ProTennisNEWS.com began as a forum. It was created to fill what I believed was a void for internet savvy tennis fans. There are many tennis forums available online, but I couldn’t find a single one that I felt was moderated in a fair and consistent manner, that adequately promoted the need for mutual respect, and that nurtured a sense of “community”. With a small group of like-minded tennis fans, TalkAboutTennis.com was launched just prior to the U.S. Open, on August 20, 2004. Although our main focus is tennis, subjects of every nature are welcome in our forum.
We quickly learned that an excellent way to grow our membership was to offer contests that members of our community could enjoy and share in. In the early days, contests offered our members friendly competition, gave them another reason to return daily and also provided a conduit for personal relationships to form.
Our most popular contest, our Suicide Pools, are played officially during each of the four Grand Slam tournaments. Members of our staff (all volunteers) manage these contests. Our first Suicide Pool was played during the 2005 Australian Open. We had 15 contestants. Early in 2006, Jon Wertheim, a widely read tennis columnist and author, began linking to our Suicide Pools from the pages of SI.com. This generous promotion was the catalyst we needed to begin to establish ourselves among internet tennis forums. Largely due to Mr. Wertheim’s generosity we expect to host over 300 contestants from all parts of the world in our 2010 Suicide Pools. Other contests hosted by us include the Prediction Challenge, which encompasses every tournament played throughout the year, and four annual Fantasy Tennis Tournaments.
In late 2006, we launched a website to complement our growing forum. The website was designed to attract tennis fans by offering links to other tennis sites and blogs, RSS feeds from tennis news services, and information about our growing community.
Later that year we launched TAT Pro Talk. Designed to present exclusive interviews with top professionals and other tennis personalities, TAT Pro Talk was unique in that for most of them, our members were invited to offer up the questions. Our first TAT Pro Talk, published in December of 2006, featured American WTA professional, Vania King. We followed it up in January of 2007 with an interview with Esther Vergeer, the #1 ranked female wheelchair player. Six weeks later, rising Russian star, Evgeny Korolev was kind enough to answer our questions. Since then we’ve published interviews with the Bryan brothers, Bud Collins, Evgeni Fedyakov, Jon Werthiem, and Peter Bodo, among others.
In 2007, our forum and website were rebuilt from the ground up. We switched to the new format in April of 2007. Our new forum software has allowed our members more customization and given our staff better moderating tools.
2008 saw us grow by leaps and bounds, not only in membership, but in content. Early in the year we became accredited media, which gives us the opportunity to publish news articles sent to us directly from tennis organizations such as the ATP, WTA, and USTA. We also began providing our readers with coverage of special events.
Also in 2008 we began original tournament coverage, beginning with the SAP Open from San Jose, California. We followed that up with coverage of the Pacific Life Open from Indian Wells, California. As of this writing we’ve provided original coverage from 33 professional tournaments from the United States, United Kingdom, Mexico, Canada, and Casablanca, Morocco. 2010 will mark our third year of professional tennis coverage. Our original coverage includes articles, match reports, interviews, and we currently have over 10,000 exclusive photographs online.
In an effort to expand our online reach, in March of 2010, just prior to beginning our 3rd full year of tennis coverage, we moved our content to ProTennisNews.net and our photos to TennisPhotographs.com.
TalkAboutTennis.com and its associate web sites continue to work towards our goal of being the ultimate online tennis community and finding innovative ways to bring our members and readers closer together and closer to the sport we love.