I’m going back to my blogging roots. When I first started blogging, I had a rule of 15 minutes typing without major editing. Essentially, I type what is on my mind and don’t change my mind so here goes….
I am not politically minded and couldn’t tell you what the major differences are between the main political parties. I have looked on, mainly in curiosity, at the bizarre nature of recent world politics and it feels like there are many parallels with the tennis world. A friend of mine said ‘too many cooks spoiling the broth’. I found myself instantly disagreeing and stated the biggest issue is ‘they are not all trying to make broth’.
I keep coming back to one question in my mind, ‘Can anyone honestly look me in the eye and tell me, if there was the possibility of starting a fresh, they would choose things to be as they are?‘
Let’s look at this with fresh eyes!
Would the tennis world decide to form a governing body to oversee tennis, a separate body for mens tennis, women’s tennis and have 4 separate entities which drive the biggest tournaments in the world?
If there was a blank sheet of paper, would the mens and women’s tour schedule their calendar in such a way that provides no chance for top athletes to even rest, let alone properly prepare for a new tennis year?
Would the ‘world cup’ of mens and women’s tennis be a secondary thought and sandwiched into an already busy calendar?
Would the business model be set up so that only approximately 250 players, men and women, could make a living from playing the game?
Moving closer to home,
Would associations be set up and call themselves ‘governing bodies’ or would they choose something which sounds more supporting and less divisive?
Would tennis clubs decide to create private members clubs, appoint a committee, write a constitution and run their clubs in the typical way they do in the UK?
I could go on but I am sure you get the drift.
When I ask myself all of these question, the answer is a definitive no!
So, what does this lead to? The analogy I use a lot is one of a patchwork quilt. It does feel like each of these situations could be likened to a quilt that gets passed around for the next new person to add their patch, then hand it on to someone else for their patch to be added.
The result of this means there is no joined up thinking or vision of what this quilt is going to look like at the end, or even worse, what the function of this quilt is to be.
Now, please don’t think I believe it is as easy as ripping everything up and starting again. However, I do believe that we have reached a tipping point where the quilt is now no longer fit for purpose. It has lost its function and now, no longer, resembles what it was initially designed for.
So what could be done?
To quote one of Stephen Coveys habits “start with the end in mind“. I believe there is a clear opportunity for the leaders in our sport, at all levels, to begin the process of having an open and honest dialogue about what is best for tennis and how they can work together to bring their vision to life.
Next, announce their vision and collaboration for the world to see.
Put a realistic timescale in place to achieve this vision.
Work diligently towards this vision, involving all the stakeholders, big and small.
Be completely transparent throughout and genuinely learn from their mistakes along the way.
It doesn’t matter what area, or level of tennis, I believe this could be done. However, it is always better when great people come together and collaborate. They can pull resources towards a shared vision and the result will always be better than if they try to do it themselves.
It feels like the time is right. Will this blog make a difference? Probably not but it could make a difference to you if you embrace the simple ideas within it. Look at what you do in tennis. If you had a fresh start, would you choose what presently happens? If the answer is no, then look to build towards the vision you, and others around you, believe is the best for tennis. Not, the best for you, the best for tennis.
We are blessed to be involved in an amazing sport. It can act as a vehicle to change lives. Champions on the court will always emerge from any era or model. However, what is more important is the health and well-being of all the people in tennis as well as the health of the sport.
Please let me know what you think about this blog and keep it solution based. I have had my fill of negativity and moaning. Now is the time for solutions.
Over to you….