The United States Court Tennis Association has launched a new program, the Thomas Pettit Fellowship.
The purpose is to encourage Americans to take a sustained look at being a court tennis professional by facilitating new apprenticeships.
The fellowship is named after Tom Pettitt, the original American apprentice. In 1877 at the age of seventeen, Pettitt apprenticed at the Buckingham Street court in Boston. He went on to become the head professional at four different clubs in the U.S. and was world champion from 1885 to 1890. Pettitt was inducted into the International Court Tennis Hall of Fame in 2015.
Candidates will be selected on their potential to benefit from the fellowship and probability of becoming a full-time professional. A fellow could be a teenager just finishing high school and choosing a gap year before college; a college graduate looking for work after commencement; or a young person considering a change of careers. A primary goal is to produce more American professionals in the game; thus, the fellowship is restricted to American citizens. The fellow will receive a stipend of $1,500 per month. The fellowship would last from a minimum of three months to a maximum of six months. It is expected that the fellow will travel overseas to apprentice at a club in Australia, England or France at some point during the fellowship. There will only be one Pettitt Fellow per calendar year. Fellows will be expected to remain apprentices during the fellowship and therefore not risk their amateur status. A sub-committee of the Professional Committee will administer the fellowships. Please contact James Zug for more information
USCTA official policy on apprenticeships:
An apprentice is an amateur under twenty-five years of age who has applied to the USCTA and received a one-time, cumulative twenty-four-month (at one or more clubs) apprenticeship exemption. As someone who is doing this to learn the profession and possibly formally enter it, an apprentice may perform certain traditionally professional duties while retaining his amateur status, including hitting with and playing with members, making balls, stringing rackets and marking matches. They may also accept certain benefits traditionally granted to professionals, including accepting free court time, salary, lesson fees and entry to professional tournaments. An apprentice may not play in USCTA amateur championships but may play in the USCTA level championships, professional tournaments and in non-USCTA amateur tournaments as permitted by the host club. An apprentice may not accept prize money, appearance money or expense money for playing in a court tennis match, competition or exhibition, except as reimbursement for reasonable travel costs.