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Blackman selected to head USTA Player Development

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April 5, 2015 08:50 PM

By E.J. Crawford, USTA.com

Martin Blackman has enjoyed a long, varied and successful career in tennis as a junior and collegiate standout, professional player, decorated college coach, junior instructor and head of his own academy. Now he prepares for his biggest role yet – as head of USTA Player Development.

Blackman has been named the general manager of USTA Player Development, charged with overseeing Player Development's staff and partnering with the U.S. tennis community to identify and develop the next generation of world-class American players. He succeeds Patrick McEnroe, who held the position since 2008.

In his new role, Blackman will also oversee the USTA Player Development training centers, including its network of Regional Training Centers, which he helped launch as a member of USTA Player Development from 2009 to 2011, and the Player Development facilities at the soon-to-be created USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla., which are scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of 2016. 
 
“The USTA is lucky to have secured an individual with as well-rounded a background as Martin Blackman,” said USTA Chairman, President and CEO Katrina Adams. “I have known Martin for many years, and I am confident that he is the right person at the right time to continue to lead USTA Player Development in the right direction moving forward.”

Blackman was introduced to tennis at 3 years old by his twin brothers Christopher and Keith while his family was living in Barbados. (Their father, a native of the country, served as the governor of the Central Bank and subsequently as ambassador to the U.S.). At 13, Martin was offered a scholarship to the Nick Bollettieri Academy, where he trained alongside future Grand Slam champions and world No. 1s Andre Agassi and Jim Courier.

A junior standout – he won the 1986 USTA Boys’ 16s National Championships and was the 1988 Boys’ 18s Nationals runner-up – Blackman committed to collegiate powerhouse Stanford, teaming with McEnroe in doubles and leading the Cardinal to two NCAA team championships.

Blackman turned pro in 1988 and played on the ATP World Tour for seven years, peaking at No. 158 in the world in singles and No. 142 in doubles, both in 1994. He won one Challenger singles title and three Challenger doubles crowns during his career, and he competed in singles at the 1990 US Open and 1994 French Open as well as in doubles at the 1994 US Open.

After retiring from the tour in 1995, Blackman returned to school and earned an economics degree from George Washington University. Soon thereafter, he rejoined the tennis world as the head men’s tennis coach at American University, where he was named conference Coach of the Year three times and led the program to three conference titles, two NCAA tournament appearances and its first-ever national ranking. 
 
In 2004, Blackman was hired as director of the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Md., building it into one of the premier junior training centers in America. In his five years at JTCC, Blackman helped the center double its junior program enrollment and its full-time staff. JTCC has since worked with and helped develop pros Alison Riske and Denis Kudla and top junior Francis Tiafoe.
 
Near the end of his tenure in College Park, Blackman submitted a proposal to the USTA recommending that the association partner with the best junior development programs across the nation. That proposal became the impetus behind the creation of the USTA Regional Training Center network. In 2009, Blackman was hired by the USTA as senior director of talent identification and development, a role in which he oversaw the implementation of the Regional Training Center program and served as a co-leader of the Coaching Education Department. He also emerged as USTA Player Development’s leader for Diversity and Inclusion.
 
Blackman left the USTA in late 2011 to found his own tennis academy in Boca Raton, Fla. After only its second year of full-time programming, the academy sent all eight of its graduating students to college on tennis scholarships.
 
In addition, Blackman served two terms on the USTA board of directors, 2003-04 and 2005-06, serving on the Audit and Collegiate committees during that time.

“If you set out to list all of the experience and qualifications you would want in the ideal candidate for this position, Martin checks all of the boxes,” said USTA Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Gordon Smith. “He brings a unique combination of experience and skills to the job. His experience as a player, coach, administrator and innovator makes him the ideal leader for USTA Player Development as we continue to work with the American tennis family to identify and develop world-class American players.”
 
Blackman, 45, currently lives in Boca Raton with his wife, Sennait Bereket, and their four children.

 

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