Good morning Margot Carter, please tell us a little about yourself and your career to date?
I first started playing Tennis age 6, and like any good Brit dreamed of winning Wimbledon from a young age, and competed all around England on the Junior Circuit. At the age of 18, I was thrilled to discover the phenomenal opportunities in college Tennis in the USA and came to Tennessee on full university scholarship in 2003. During these phenomenal 4 years of travelling to college tennis events in the USA I also played British Tours during the summers, and then between my Junior and Senior Years started on the ITF tour.
After graduation I went out full time, attained a doubles world ranking of 451, and essentially, ran out of money. I went back to the USA, again on scholarship, this time as the assistant coach, to complete my Masters in Environmental Biology. After this I thought I would be launching my career as a scientist, but the world of Tennis kept calling me back.
So I went back into coaching in the country club scene, and then, I had a bit of adventure lust again and went back on tour for fun. I reached 850 in the world when I ruptured my Achilles Tendon. In the meantime I had started my own company, and when the doctors gave me the clear to walk unaided, I came back to the USA to run my business.
Now on top of this, I also am a clinician for the PTR and when people will let me, I will speak at their conferences on an array of subjects from physical on court coaching, to the mental aspects of coaching, and even share a few stories on starting a business from scratch. Transitioning to speaking at conferences and coaching coaches has been quite natural and extremely fun for me.
Was it a hard decision to make for you to become a tennis coach after playing on tour, and if so, what made you decide on that career?
Originally my dream was either to make it as a top player, or “save the world” by working in the environmental business. Coaching was not on the agenda, however, I love Tennis and I am very happy with the way my career is shaping up. I still have goals to one day develop my own Tennis Center that will be carbon neutral, setting the standards across the board for both a Tennis facility, and environmental best practice.
What are your thoughts on Women coaching tennis as a living? Are recreational players (male and female) open to being taught by a female coach?
In my experience both Men and Women are very open to my coaching them. I personally have a 50/50 balance on the ratio of Male to Female adults that I coach.
In your experience why do you think tennis coaching has this stigma of being male orientated, and what needs to happen to change this?
I am a big believer in finding solutions rather than problems, and while I could probably write an essay on the “why” by delving into the history of both our sport and the social structure of the western world, I don’t see that as being necessary.
However, I believe a solution to this imbalance lies with the 5-10 year olds. We as coaches are shaping their dreams, and how we treat them can affect how they plan their lives. My personal focus has been to try to get every kid to fall in love with our sport. They may not be “the next big thing” but if they love Tennis and join a club one day or sponsor a young kid one day or even sponsor a Tennis center (if anyone wants to sponsor a center give me a buzz I am hatching some fresh plans) then I in part helped to keep our world of Tennis ticking over. Every person that loves our sport helps to keep us as coaches having fun on a Tennis court.
Now, to address the imbalance between males and females, we clearly need more female role models to show the little girls that they can too have a life in this sport. It really does help them to shape their dreams when they have someone they can relate to in a position of leadership. The organization that is doing a phenomenal job right now at this is the WTCA, with Sarah (Stone) and Ann (Grossman) leading the way for me, showing me how important my role as leader is, and also showing me that I too can speak at conferences, create events, and well, the sky is the limit!
Fantastic news recently that Lucas Pouille hired Amelie Mauresmo, as Andy Murray did a few years ago and reached a Grand Slam Final. Do you think this will become more of a trend in years to come?
I certainly hope so!
There does appear to be changes happening with regards to women coaching sports in general…. Why do you think this has taken so long to happen?
I have not done all the research but I don’t think this is specific to Tennis, or even sports. There is clearly a strong movement for Women’s rights going on at the moment, and the effects are rippling across all industries.
Finally, presuming all goes to plan and female coaches start to feature on tour more prominently, where do you see your future? Would you consider becoming an ATP or WTA coach?
I would consider it yes, it really comes down to who you’re working with and what the working relationship would look like.
Thanks very much for your time Margot. Margot can be contacted direct via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or you can view her website at www.sphericalyellow.com. She is also looking for investors for her latest project, so please contact her direct if you may be interested in working with her.
We are always looking for new coaches and players to interview. If you have something you would like to say to the tennis world, please feel free to get in touch by emailing on email@example.com or send us a Whatsapp on +353867922188.
Mark Wylam (Owner Sportsprosconnect.com)