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Monday, August 13, 2007

Peter Bodo on College Tennis Development


While I was immersed in all things Kalamazoo last week, Peter Bodo was talking with John Isner as part of a conference call the ATP set up with several top tennis reporters. The conversation got Peter thinking about college tennis and how it needs to be recognized as viable prelude to a pro career. I especially liked this passage:

....it is also possible that those extra years spent in college subtly mute a player's long-term expectations (in relative terms, of course). If you go to college these days, just making it as a tour journeyman is a feat, and there is something of the self-fulfilling prophecy about that. College players need to think they can attend college and come out and win Wimbledon, not just earn enough on the tour to buy a Hummer (my emphasis added). But you still get around the fact that neither Blake nor Isner was ready to play the pro tour, except to impersonate a punching bag, at 17 or 18, period. There is, after all, a natural limit to everyone's ability and potential. They key is fulfilling what potential there is - and keeping the faith long enough for that to happen.

By the way, I heard last week that Isner has been invited to join the US Davis Cup team as a hitting partner for next month's tie with Sweden.

7 comments:

Man in the Moon said...

Peter Bodo and Isner are saying what I have been saying for the past 2 years.

"Isner elaborated in response to a follow-up question:

If you're a superstar, beating guys in the top 100, top 50 at 17, 18, obviously not going to college would be the right choice. If you're not tearing it up that well, you need to go to college."

I read that column last week and it immediatley hit home with me, about my pal Donald Young.

If you look at the crop of very young players on the ATP tour now, Nadel age 21, Djoko age 20, DelPorto age 19, Daveyanko (sp) age 21 or so, Muarry age 19 or 20, Monfrils age 19 or 20, etc. They made a splash within a year or so on the tour.

For Americans, it is not like the 1980's aside from the "Magnificent 7(Andre, Pete, Courier, Chang, Washington, Todd Martin, David Wheaton there were an ADDITIONAL 30 to 35 AMERICANS in the ATP TOP 100.

That is to say 35 - 42 Americans in the top 100 and most of them were in the top 70.

Which meant if you were a top American junior in the 1980's that would translate into a world class (top 100) pro ranking.

That is clearly and unequivocably NOT THE CASE NOW.

I never had a problem with Roddick, Fish, Ginepri, Querry turning pro prior to college. They basically made an impact very soon.

Now the experts are saying maybe D. Young tried the circuit a bit too early ( as I have said for years.)

Yet I took and still take, so much flack from bloggers on zootennis about my thoughts on Young.

"The times are a changing" according to my buddy, Bob Dylan and you have to be smart enough to make adjustments-- especially American Juniors.

Tahoe said...

Then there was Chuck McKinley who played for then #1 Trinity (Texas) and between his Junior and Senior years went off and WON Wimbledon. Later played on the winning U.S. Davis Cup team too.
Also note that Eric Butorac, who played for a Div. III school (Gustavus Adolphus) has recently been doing well playing doubles with Andy Murray's brother, going a round or two at both Wimbledon and the Australian.

Man in the Moon said...

I made some mistakes on my ages--

Davydenko is 26
Del Porto age 18 $452,000
Djoko 20 - $3.2 million earned
Monfils 21 - $2.3 million
Gasquet 21 - $2.5 million
Berdych 22 - $3.2 million
Muarry 20 - $1.4 million
Nadel 21- $12 million

They are going to be around for a long time!!!

Austin said...

Fish didn't crack the top100 until he was almost 21. Ginepri was almost 20 when he first got into the top100, but he fell out immediately and didn't get back into it for good until 3 months after he was 20. Taylor Dent didn't get in the top100 until a month before he turned 21 and he didn't stay in it for good until late that summer.

So they all had question marks around them when they turned pro. Especially when none of them were the top junior in the country when they turned pro. They may have been had they stayed an amateur for another year, but at the time they turned pro none of them were.

Man in the Moon said...

Austin,

you just don't get it!!!

Brent said...

What has happened to Levine? If he was hoping this summer would be his springboard to turning pro, doesn't look like that is working out so hot. I thought the time with Federer would be a big confidence builder but I think he is O-fer since returning. Oullette has had some good results this summer which, assuming Levine comes back, leaves them with a scary lineup heading into next year. I would guess they go...

1. Levine
2. Oullette
3. Briceno
4. Dadamo
5. Hochwalt
6. Hamui

...which has to leave them as near favorites along with Georgia and Virginia, I would think.

palito said...

it`s del potro no del porto