A crisis is on many occasions a big window of opportunities depending on which side of the situation you will be stepping on.

For many people, International Tennis is facing right now different manifestations of a leadership crisis and representative direction, with problems in high levels like ATP Board changing their CEO with clear indications about some division inside between players and tournaments representatives. In parallel, ITF board breaking Davis Cup system with a competition model which broke tradition and national participation old scheme without the support and positive player´s opinion. More about ITF, creating a World Tennis Tour which in a past new format, was against the majority of incipient professional tennis players, affecting their careers, doing the same situation to coaches, promoters, parents and tennis academies.  Probably, the worst general idea in an international tennis circuit in the last decades.

If we consider other unstable aspects of international tennis like betting situations with promoter and players problems; decreasing tennis participation in mature markets and other regions, sponsors losses and not a unified message for our entire sport besides many more situations to be mentioned. In that sense, for sure tennis at least, is in front of a very complex reality.

Well, of course, it depends on which side you will step on. From my point of view, every crisis gives us material to read and think what´s going on in our sport? On this strives the window of opportunity, of course, if we will consider the crisis like a real manifestation about what our sport and industry needs.

This is the central concept; tennis is a sports industry. For many years I was discussing with tennis organizations, coaches and representatives to recognize that before a great sport, which everyone we love, it is a very influential business pathway to develop human beings, sport mentalities and habits, club´s communities, sales on tennis products and many more.

We can talk about the big organization, which is showing right now, leadership crisis (Will be in another article) or we can talk about each one of us, tennis coaches and developers, who are in the bottom of the structure.

When military strategist Sun Tsu wrote “The Art of War,”, which could be appreciated like a war book, however, it helps us to understand and battle our number one opponent: ourselves.

In 2000 was published my book which I wrote named: Tennis Concept 6/90, where I deeply explained about ”the cells theory” for the growth of tennis, creating a network of leaders (Every cell) where each one is taking care of themselves thinking like entrepreneurs, taking their own responsibilities, commitment, business approaches and challenges to increase the number of clients playing tennis.

We depend too much about what’s is happening on the tennis top of the structure. (National Federations, tennis organization, even club’s boards and etc.). It´s precisely the main mental objective to change.

Our challenge is with ourselves. I truly believe that tennis coaches have to develop themselves like a “tennis entrepreneur”, living plenty of ideas, creativeness, innovation and desire to be successful in their square meter. We are repeating the same old ideas for decades and then, questioning what’s is going on with tennis which is not growing.

Early this year I was in an Industry Conference in the USA, many tennis people mostly club owners are arguing about why tennis is decreasing, and new sports like pickleball, paddle tennis, platform, and others are increasing the number of people who are playing. Seated around with some tennis colleagues, proposed for one speaker, we did an exercise about to express our opinion about the current tennis situation. When my turn came, I mentioned my thoughts: “Why we are very concerned for other brother sports, It is not much better to recover our enthusiasm, passion, motivation, decision to conquer markets, create a more fun and client service approach programs and more transcendentally,  if we “destroy” the too much “excessive coaching mentality and process” to a more affordable “play the game and have fun with us” culture. Then, we could recover a present plenty of successful tennis participation histories. For sure, the other sports are doing these trying to reach us like we were on the past.”

We are so structured in tennis coaching rather than client service attending their needs and personal objectives why they prefer to play tennis.

Tennis needs leaders in every meter, thinking big executing small attending every detail. We need to create and develop a better tennis business and development mentality and culture for every one of us.

If we have “thousands of tennis coaches-cells” around the globe promoting, captivating people with the benefits of our sport, having sales approaches and business awareness with service client strategies and many more to be incorporated, for sure modifying our present, the future will be very promising and bright. More tennis volume is crucial in our thinking way.

It´s clear that we need to change our mental “status quo” about how to develop more tennis devoting ourselves to improve our skills and procedures.

Finally, we are the worldwide best individual sport, plenty of benefits for people. To keep being it and to increase our leadership, we have to be the architect of a new paradigm for our profession, tennis and personal life and our proper results. Passion is the gasoline; full tennis participation mentality has to guide us.

Is like Wayne Dyer uses to said: “The sky is the limit.”

Be a leader of yourself — every day.

Fernando Segal

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