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Friday, February 8, 2008

Bollettieri on Cheating, Pt. 2; Jensen Does it His Way at Syracuse

We've arrived in Madison, after a five-hour drive consisting of snowy landscapes off the highway and potholes the size of service boxes on it. With an hour or so before the beginning of the quarterfinals, and a suspicion that tonight's matches will go late, I thought I would but up these two links in the meantime.

Nick Bollettieri provides the second part of his treatise called Beat The Cheat today on the Tennis Recruiting Network, focusing on the best way to handle a cheater. He does not advocate cheating back, which is the method most often used. In all these discussions on cheating, which I do believe is a huge problem in junior tennis, I wish someone would tell all players that one or two bad lines calls do not a cheater make. I think Hawkeye has demonstrated to all of us that the difference between in and out can be infinitesimal, and the assumption that a close call you do not agree with makes the other player a cheater starts the match on a sour note. Those with bad reputations do not deserve the benefit of the doubt, of course, but a player's nationality or demeanor should not taken as a sign of a lack of integrity, especially if you have no personal experience with it. So I think players need to make a distinction between close calls they don't agree with (which they often chide their friends with as hooking, but don't seem very upset by it) and the systematic, pervasive and previously observed cheating. If they are lumped into the same category, the gravity of the latter is lost.

Luke Jensen took over the women's tennis program at Syracuse and it hasn't exactly been smooth sailing. Apparently his ambitions and those of the women he inherited (and recruited) haven't meshed, according to this story in the Daily Orange. It will be interesting to see if he attract women who want to be professionals to Syracuse, which does not have the tradition of tennis excellence of most of his competition.