Why going Pro might be better than trying the Junior Circuit
With players getting younger by the second, we can see why the ATP has developed its own ATP Finals for the younger generation on the tour. Players like; Khuchanov, Tiafoe, Coric and Chung, all have been making an impact on the tour and none of them are above the age of 21 years old. But the most impactful is Zverev. He has already defeated Djokovic and won his first Masters 1000 event in Rome while simultaneously achieving his first Top 10 ranking.
The same can be said about the WTA. This year we’ve had the youngest player EVER to play the French Open at the age of 13! At 13 I was not even thinking about going to the pros. Imagine how much pressure is already on her shoulders. Everyone is going to be watching and waiting for her to do something amazing. Take a look at CiCi Bellis. There was a debate awhile back about whether or not she was going to attend Stanford University or join the WTA permanently. She chose to play in the WTA and we have seen success already from her French Open run this year. The women’s game has always been known to start female players younger. Just look at Sharapova, besides the scandal, she won her first major at 16. Serena Williams won her first major at 19. I believe that the women’s tour is wide open when you don’t have a powerhouse like Serena or Maria in the field of play.
This new NextGen series from the ATP is interesting to follow because it has its own ATP Finals to play for in Milan, Italy. A competition within a competition. I’ve noticed that the WTA does not have something similar in place. Maybe it is because the WTA has so many players that are under the age of 20 that it would be harder to keep track. Maybe it is a conflict of sponsors or it involves the ATP owning the rights to a competition like this one. The reason why I am writing this article though is because of the recent news of French Federation of Tennis is launching a new tennis tournament for the younger generation players that has a purse of 1 million euros. The goal of the tournament is to showcase up and coming talent on both the ATP and WTA.
Tournaments such as these bring more incentive for players to turn pro at an earlier age so that way they can make a living and prolong their careers as tennis players. Younger players who get to experience a higher level of play can help build up a player’s confidence and playing ability when they face stronger and faster opponents. Even if they make the first round of a main draw and end up losing, they still can receive a check at the end of the tournament.
At the end of the day, joining the pro circuit at a younger age has more benefits than playing the junior circuit. While the junior circuit helps you prepare mentally and physically for more demanding matches, the pro circuit can prepare a player in all of the same ways but you get a small amount of money that can help the player continue his or her journey on tour.