Betsy - Weybridge, VT | Betsy's Second Entry
Sorry, kids, Mom loves you, but now that I have been appointed the new Commissioner of Tennis, I have to go to Paris to cover the 2007 French Open. See you in two weeks....
It's a tough job being the Commissioner of Tennis. I got this job because I am such a true fan of this great sport. The actual definition of the word fan, (which is short for fanatic) is someone who has an intense liking to a sport, player or group of players. That's me! But the Commissioner of Tennis has to be more than just a fan, they have to want what is best for the sport overall. Better coverage, better information, better players, better attendance, better schedules. And bring out more fans along the way.
For decades I have tracked countless careers of tennis players, from the superstars to the obscure, from their junior days to their retirements. I followed every tournament in all corners of the world. I have never celebrated a Memorial Day, Labor Day or the Fourth of July without watching Grand Slam coverage on TV. I even called and demanded my cable provider connect me to the world's only 24/7 tennis TV network when I heard one existed.
However, over time I saw a troubling pattern develop with some players on the tour. With the enormous demands of training, travel, and competing, many tour players succumbed to injuries or personal meltdowns, bringing an abrupt halt to a promising career. So when I took over this position, the first thing I did was shorten and redefine the Professional Tennis Tour schedules of the ATP and WTA.
You see, a shorter season means less injuries and demands for the players, which means they could sustain a longer career on the pro tour, ultimately drawing more fans into the sport of tennis as they follow their favorite players. A shorter schedule also makes the players' life more balanced and less stressful, which would in turn make the player a better role model for the next generation of tennis enthusiasts.
Just look at how many fans Andre Agassi brought into the sport in his remarkable 20-year career. And what a role model he is to this generation. Players like Andre ensure future growth and popularity in tennis.
So kids, even though I will be away covering the French Open, you will be able to follow the stories and spotlights of this year's players, and follow their careers for hopefully, many years to come.