IMG

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Draws for Les Petits As; Elias Wins Boca Futures


The final round of qualifying is not yet complete at Les Petits As, but all four U.S. players--Madison Keys, Chanelle Van Nguyen, Alexois Halebian and Robert Livi--will have their chance tomorrow morning to earn a spot in the main draw.

The main draw has been released. Please click here for the Les Petits As website.

The last of the three Futures events in Florida this month was won by 17-year-old Gastao Elias of Portugal. Last week's winner in N. Miami Beach, Vlad Ignatic, also 17, won the doubles this week in Boca Raton. For complete draws, visit usta.com's Pro Circuit page.

The draws for the men's Dallas challenger and the women's 25K (qualifying only) are available on this page.

26 comments:

tennis man said...

colette
why is john richmond not on the les petis as draws?

Colette Lewis said...

He is in the main draw, not the qualifying draw.

Not A USTA Fan said...

It's obvious the USTA Boy's coaches made a poor selection in this year's crop of players. I noticed John Richmond lost his first round match at Les Petit. That makes him 0-3 in singles play in Europe. Robert Livi couldn't even make it into the main draw. So how much money is the USTA throwing away sending players that can't compete at the international level? Is anybody other than me concerned?

Based on results, it would appear the USTA Girl's coaches have their act together when it comes to selecting the right players. The US has five girls in the main draw of Les Petit. I know they don't select their players based on a very shortsighted one-weekend tournament like the boys. Maybe they should be in charge for the boy's selections as well.

florida said...

To not a USTA fan.... The reality here is that group of 94 boys is not a particularly strong year except for Christian Harrison who opted not to play. The other option would not to have sent a boys team this year. My concern, which I have mentioned in this blog, is the overall lack of support that the USTA gives to promising players as they develop, most notably only 3US boys made the trip to Australia for the juniors, which sort of sums it up. USTA high performance coaches are arrogant and don’t acknowledge players outside of the handful they work with and some of the ones (and I wont mention names here because that gets too personal) they pick are questionable for the amount of $$$ spent on them. This has been consistent for years and that is why USTA tennis does not develop players. I know some top players who have never been invited to do anything with the USTA. Sam Querry is probably the best example of all. My question is what are the Serbians doing right. Two players, one in the mens and one in womens finals and that country is poor and recovering from a very brutal civil war. So if you look at the players Serbia is producing vs. the USTA, the richest federation in the world, it clearly is not a question of $$$ spent and resources but how resources are allocated. I am just really baffled by this.

jd said...

to not a USTA fan and Florida: LIGHTEN UP. First of all, these are children who are 13 years old who may not understand that you have no clue what you talking about. Second, this is one tournament - probably the first international tournanent for each of them - so to characterize them as weak as compared to their international peers based on three or four matches may be a little premature. In my view these boys are promising players that deserve to be there and also deserve our support at this stage of their young careers

florida said...

To JD...The boys field is weak and it's a question of resources. There are some top 100 ranked ITF boys who are very promising who receive less that $4,000 total in travel grants a year, which is why so few made the trip to Australia open. Sure Les Petits is a great experience, so insn't sending a kid to Europe, but if the USTA has allocated limited player development funds for travel it's hard to see the vlaue of spending that much money to send 14 year olds to Europe unless they are ready to compete internationally when our top olders US boys who have results are not getting much USTA dollars. That's it.

JD said...

To Florida: here are the points: 1)our best players at 13 need the international experience to play internationally, win or lose, 2) we need to continue to invest USTA dollars in our excellent younger players 3) at 13 years of age, we should be more concerned about their skills development rather than wins and losses, 4) the characterization of these three players (or the entire group of 93's as weak) is incorrect; these three players are developing nicely regardless of their win/loss record at this one single tournament, and 5) if the USTA needs more money to send older players to Austrialia, so be it, but not at the expense of younger developing players (if you want to see a weak field, stop investing in the 93's and let's see whow well the USA boys do 3-5 years from now).

bitterbrokecrybabytennisparent said...

Why does tennis need to be a sport (to possibly acheive a high level) for two seperate "classes"?
1) kids that are funded, either by rich parents, or sponsers..or
2) kids that are talented and have shown results that warrant USTA, or other financial support.

What about kids that have potential, but little results to show for it, and little $$ to travel for valuable international experience?

They become College players..(nothing wrong with that), except, "perhaps" if they have had financial support, they could have gone farther.

No wonder our best athletes choose team sports over this dog eat dog world of junior tennis. A world where players are celebrated, even if their parents were domineering monsters that are living their lives through the kids. If the kids are great, the parents are worshipped, this board included, and this moderator included.

Is there any other sport like this?

The Dude said...

I wonder if junior golf is like junior tennis. Does anyone have kids that compete in both?

Kent Kinnear said...

Colette -

Thanks for this great website! I love the passion and interest of the readers. It's a great system.

Just to clarify a few things on the playoff and selections for this Les Petites As and Teen Tennis trip: the top 5 ranked 94s (based on previous 12 months activity) and 3 wc picks, (including #1 ranked 95 DiGuilio), came to Boca for 5 days in December. In addition to playing off for just 2 of the 4 spots going over to Europe, the kids trained against Canadian national players, and each had at least 3 matches in the playoff to help them prepare for the Orange Bowl which started a few days later. The final 2 spots I chose after the Orange Bowl. Asami and Livi made it through the playoff using Master Series format, and then Halebian and Richmond I chose as wildcards. Excluding Christian Harrison who as many of you know is an incredible young prospect, those 4 boys were our #1, 3, 4 and 5 ranked kids born in 94 as of December rankings. Mitchell Krueger, #2, had a tough December, but is an incredible talent, and his coach Dave Licker has and is doing a great job helping Mitchell develop his game for the long term.

You all would be extremely proud of these 4 kids that I'm with right now in France. They, along with the girls team, are great ambassadors for the US on and off the court. So I think we should be very optimistic and supportive of the 94 group (13 year olds)who are at home, and who are here, one of which beat a top Swede yesterday and the #6 seed from Germany today, 7-6 in the 3rd set after being down 4 match points, and another beating the #1 Europeon 95 (Czech) yesterday, and today a talented Spanish player who had beaten a seeded Ukranian. I'm honored to be working with these kids.

Thanks again for all of your hard work, Colette!

get real said...

Unfortunitly I heard alot of the junior programs in all sports has their fair share of problems. Tennis is the only sport that has players on their own calling lines and scores. The parents are never given the fair competetion talk before season and are not penalized for poor conduct. As to sending these 13 yr olds out of the country, I think it is stupid. The usta needs to go around the country to parks and clubs and see what other talent is out there. To base their hopes on the kids they have now good luck. If the kids are not getting better and improving move on. I have seen kids that are much better athletes then what the USTA has now, but these kids do not have the funds for better coaching and high rankings due to limited funds. The USTA needs to get out of their comfort zone and make a more positive move in the right direction.
About Golf, more of a classier sport, but like tennis they are responsible for keeping track of their own score. I was told alot more scholarships available and that is averaging a score of 98.

facts said...

the evolution of a tennis player, in the usta's eyes..(and perhaps correct)..is that you take a player, surround them with other good players, take them to not only great competition, but venues that are KNOWN places where previous PRO's have played..(this not only encourages improvement in their game, but increased confidence as well, essential in all sports, especially tennis). I dont care how talented you are, or how dedicated. If you are not involved in this scenario, it is not feasible to become a PRO player.

Here is what "bothers" me: If you take two offspring of "thouroghbreds", lets say, Secretariants sons. One son gets the usual upbringing and treatment afforded a horse like this. The "other" son gets seperated at birth, and ends up living with farmer Jones in Wyoming. Well, we know through history that there is a very good chance that the horse with the typical upbringing is going to have a very good shot at future glory. As for farmer Jones horse: They notice he is fast, and talented, but unless he gets noticed by people who can train him..(in Wyoming??!:)..he does not have the "career" like his brother has had..not the training, not the competition..no real chance for the success that was possibly his destiny.

And even if a NON Thouroghbred is given the proper training, subjected to the superior competition, and showered with confidence..they would most likely defeat farmer Jones's horse, who has not had the "advantages" of the others.

My objection with tennis development, is that there are many "farmer Jones" type kids out there, who have not had the oppurtunities, and CHANCES that only a select few seem to get. "Get real" is correct, and "bitterbroke" is as well.

I just hope that the usta, and the kids they have chosen.. and families of kids who have had proper training, and funding are not so arrogant to feel that their children are entitled, and the ONLY ones who could have thrived in their situation.

It should not be "tough luck" for the others. And that is the problem with U.S tennis development.

david said...

Facts, I would also hope that those who do not receive proper training and funding are not so bitter to suggest that those who do are unworthy and merely a product of outside support. Because to discredit their talent and hard work would be equally bad.

People act as if there is an abundance of Pete Samprases walking around local parks across the country, and all the USTA needs to do is open their eyes and give them money. I wish it was that easy. Spreading the wealth sounds good, but there are only so many resources to go around. The USTA doesn't have enough scouts to canvass the country looking for the next great player. Of course they should always keep their eyes open, but they primarily have to rely on others close to these talented kids recognizing their talent and steering it towards tennis.

Who exactly should they spread the wealth to? You could take the money that a player like Rhyne Williams gets and give it to 10 random kids at a park, but do you think that would increase the chances of producing a champion? Do you spread it around to 100 kids? How much money is left for each kid? Do you put all your money into scouting for the "next big thing" while ignoring those who are already demonstrating talent and a willingness to play tennis?

Most here don't give the USTA enough credit. They don't blindly follow results and ignore a player's potential. They aren't going to shun a young Michael Jordan because he doesn't have great results. It's just a matter of finding those kind of athletes who want to play tennis. That's not terribly easy.

Maybe the money needs to be spread around a little more (perhaps to the perceived second tier kids who have a high ceiling but mediocre results), but the idea of taking the money from the so-called privileged and showering it across the land like fertilizer that will grow future champions seems implausible to me.

facts said...

"David", I agree with your post. The funds should not be spread like fertilizer. And the $$ a Rhyne Williams gets to a random 10 kids in the park is also unrealistic. But to think there are no other kids (like the second tier kids you mention who perhaps have JUST AS HIGH A CEILING as a kid who is wealthy, or has been groomed by a tennis family since age 2-3) is also unrealistic. What if a talented second tier child was seperated at birth, and instead raised by the DePalmer's or Harrsions. Its a no-brainer what the result would be. And many of these kids do not have the parents with the know how, nor the $$ to develop these kids properly. Do you think the usta is doing the best job they can, as far as providing assistence to players such as this? How can you get results in the 12's/14's (where they get "noticed"), if, you do not have the $$ to travel and/or to afford the lessons needed? Do you make extreme sacrifices, like quitting your job, and buying a shopping cart full of balls?

My point is that this scenario is unfortunate. In Basketball for instance..Elvin Hayes, and Larry Bird grew up playing on dirt. Football/Baseball, the same..you CAN thrive without being $$$.

Tennis is an expensive sport, it s a diffucult sport, and its a sport that needs MANY things to go right for the chance at greatness. Without those three factors, you are still a good tennis player, but not elite. The usta selects their favorites, and provides these three factors, and it "sounds" like you may agree that perhaps, some kids are left behind in this scenario?

florida said...

Hey Kent,

First of all I would like to thank you for responding to this blog and it’s nice to know that someone in high performance actulally reads this.

No one is denying that international competition is a great experience for any talented junior at any age. No argument here that it’s appropriate for USTA high performance to send a team to les petite, but here’s the caveat, as long as they are supporting a range of talented players as they get older and results mean more. That’s the issue here becaue the USTA does not do that. If you look at the odds it’s unlikely any of these kids are the future of US tennis. I bet none of our top ATP players, Roddick, Blake, Querry, played it except for Donald Young. That said, USTA high performance has had a miserable record developing top ATP level players over the last decade and the results speak for themselves. According to current ATP rankings in the top 100 men there are: 6 Americans, 12 from Spain, 15 from France. Lets look at the top 50 ATP: 9 from Spain, 7 France, 2 Americans and both are over 25. Most recently, not one American made it pass the quarters at the Australian in singles, doubles or mixed. Except for Isner there does not seem to be anyone in the top 100-200 with the results to pop though.

I am just a parent but I have been involved in junior tennis for the better part of a decade and play leagues. My son plays D1 college and was never a candidate for high performance though a good player. I have had friends, though, with juniors who have been involved in high performance and friends who had equally talented juniors who were ignored by USTA high performance. The reality it that is very tough to make the jump from top junior to top pro and the odds are against it. So the USTA should include in its development efforts as many promising juniors as possible just to increase the odds. Simple math here. But what happens is that the USTA high performance picks out a few kids in each “age group” and essentially ignores the rest with the odd exception here or there if one has an incredible tournament. When your coaches are at tournaments such as the Easter Bowl or Eddie Herr they only watch the handful of their anointed players in their program and treat everyone else like they don’t exist. The USTA has created a lot of bad will and it's 100% of their own making. And key here, the $$ for travel for the majority of our up and coming juniors is minimal at best, not even enough to cover the junior grand slams and the lead up tournaments, never mind the tournaments you need to play to get the points to qualify. So, you are betting the back on a few players who may or may pan out.

I also took a quick look at past trips on your high performance site. In 2007 the USTA sent two coaches with two players to two tournaments in Central American (Casablanca, Coffee Bowl). Two kids two coaches, am I missing something here. How about one coach and 8 kids. Again, with Costa Rico bowl with the girls, one coach two players.
All I am saying, it’s a big country, the USTA is a very rich federation and you need to spread your vision.

To FACTS and David, this is not a question of being randon in spreading the $$$ but there are many talented players that have had the results all along that the USTA ignores....the most obvious is Sam Querry and I sure we could all put a list together of current juniors.

florida said...

Hey Kent,

First of all I would like to thank you for responding to this blog and it’s nice to know that someone in high performance actulally reads this.

No one is denying that international competition is a great experience for any talented junior at any age. No argument here that it’s appropriate for USTA high performance to send a team to les petite, but here’s the caveat, as long as they are supporting a range of talented players as they get older and results mean more. That’s the issue here becaue the USTA does not do that. If you look at the odds it’s unlikely any of these kids are the future of US tennis. I bet none of our top ATP players, Roddick, Blake, Querry, played it except for Donald Young. That said, USTA high performance has had a miserable record developing top ATP level players over the last decade and the results speak for themselves. According to current ATP rankings in the top 100 men there are: 6 Americans, 12 from Spain, 15 from France. Lets look at the top 50 ATP: 9 from Spain, 7 France, 2 Americans and both are over 25. Most recently, not one American made it pass the quarters at the Australian in singles, doubles or mixed. Except for Isner there does not seem to be anyone in the top 100-200 with the results to pop though.

I am just a parent but I have been involved in junior tennis for the better part of a decade and play leagues. My son plays D1 college and was never a candidate for high performance though a good player. I have had friends, though, with juniors who have been involved in high performance and friends who had equally talented juniors who were ignored by USTA high performance. The reality it that is very tough to make the jump from top junior to top pro and the odds are against it. So the USTA should include in its development efforts as many promising juniors as possible just to increase the odds. Simple math here. But what happens is that the USTA high performance picks out a few kids in each “age group” and essentially ignores the rest with the odd exception here or there if one has an incredible tournament. When your coaches are at tournaments such as the Easter Bowl or Eddie Herr they only watch the handful of their anointed players in their program and treat everyone else like they don’t exist. The USTA has created a lot of bad will and it's 100% of their own making. And key here, the $$ for travel for the majority of our up and coming juniors is minimal at best, not even enough to cover the junior grand slams and the lead up tournaments, never mind the tournaments you need to play to get the points to qualify. So, you are betting the back on a few players who may or may pan out.

I also took a quick look at past trips on your high performance site. In 2007 the USTA sent two coaches with two players to two tournaments in Central American (Casablanca, Coffee Bowl). Two kids two coaches, am I missing something here. How about one coach and 8 kids. Again, with Costa Rico bowl with the girls, one coach two players.
All I am saying, it’s a big country, the USTA is a very rich federation and you need to spread your vision.

To FACTS and David, this is not a question of being randon in spreading the $$$ but there are many talented players that have had the results all along that the USTA ignores....the most obvious is Sam Querry and I sure we could all put a list together of current juniors.

facts said...

This is a great discussion, and very enjoyable and insightful reading these opinions. "Florida", your entire post hit the nail on the head. I have witnessed personally how the usta coaches are so enamored with their annoited player..I even witnessed a Fitness trainer in addition to coach, accompany ONE player to an ITF last year. I too thank Mr Kinnear for responding on this blog, and hope he (and others within usta) can try and understand how limited their perception for greatness is. They are not grooming these players for College tennis. Their ONLY objective is developing PRO's. The "problem" is, too few are annoited.

And as "Florida" suggests, how is a kid supposed to feel who is showing good results, and has great ranking, but is being ignored, or..just not showing enough interest? Not sure of Querrey story on this, but, if true, isnt it ironic that I believe last year, he was pictured on the usta high performance development website!?

In a nutshell, they should spread the interest and wealth a bit further. Use the rankings, ignore the rankings, but just find and fund MORE kids who are out there who obviously have talent. I was at a low level tournament at Bolletteri this past summer, and I saw this boy, must have been 14-15, fast as lightning, and could hit the crap out of the ball..an absolute whip of racquet head speed. Also, as inconsistent as a cranky Safin. He got killed 2 and 0, but I made it a point to complement his attitude to him and his parents. I learned that they were non-tennis playing parents, and that the boy had been playing in various junior groups since age 8. Can you imagine a kid like this, had he been raised, or been under the influence of a "Rhyne Williams" type family? Or even a innovative (and admittedly) demanding family like a Agassi?

Lets somehow expand our search for talent, for kids such as these, and also, kids who are showing the results now. NOT a limited selected few!

better judgment said...

The reality is that the process to become a pro is not in the USTA hands but in a lot of other factors. For sure, the USTA help is needed in order to develop more future pro players but is not the one to blame for the lack of the next Sampras. For example, in Spain Nadal, nor Ferrer nor Verdasco are a product of the work of the Spanish federation. Robredo and Lopez are a product of a Federation but they had a lot of external factors outside of the Federation. Djokovic and Ivanovic are not a product of the Serbian federation. Baghdatis, has nothing to do with the Cyprus federation. The major factor is the reality in the USA. Many people ask themselves why the USA have the best amount of players in the under 14 and under 16 age group (Harrison, Rhyne Williams, Buchanan etc) and they cannot make the ATP jump. The reality, is that al lot of different factors are stopping this jump. One of them is the reality of a great college league in the USA. Only the good American players have NCAA as a priority. So, in Europe they do not care for future education and they put all their effort in being a pro player. (the majority of universities in Europe are free). This is one of the external factors that I am talking about. Another is the lack of a junior league like the ETA, where a player with as little as $1,000 can make a full summer schedule of very high quality tournaments. In the USA, a good summer schedule is form $5,000 to $10,000. So, this definitely play another big role. Another factor is that in many newly forming and pos-war European countries, tennis is the second and maybe the third sport. In the USA, tennis is lucky to be the 7 or 8 sport. So, young kids do not dream about playing the ATP, they just want to play the NFL, NBA or MLB. This is another factor. I am sure, coaches like David Roddity, Kent Kinnear etc in the USTA are doing everything in their potential to bring the next Samprar. But they cannot control all the external factors. Is impossible.

get real said...

facts, I do agree with your some of your thoughts. But, money and good training will not buy you a trophy. I do not think the under dogs are under dogs. If the results are happening over and over with a few tourneys that the not so $$ are playing and are beating the elite (which for girls i have seen) why does the USTA not look at them? I am one who can afford alot of traveling and coaching, I also enjoy watching talented athletes. I have walked away from tourneys and wonder why some of the kids who are winning and are not so privledgs are not getting looked at by the USTA. Results do not lie and watching you can see. The USTA does not send scouts to touneys and they should. They should watch a couple of kids and see how they play a few times. Maybe in a perfect world they would have the chance, but at least I hope good colleges will notice them

facts said...

"Get real"..point well taken..I also want to stress that in no way do I seek to minimize the obvious hard work and dedication that the "fortunate" kids put in. Their success is not only $$ and good training. Its not "magic" that they have achieved success.

curiousgeorge said...

I keep seeing things written about the chosen few of the U.S.T.A. and how much money is spent on them. Does anyone know who they are or how much is really spent on them. Is it listed somewhere as to how much is spent on these kids and which ones receive what amount. If its not listed then shouldn't it be so we know how much each kid receives and why. Shouldn't the U.S.T.A. be held accountable for where the money goes and why? Again does anyone have a list of who the supposed U.S.T.A. favorites are?

Colette Lewis said...

West Nott looked into this last year on his Underground Tennis site. Link is here.

tennis said...

colette have you heard anything about robert yim he got 5,000 dollars last year and i havent heard anything

Colette Lewis said...

Those numbers are for 2004, but no, I haven't heard what Yim is doing lately. He hasn't played the Futures circuit since last fall.

tennis said...

colette wasnt he a really good prospect and why did he not make it on the tour

curiousgeorge said...

Does anyone know who the prospects are that the U.S.T.A. takes care of financially and are supposed favorites. The list from West Nott is for '04. How about '07 and '06? Would appreciate any feedback to start keeping up with them to see how they are doing. Rhyne Williams is listed on here as getting a lot of financial help but did not see his name in '04. Who are the current ones? Does anyone know?