5 min read
Tristan Boyer (UTR Rating 13.78) was one of the best juniors on the planet before taking his talents to Stanford and now he wants to hit with you. Boyer, and other players like him, are available on Paid Hits, a new initiative launched by Universal Tennis to pair elite players with local people willing to pay for a hit.
“It's great,” Boyer told Universal Tennis. “I can set the time whenever I want and people just sign up. It's flexible and the payment was really easy.”
Boyer just started his sophomore year at Stanford and has been fitting in hits around his schedule, which includes classes, practices, and tournaments. He has organized more than 10 Paid Hits already, all taking place at the picturesque Taube Center, the facility Stanford Tennis calls home.
“I would say I'm pretty consistent with my game style, more than other players so that's good reason
With the NCAA recently adopting a new interim “Name, Image and Likeness”, college student-athletes like Boyer are freer to earn money. Other college players are on the Paid Hits platform including seniors Taylor Johnson and Brian Cernoch, and pros like Christopher Eubanks, Bradley Klahn, Martin Redlicki, William Blumberg, and Kevin King.
How Paid Hits Benefits Everyone
Paid Hitters are responsible for arranging the court and bringing balls, while the registrant are in charge of the session, making the decisions about what they want to work on for the hour-long hit. Boyer has spent time on court with players of all ages and levels since Paid Hits is open to everyone (children under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian).
It's not just about forehands and backhands as participants are making new connections and friends. Every registrant Boyer has hit with has become a new tennis connection within his community.
Since the launch of Paid Hits in September, nearly 1,000 sessions have been created and over 100 Paid Hitters are available for hits all over the country. Registrants get to improve their game while hitting with someone better than them, making for a memorable and rewarding experience. How often can recreational players say they've shared a court with a touring pro or star college athlete?
"I think it's fantastic," said Brian Wilson, a 2003 NCAA champion and former pro. "During my experience growing up in California, we always had a lot of great players to hit with. The Bryan brothers would come to the Weil Tennis Academy and hit with us. That was just an incredible experience to be able to see how they prepared and how focused they were during practice. I think it's it's a great initiative."
The new NIL policy, adopted in July, allows Division I, Division II, and Division III student-athletes to be compensated for their name, image, and likeness. They can sign with sponsors, endorsements, and brands, make money on social media and from merchandise sales, sign with an agent, and get paid for lessons (or hits).
Paid Hits from Coast to Coast
Over in Chicago, DePaul University junior Valentina Martin (UTR Rating 8.16) has also been making money and meeting new players through Paid Hits. The 21-year-old is making the most of the last days of warm weather by hitting with locals at public courts.
“Two of the slots filled out like within an hour—it was super quick,” Martin told Universal Tennis. “Both people I hit with were so nice. I thought it was super cool and I was in shock with how fast they filled up.”
Martin was a top junior back home in Venezuela before starting her college career at the University of Central Florida and transferring to DePaul in 2020. Her parents live in Florida now and she’s eager to offer Paid Hits there when she visits.
The networking opportunities aren’t lost on Martin.
“It's been an experience and really fun,” Martin said. “The people I've met are
About Paid Hits
If you’re interested in becoming a Paid Hitter, you’ll need to apply, have a UTR Rating above 8.0 (there are some exceptions), pass a free background check, and subscribe to become a Power Player. There is no upfront cost: Power fees will not be collected until you earn the full amount of $99/year through Paid Hits. Universal Tennis takes no cut.
For more information and answers to frequently asked questions, click here.
UTR Ratings as of Nov. 3, 2021 at 12 p.m. EST.