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spiceboy
Mar 20th, 2006, 05:24 PM
For players struggling to join tennis' elite, life on tour is more grit than glamour

By Ethan J. Skolnick
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Posted March 20 2006



Even the closest acquaintances can be clueless.

"People think it's super-glamorous," Jamea Jackson said.

Her life has to be, right? She is the 90th-ranked women's tennis player in the world. And it is, as are the lives of most other participants in the Nasdaq-100 Open, if that's how you characterize jet lag, late arrivals, long absences from family, language barriers, laying out thousands weekly for coaching, and losing.

Lots of losing.

With less reward than you'd guess.

Justin Gimelstob, who is entered in Nasdaq qualifying, has earned more than $2.2 million while popping in and out of the ATP Tour's top 100 for nine years. But that's before taxes and expenses. No wonder he's already working on a second career as a broadcaster and writer.

"You make enough to sustain yourself and a coach, but not enough to be frivolous," Jackson said. "Your friends don't really understand that."

"My friends all say, `You've got it made, I'm coming to live with you in a couple of years,'" said Bobby Reynolds, 23 and ranked No. 114 in ATP. "Yeah, right."

Roger Federer? Justine Henin-Hardenne? Andre Agassi? Maria Sharapova? Those in the top 50 of the ATP and Sony Ericsson WTA tours? Those expected to advance deep into the Nasdaq-100 that officially begins Wednesday, two days after qualifying does?

For those players, perks truly are plentiful.

"If you are doing well, it is an incredible lifestyle," said Lisa Raymond, a longtime doubles star ranked No. 68 in singles.

What about the great majority of players, however, those who find themselves represented as agate type on the right, rather than left, side of "def." notations early in tournaments?

They find themselves hoping for the sort of wild-card entry Jackson received to Nasdaq, toiling through qualifiers or dropping to less lucrative satellite events.

They often find themselves skimping on coaching, even at the risk of continuing the losing cycle.

They invariably find themselves fighting to maintain confidence.

Raymond, 32, recalled "a rude awakening" after turning pro, having been No. 1 in juniors and college.

Paul Goldstein has reached his career-high ranking of No. 63 at age 29. He has a career record of 66-86.

"In college, my worst year, I was 26-4," Goldstein said. "Handling the losses on tour is a major transition."

He has seen it "chew up and spit out" many talented newcomers, who must come to grips with more than rackets. Young players such as Jackson and Amer Delic, who is 5-13 after winning an NCAA singles crown for undefeated Illinois, are still learning how to cope.

Veterans learn to take a rational approach.

"You are shooting for a few great weeks rather than counting on winning every week," said Gimelstob, who has a record of 95-145, was ranked as high as No. 63 in 1999 and is now No. 98.

Goldstein and Gimelstob pack bags and book flights based on losing relatively early.

"If you have to push [flights] back, that's a good thing," Goldstein said. "It might cost you a little in a change fee, but you're only doing it because you're winning prize money."

Yes, players pay for flights. Goldstein is a bargain-seeking Orbitz regular, even after earning more than $1.3 million on tour. Goldstein, whose wife accompanies him only a couple of times per year, was outearning his Stanford peers shortly after graduation. Not anymore.

"If you compare how I'm doing to the 63rd golfer or the 63rd-best baseball player, it's far behind," Goldstein said.

Even so, Gimelstob will remember his tour time fondly: "We get to work out for a living, and travel, and compete."

The traveling can be exhausting, however, the sightseeing time scarce.

Between Dec. 27 and Feb. 25, Delic spent two days home in Jacksonville, for his mother's birthday.

"People say, `You were in France, how was that?'" said Jackson, 20. "You see the hotel, you see the courts. You don't have much time to do anything else. I try to see one play in New York every year, around my birthday."

Furthermore, financial realities force decisions detrimental to competing at the highest level. Coaches are expensive, when including fees, travel and food. Delic, 23, and Reynolds have been part of the USTA's High Performance program, which provides a shared coach for selected players for a couple of years. Delic recently got his own, at a cost he estimates at $100,000 this year. Players put the total weekly cost at $500 to $5,000, with some coaches getting extra for good results.

"There's a different pressure when you're paying for a coach," Delic said.

A first-round loss could lead to losing money for the week. Thus, Jackson went without one for a while, even while supplementing income with sponsorships.

After losing his High Performance spot, Alex Bogomolov used a coach in 2005 only for the U.S. Open. The Miami native, 22, was still waiting Sunday to find out whether he qualified for qualifying at Nasdaq, where wife Ashley Harkleroad, 20, has a wild card. The couple lives in a three-bedroom house in Chattanooga, Tenn., but not on easy street. Not with No. 168 and No. 78 rankings, respectively.

Asked for his net earnings, Bogomolov said: "Tax season is around the corner, so I know that for the past three years, basically zero."

Harkleroad was injured for nine months, while Bogomolov was losing Challenger tournaments, so he sold his Toyota Celica GT for $10,000. Things are looking up. His wife is playing again; in dual tournaments, they can share a room. She got an adidas contract, and they may play World Team Tennis.

Already a five-year veteran, Harkleroad makes no secret of frustrations with her tour, in part "because girls with girls can be bratty with each other." Why did she return, after considering retirement?

"Had to pay some bills," she said. "No, just kidding. I kind of missed the competition."

Plus, she said, there's always hope "you might have one or two good weeks, and that gets you out of qualies for a year."

There is a huge difference between top 60, top 100 and lower. A better ranking not only generates more reward; it lessens the grind. Qualifying requires matches day after day before a tournament starts, while making a mess of planning.

"If I were in the top 50, I could book flights for the rest of the year," said Delic, who won two qualifiers at Indian Wells, lost to a fresh Marat Safin in the first round, then paid an $800 change fee, and drove from Palm Springs to Los Angeles to take a red eye to start over again in South Florida's BMW Championship.

So Goldstein considers it critical to remain in the top 100, for certain entry into the main draw of all four Grand Slams.

Reynolds sees hope in Goldstein having his best year at 29.

"It's reassuring," Reynolds said. "You don't think, `I'm 23, I need to do well in the next two years or that's it.'"

Still, Goldstein said, "I'm not content just maintaining."

Not when the really good life may just be one great week away.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/media/photo/2006-03/22516948.jpg

Helen Lawson
Mar 20th, 2006, 05:32 PM
Well, at least from a Hollywood perspective, it's the good life being a superstar living in a mansion on Sunset Boulevard, I mean, I can even get a monkey coffin delivered on a few hours' notice if the mood strikes me, even lined in bright red satin.

But it's not fun struggling to make it while working as a car hop or a dress extra.

davidmario
Mar 20th, 2006, 05:39 PM
Doesn't Jamea have a Nike-contract?

kabuki
Mar 20th, 2006, 05:45 PM
Well, that sure was sobering.

spartanfan
Mar 20th, 2006, 05:49 PM
What a great article about tennis life below the top 50.

LostInThe80s
Mar 20th, 2006, 05:52 PM
Someone should do a documentary on the lower ranked players. I'm sure it would make a compelling movie. Good luck to them all! :)

Helen Lawson
Mar 20th, 2006, 05:54 PM
Someone should do a documentary on the lower ranked players. I'm sure it would make a compelling movie. Good luck to them all! :)

A couple of low-ranked guys did one about a year ago, I can't remember what it was called, but they were constantly on the brink of having to quit and go home for lack of funds. I think they lost in the last round of qualifying in doubles in Miami and they had meltdowns because they were so close to a (major??) first round payday in doubles.

I'll try to find some information about it and post it.

Cam'ron Giles
Mar 20th, 2006, 05:57 PM
Some of them better learn how to type quick and have a few temp agencies on speed dial...:sad:

CooCooCachoo
Mar 20th, 2006, 05:59 PM
Over-dramatized article, though still interesting.

Meesh
Mar 20th, 2006, 06:09 PM
Over-dramatized article, though still interesting.

I think there are a lot of perks that they left out of this article. Like you said though... very interesting and sobering.

canoe.
Mar 20th, 2006, 06:16 PM
Justin Gimelstob, who is entered in Nasdaq qualifying, has earned more than $2.2 million while popping in and out of the ATP Tour's top 100 for nine years. But that's before taxes and expenses. No wonder he's already working on a second career as a broadcaster and writer. Yeah, and hes also got daddy's money!

Signed: Cry me a river.

:)
Oh,and only a sportswriter would refer to Justin as a "writer". lmao.

Aquanetta
Mar 20th, 2006, 06:35 PM
Over-dramatized article, though still interesting.

How so? It paints a realistic picture, that is unless you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth.

drake3781
Mar 20th, 2006, 07:04 PM
Marking this; to read it when I have time !! :)

Pheobo
Mar 20th, 2006, 07:09 PM
Oh boo-hoo. It's what these people chose to do with their lives.

Even with the overbearing parents who force their kids to play, they still have an option if they don't like it. They can say no. If they're getting beaten or whatever, they can call someone, an aunt, an uncle, whatever. They will do something about it.

That's why I can't stand some kids who can't take action once they get old enough, where they feel like they can't do something. I was emancipated when I was 15.

Sorry for that little tangent. :lol:

jacobruiz
Mar 20th, 2006, 07:48 PM
Oh boo-hoo. It's what these people chose to do with their lives.

Even with the overbearing parents who force their kids to play, they still have an option if they don't like it. They can say no. If they're getting beaten or whatever, they can call someone, an aunt, an uncle, whatever. They will do something about it.

That's why I can't stand some kids who can't take action once they get old enough, where they feel like they can't do something. I was emancipated when I was 15. :lol:


So? :shrug: These people are doing what they want to do but they're struggling at it. It's not about saying "no", it's about following your dream but not having great success at it. They're trying and good luck to them.:yeah:

TF Chipmunk
Mar 20th, 2006, 07:57 PM
Great article :) We always hear about the glamour, but it's all the top players. It probably is tough expecting to lose and hoping and praying for a "good week," as they said, not only financially but emotionally. But kudos to them for still keeping up with it and doing what they love instead of settling for less.

Pheobo
Mar 20th, 2006, 08:04 PM
So? :shrug: These people are doing what they want to do but they're struggling at it. It's not about saying "no", it's about following your dream but not having great success at it. They're trying and good luck to them.:yeah:


But it's what they chose to do with their lives, and they could easily not do it anymore, so why do they complain? :confused:

TF Chipmunk
Mar 20th, 2006, 08:08 PM
But it's what they chose to do with their lives, and they could easily not do it anymore, so why do they complain? :confused:
Well they're trying to do what they love and feel what they're meant to do, and it's just a tough road. I don't think they're complaining, they're just showing everyone how tough it really is.

jacobruiz
Mar 20th, 2006, 08:15 PM
Well they're trying to do what they love and feel what they're meant to do, and it's just a tough road. I don't think they're complaining, they're just showing everyone how tough it really is.


Yeah, that's what I would have said if you hadn't said it first.:)

drake3781
Mar 20th, 2006, 09:12 PM
Yeah, that's what I would have said if you hadn't said it first.:)

Agree. This kind of information is why I love this board...... I want to know about the "nuts and bolts", not interested in fan-worship of top names.

¤CharlDa¤
Mar 20th, 2006, 09:46 PM
Finally some people are getting interested in the *real* stars of the WTA, the ones who fight so hard to manage to get a lil money in the end and keep on dreaming about their life in the sport! Good article :wavey:

To someone who asked if a documentary was done, I remember there was one on the juniors players, which included Melanie Marois, Andy Roddick and Aniko Kapros few years ago. It showed how some people have it easier than others!

CoryAnnAvants#1
Mar 20th, 2006, 09:48 PM
Amer Delic paying $100,000 for a coach this year is absolutely absurd and rather frivolous in my opinion, particularly since he's out of the top 100. He doesn't have that kind of money (at least not from his prize money). Unless he has sponsorships not mentioned in the article, that seems a bit silly to me.

I've never understood the point of having a travelling coach with you year-round to be honest. You're not really going to be working on anything major in the middle of a tournament. All you really do is hit for about an hour on the practice court each day and that's it. Just having a coach back at home would save these players a ton of money.

Part of the issue too is how money works in different parts of the world. There are a ton of players ranked between 150-300 that come from Eastern European countries and they've stayed in that same ranking spots for years. They can afford to do that though because netting just $10,000 a year allows you to lead a pretty comfortable lifestyle. That wouldn't work in the US or most of Europe.

Carmen Mairena
Mar 20th, 2006, 10:08 PM
Why has it to be glamorous??? :retard:

I still have to work nearly 24-7 and I don't give a f**k it's not glamorous! :retard:

Some players are just :retard:

No Name Face
Mar 20th, 2006, 10:14 PM
makes sense. tennis isn't really a high paying sport compared to others.

i mean, if you dissected amelie's payday for the AO, she probably pockets about 200,000 of that million that she earned, factoring in taxes, payments to the coach, etc.

maybe a little more, and she's the best in the world right now. best in the world at tennis...and you're making a little over a million dollars. *shrug*

shitty basketball players make 10 times that amount.

switz
Mar 20th, 2006, 10:27 PM
yes it's tough to really feel sorry for them. Tennis is not such a high profile compared with the dominant ones in most countries so why would they expect to be paid huge amounts when they aren't that good - it's no different from anything else in life - relatively speaking it's still a very glamourous life.

try being an athlete who has to actually work a full time job as well to pay bills like a lot of swimmers do.

fonsito
Mar 20th, 2006, 10:33 PM
omg that chick is scary :rolls:

hablo
Mar 20th, 2006, 10:33 PM
Finally some people are getting interested in the *real* stars of the WTA, the ones who fight so hard to manage to get a lil money in the end and keep on dreaming about their life in the sport! Good article :wavey:

To someone who asked if a documentary was done, I remember there was one on the juniors players, which included Melanie Marois, Andy Roddick and Aniko Kapros few years ago. It showed how some people have it easier than others!
I saw that one... it also featured a french male top prospect, unfortunately I keep forgetting his name :p

I think that documentary really showed how tough the tour can be if you don't get good results....

CooCooCachoo
Mar 20th, 2006, 10:35 PM
How so? It paints a realistic picture, that is unless you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth.

They live a more comfortable life than most of us. If you are ranked inside the Top 150, really, you have no right to complain.

If you were ranked #300 or something, then you are really struggling. Think of someone like Adriana Barna who has not been doing particularly well, who has never had a reasonable ranking, but who has been playing on the Tour for so many years. Clearly even she can make a decent living, otherwise she would have retired long ago.

You can be sure that Jackson, Harkleroad & Co. earn considerably more than Adriana Barna. Moreover, they get a lot of support from the USTA and have many more chances of WCs into events, such as both Jackson and Harkleroad witness this week.

In my humble opinion, this article is sketching a far too black-white picture. I would have no problems living a pretty wealthy life with the money they have left after all expenses.

CooCooCachoo
Mar 20th, 2006, 10:37 PM
I saw that one... it also featured a french male top prospect, unfortunately I keep forgetting his name :p

I think that documentary really showed how tough the tour can be if you don't get good results....

Mathieu Montcourt?
Josselin Ouanna?
Jéremy Chardy?
Richard Gasquet?
Gael Monfils?
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga?
Clément Morel?

They have too many.

Wannabeknowitall
Mar 20th, 2006, 10:42 PM
I do feel in the case of many American players that the USTA has not done enough for the future for these players.
What is going to happen to American tournaments in the next 5-10 years on the women's side without the Williams Sisters, Lindsay, and Capriati?
At the same time we have to understand that on the tour including these players that there can only be a few winners a week, and those winners make more money than some people make in an entire week, month, or year.
So there is always potential there on the WTA and ITF tour.
I look at the WNBA for instance. The season for them is not an entire year but most of these women athletes have another profession that keeps them financially stable.
When they're not on the court, they're working on their other career.
So for some of these girls a college education might actually be critical to their tennis careers.
That is something that American tennis has a lost a bit, IMO.
I mean athletes from Australia have said they come to America because they have the chance to play while getting an education.
Problem is you can't really do both. The NCAA policies to me are a bit over the top and need to be changed if they really consider the student/athlete to really thrive.

Hulet
Mar 20th, 2006, 10:45 PM
[pedant alert] :)
Scary Jamea, Ashley talk about unglamourous life on Tour
What's new here? We already know being scary-looking makes leading a glamorous life a bit harder.

hablo
Mar 20th, 2006, 10:46 PM
Mathieu Montcourt?
Josselin Ouanna?
Jéremy Chardy?
Richard Gasquet?
Gael Monfils?
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga?
Clément Morel?

They have too many.
crap. none of those names ring a bell. :( but I think he was really supposed to be good... he was of the generation of Roddick... ugh I have such a lousy memory :help:
he was white though and it wasn't Richard Gasquet, at least I don't think so... you'd figure Chada would mention him :p
do you have pics of those guys you listed?

SAEKeithSerena
Mar 20th, 2006, 10:51 PM
it's a risky profession, especially if you're not one of the top players. but it's your choice, so stop bitchin':)

switz
Mar 20th, 2006, 10:52 PM
crap. none of those names ring a bell. :( but I think he was really supposed to be good... he was of the generation of Roddick... ugh I have such a lousy memory :help:
he was white though and it wasn't Richard Gasquet, at least I don't think so... you'd figure Chada would mention him :p
do you have pics of those guys you listed?

he's Swiss but you don't mean Roman Valent? I doubt you'd forget that name :lol: although i was once in class at uni with the guy called Pablo Roman :lol:

drake3781
Mar 20th, 2006, 10:52 PM
crap. none of those names ring a bell. :( but I think he was really supposed to be good... he was of the generation of Roddick... ugh I have such a lousy memory :help:
he was white though and it wasn't Richard Gasquet, at least I don't think so... you'd figure Chada would mention him :p
do you have pics of those guys you listed?


Not your guy, but there is a guy called Tomas Zib that I follow once in a while, because I saw him play a qualy once and got interested. He seems to only make 1-2 round or die in the qualies usually. But every year he is still back for more! An example of the hard life, I suppose. But I'll check his earnings, over time with lot of years and lot of events i think he has done OK. I've looked for anybody talking about him on MTF and nothing!! :lol:

switz
Mar 20th, 2006, 10:55 PM
i feel sorry for my children (when i have them) because my last name is Switzer and i'm only going to marry a woman whose last name is "Land", and i'll call my first daughter Geneva and first son Zurich so there names will been Geneva Switzer-Land and Zurich Switzer-Land.

CooCooCachoo
Mar 20th, 2006, 10:55 PM
crap. none of those names ring a bell. :( but I think he was really supposed to be good... he was of the generation of Roddick... ugh I have such a lousy memory :help:
he was white though and it wasn't Richard Gasquet, at least I don't think so... you'd figure Chada would mention him :p
do you have pics of those guys you listed?

:lol: You can Google them ;)

You might mean Julien Jeanpierre, if it's Roddick's generation. He is two years older though. Ouanna, Tsonga, Gasquet, Monfils are too young.

Clément Morel took the 2002 Aussie Open junior's title, so he could be it ;)

http://www.fft.fr/web2002/OPEN-AUSTRALIE/Photos/morel27.JPG

CooCooCachoo
Mar 20th, 2006, 10:56 PM
he's Swiss but you don't mean Roman Valent? I doubt you'd forget that name :lol: although i was once in class at uni with the guy called Pablo Roman :lol:

Well, Valent definitely is not living up to the expectations.

drake3781
Mar 20th, 2006, 10:56 PM
it's a risky profession, especially if you're not one of the top players. but it's your choice, so stop bitchin':)

I don't see anyone bitchin'. At least now how I read it. Talking about negatives does not mean bitchin' and complaining necessarily.

iPatty
Mar 20th, 2006, 10:57 PM
Wow. That was depressing. Makes you wonder if you want to turn pro when you get older. Depends on how much you enjoy the game, I guess. :shrug:

CooCooCachoo
Mar 20th, 2006, 10:57 PM
Not your guy, but there is a guy called Tomas Zib that I follow once in a while, because I saw him play a qualy once and got interested. He seems to only make 1-2 round or die in the qualies usually. But every year he is still back for more! An example of the hard life, I suppose. But I'll check his earnings, over time with lot of years and lot of events i think he has done OK. I've looked for anybody talking about him on MTF and nothing!! :lol:

I like Tomas :) He's a decent player and he's been in the Top 100 for a while now. Though considering some guys that have cracked the Top 100 recently, on the ATP Tour... :tape:

hablo
Mar 20th, 2006, 10:58 PM
^^ok, I will google them then :p :lol:

CrossCourt~Rally
Mar 20th, 2006, 10:59 PM
Thanks for the info ...its amazing what the lower ranked girls have to go through :sad:

¤CharlDa¤
Mar 20th, 2006, 10:59 PM
crap. none of those names ring a bell. :( but I think he was really supposed to be good... he was of the generation of Roddick... ugh I have such a lousy memory :help:
he was white though and it wasn't Richard Gasquet, at least I don't think so... you'd figure Chada would mention him :p
do you have pics of those guys you listed?

I didn't remember who the fourth guy was also, so i just didn't mention him ;)

Joana
Mar 20th, 2006, 11:02 PM
Thanks for the info ...its amazing what the lower ranked girls have to go through :sad:

Sad, but that's life. An average high school teacher has to go through a lot more every day.

hablo
Mar 20th, 2006, 11:06 PM
I didn't remember who the fourth guy was also, so i just didn't mention him ;)
Now it's bugging me :p:crazy:

CooCooCachoo
Mar 20th, 2006, 11:07 PM
Maybe it's Thierry Ascione?

http://membres.lycos.fr/zefts3/Ascione/photos/02.jpg

CrossCourt~Rally
Mar 20th, 2006, 11:13 PM
Sad, but that's life. An average high school teacher has to go through a lot more every day.

I never said that they didn't. We are talking about tennis here. There are allot of other occupations that go through much tougher times then tennis players or teachers. Look at the troups fighting in the war. ANYWAYS...lets all just try to keep to the subject at hand... :D :bounce:

hablo
Mar 20th, 2006, 11:34 PM
Maybe it's Thierry Ascione?

http://membres.lycos.fr/zefts3/Ascione/photos/02.jpg
nope :p

I wish I remembered the name of the documentary itself :o

hablo
Mar 20th, 2006, 11:43 PM
Maybe it was Nicolas Mahut... but I'm not sure...his name sounds familiar :lol::help:

njnetswill
Mar 20th, 2006, 11:49 PM
Sorry, but I never pictured Jamea and Gimelstob "living it up" to begin with.

mishar
Mar 20th, 2006, 11:54 PM
Nicholas Mahut.

mishar
Mar 20th, 2006, 11:55 PM
I saw the film too. Then I saw Nicolas play at the Paris Masters.. he had a good game, I'm surprised he hasn't done more.

Timariot
Mar 21st, 2006, 12:19 AM
CCC is right, I've heard that break-even point for a male pro is somewhere around #150. Goldstein and Gimelstob are actually lucky ones: they get to money events, play in real arenas against the elite and their names are recognized within the sport. There are literally thousands of players who would give up an eye to have their results.

But yeah, this all should put give some perspective to all idiots who admonished Kafelnikov from his comments that tournament early rounds don't hand out enough money. But of course, they had to quote Agassi and Sampras who had nerve to say that they're overpaid... :rolleyes:

hablo
Mar 21st, 2006, 12:19 AM
I saw the film too. Then I saw Nicolas play at the Paris Masters.. he had a good game, I'm surprised he hasn't done more.
ok...mystery is now solved :lol:
I had to look him up on the ATP site...thank goodness for the search by country feature :p

iPatty
Mar 21st, 2006, 12:20 AM
Habs, it was Nicolas Mahut you saw. I remember that film well. :hearts:

hablo
Mar 21st, 2006, 12:24 AM
Habs, it was Nicolas Mahut you saw. I remember that film well. :hearts:
quite a few people have seen that documentary, I see :lol:
he had a tough transition from junior to atp tour it seems :p

¤CharlDa¤
Mar 21st, 2006, 12:32 AM
That film was great, I remember seeing Melanie's story, and all the people i knew in it, I remember how difficult everything was for her. And now she got injured so bad and her career might be ruined. Incredibly sad :sad:

Tripp
Mar 21st, 2006, 12:36 AM
Anybody remembers the name of the film? It sounds interesting.

These american players have it easy comparing them to players in third-world countries. There is what you could call a full schedule in the United States for a low ranked player, going from $10K to Grand Slam tournaments and more sponsorship oportunities.

Most countries, except for Europe and Australia, have a low amount of professional tournaments a year. Imagine not only being desperate to make money, but having to travel to another part of the world just to have the opportunity to play.

hablo
Mar 21st, 2006, 12:40 AM
That film was great, I remember seeing Melanie's story, and all the people i knew in it, I remember how difficult everything was for her. And now she got injured so bad and her career might be ruined. Incredibly sad :sad:
yeah, I remember the part where she was crying after a loss :sad:
she also did some commentary during a match on RDS once ; I hope she can return to tennis soon :hug:
and her parents had to put their house on mortgage for her to be able to play :eek:

drake3781
Mar 21st, 2006, 01:22 AM
CCC is right, I've heard that break-even point for a male pro is somewhere around #150. Goldstein and Gimelstob are actually lucky ones: they get to money events, play in real arenas against the elite and their names are recognized within the sport. There are literally thousands of players who would give up an eye to have their results.

But yeah, this all should put give some perspective to all idiots who admonished Kafelnikov from his comments that tournament early rounds don't hand out enough money. But of course, they had to quote Agassi and Sampras who had nerve to say that they're overpaid... :rolleyes:

What's breakeven for a female pro, do you know? I'd hvae to think it's a lot lowerthan 150. Maybe 75 - 100?

DutchieGirl
Mar 21st, 2006, 01:25 AM
Anybody remembers the name of the film? It sounds interesting.

These american players have it easy comparing them to players in third-world countries. There is what you could call a full schedule in the United States for a low ranked player, going from $10K to Grand Slam tournaments and more sponsorship oportunities.

Most countries, except for Europe and Australia, have a low amount of professional tournaments a year. Imagine not only being desperate to make money, but having to travel to another part of the world just to have the opportunity to play.

Even Australia has nowhere near the amount of tourneys that are available in the USA or Europe... ;) There is of course the summer circuit in Jan for the top players, and then for the womens, a couple of $25k circuits in March/April and Oct/Nov. But you have to travel if you wanna play the rest of the year! ;)

But yes, it must be hard for people in underdeveloped countries to get anywhere...

DutchieGirl
Mar 21st, 2006, 01:26 AM
What's breakeven for a female pro, do you know? I'd hvae to think it's a lot lowerthan 150. Maybe 75 - 100?

Probably around 100... although that even sounds a bit out...

Mark Spruce
Mar 21st, 2006, 01:32 AM
Thank you so much

take care


For players struggling to join tennis' elite, life on tour is more grit than glamour

By Ethan J. Skolnick
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Posted March 20 2006



Even the closest acquaintances can be clueless.

"People think it's super-glamorous," Jamea Jackson said.

Her life has to be, right? She is the 90th-ranked women's tennis player in the world. And it is, as are the lives of most other participants in the Nasdaq-100 Open, if that's how you characterize jet lag, late arrivals, long absences from family, language barriers, laying out thousands weekly for coaching, and losing.

Lots of losing.

With less reward than you'd guess.

Justin Gimelstob, who is entered in Nasdaq qualifying, has earned more than $2.2 million while popping in and out of the ATP Tour's top 100 for nine years. But that's before taxes and expenses. No wonder he's already working on a second career as a broadcaster and writer.

"You make enough to sustain yourself and a coach, but not enough to be frivolous," Jackson said. "Your friends don't really understand that."

"My friends all say, `You've got it made, I'm coming to live with you in a couple of years,'" said Bobby Reynolds, 23 and ranked No. 114 in ATP. "Yeah, right."

Roger Federer? Justine Henin-Hardenne? Andre Agassi? Maria Sharapova? Those in the top 50 of the ATP and Sony Ericsson WTA tours? Those expected to advance deep into the Nasdaq-100 that officially begins Wednesday, two days after qualifying does?

For those players, perks truly are plentiful.

"If you are doing well, it is an incredible lifestyle," said Lisa Raymond, a longtime doubles star ranked No. 68 in singles.

What about the great majority of players, however, those who find themselves represented as agate type on the right, rather than left, side of "def." notations early in tournaments?

They find themselves hoping for the sort of wild-card entry Jackson received to Nasdaq, toiling through qualifiers or dropping to less lucrative satellite events.

They often find themselves skimping on coaching, even at the risk of continuing the losing cycle.

They invariably find themselves fighting to maintain confidence.

Raymond, 32, recalled "a rude awakening" after turning pro, having been No. 1 in juniors and college.

Paul Goldstein has reached his career-high ranking of No. 63 at age 29. He has a career record of 66-86.

"In college, my worst year, I was 26-4," Goldstein said. "Handling the losses on tour is a major transition."

He has seen it "chew up and spit out" many talented newcomers, who must come to grips with more than rackets. Young players such as Jackson and Amer Delic, who is 5-13 after winning an NCAA singles crown for undefeated Illinois, are still learning how to cope.

Veterans learn to take a rational approach.

"You are shooting for a few great weeks rather than counting on winning every week," said Gimelstob, who has a record of 95-145, was ranked as high as No. 63 in 1999 and is now No. 98.

Goldstein and Gimelstob pack bags and book flights based on losing relatively early.

"If you have to push [flights] back, that's a good thing," Goldstein said. "It might cost you a little in a change fee, but you're only doing it because you're winning prize money."

Yes, players pay for flights. Goldstein is a bargain-seeking Orbitz regular, even after earning more than $1.3 million on tour. Goldstein, whose wife accompanies him only a couple of times per year, was outearning his Stanford peers shortly after graduation. Not anymore.

"If you compare how I'm doing to the 63rd golfer or the 63rd-best baseball player, it's far behind," Goldstein said.

Even so, Gimelstob will remember his tour time fondly: "We get to work out for a living, and travel, and compete."

The traveling can be exhausting, however, the sightseeing time scarce.

Between Dec. 27 and Feb. 25, Delic spent two days home in Jacksonville, for his mother's birthday.

"People say, `You were in France, how was that?'" said Jackson, 20. "You see the hotel, you see the courts. You don't have much time to do anything else. I try to see one play in New York every year, around my birthday."

Furthermore, financial realities force decisions detrimental to competing at the highest level. Coaches are expensive, when including fees, travel and food. Delic, 23, and Reynolds have been part of the USTA's High Performance program, which provides a shared coach for selected players for a couple of years. Delic recently got his own, at a cost he estimates at $100,000 this year. Players put the total weekly cost at $500 to $5,000, with some coaches getting extra for good results.

"There's a different pressure when you're paying for a coach," Delic said.

A first-round loss could lead to losing money for the week. Thus, Jackson went without one for a while, even while supplementing income with sponsorships.

After losing his High Performance spot, Alex Bogomolov used a coach in 2005 only for the U.S. Open. The Miami native, 22, was still waiting Sunday to find out whether he qualified for qualifying at Nasdaq, where wife Ashley Harkleroad, 20, has a wild card. The couple lives in a three-bedroom house in Chattanooga, Tenn., but not on easy street. Not with No. 168 and No. 78 rankings, respectively.

Asked for his net earnings, Bogomolov said: "Tax season is around the corner, so I know that for the past three years, basically zero."

Harkleroad was injured for nine months, while Bogomolov was losing Challenger tournaments, so he sold his Toyota Celica GT for $10,000. Things are looking up. His wife is playing again; in dual tournaments, they can share a room. She got an adidas contract, and they may play World Team Tennis.

Already a five-year veteran, Harkleroad makes no secret of frustrations with her tour, in part "because girls with girls can be bratty with each other." Why did she return, after considering retirement?

"Had to pay some bills," she said. "No, just kidding. I kind of missed the competition."

Plus, she said, there's always hope "you might have one or two good weeks, and that gets you out of qualies for a year."

There is a huge difference between top 60, top 100 and lower. A better ranking not only generates more reward; it lessens the grind. Qualifying requires matches day after day before a tournament starts, while making a mess of planning.

"If I were in the top 50, I could book flights for the rest of the year," said Delic, who won two qualifiers at Indian Wells, lost to a fresh Marat Safin in the first round, then paid an $800 change fee, and drove from Palm Springs to Los Angeles to take a red eye to start over again in South Florida's BMW Championship.

So Goldstein considers it critical to remain in the top 100, for certain entry into the main draw of all four Grand Slams.

Reynolds sees hope in Goldstein having his best year at 29.

"It's reassuring," Reynolds said. "You don't think, `I'm 23, I need to do well in the next two years or that's it.'"

Still, Goldstein said, "I'm not content just maintaining."

Not when the really good life may just be one great week away.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/media/photo/2006-03/22516948.jpg

Morrissey
Mar 21st, 2006, 02:37 AM
The article is excellent and very informative. It really shows how hard life can be on the ATP tour and WTA tour. I think we fans sometimes don't understand how hard life really is for ATP tour players. If a player is in the top 50 they must be doing really well. And to make the top 30 or top 20 these players must be amazing and special. I think now I have more persepctive about the pro life..they should make some more documentaries on the WTA and ATP tours from the lower ranked players point of view. These people really have a lot of dedication and just want to make an honest living. They realize they might not become the best but they can make some good money.

Solitaire
Mar 21st, 2006, 03:06 AM
Good article and it doesn't seem like they are complaining. They're just telling us how it is at the lower levels of both tours. I'm sure if they were asked if they wanted to do something else they would prob say no.

darrinbaker00
Mar 21st, 2006, 03:21 AM
Doesn't Jamea have a Nike-contract?
For players with Jamea's ranking, "endorsement deals" consist of free clothes, shoes and racquets.

darrinbaker00
Mar 21st, 2006, 03:34 AM
Good article and it doesn't seem like they are complaining. They're just telling us how it is at the lower levels of both tours. I'm sure if they were asked if they wanted to do something else they would prob say no.
Is it just me, or does anyone else find it odd that the players who complain the most about the season being too long are the players who can most afford (financially and rankings-wise) to take time off during the season?

Stamp Paid
Mar 21st, 2006, 03:40 AM
Wasn't "Journeymen" the name of the film?

darrinbaker00
Mar 21st, 2006, 03:42 AM
Wasn't "Journeymen" the name of the film?
Yep, that's it.

Crazy Canuck
Mar 21st, 2006, 04:26 AM
Maybe it was Nicolas Mahut... but I'm not sure...his name sounds familiar :lol::help:

If only I had been here when this discussion started I would have had this answer immediately :p

I saw the film too. Then I saw Nicolas play at the Paris Masters.. he had a good game, I'm surprised he hasn't done more.

He's wildly inconsistent and a total hothead.

Prizeidiot
Mar 21st, 2006, 06:22 AM
This provides a good reason why the WTA cannot shorten the calendar. Good article, it provides an interesting view of Tour life.

skanky~skanketta
Mar 21st, 2006, 08:35 AM
well, now we know.

tennisrox
Mar 21st, 2006, 08:56 AM
Its good to read about the players who make upe the tour, and not just the top guns who live the champagne lifestyle.

Tripp
Mar 21st, 2006, 09:04 AM
Wasn't "Journeymen" the name of the film?

I looked it up under that name, and it's not listed on imdb.com :shrug:

CooCooCachoo
Mar 21st, 2006, 09:06 AM
Maybe it was Nicolas Mahut... but I'm not sure...his name sounds familiar :lol::help:

Ah :lol:

Well, he's not that good :tape:

Jakeev
Mar 21st, 2006, 10:44 AM
Reading about the stuggles of Alina Jidkova a year ago was a very revealing look at what a dog eat dog world it can be for women's tennis players.

Still though, you see an Amy Frazier who competes out of the pure joy of the sport and you also realize that every player's situation is not the same for everyone.

Regardless of the article, there is no individual sport that is more lucrative for a woman than tennis and golf.

They could have it worse like pro women bowlers that have no longer have a tour and have to rely on their own version of the ITF circuit (which pays about the equivalent to a 10k event or less for first place) or attempting to qualify for men's events. (although now some of the former WPBA bowlers are actually competing in pro events in Europe)

Kunal
Mar 21st, 2006, 11:33 AM
damn

Timariot
Mar 21st, 2006, 01:04 PM
Is it just me, or does anyone else find it odd that the players who complain the most about the season being too long are the players who can most afford (financially and rankings-wise) to take time off during the season?

It's not odd at all, it's 100% true. Argument about season being too long is complete bull anyway - ATP schedule for example is now actually lighter than it has ever been during its' existence! For some reason, this tidbit doesn't get much press time. It's partly because many people concentrate only on obvious 'shop window' of the Tour (ie. very elite players) but also I guess that people hope that underlying problems of the game might actually disappear by itself if everyone just ignores them. :rolleyes:

As for the break-even point for women's tour...I don't know. As far as Tour events go, top-Tier WTA events are worth about half of what equivalent men's events are. In middle tier events the difference is smaller, and then again lower tier events ATP prize money is about 2x WTA. But one needs to figure in draw size as well, which I should think is on average bigger on ATP...but Grand Slam events offer practically same prize money, so they even it out a bit. I think that break-even for women is well inside top 100. Hmm, if I ever happen to see Emma again gotta see if I can ask her this.

Morrissey
Mar 22nd, 2006, 04:03 AM
I think the WTA doesn't pay the women enough. The ATP players still make more money at the slams. I believe the WTA should pay a lot more money to the women.

hablo
Mar 22nd, 2006, 04:07 AM
Ah :lol:

Well, he's not that good :tape:
he was :lol:
"Biggest moment in tennis was winning Wimbledon junior title in 2000 and most difficult time was the transition to the pro circuit..." :p
http://www.atptennis.com/en/players/playerprofiles/Highlights/default.asp?playernumber=M873