Answer User Questions about Tennis Tips

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What can you tell me about Tom Gullickson and/or Doug MacCurdy, please?

Tom Gullickson and Doug MacCurdy

Tom Gullickson is best known for being the coach of many pro tennis players, including Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, and Jennifer Capraiti. He was also the Davis Cup captain from 1994 to 1999, winning the cup in 1995.

In the past, Tom was known for being a twin: his brother, Tim, was also an excellent tennis player. The two played professionally for more than a decade. Both retired in 1986, with ten doubles titles won together, and went on to coach well-known players.

Doug MacCurdy was Director of USA Tennis Player Development from 1998 to 2001 and was Director of Development for the International Tennis Federation as well as its General Manager. Doug is also a published author on the sport of tennis with Strokes for Success. He is best known for his “academic” contributions to the sport, whereas Gullickson was more active in competitions, either as player or coach.

Do you have any tips for how to get sponsored for playing tennis on a professional level?

Tennis sponsorship

While there are certainly many ways to get a tennis sponsor, some basic first steps would be:

1. Get a competitive coach. Not all coaches will encourage or guide you to competitive matches and tournaments even though they may be great instructors and people. Ideally, a coach has a lot of experience in both improving players' games and in preparing them for match play in a professional environment. Very generally speaking, this mindset and professional track is found in Florida. Frequently, younger players with a lot of potential go to tennis schools, like Nick Bollettieri's, to receive expert coaching, conditioning, and guidance.

2. Play a lot of matches and improve your ranking statewide and then nationwide. Get as many matches under your belt before you attempt larger tournaments (meaning anything on the pro circuit; see the USTA Web site and ITF Web site for dates and listings).

3. When you win a fairly large tournament or even match (if you were ranked below your opponent prior to the match, for example), try and network with the professionals there, either coaches or players. Hopefully, your coach will be doing this as well. Use your day's success to introduce yourself to the players that are being watched by potential sponsors or are already sponsored, and then you can research that player's history. Compare your experiences: how fast did his or her ranking rise as compared to your ranking, for example. Once you know the sponsor market, you can begin preparing.

4. Some good preparation ideas are getting a video of your shots (forehand, backhand, the always-important serve, etc.) and knowing what you are worth before you are even approached. This way, if you are approached by a potential sponsor, you are ready to act on the opportunity.

So, in sum: get a great coach, play a lot of matches, improve your ranking, and talk to people who are already sponsored.

What is meant by "playing a rubber"?

Playing a Rubber

Playing a “rubber” or a “rubber game” can mean two things, depending on the situation and the activity. Most commonly, the term “rubber” is used in card games to indicate a version of the game; for instance, rubber bridge instead of duplicate bridge.

In sports, however, a rubber game is a tiebreak. In baseball, it would be the last game of a three game series; in tennis, it would be played when each player had won six games in one set.

A less formal use of the word “rubber” means, loosely, “a round.” In other words, playing a rubber of tennis would entail a shorter game than the full three or five set match. This use of the word, though, is very rare, especially outside the United Kingdom.

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Sherril Steele-Carlin