Professional Tennis Player 101: A Quick Guide on How to Become the Best Tennis Player You Can Be and Achieve Your Dreams of Becoming a Professional From A to Z

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Tennis has undoubtedly become one of the most successful and global sports on the planet. Despite its continuing, and somewhat deserved, middle-class reputation, professional tennis now attracts competitors from every corner of the planet, and the second week of Grand Slam tournaments usually feature a multitude of nations represented. What began as a polite distraction on the lawns of the aristocracy has morphed into a highly competitive battleground.

And with this global reputation has come big money. The most prestigious tournament, Wimbledon, has increased its total prize money pot to £34 million for 2018. While all of the top players on the planet pull in many more millions in endorsements and sponsorship. According to a Forbes article published in May, 2017, Roger Federer has earned an estimated $625 million during his nearly two-decade career from sponsorship alone.

With such rich rewards at the top of the professional game, it is almost inevitable that many ambitious young people and parents end up avariciously eyeing tennis as a promising career. This had led to the creation of numerous high profile tennis academies, dotted around all over the Western world. These academies, rubber-stamped by such luminaries as Rafael Nadal, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Patrick Mouratoglou, purport to turn teenagers into winners, while also providing high-caliber private education as well.

But there's a price to pay for this tip-top tennis tuition. The top academies cost quite a pretty penny. For example, the Rafael Nadal academy in Mallorca charges incumbents €56,000 ($65,000) per year for a combination of tennis and academic tuition. Clearly this is a pretty serious investment for everyone other than the super-rich, yet many are willing to make it, believing that their child come become the next Nadal as a result.

While the academies will release public statements tempering such expectations, the reality is that they are also reliant on a certain tranche of parents believing that their children will become tennis champions by attending. Why else are you shelling out a sum significantly greater than the average salary in the United States, when you could just send you kids to a top private school instead?

Such dreams do come true, but they also don't come true considerably more often! While the biggest academies can boast a handful of success stories, the vast majority of young people who pass through them don't come close to becoming professional tennis players.

It is also important to note that many of the true greats of the game succeeded in maximizing their talent and potential without ever attending an academy. Perhaps the most obvious example is that of the Williams sisters, who were withdrawn from competitive tournament tennis and coaching during their adolescence.

The reality is that there is no shortcut to success in tennis, and no magical elixir that can be consumer at some swanky academy. Success in tennis is based on a combination of determined practice, systematic drilling of strokes and movement, genetic potential, and the sheer love of the game required to keep you playing with commitment. And those basic principles are the key for improvement at all levels of play.

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