Once a year, I write a post that I confess is difficult for me. It isn't tough to thank my sponsors: IMG Academy, John McEnroe Tennis Academy, and OTZ Sports, with the latter now an advertiser for over eight years. I also appreciate those who contact me to advertise for specific events or time frames. If you are interested, the media kit for 2016 is here.
It isn't hard to say thank you to those of you who make purchases via the Tennis Warehouse link in the upper lefthand corner of the site. I've been an affiliate of Tennis Warehouse for nearly a decade, and the funds from the percentage of the profit from sales made through the link are a welcome addition to the travel fund.
I probably neglect to voice my appreciation for the strength and depth of my relationship with the Tennis Recruiting Network, which has been an outlet for my work for more than a decade. I'm proud of what they have built and dismayed that their contributions to college tennis have not received more recognition from the industry. Their support of my work has provided me with a solid base from which to continue to cover junior tennis. I also am grateful for the support of USTAFlorida, which has provided another outlet for the photos and information I collect while out covering junior tennis.
It isn't hard to thank those of you who have used the PayPal donation option, also on the left side bar, throughout the year, without any prompting from me. Or those who have simply handed me a check or cash when seeing me at a tournament. Although it happens more often than you might expect, I'm still shocked every time it does and I am usually at a loss for words.
But what I do find difficult is explaining why I need your financial support. Money is never that easy to discuss, even in this day of Kickstarter and GoFundMe, and I feel I'm repeating myself, having written a post similar to this one annually since 2010. Yet I realize that junior tennis players and their families move in and out over the years, and those who have just discovered the site may not understand how the nuts and bolts fit together. So here are the basics:
I am not employed by the USTA, the ITA or any other organization. I am a freelance writer, and I pay for all my travel expenses, although my husband, who is a site director for several of the major junior tournaments, often does receive a hotel room as compensation for his work. I do not wish to charge for the content I provide here; one of the primary reasons I established this site to begin with, back in 2005, was to provide recognition for junior players. Limiting that recognition by confining it to those that pay, didn't, and doesn't, make sense to me.
I enjoy what I do and am grateful to those of you who are regular readers. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, I do ask that you actually click through to the links to my daily post, as there is no money to be made on Twitter or Facebook(at least for me). But my advertisers, and the third-party ads that also appear here on Zootennis, will get more exposure if you visit, and views and click-thrus still make the online advertising world go round.
I thank you again for reading, for caring about junior and college tennis and its place in the sport, and hope to see you back here regularly.