It rained virtually all day Saturday, the fourth day of the past five to feature precipitation, and none of the Jr. Orange Bowl qualifying was completed. Jodi Steinbauer, the tournament director, said at tonight's player party that this is the most rain they've ever had at the JOB.
The weather forecast is better for later tomorrow and next week, but there is a serious backlog, especially in the girls' 12s, which are played on clay and have only eight courts available to them.
The rain disrupted the ITA Coaches Convention too, causing cancellation of the afternoon's One-on-One Doubles Tournament and requiring those planning to do on-court presentations to improvise.
Since I had missed Mark Bey's National Junior Tennis Conference last month, I was particularly interested in attending his presentation "Keys to Converting Junior Baseliners To Collegiate All-Courters." With several of his CARE Academy students (and Junior Orange Bowl participants) demonstrating, Bey spoke of his belief in finishing at the net, and his commitment to teaching that style early, so that college coaches have more than power baseliners and counterpunchers to choose from.
Here is Bey's list of ten characteristics of an all-court player:
I much prefer that style of tennis myself, as a spectator, although my highest admiration is reserved for those who serve and volley, because it is so unusual and so seldom taught. If the Junior Orange ever gets started, I'll be looking for any players, especially girls, who don't fear the net.
The draws have been posted, minus the qualifiers, and I can't say I'm impressed with the seeding. Eddie Herr girls 12 champion Laura Robson isn't seeded, nor is Giacomo Miccini of Italy, who won the Bollettieri wild card tournament for the 18s main draw slot at the Eddie Herr. Australia's Bernard Tomic, who would have been seeded no. 2 at the Orange Bowl in the 16s, is seeded 12th in the 14s. The No. 1 seed in the girls 16s at the Orange Bowl, Russia's Valerie Solovieva, isn't seeded in the girls 14s. I could go on, but this post is running long as it is.
The most recent edition of Inside Junior Tennis has been posted. Kevin and I discuss the Orange Bowl, athleticism and technique, and foreign players in U.S. college tennis.
Saturday, December 16, 2006