall image and position that ITF has to be and respecting also, the history of the game. Change just for change, is not that good. Money to have money, without a tennis sense and purpose, probably is to mercantilist. And look, I love to have money in the pocket but there are some codes to respect.
In that sense, we are facing more a big leadership issues with philosophical wrong statements, from my humble and simple point of view. Let me go deeper:

  • LEADERS increase the quantity of people playing tennis. We need more people on board playing tennis. Not to cut places like WTT did.
  • LEADERS create confidence. Key aspect. They show to all that they have the vision and really know the fair way to develop a better way for everyone included.
  • LEADERS make things happen. They create pathways to grow. National Federations, players, coaches, managers and promoters, tennis structure, all need a strategical approach to achieve their potential. Now, they broke the pathway and it is not functioning.
  • LEADERS listen to the others. Did you read their press releases? 15,000 BUTTERFLIES put their signature to claim a better way, what’s happen, they step on them.
  • LEADERS are able to deal with other leaders. According to Tennis Europe, COSAT, COTECC and others, ATP is guilty for taking out ATP points to future tournaments. REALLY??? Seriously what are you talking about. WHO WAS SEATED DEALING WITH THEM? WHO SHOWED LACK OF MANAGEMENT ABILITIES TO CREATE A FAIR TENNIS PRO PATHWAY? WHO WAS SELLING THE TRANSITION TOUR (WTT LATER) LIKE THE NEW ITF JEWELLERY?
  • LEADERS DO A LOT MORE

Come on guys, just no more jokes. This is very serious is a worldwide tennis concern.
Is clear that we have a tennis leadership crisis and critical philosophical values missed on the organization. To recover more PARTICIPATION CONCEPTS ON PLACE is key.
Like 11 months ago I was saying like few others on world tennis, that Transition Tour/WTT will be a disaster, a Tsunami for international tennis. In past August I wrote a letter to a National Tennis Association President, former tennis pro player, talking about how dangerous for develop players were future ITF decisions. Now, the Tsunami is occurring with more than 10.000 players without the chances to play Futures in first quarter of year.
But in other hand, you BUTTERFLY (Like player, tennis coach, parents, promoter, volunteer, etc) can do a great and positive change as well from here. Talk seriously with your National Federation, push them to understand that these changes are affecting everyone.  Be a positive agent of change.
Probably ECKELS don’t realize the size of his impact after he saw it. But now we need a better, fair and strong tennis leadership with people who knows what to do on crisis.
We need your action, you had a chance to change the trajectory of tennis future. Be that positive butterfly and possibly the SOUND OF THUNDER will be heard.
To making a better tennis, regards.
Fernando

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