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How to Become a Professional Tennis Player

You play tennis, you love the game, and you're good ... at least, you think you're good. Are you game to find out? Here's how to become a professional tennis player.

Two Beginning Tips

1. Remember the old joke that begins: How do you get to Carnegie Hall? The answer is the same for how to become a pro tennis player: practice, practice, practice. According to allpro you've got to be out on the court hour after hour, day after day to get better at the game, and getting better is how you get to be a pro. You've got to be a good player just to compete at the local level, and you've got to be a better player if you want to compete ... and win ... at professional tennis. Start by making a schedule and sticking to it; for example, five days a week for at least three hours each day. You should soon see yourself improving at the game, and getting better is the key.

2. Get a coach. No matter how good you are, you can't really see yourself as you play the game. Get a coach with the knowledge to correct mistakes or point out what you are missing. At this point in your training, you probably don't require a paid professional, although that may come later, but you need someone with tennis knowledge who will push you to get better.

The ITF Circuit

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) is a starting point for many professional tennis players. Any tennis player can enter. Competing in the various sponsored tournaments helps you to move up the pro competitive ladder. To compete, you must register for membership, and most newcomers enter the lower level events. This is the entry level of the pro circuit with more than 200 tournaments held each year and prize money of $10,000 to $15,000. It is a good opportunity to try your skills against all types of players, from the teenagers with the talent and dream of the big time to players who have been on the court for years and will stay there. You're not apt to make money on the ITF circuit, but it will give you an opportunity to better your game and to accumulate ITF points so that you can quality for a big event. It's how many pros break in.

If you decide to try the ITF, you'll have to spend money, for flights, food, hotels. Few ITF players have outside financial support from endorsements or rich families. However, it is a good training ground for the pros, and you will be playing against some of the best.

Is It Worth It?

If you're used to watching Rafael Nadal or the Williams sisters on the pro tour, you might get the impression that the sport makes a lot of people very rich. However, those three are the exceptions. The perhaps top 10 men and women players do make millions, especially with endorsements and sponsors, but most players in the lower ranks don't even come close. For one thing, there are big travel costs that come with playing at worldwide tournaments.

Only you can decide if your game and your determination are good enough to make professional tennis your career. If the answer is yes, get out there and practice!