ONcourt Interviews Brandon Burke
As revealed in a recent news release issued by the WTA Tour – Brandon Burke has been elected to the WTA Board of Directors (to start officially in September). ONcourt got together with Brandon to delve more into his background and to gain some insight into this wonderful appointment he has attained at such a young age
Question: We know you as ACE President Doug Burke’s son. Tell us a bit about your background in tennis and growing up in a tennis family?
Answer: As many would imagine, I grew up with a tennis racket in my hand. Funnily enough, though, this was as much because I genuinely loved the sport as it was because of who my dad was. I’ve always loved playing tennis and being around tennis. I started playing seriously and competing in local tournaments in Jamaica when I was about seven or eight years old. At the time, dad was the National Director for tennis in Jamaica and I was still living there.
My dad coached me when I was younger but ultimately decided to have me move to a tennis academy in Florida when I was thirteen. I played and lived at the International Tennis Academy, in Delray Beach, Florida, for three years and went to a high school nearby and competed in various tournaments internationally. This was a huge sacrifice for my parents, but I would like to think that after all these years we can all now definitively say that it was worth it. Right, dad? (:
Question: Tell us about your experiences at Brown and at Osgoode Hall Law School respectively.
Answer: After I finished high school I took a gap year before going to college. I knew that I wanted to go to an Ivy League school, and set my sights on making that happen. I used the gap year to get my ITF ranking up to about #75 in the world so that I would be a top recruit for Ivy League coaches, and also to really hone in on studying for my SAT’s and SAT subject tests to get those scores to where they needed to be. I ended up being lucky enough to have the choice of going to many great schools, but decided that Brown was the right fit for me from both a tennis and an academic standpoint. I played on the team at Brown for all four years of my degree, and look back on my time playing tennis there as some of my fondest memories so far in life.
After I graduated from Brown, I knew the “real world” would get in the way of my being able to continue playing tennis as much as I had up to that point in my life, and so I started to think about finding other ways to stay close to the sport. My goal in going to law school was to better prepare myself to work on the business side of tennis. I could probably have gone straight out of undergrad into a position in tennis, but I knew that being a lawyer would really bolster and add valuable experience to my profile that would help to qualify me for various tennis-related job opportunities that would later come up – similar to the position that I was recently elected to, to serve on the Board of Directors of the WTA Tour.
Question: Congrats on your new position on the Board of Directors of the WTA Tour! Tell us more about what this position entails?
Answer: Sure. I was elected as a Player Board Representative Alternate on the Board of Directors (the Board) of the WTA Tour. In the position, I will work alongside three other Player Board Representatives to engage with the WTA Players’ Council members and the player ranking groups that they represent. Player Board Representatives work alongside Tournament Board Representatives, a Board member appointed by the International Tennis Federation, and the WTA CEO who also serves as Chairman, to ultimately drive continued growth for the WTA Tour. It’s a privilege to have been elected and I couldn’t be more excited to be formally seated and to hit the ground running in September.