Should grand slams get rid of junior tennis?
For many young players a junior grand slam is a goal on its own these days: a good result gets you exposure, some hype and thus better sponsorship. All those tennis academies want to have junior champs because they hope parents will bring their kids to them. But we know junior tennis is a completely different ball game and transition to senior tour is not easy it all.
Maybe those youngsters experience what it means to play at Wimbledon etc. a bit too early? Maybe they should "grind out" that first adult Wimbledon main draw instead of being awarded a chance of playing in a slam tournament because they are "talented highly ranked juniors", which to be honest means almost nothing these days?
I think a junior grand slam unnecessarily elevates and glamorizes junior tennis, which is just a school of tennis and nothing more.
Juniors should have their own big tournaments, but WITHOUT that grand slam feel and name. Maybe that would make their goals (and their coaches') a bit more long term. Despite the huge physicality of the current game, I'd encourage them to taste "real tennis" on the futures circuit taking into account that a 16 year old shouldn't play a full season.
The only upside of a junior grand slam that I can see is that juniors play along the absolutely best senior players and they have a chance to learn something because they are so close to some real action. But I'm not sure how much knowledge they can pick up during a slam, how much access they have to the top players and do juniors really have time for it because they are playing their own tournament after all. Maybe they could learn more coming to a slam as ordinary spectators?