In this week's mailbag Jon Wertheim hit two questions while tennis remains on hold. The first was about the personality of a tennis player, namely how some of the common qualities they possess could be perceived as negative. The other topic in Wertheim's mailbag this week was about the future of college tennis - a sport very dependent on the revenue brought in by larger team sports like football and basketball.
Robin Lundberg: When you're a senior writer like Jon Wertheim, I'm sure you get a lot of opinions sent your way. Jon, what's in your mailbag this week?
Jon Wertheim: The usual grab bag of topics, two issues we tackle in particular. One of them is someone asked: what are the negative traits that come with being a tennis player? We talk about self-sufficiency and the ability to fight and independence. When we talk about life skills that tennis teaches, what are the negative traits? And one of them I sort of dwelled on a little bit was this issue of sort of being - I don't want to say narcissistic, but shall we say self-centered. You need that in an individual sport. You need to concentrate on yourself, your nutrition, your sleep, your rhythms. Sometimes that is not always so easy when that leads over to the non-tennis.
The other topic we talk about, which I think is going to come out a lot in a number of different contexts, is what happens to college tennis? The NCAA member schools and the athletic departments lost a huge amount of money when March Madness was canceled. If there is no college football this fall, these athletic departments are going to lose even more money.
What happens there and what is the fate of non-revenue sports like college tennis that are dependent on football and basketball for their existence? And I think right now a lot of college athletic departments are really making some reassessments. What do you do if you're a student and you're at a university on a diving scholarship, a tennis scholarship, wrestling, track, golf? What do you do if suddenly your school decides that they can't subsidize your program anymore? So I think this is an issue that's going to come out when we talk about tennis in particular and how it might be in for some real challenges, given that there aren't basketball and football revenues in a lot of cases.