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John F. Mathers

Success on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) World Tour requires a specific blend of perceptuomotor abilities, technical proficiency, tactical awareness and mental skills. This case study describes the competitive structure of professional tennis and outlines the program of mental skills delivered to a professional tennis player over a 3-year period. The program embraced five stages: (1) education; (2) assessment/profiling; (3) mental skill learning; (4) application of mental skills in context and (5) evaluation, and was associated with some positive outcomes. This case study provides some possible guidelines for sport psychologists who may wish to provide consultancy services within professional tennis.

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James E. Loehr

This paper explores personal experiences in building a career in sport psychology and providing consulting services to professional tennis players. It describes the range of services provided, major client groups, and philosophy of service delivery. It reviews the overall training model used in service delivery as well as psychological assessment procedures used in consultation. It also describes how professional services were organized, type of services provided to specific client groups, and specific training components. Factors and issues influencing professional effectiveness and competence are explored. The importance of training and competence in all sport sciences are emphasized. The challenges and hardships encountered in building a successful career in this specialty are reviewed. The need for more effective and responsible applied technology and research is discussed.

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Kyle R. King

while reflecting on the uncertainty that remains. The Grand Slams With a bit of simplification, the top touring professional tennis calendar looks something like this: southern-hemisphere hard court tournaments in January/February, culminating in the Australian Open; brief hard-court season in Indian

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Katie Lebel and Karen Danylchuk

The innovations of social media have altered the traditional methods of fan–athlete interaction while redefining how celebrity athletes practice their roles as celebrities. This study explored gender differences in professional athletes’ self-presentation on Twitter. Content analyses were used to compare male and female athletes’ tweets relayed by all professional tennis players with a verified Twitter account. Profile details and messages were scoured for themes and patterns of use during the time surrounding the 2011 U.S. Open Tennis Championships. Goffman’s seminal 1959 theory of self-presentation guided the analysis. While athlete image construction was found to be largely similar between genders, male athletes were found to spend more time in the role of sport fan while female athletes spent more time in the role of brand manager.

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Column-editor : Joseph J. Piccininni

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Dan C. Hilliard

An interpretive analysis of mass circulation magazine articles on leading male and female professional tennis players indicates that both groups are treated in terms of a “debunking motif” which reveals their imperfections and character flaws. The flaws identified among the women are closely associated with stereotypically feminine gender roles, while the flaws observed among the men are associated with stereotypically masculine gender roles. Thus, the articles reinforce the concept of professional sport as a male preserve, while suggesting an underlying traditionally feminine gender role for the female athletes. It is argued that this construction of the female athlete role derives from the commercial sponsorship of professional tennis.

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Brendon Tagg

Transgender people are increasingly tolerated, and sometimes even actively celebrated, within contemporary Western popular culture. However, despite the broader political movement against gender-based discrimination, transgender people’s participation in élite sport remains contentious. Although American transgender professional tennis player Renee Richards drew attention to transgender athletes as early as the mid-1970s, even major sports organizations such as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) struggle to formulate fair and consistent gender policies. This article discusses the specific case of transgender players in men’s netball in New Zealand, a somewhat uniquely gendered sport, as a means of understanding emerging issues surrounding transgender athletes’ participation in sport more broadly.

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Susan Birrell and Cheryl L. Cole

This study examines the implications of the entrance of Renee Richards, a constructed-female transsexual, into the women’s professional tennis circuit. The purpose of our analysis is to show how our culture constructs woman and produces particular notions of gender, sex, and difference by examining a case in which these ideological processes are literally enacted: the construction of a “woman,” Renee Richards, from a man. We do this by exploring the cultural meaning of transsexualism in the U.S.; by examining critically how issues of transsexualism, sex, and gender are framed by the media in the Renee Richards case; and by exploring the particular problematic posed by Richards’ entrance into the highly gendered world of professional sport. Although Renee Richards appears to challenge fundamental cultural assumptions about sex and gender, closer analysis reveals that the various media frames invoked to explain the meaning of Renee Richards reproduce rather than challenge dominant gender arrangements and ideologies.

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Daniel A. Gruber

This article presents a case study of the developments in media gatekeeping in the last 10 years, focusing on the launch of the Tennis Channel and the ascendance of ESPN as the major network for professional tennis in the United States. The U.S. broadcast networks NBC and CBS have ceded the exclusive television rights for 2 of the Grand Slam tournaments (Wimbledon, U.S. Open) to ESPN for the first time in over 40 years. Meanwhile, the Tennis Channel, despite its independence from the media conglomerates, has carved out a niche for fans with its extensive global coverage of tournaments and for advertisers with its lucrative audience demographics. This change in dominance after the broadcast networks reigned for over 4 decades underscores the globalization of the sport and the abundance of early-round tournament matches available to fans. Organizational theories are used to analyze what has occurred and to predict what will happen next for tennis media gatekeeping in the United States.

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Larry Lauer, Daniel Gould, Nathan Roman, and Marguerite Pierce

Junior tennis coaches commonly argue that parents must push their children and be very involved to develop their talent, despite the strain on the parent-child relationship that may occur from these tactics. To examine parental influence on talent development and the parent-child relationship, nine professional tennis players, eight parents, and eight coaches were retrospectively interviewed about each player’s junior development based Bloom’s three stages of talent development (1985). Results are presented through aggregated, nonfiction stories of three tennis development pathways: smooth, difficult, and turbulent. Smooth pathways were typical of parents who were supportive and maintained a healthy parent-child relationship while facilitating talent development. Difficult and turbulent pathways involved parents who stressed the importance of tennis and created pressure by pushing their child toward winning and talent development. For difficult pathways, parent-child relationships were negatively affected but conflicts were mostly resolved, whereas for turbulent pathways, many conflicts remained unresolved.