Tennis Prose



Pro Tennis Insights

US Open director of player relations and former ATP champion Eric Butorac shared some interesting revelations about pro tennis on a recent Ask Me Anything feature on Reddit…

Q: Most interesting request from a player if you can share?

A: One time Andy Murray needed a swimming pool with a lot of depth for some sort of special workouts. Once Zverev needed a sentimental necklace fixed, one time Roger wanted to hit in Central Park!…it can really be anything.

Q: Player accomodations?

A: Players can either have two free rooms at the official player hotel or a per diem stipend to stay at a hotel of their choice.

Q: Who or what is the most pleasant and the least pleasant player or player request you have had to deal with?

A: Honestly, everyone is really good. Rafa will often do things like shake the hands of all of the folks working at the practice desk on the way out. Little things like that go so far with staff…

Q: Cafeteria options for players, what foods they like?

A: There are a lot of healthy options for players. Sushi is probably most popular…lots of lean proteins, fruits and vegetables. Also, the Lavazza coffee/espresso drinks are very popular.

Q: Your typical US Open day?


During the Open:

8am – get to site – breakfast (I’ll eat all meals on-site for 24 days)

815-10 – morning team meetings

10-12 – meetings with players or tour staff, scheduling, etc

12-5/6 – whatever the moment brings – usually running from fire to fire or sometimes planning special moments (maybe a retirement ceremony)

5-7 – often hosting VIPs or folks arriving for the evening session.

7-8 time for a workout or catchup on emails

9pm dinner

12/1am – leave the site after the last point has been played and both players are good for the night.

Q: What happens at the site and your team when the tournament is not being played or being prepared? For example, what goes on during the winter months?

A: A lot preparation, organization, hiring, bill paying, contracts, working with vendors….all the not so fun stuff!!

Q: What is your advice to a young(ish) person trying to break into pro tennis on the business side full time? I run a successful ATP Challenger in the summertime but can’t seem to get any luck with getting someone to give me an opportunity full time.

A: Take seasonal jobs at different events. Get your foot in the door. There aren’t many full time roles, so you have to be ok with contract work to start.

Q: how much does US Open as a whole do about listening to players’ voice? is there something like a quality feedback each year from them?

A: We have surverys (qual and quant) for them to fill out as well as big list of comments we sort through at the end of the event. Additionally, we’ll meet with them and their teams throughout the year to make sure we are on top of their ever changing needs.

Q: Favorite doubles partner?

A: Can’t pick one – Rojer is the best competitor I’ve ever met. I’d go into battle with him any day. Klaasen and I clicked on-court in terms of partnership/tactics. Also really enjoyed Murray, Lipsky and Ram – all for different reasons.

Q: When will you bring back the legends competition at US Open?

A: When do you want to see them? It used to be in the back half of the event, but with kids in school and many folks back to work after Labor Day, attendance at the matches became sparse. If people want to see it, we could work to make it happen again!

Q: Hey Eric! What was your journey like from D3/Gustavus to the tour? Were you always set on playing on tour after college or was it something where you took a year off to play tournaments, found success and stuck with it?

A: The latter. My good friend convinced me to move to France after I won NCAAs. I thought I’d last 3 months and then be a teacher. Ended up lasting 13 years.

Q: We want some dirt and juicy gossip. Who’s the worst, most self-entitled player to deal with? It’s Mannarino, isn’t it?

A: Mannarino is low maintenance. (And also the best singles win of my career!!!) [Hmmm… Wonder who is high maintenance???!]

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