Achieving An Incredible Education Through Tennis

Ryan Henry

Ryan won multiple Australian national singles and doubles titles as a junior and was a key member of Australian team that won the 16/U world junior championships held in Japan. By the age of 18, he had achieved rankings of World No. 1 in U/18 Doubles, World No. 16 in U/18 Singles, 271 in ATP Doubles and 424 in ATP Singles and competed in the Australian Open Mens Singles and Doubles main draw. Ryan retired early from the game at age 19 due to repetitive injuries and has since focused on developing a career as a tennis professional.


  • AICD Governance Foundations Directors Qualification
  • The EDG business essentials program graduate
  • Dent Business Accelerator Program graduate
  • Tennis Australia Master Club Professional and Diploma of Business
  • Tennis Australia Learning Facilitator certificate
  • Strength and Conditioning Level 1
  • Olympic Weight Lifting Level 1

Career history

  • 2004: Tennis NSW High Performance Coach
  • 2006: Tennis NSW Academy Head Coach
  • 2008: Head Performance Coach at Langley Tennis Club in London
  • 2011: Co-founded Voyager Tennis Academy
  • 2017: Joined the Tennis NSW board as a Director
  • 2019: Co-authored and published book ‘Winning on and off the court’

Ryan is responsible for the overall management and development of Voyager Tennis and is passionate about helping tennis thrive at all levels from grass roots right the way through to the professional level.

What I love about Tennis?
I loved the intensity of competing as a player and all the life opportunities that Tennis has provided such as character building, world travel and helping me to build a career. I’d like to share these opportunities and help as many players as possible to develop to their full potential as both players and as people.

It almost goes without saying that providing a quality education is one of the primary aims of most parents. Education is a key factor that enables a person to enter and succeed in a career, so pursuing tennis at the expense of an education is rarely a worthwhile exercise.

This article outlines the opportunity that tennis gives to gain a higher education at a US college funded by an athletic scholarship, providing a great platform for going professional if that is your child’s ambition.

What is the attraction of a US college?

US college sport is difficult to comprehend fully unless you have attended a college sporting event. Facilities and crowd attendances can be similar to professional sporting events, with college tennis matches sometimes having over 1,000 spectators, depending on which college it is. Playing in this environment is a phenomenal experience for your child.

The amount of resources that American universities offer is enormous, ranging from state of the art tennis facilities to coaches, fitness trainers, athletics trainers, nutritionists, sports psychologists, academic tutors, academic advisors and more. All of these resources are put in place for the student athlete to maximise their chances at being successful academically as well as on the court. Many top players competed in college sports, including John Isner, John McEnroe, Kevin Anderson, James Blake, Mike and Bob Bryan, Danielle Collins and plenty more.

A university education is a great leg up in life. Research shows that a person with a university qualification will earn an average of AU$31,200 more per year over the course of their career than a person who finishes their education after high school. This equates to more than AU$1 million in extra income over a person’s working life. When we look at these statistics, it becomes an easy choice for parents to encourage their child to pursue this type of education.

For those looking to play on the professional circuit, there is even more evidence to encourage them to do it via a US college education. Twenty or thirty years ago it was much easier to move from high school to playing on the professional tour. There were a fewer players competing for places on the ATP/WTA tour, so it was commonplace for a world class junior to finish high school, do well in a couple of satellites and challenger events, and be in the top 100 in the world twelve to eighteen months later.

This rarely happens now due to the rapid rise in the number of players pursuing professional tennis and the increasing physicality of the modern game. For those who do make the top 100, it now takes an average of four years from the time they begin competing professionally, with the average age of players in the top 100 being twenty-eight for men and twenty-six for women.

An eighteen-year-old who has just completed high school will find it almost impossible to compete successfully at the higher levels on the professional tour due to a number of factors, including a lack of court time and not being physically and mentally mature enough to compete against professionals who are often ten years older and far more experienced.

In today’s game, many of the world’s best eighteen to twenty two year old players are going pro via the US college pathway. That way, they can get a degree while seeing if they have what it takes to get on the ATP/WTA tour at the age of twenty-two, by which time they are more physically and mentally mature and have had an extra four years to develop their tennis.

After college, if a player attempts to go pro and realises they don’t have the game to crack the top 100, then they have a degree behind them, along with some unforgettable life experiences and a strong character, all of which provide a fantastic foundation for a successful career either inside or outside of tennis.

Some of the main benefits of US colleges compared to other university systems are:

  • Through scholarships, tennis players can earn a degree at a much cheaper cost than universities in other countries.
  • Students don’t have to decide what they want to study by the end of Year 12. Instead, they can decide in their second year at college.
  • The opportunity to study exclusive degrees like law or medicine is available to most students. In many countries, these degrees are available only for the top 1% or 2% of students. In the United States, once you are accepted into a college, you are free to choose what course you’d like to study.

If they’re working towards their child getting a US college education, parents need to consider several things during their child’s schooling. The overarching requirement is that the vast majority of Division 1 colleges are looking for A+ tennis players who are B/C students, so those who can get this balance right will generally have the most college opportunities and biggest scholarship offers.

If your child is an elite level tennis player by the time they graduate from high school, they can achieve a US college tennis scholarship at one of the best universities in the world. These scholarships can be worth up to US$400,000 over a four-year period. A typical scholarship will cover tutoring and academic support, racquets, clothes sponsorship, travel around the United States, food and accommodation off campus, massage and physiotherapy, along with a percentage of tuition, books, on-campus housing and food.

At our academy in Sydney we have several students each year being offered scholarships into world class U.S. Colleges including McDonald College student Micheal Zhang who was accepted into Harvard in 2020. If you are interested please reach out to us or contact our College placement experts at

By Ryan Henry, Managing Director of Voyager Tennis and Ex-Pro Tennis Player

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