Should I Become a Professional Tennis Player?
Professional tennis players in America participate in tennis events sanctioned by the United States Tennis Association (USTA). This organization is responsible for scheduling all U.S. tournaments and developing junior players. Professional athletes have the potential to take in very competitive salaries playing their sport. Getting to each sporting match, however, can require a lot of travel.
Sports are often seasonal in nature, which means that professionals might have a very busy schedule for part of the year, followed by a period of little to no activity during off-season. Many athletes also risk physical injuries that can affect their ability to participate in future matches.
|Education and Training||Professional athletes typically hold a high school diploma; knowledge of the sport and its rules is crucial for advancement; consistent coaching is essential|
|Experience||Previous experience playing the sport at amateur levels|
|Key Skills||In addition to sport-specific skills, professionals must be physically fit at a superior level and have athleticism, dedication, and discipline|
|Salary (2015)||$44,680 (median annual salary for professional tennis players)|
Source: U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Steps to Becoming a Professional Tennis Player
Step 1: Begin Tennis Lessons at a Young Age
Taking tennis lessons at a young age is a mandatory requirement in order to become a tennis player. While the specific age may vary, this is where young players will begin learning about the game and developing the fundamentals to play at a high-level.
Obtain private coaching. An amateur or junior athlete showing promise in the sport and dedication to improving may choose to pursue private coaching. This offers the chance to receive individual instruction from a coach.
Step 2: Play in Junior Tournaments
The USTA offers junior tournaments for younger players, which allows them to compete against their peers and assess their skills. Junior tournaments are held all over the country, and players as young as ten can begin playing in these events. Playing well in these tournaments may also secure a junior ranking from the USTA.
Enroll in a tennis academy. While not required to become a professional tennis player, enrolling in a tennis academy can be beneficial. Tennis academies offer year-round training opportunities and present players with a chance to compete with other aspiring professionals on a regular basis. In addition to providing tennis training, some of these academies provide education for students that might prepare them for college or a pro-athlete career.
Step 3: Turn Pro
Once players reach a certain level of play or turn 19 years old, they are eligible to play on the USTA's professional circuit. A tennis player's success in tournaments will determine how much money they make and how high they are ranked. Players must win or play at a very high-level at the junior and amateur level to be eligible for professional tournaments.
Hopeful professional tennis players must begin lessons at a young age, play in junior tournaments, and consider enrolling in a tennis academy before they have an opportunity to become a professional.