Moderator: A Champion's life on and off the courts
Martin Blackman took over as General Manager, USTA Player Development, on June 1, 2015. In this role, Blackman is responsible for partnering with the U.S. tennis community to identify and develop the next generation of world-class American tennis players. He oversees both the USTA’s Player Development staff and Training Centers – including its Regional Training Center network and the Player Development facilities at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla.
This is Blackman’s second stint with Player Development, having previously served as Senior Director of Talent Identification and Development from 2009 to 2011. In his role as General Manager, he reports to Gordon Smith, Executive Director & Chief Operating Officer.
Blackman has a diverse and extensive background as a coach and a player, beginning with his days as a junior, when he trained with legendary coach Nick Bollettieri, alongside future greats Andre Agassi and Jim Courier. Blackman, who won the USTA Boys’ 16s National Championship in 1986 and reached the Boys’ 18s final two years later, went on to become a member of two NCAA Championship teams at Stanford University. He continued his play at the ATP level from 1989 to 1995, reaching a career-high of No. 158.
Blackman then became the head men’s tennis coach at American University in 1998. During his tenure at American, Blackman was named conference Coach of the Year three times, leading the Eagles to three conference titles, two NCAA Tournament appearances and their first-ever national ranking.
In 2004, Blackman was hired as Director of the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Md., and began to help build it into one of the premier junior training centers in America. In his five years at the JTCC, Blackman helped the Center double both its junior program enrollment and its full-time staff, and the JTCC has since worked with and helped develop pros such as Alison Riske and Denis Kudla and top junior Frances Tiafoe.
Near the end of his tenure in College Park, Blackman submitted a proposal to the USTA recommending that it partner with the best junior development programs across the nation, which was the impetus for the creation of the USTA Regional Training Center network. He was hired by the USTA in 2009 as Senior Director of Talent Identification and Development, a role that saw him oversee the implementation of the Regional Training Center program, serve as a co-leader of the Coaching Education Department and be USTA Player Development’s leader for Diversity and Inclusion.
Blackman left the USTA in late 2011 to found his own tennis academy, the Blackman Tennis Academy, in Boca Raton, Fla. After only its second year of full-time programming, Blackman’s Academy sent all eight of its graduating students to college on tennis scholarships.
Blackman also served two terms on the USTA Board of Directors, 2003-04 and 2005-06, serving on the Audit and Collegiate Committees.