Winning the 1987 Paris Indoor
Tim Mayotte won the silver medal in singles at the 1988 Olympic Games, reached 10 Grand Slam quarterfinal rounds, 2 Grand Slam Semifinal rounds, and won the Bercy. He claimed 12 singles titles and reached #7 in the world. He has been kind enough to discuss his career, development in the US, and other topics.
1. First, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed. It is an honor for me. Can you let everyone know how you are involved in tennis today?
Tennis for me was a family affair. As the youngest of 8 children who all played tennis, I benefited both from a passionate Dad who loved the game and a number of talented siblings. My brother Chris got as high as #79 in the world, and my brother John had ATP points. John is currently 2 in the nation in the 65 and overs. My sister Mary is a very strong player as well. (We had a built in tennis academy. My Dad saw tennis as a way to get a college scholarship and then we all ran with it).
For the last 12 years I have been teaching tennis, mostly with high-performance juniors, but I love teaching folks of all ages. It is interesting to figure out how a body can work most efficiently and help that person hit and move with more effectiveness. Teaching for me is a great privilege.
I worked for the USTA as I opened and ran their High-Performance Junior Development Program at the site of the US Open from 2009 to 2011. Since then I have been running the Mayotte Hurst Stevinson Tennis Academy in Cranford NJ. In the last year I have moved to Boston and opened an small academy here while my partner runs our program in NJ.
I am also writing a book on teaching technique which will be called THE FRAMEWORK.
2. With the Rio Olympics coming up, it is nice to point out that you took a silver medal in singles in 1988 when tennis returned to the Olympics. Does any specific memory stand out for you from that experience?
We went as real amateurs and were not paid. This made me feel closer to the other many athletes who played just because they loved it. I was so impressed with the many many other champions who played while sacrificing so much. Milling around the village and cafeteria was a hoot because of the conversations you would strike up.
3. Given that you reached 10 Grand Slam quarterfinals and 2 Grand Slam semifinals, why do you think active US male pros today have combined for 2 Grand Slam quarterfinal appearances?
I believe that one of the main reasons we have had very few top male players in the last twenty years is the lack of great developmental coaches. Even when I watch our top players, I see obvious technical weaknesses, Harrison, Sock, Isner (movement to backhand and backhand stroke issues) all come to mind. (Steve Johnson with no topspin backhand. Tiafoe, Koslov forehand issues).
These problems are difficult to fix at this stage of their careers (though its not impossible). Today’s game require great technique and movement in all elements. Great teachers are needed. We have a few but not enough. In France and Germany coaches are required to study for years before they are allowed to teach. Here anyone can hang out a shingle. It is important to note that good players are not necessarily good teachers. Like developing a great player, it takes at least 10,000 hours to train a great coach or teacher.
Both Tim Mayotte and Brad Gilbert have been kind enough to respond to tennis fans on twitter. @TimMayotte & @bgtennisnation