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Contrary to popular belief, a tennis agent's role doesn't involve coaching or running the administrative side of a player's affairs. A tennis agent's primary function is to maximize a player's income through sponsorship deals, media appearances and other ancillary income opportunities. Establishing yourself as a pro tennis coach is all about living and breathing the game and making sure that you know the right people. Knowing how to cut a deal and use the media to your advantage will also be key to your success.
Immerse yourself in the world of tennis. Join a local club, learn how to play and begin networking with other players. Consider getting into coaching to help you build contacts at a grassroots level.
Pursue a business, public relations or marketing degree. A majority of sports agents have a bachelor's degree, so statistically, you'll improve your chances of success if you go to college and study a relevant subject. Sports management courses tend to be more focused on the actual playing of the sport, so they may not necessarily give you the skills you'll need to succeed as a pro agent.
Join the United States Tennis Association. You'll have access to useful resources, information and opportunities to meet with other members up and down the country.
Work with an established professional tennis agent, preferably in a support role. The best way of learning any craft is to spend time with a seasoned practitioner. If you can't find a pro tennis agent willing to take you on, work with an agency that deals with another sport. If necessary, work as an unpaid intern. Concentrate on learning how a professional agent secures sponsorship and negotiates fees for display appearances and media work.
Get talent under your wing. You can have all the skills and knowledge in the world, but if you haven't got any clients, your career as a pro tennis agent is going to be something of a damp squib. Use the contacts you've made at the grassroots level to identify up-and-coming talent to sign to your books. You can then use what you've learnt from working with an established pro agent to position your talent to secure sponsorship and progress to larger, more prestigious tournaments.
Poach clients from your competitors once you've established a name for yourself. Once you've developed emerging talent in the game, you can look to sign bigger names. Attend tournaments and related functions and network. Get your name out there and don't be afraid to be aggressive in pursuing clients.
Michael Roennevig has been a journalist since 2003. He has written on politics, the arts, travel and society for publications such as "The Big Issue" and "Which?" Roennevig holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the Surrey Institute and a postgraduate diploma from the National Council for the Training of Journalists at City College, Brighton.