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Net Loss

High risks, costs force out Black tennis players

Erick Johnson | 4/3/2014, 9 a.m.
One look at Serena Williams hoisting the crystal Sony Trophy on Saturday to a worldwide television audience and you’ll find ...

Like Richard Williams, Parks, a tennis coach, trains his daughters himself and oftentimes counsels them on the sport and the facts of life. A straight shooter, Parks has closely guarded his daughter’s careers, being selective with tournaments and sponsors.

Four years ago, Parks and his daughter moved to Boca Raton after being invited by the USTA to train at the organization’s training center headquarters. Parks homeschools his daughters and was busy discussing endorsement deals with sponsors at the Sony Open.

The rising costs, income disparities and sacrifices are not stopping Parks from helping his daughters fulfill their dreams. Parks said the bottom line is not money, but talent. Faith and persistence he says are important, but Parks says talent is the key.

“It’s just like every other profession,” he said. “If you’re good, you’re good. Everything will take care of itself. Sponsors will come to you if you are good. Look at Serena. She achieved all the success because she is talented.”

Parks says Serena is successful is because she is athletic, talented and a tough player. He cites her Grand Slam victories despite numerous injuries and layoffs. Parks believes more Blacks players overcome economic barriers they focus if they focus on talent rather than complain about the sport’s high costs.

“You can’t get caught up in what people are not doing,” he said. “That’s where you lose it.”