Saturday, March 21, 2020

What's Ahead for Zootennis.com

Before I begin to address what my plans are for this site in the next couple of months, I want to preface this by acknowledging the limited significance of what I note below in the face of this serious global health crisis. I am hopeful life can return to normal this summer, but I recognize that if the tennis world does not resume then, we will all have much bigger problems to worry about.

I knew once the ITF shut down tournaments last week that the day would come when I would have to address the issue of my daily posts on this website. I thought, frankly, that it would be before today, but keeping up with the various cancellations and reactions to the Corona virus pandemic in the tennis world has provided a steady stream of news to report in the past ten days. Traffic to the site has been steady, but with little news, no tournament coverage and no results for the next couple of months, at least, I'm going to have to go in a different direction to keep posting daily.

I'm proud I developed a habit of posting every day, with just a couple of days off per year, for the past 15 years, and I am loathe to discontinue that, particularly because I am at home and have the time. Those who advertise directly on Zootennis.com--IMG Academy, OTZ Sports and John McEnroe Tennis Academy--have done so for many years, and I want to keep providing exposure to their products.

So I have decided I will continue to post every day, but as all the major sports channels have done, I will turn to my archives for content on days when there isn't other news. My Throw Back Thursday photos on Twitter have been well received and have given me the opportunity to look back more than I normally do--when junior tennis is your beat, the focus is the future--and I will be posting those types of photos more regularly, as well as links to memorable matches that I've reported on.

The best decision I made when I began to build this site back in 2005 was to partner with the Tennis Recruiting Network, and I will still be writing my weekly articles for them, with my interviews conducted entirely by telephone now. (And if you are college recruit who has made a verbal commitment you would like to announce, please email me at clewis at zootennis.com).  And because I have none of my usual travel expenses, the impact on my bottom line shouldn't be too severe. Yet I have seen a drop in revenue from Google Ads and from my affiliate relationship with Tennis Warehouse in the past year, so I fear a significant decrease in Zootennis traffic in the next few months could have an impact.

I have not gone to a Gofundme, subscription or Patreon model and do not intend to, but if you do wish to contribute, donations are accepted via Paypal, with a link on the left. And thank you to those who have already thought of me and made a donation in these chaotic times for all of us.

To kick off Zootennis Classic, here is a link to one of the most dramatic semifinals I've covered in Kalamazoo, when Bob van Overbeek defeated Denis Kudla 5-7, 7-6(5), 7-6(4) back in 2010. One of the reasons I remember that match so vividly was the way Kudla, a few days away from his 17th birthday, handled his interview in the Tower after that crushing loss, which kept him from no worse than a US Open qualifying wild card. A chance to acknowledge that composure again, after 10 years, is a fitting way to start this new feature.


Lisa Stone said...

Colette, thank you for your continued stellar reporting all these years! I feel your pain about what to write about these days but am hoping the Tennis World continues to take an interest in education and the history of our sport. I, for one, will be clicking on your link each day!

Stay well!

xoxo Lisa

Rick said...

Ditto, thanks for all you do to promote junior tennis and tennis in general.

Pam Smead said...

Colette, thank you so much for your dedication and hard work you put into your life! I click and read everyday and will continue to do so. You wrote such a wonderful article on my grandson, Jaxon Lamb, 2019 Spring Team Championships--it's still makes him and us so happy!!! Hopefully, this will all be over sooner than later and the tennis world can get back to normal!
Appreciate you so much,
Pam Smead