IMG

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Australian Wild Card Women's Tournament; US Team for Les Petit As


I took the trip up to Boca Raton today for two reasons--to see the completed National Training Center and to have a look at the wild card round robin that the USTA is conducting to determine who will receive the spot in the Australian Open main draw. I discovered a bonus tournament, but more about that later.

Last year Madison Brengle, who was a last-minute replacement, won the Australian Open wild card, which the USTA receives in trade for a U.S. Open main draw wild card. Since she fit the criteria--1985 birth year or later, WTA Top 300--she was invited back again this year. Bethanie Mattek, Ahsha Rolle and Alexa Glatch also received invitations due to their birth dates and rankings. The other four are wild cards: Gail Brodsky, Asia Muhammad, Coco Vandeweghe and Ashley Weinhold (Melanie Oudin was initially in the field but dropped out when she reached the Orange Bowl final). The format has two groups of four and the top finisher in each group plays Thursday to decide the winner. After two days, this is how the results look:
Group 1:
Brengle 2-0
Mattek 1-1
Vandeweghe 1-1
Muhammad 0-2

Group 2:
Glatch 2-0
Brodsky 1-1
Rolle 1-1
Weinhold 0-2

Wednesday's matches will see Vandeweghe play Muhammad and Brengle play Mattek. If Brengle wins, she makes the final. If Mattek and Vandeweghe win, it gets a lot more complicated, as there will be three players who are 2-1.

In group 2 matches on Wednesday, Glatch plays Rolle, and Brodsky plays Weinhold. The same scenario holds as in group 1; if Glatch wins, she's in, but if Rolle beats her and Brodsky wins, there will be three players at 2-1.

Tuesday's matches were all completed in straight sets, and other than plenty of complaints about chair umpires calling all the lines, there wasn't much to indicate that a lot was riding on the outcome. The two US Open blue courts, in the photo above, were used, with two sets of two matches. Mattek beat Muhammad in straight sets and Brengle beat Vandeweghe on one court. On the other, Rolle defeated Weinhold and Glatch beat Brodsky. Usta.com has the results from Monday's competition here. Bonnie Ford of espn.com also is following the story.

I took a brief tour of the new training facility, and ran into Jarmere Jenkins, who was only just released from the hospital following his admittance on Saturday, when he was forced to retire from his semifinal Orange Bowl match. He said that his heart and kidneys had been affected, requiring more monitoring than the standard overnight IV that suffices for most cases, but that he was fine now.

The wild card tournament wasn't the only chaired event being held at the Evert Academy site. The round robin to determine which players will travel to Europe this winter for Teen Tennis and Les Petit As started Monday, under the direction of USTA High Performance coach Kent Kinnear. Participants are (by USTA ranking of 1994 birth years): Harrison Richmond, Mitchell Krueger, Reo Asami, Alexois Halebian and Robert Livi. Wild cards were given to: Tyler Gardiner, Nick Wood and Joe Di Giulio, the only 1995 birth year player in the group. The top two finishers in the round robin plus one wild card will go to Europe this winter. Christian Harrison is also likely to make the trip. Once I receive the final results from Kinnear, I'll pass them along.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

How many of these players are actually US citizens? If the USTA pays for developing US talent, shouldn't they be focusing on US players, instead of developing talent for other countries.

Anonymous said...

All of this player are 100% USA citizens. The ETA (European Tennis Association) requires them to have a USA citinzenship in order to play le petit ass for their country. Also, the ITF has the citinzenship very regulated.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, that didn't happen last year when Sean Berman was one of the players selected by the USTA to represent the US. He is from New Zealand training in the US. This was brought to the USTA's attention and their response was they can't discriminate against non-US players.

Anonymous said...

That doesn't sound right. The USTA "discriminates" against foreign players all the time. How is Les Petits As any different? I suspect that Berman got the wild card because he's a very good player who lives in the U.S. and may well represent the U.S. (in fact, he HAS represented the U.S. in tournaments since Les Petits As). And are you sure he isn't/wasn't a citizen?

Anonymous said...

Sean Berman has an USA citizenship and he had it when the USTA selected him for le petit ass. The USTA, as all the countries, select the best player with USA citizenship in order to have the best chance of winning.

Tahoe said...

The "USTA" discriminates against foreign players? Foreign players are not allowed in most of the endorsement tournaments at the local levels, ones that earn players at spot in national tournaments, but then, when it comes to college play, no one discriminates against foreign players. Quite the contrary. U.S. colleges and universities train and provide free education for foreigners. It supposedly raises the level of tennis for the American players, who are cut out of many scholarship positions by the foreigners so their level can't be raised that much anyway.
Plus ca change........

Anonymous said...

ALso, w/ the 91s for les petit they took Lazo who was a Gerogian citizan at the time and has since moved back to Europe instead of taking a US player to develop. As for Berman there are other equally promising US players who could benefit from USTA sponsorship as well. So clearly anonymous is wrong the the ETA requires all players to h ave passports for the country they are representing.

Anonymous said...

Once again the USTA has picked their favorites and do not open the door for other players. I have seen some of the kids they are training and they need a miracle. They will train whoever if they have puppet kids and puppet parents that are told what to do. Brengle is an exception, but for the rest of their so called elite group, good luck getting water from a rock.

Theo said...

I think what the USTA means is that they can't discriminate against FOREIGN BORN players who hold US citizenship. I think they also mean they won't discriminate against any player with talent who his willing to represent the US.

On the Zoo Tennis site it has Mattek with a 1-1 record after the first two days but on the USTA site it has her losing all 3 of her matches. Which is right?

Colette Lewis said...

I admit I wasn't giving the Mattek - Muhammad match my undivided attention, as I was also watching the 13 year old boys compete, but I am fairly certain that Mattek won it.

Anonymous said...

I think Theo is right, although I suspect the USTA would and could discriminate against U.S. citizens who intend to represent another country. In Berman's case, they seem to think that he will stick with the U.S, and thus far indications are that he will. If so, I have no problem whatsoever with supporting him. He's deserving. He shouldn't be penalized because he's foreign born, especially if he's lived here for over a year or so, which I believe he had before Les Petits.

the king said...

how has the 13 year old boys competion gone

Anonymous said...

can anyone confirm if asia muhammad won any matches during the wc tourney? who is correct?

Anonymous said...

The majority of the kids in the USTA High Performance boys program are too short to be pros. 5'4"- 5'7" won't make it unless you are truly exceptional and have lightning speed.

Anonymous said...

So Are the girls. Look at the parents. good coaches look at the parents and find out the genetics. Tall, athletic. The Usta does the opposite. most of the Usta kids are the early matures. There are alot of kids who have not physically developed yet. They are the ones to watch

Anonymous said...

I don't know who these last two posters are talking about. First of all, can they name ONE male player in high performance who is full-grown and only 5 ft. 4 in. to 5 ft. 7 in.? I cannot name one.

Even if you're talking about girls, Henin is the top player in the world and she's about 5 ft. 5.

Second, looking at the parents is not so scientific in predicting height. Andrew Agassi's father is about 5 ft. 6 in. tall tops, but Andre grew to 5 ft. 11 in.

Clay Thompson, a top 15 year old's dad is probably 5 ft. 10 in. tall, but clay is reportedly now 6 ft. 5 in. tall.

Andy Roddick's two older brothers who obviously have the same parents that he has are both about 5 ft. 9 or 10 in. tops; yet Andy is at least 6 ft. 2 in. Serena and Venus have the same parents, yet one is 5 ft. 8 and the other is 6 ft. 1. So much for predicting using parents!

Anonymous said...

To the last post. I do agree with the last 2 posts. There are girls that are lucky to be 5 ft5. Girls mature physically younger than boys. The parents of Venus and Serena are both tall. Venus takes after the father and Serena the mother. Genes do play a roll in height. The genes also come from granparents. But, to be an exceptional athlete, bigger,faster and stonger plays a big roll. I do not want to mention any names from the Usta, in case the kids read this.

Anonymous said...

I don't know a boy in the USTA high performance group that is shorter than 5'9. Also, a lot of top players are 5'10 and shorter. David Nalbandian is 5'10, Ferrer is 5'9, Hewith is 5'10, Robredo is 5'10 etc. Also, the #1 junior in the world, Berankins is 5'8. So, in tennis, if you are taller than 5'9, height is not an indicative of the level of the player.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
To the last post. I do agree with the last 2 posts. There are girls that are lucky to be 5 ft5."

Does mean that you agree with the one of the two posts that says that the boys in USTA High Performance are all 5 ft. 4 in to 5 ft. 7?

How can you agree to something that is 100% and obviously innacurate?! That this is innacurate is a FACT, not an opinion.

Furthermore, nobody said that genetics don't play a role, all that poster said was that there are no absolutes and he gave some great examples.

Anonymous said...

I didn't say "all", please reread my post. Forentera, Seal, Carlton, Kecki, Sarmiento are 5'7". Dante Terenzio is 5'4" and fully matured. There are not many 5'7" highly ranked pros, only Olivier Rochus, and he is truly talented and exceptional. If USTA High Performance mission statement is to produce highly ranked pros then they are not making their job easier. Picking early matures in the young age groups proves nothing.

Anonymous said...

Sarmiento is in the 5'9 and Sarmiento dad is very tall. He has no mature at all. Evan King is growing and will continue growing. You mentioned Formenterea and Seal. They are very good players and Seal has already have some international victories by going to the semis of the Osaka grade A. But definitely they are not the top 91 players. They are great players bu the top top are Ryan Williams (6'0, Buchanan (5'10) and Domijan (6'2). So definitely the USTA is very good in height in 91. In 92 they are also very good. Kudla dad is tall and he is growing and has not yet mature. Cox is already tall. Van Overbeek is also already tall. King, Sarmiento, Ore and Flores are growing (5'9) and will continue to get taller. Pasha Nathan is already 6'0. So, definitely, the majority of this comments, in the boys side, are without any type of fundamentals.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to mention, Ryan Harrison, 92, is already 6'0. So, the USTA is very good in height. Do not make an issue of what is not a real issue. In 91, Britton is 6'3.

Anonymous said...

"anonymous said: I didn't say "all", please reread my post. Forentera, Seal, Carlton, Kecki, Sarmiento are 5'7". Dante Terenzio is 5'4" and fully matured."

I just did reread your post. You said "the majority" which is equally wrong. First of all, you only mention 6 players which is probably only 10% of all of the USTA High Performance players. Very far from a "majority."

Terenzio is the only one whose lack of height you haven't overexagerrated and he is not considered one of the top high performance players. He was never picked to represent the US in any team event.

All of the others you listed are at least 5 ft. 8 and closer to 5 ft. 9 or 5 ft. 10.

Sarmiento is not even close to full-grown and Sarmiento, Kecki (who is at least 5 ft. 8 and probably closer to 5 ft. 10) and Formentera have the lightening speed that you talked about anyway.

If anything, it appears to be the opposite in that the USTA High Performance players tend to be very tall. Domijan is 6 ft. 6!; Briton is 6 ft. 3; Rhyne Williams and Ryan Harrison are still growing and already over 6 ft.; Chase Buchanan is well over 6 ft.; Sundling is over 6 ft.; Krajeck is over 6 ft.; Van Overbeek is at least 6 ft. 2 or 6 ft. 3 and clearly still growing.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said: King, Sarmiento, Ore and Flores are growing (5'9) and will continue to get taller."

I agree with just about everything you said in this post. The only exception is that I am not nearly as confident as you are that King and Flores are still growing. Flores hasn't grown in years and King looks very mature now.

Anonymous said...

The High Performance mission is to produce highly ranked pros NOT highly ranked juniors. The world is littered with highly ranked juniors who never made their way to being highly ranked pros. All I'm saying is that if you choose to look at players in the 12s and 14s, then you should look at their family lineage like the East Germans and Russians did. Otherwise wait until the 16s and 18s so you don't bias your choices and exclude players with more potential. Unlike the French system which prunes every year and you have the prove yourself every year. In the USTA HP system, once you're in, you're in for life as the coaches are defending their earlier choices. I repeat, Forentera, Seal, Carlton, Kecki, Sarmiento are 5'7". Dante Terenzio is 5'4" and fully matured." I am 5'8" and when I stand toe to toe with these players, I am looking down.

Anonymous said...

Nobody knows who is going to make it or not. There is alot that has to go into being a top ranked pro. Only about 30- 40 pros actually are in the positive cash flow, the rest are negative. I hope alot of coaches and parents are leaning more towards an education (scholarships). I see kids who think that if they win a national their all that. In reality whose to say who is going to make it or not. The kids I see now that are high nationally ranked players, in my opinion they do not stand out in world wide play. All of the kids need to get a education. I hope they will

Anonymous said...

The person making this comments is making a issue that does not exist. Sarmiento dad is at leat 6'0. So if you go by genetics he will get tall in the future and he has had the results to be in the HP group. He won the Teen Tennis, the second most prestigious tournament in Europe in under 14. He also went to the quarters of le petit ass the most prestigious tournament in the world. So he has proven to be an international player. Terenzio is a great, excellent and very good player but for many reasons, including height and questions in his future development, is even considered one of the HP players. He has never travel to any tournament (neither European, nor Junior Davis Cup nor ITF tournaments including in the USA) with the USTA team. Formentera and Seal are great player and because of their results in the USA and internationally (Seal went to semis of the Osaka grade A ITF)they should be considered in the HP team. But, the reality is that they are not the core nor the best players of the 91 age group. Domijan, Williams, Buchanan and Britton are over them in the USTA HP hierarchy. And Sandgreen, who is 6'1, is in the same level as them. So definitely there is not an issue. Remember, all of this kids are junior players, making a lot of sacrifice and putting all their effort into becoming the best players. The majority of the bloggers here do not understand that and probably is because they are jealous that they are not in the HP Team of that their son is no considered by the USTA by whatever reason. So, whenever you make a commentary think what harm you can make to the kid you are writing about and how you can damage the USTA and USA tennis by harming this kids that are giving their best effort and sacrifice.

Anonymous said...

I don't really see USTA HP improving kids and taking them to the next level. What I have seen are talented kids being indoctrinated into the HP program and losing their agressive shot making abilities that they had PRIOR to entering their system. They become more of a grinder making a lot of balls and playing high percentage tennis, not that there is anything wrong with that for the majority of junior players. However, for the truly talented, if their mission is developing highly ranked pros then it should lso be about developing all court weapons. HP also likes to have their boys play up in age as if they think that it is the big test and proving ground, e.g., Egger playing in the US Open Juniors way before he was ready and getting smoked 6-0, 6-2. JT Sundling was an agressive developing player in the 14s when HP indoctrinated him into their program skipping the 16s and playing the 18s more as a baseline grinder rather tha the all court player he was. He has left the HP program and I hope he regains his forme. He's a great kid with great potential and I wish him the best. Waylon Chin was a much better player prior to his entering the program. I have heard from one kid in the program (that I will not name) who says the majority of the kids in the programs are lazy, arrogant and feel priviaged. That's inherently the problem. When you don't have to fight to keep your position every year like the French system, there is a tendencuy to feel entitled and elitist which is the worse thing for a tennis player with dreams. Perhaps that is what's wrong with the HP program.

Anonymous said...

how tall is oudin

Colette Lewis said...

Five-foot-five and a half.

Anonymous said...

colette has mallory cecil turned pro yet? i asume she is 5-6 is she considered a good prospect

Anonymous said...

colette how is it that cc sardina is 15 and a senior?

Anonymous said...

I like the discussion here. I am no expert on player development. I can agreee with the idea of lacking physical size as the future development problem. However, I think the fundmental error UTSA HP program is making is their so called "Result Based" selection process. This is a prove of their lacking of vision and responsibility. In the investment world, they asy "Past performace does not garuetee furture success". Similarly, in athelte development, the current performance does not gaurentee furture success. The furture Champions (Amercian) are out there, most likely are not in the USTA HP program. It take someone with true vision to identify them, not just by ranking.

Anonymous said...

I know 2 kids, now young adults. Both had all the talent in the world. 1 holds a record with Jennifer Caparati, as one of the youngest in the Itf rankings. Due to the Usta pressuring to turn pro at a young age and bad coaching, she has and is struggling on the tour. Another one did not want to turn pro yet and she quit the Usta. I was told they are lost and the coaching is terrible. They are desperate to have an american make it. I think maybe we will have an American break through, but they will not be from the HP group. Some of the parents I have talked to, send their kids there because of the free training and the exposure they might receive.

Anonymous said...

Amen, Anon, you've got that right. The development of Ryan Harrison, Rhyne Williams, Sam Querry has been outside the HP system, not to mention Agassi, Sampras, and even Roddick.

Anonymous said...

Who are the high performance players? Is there a list someone could refer me to?

Anonymous said...

it is very easy to pile on the USTA and their coaches. remember that until now, the USTA coaching has been supplemental and not primary. also remember that a lot of times, these critiques of coaches are coming from 13, 14, and 15 yr old kids who may or may not know what is best for them. we all can remember being a teenager and thinking we know everything.
i'm not a total USTA apologist, numbers speak for themselves and the elite players come from outside the system. important to point out that statistically speaking, the "field" is usually going to beat the chosen few. unless you get to pick federer :)
this being said, i would be remiss if i did not say that I have taken a few players I coach on court with a couple different USTA coaches a few times and each time come away glad that I did so and my player(s) having got something out of it.