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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bollettieri to Assist USTA

When Patrick McEnroe was revealed as the USTA's choice for GM of Elite Development, one of the initiatives mentioned was working more closely with academies. Only a few weeks later comes this announcement that Nick Bollettieri will assist in the training of several of the USTA's prime prospects, including Donald Young.

Two of those prospects, Sachia Vickery, the 14s Easter Bowl champion and Vicky Duval, are now residents at the NBTA, and on Sunday, the Miami Herald's Michelle Kaufman spoke with Bollettieri about his new charges. You can't help but get excited about their futures when he says:

"I want to help the future of American tennis, and it's important to find youngsters like Vicki and Sachia, girls who have so many fantastic qualities, such talent, and really, really love the sport," Bollettieri said.

"Would you believe when they got off the plane from California, the first thing they did was come to the court and ask if they could practice? They have passion. They say, 'Thank you.' They give hugs when they leave the court. And they are A students. This is what our country needs. They have the potential to be darn good."
Another story, this one from the Boca Raton News profiles Julia O'Loughlin, one of the USTA's players training at Boca Raton, and her family's journey around the country to find suitable competition.

And because I was in California, I didn't give much attention to the 12s Spring Nationals in Delray Beach, but Marcia Frost of collegeandjuniortennis.com was there, and filed daily reports. Marcia's been plenty busy with her new book American Doubles, and she now has a myspace page where you can learn more about its imminent publication.

12 comments:

Man in the Moon said...

Young to Nick- very interesting,
I have said for the past 4 years that Donald Young was not going to become a star unless he made some BIG CHANGES in his attitude (he plays like the world owes him, no fight, no work ethic, etc) and game ( so much to work on, not enough room on this limitless blog).
However, this is Donald's big chance to score with Nick B in his corner- not that Nick B. is the greatest coach in town, but he does know how to pick winners and provide them a platform (partners to hit with, discipline, work ethic, etc or he kicks you out).

So, Young will either make a big move in the rankings or he will fade-- I don't think Nick will let that happen - Nick's ego is way to big.

Should be very interesting!!

mcenroefan said...

Didn't Young work with Nick earlier in his career? I'm almost positive I remember a Tennis Channel documentary showing him and one of the young Russian women at IMG, interviews with his mom, etc.

Interesting in that my impression of Nick is that he does great working with young players getting them to the precipice of pro success, but I don't remember him taking someone that was already a pro in the 75 or so range and taking them to the top.

Man in the Moon said...

mcneroefan,

I do not recall Young working with NB but that is not to say he didn't.

He did work with Boris Becker for a time after Becker was big stuff.

NB is a great, great promoter however I am not that sure what a great coach he is - although very knowledgabe about picking top players whether male or female at a very young age ala Courier, AA, etc.

What he basically did was throw these top kids together for a few years in the formative stage and let them beat their brains out and whoever came out on top -became world class.

He then used their names (AA, Courier, etc) to have rich parents think he could do that for their little Johnny or Jane and charged them a fortune, all the time knowing that they didn't have the stuff.

BTW the big boys (AA, Courier, etc.) never paid a dime for their stay at NB's place. They were used to get in the paying customers.

NB could sell ice to the Eskomos (sp).

johnny said...

is there a single player that anyone has mentioned that nick b. has actually developed. every one mentioned is already a top player including vickery,duvall, etc. thats not picking talent(everyone can pick the kids he picks). what he does is provide a great place to train with plenty of competition. don't mistake that for being a great coach. provide the facilities and the competition and we would have 10 million great coaches out there.

steven s said...

think about the confidence that you get, knowing that you are the "up and comer", a perception that is always given in junior tennis to young players that are talented. "Birth Year", a term that always gets people excited in the tennis world (and on this board, including the moderator). I have an old Nick B instructional video with a little girl on there at his academy, doing the demonstrations of certain shots. You can plainly see how high he is on her prospects. She must have been about 9 or 10, and he was glowing with praise in a way that was eerily familiar with his praise for Vickery and Duval. This girl in the video is C.C Sardinha. I do not know the circumstances of what happened with her, I looked her up, and she does indeed still compete, but in no way did she match the "hype" that was bestowed upon her by Nick B way back when. In traveling to tournaments around the country, I sense an "entitlement" that many of these overhyped kids have. The USTA kids have this as well. I guess my rambling point is, it does give me great satisfaction to see players make it in this sport, that get by with little hype, and hard work. For some more "hype" check out www.alexusjones.com.

Man in the Moon said...

to everyone who has posted,

I think we are all saying the same thing- more or less

What do you know - for one of the few times everybody is in agreement.

NB is a great promoter, but maybe not that great a coach!! But does provide a venue to achieve if that is your desire.

Austin said...

Vickery has much more potential than Duval based on their comparative athleticism.

Know My Junior Tennis said...

to man in the moon: I agree you, absolutely correct.

tomcenrofan: Yes Donald worked with Nick, in fact until recently he was signed with IMG and yes, he and vaidesova were on a "Phenoms" show that aired on Tennis Channel.

to Johnny - I agree,

to Steven s - checked out your example of "hype" and dont agree -
the website of the little girl you exampled seems to state what she is and what she has done, and I looked at her record and seems to do pretty good - at 9 - she had wins in the 16's and 18's and at 10 had wins in the 18's and now I see that she is 11 and is continuing in the
18's , "overhype" is when it is all fluff and no stuff - the girl seems to have the stuff.
also - CC Sardinha was in 2 auto accidents that stalled her career.

steven s said...

"know my junior tennis": I'm sorry I did not clarify my example of Alexus Jones: I have no problem with her results. I just think even if she was winning Orange Bowls, "why" have this website touting yourself? This website has been up for a few years now, and I wonder if Alexus said to her parents at age 6-7, "Hey Mom, lets make this comprehensive website touting all my junior tennis exploits, so the whole world will know about this!!"?..I dont think she initiated this, so I guess I am just wondering what the purpose of it is? It really is none of my business anyway..(trying to head you off before you may mention), but since the topic on this thread was leaning toward pouring accolades on these very young players, I thought this Jones website may be worth mentioning.

As far as CC Sardinha, that is unfortunate about her auto accidents, I actually looked up her record, and she is a VERY good player. I am a STRONG advocate that it is not a death sentence to not be like Michelle Larcher De Britto, Ryan Harrison, or Donald Young at the young ages. Dedication, hard work, and ability can off-set the love affair that junior tennis has with birth year. It would be awesome for her to find the success that Nick predicted, only at not the frenetic pace that seems to be the "sexy" path to stardom.

Junior Tennis Fan said...

I don't agree with "Know my Junior Tennis" regarding Alexus Jones. I've also looked at her VERY slim and spotty "record" and don't see anything impressive, particularly for someone whose parents/coaches are touting her as the "next big thing."

First of all, those few G16s and G18s tournaments she's played in were local, low level jokes. One was actually a "rookies" tournament. The other one was a 3 person round robin where she was trounced by one of the participatnts.

Also, in that video where she is practicing with Martina Navritalova, her stroke mechanics are atrocious (even for her age) and all she does is grunt louder than Seles or Larcher de Brito (which is hard to do) while getting very little power. In that same video, her serve is actually comical because she grunts like she's just hit a 250 mph bomb but it's going about 35 mph.

That's one of the good things about tennis. The proof is in the results and she really doesn't have any. It appears that the parents or coaches are carefully keeping her away from any pressure and real competition against kids her age because once she gets beaten by such girls the hype will evaporate.

Hater-AID said...

Sounds like a hater :-) She 11 yrs. old for goodness sake. And ahead of 300 girls in the USTA 18u SO. Region 600 out of 900. Not a bad region either. Mel Oudin, Grace Min, Whitney Kay Etc. She seems to be working very hard for alot of years. 2 thumbs up. You must be jealous of this 11 year old. Hmmm

Amtex said...

Alexus Jones's dad has been doing the same nonsense for years. He plays her in terrible 16 or 18 year old tournaments and then says she is the highest ranked kid her age. It is all a gimmick that leads no where. She would not be a top 100 under 12 in the nation.

It will be good when she is 18 and he can no longer perpetuate his silliness.