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Monday, August 11, 2008

National Championships Complete--Looking Back at the Picks; U.S. Open Junior Acceptances

I'm diligently working on my slideshow for Kalamazoo, but I thought we should review the winners this past weekend at the National Championships.

2007 Easter Bowl champion Gail Brodsky, the top seed, won the Girls 18s in Berkeley, with Coco Vandeweghe and Jamie Hampton winning the doubles. Marcia Frost filed this report on collegeandjuniortennis.com.

In San Diego, No. 12 seed Lauren Davis won the Girls 16s and a wild card into the US Open juniors. Kaitlyn Christian and Whitney Kay won the doubles. Click here for the TennisLink site.

The Boys 14s title went to 2008 Easter Bowl finalist John Richmond, the 7th seed, with Austin Smith and Trey Strobel taking the gold balls in doubles in San Antonio. Click here for the TennisLink site.

Victoria Duval, a No. 9 alphabetical seed, took the Girls 14s in Peachtree City, Ga., with Ashley Dai and
Riko Shimizu winning the doubles title. Click here for the TennisLink site.

Top seed Brooke Austin collected her fourth gold ball in a month, winning the Girls 12s singles and doubles in Alpharetta, Ga. Hannah King was her partner for the Hard Courts. Austin won the singles and doubles at the 12s Clays in July. Click here for the TennisLink site.

In N. Little Rock, Ark., No. 8 seed Spencer Papa also took both singles and doubles title in the Boys 12s. Papa's partner was Jacob Dunbar. Click here for the TennisLink site.

As for our "Pick the Winner of Kalamazoo" contest, we had two entrants go with Austin Krajicek: tennisfan and tennismonkey. No one had Jordan Cox as the 16s winner. Special mention to brent, who called the Berman-Boyajian match as one to watch; to tennisprov1 who saw how exciting the Ryan Harrison - Kevin King match would be before the tournament started; and to anthony who selected Spencer Newman as a dark horse.

For those still interested in the Kalamazoo Players of the Day, see the photos below.

And finally, the initial US Open Junior Acceptance lists have been posted here. As it stands now, a lot of good U.S. players are outside of qualifying, which will make the always-interesting wild card selections even more so. Outside of Jordan Cox, who has already claimed one, who do you think should get main draw and who should get qualifying wild cards?


Rebecca said...

Thank Goodness we have all of the wildcards! We have very little Americans that mad it in on their own!

tennisjunky said...

Main draw: 8 WCs: Cox (automatic), Kulda, King, VanOverbeek, Krajicek, Domijan, Williams, llompart

QUualies: 6 WV: Harrison (autmoatic), Bangoura, Ore, Saramento, Pasha, Sock

tennisobserver said...

Main Draw: Cox(automatic), krajicek, williams, domijan, kudla, king, van Overbeek, sandgren(although he may get in on his own as he is only 1 out of main draw)

Qualies: c. harrison(automatic), sarmiento(won backdraw at the zoo), bangoura, pasha, ore, frank(lost in backdraw finals at the zoo)

tennisbuff said...

Main Draw: Cox, Krajicek, Williams, Britton, Kudla, King, Van Overbeek, Sarmenento (if Sandgren gets in on his own)

Qualies: Bangoura, Ore, Llompart, Pasha, Sock, Lipman

Domijan doesn't deserve a wildcard... never plays back draw. C. Harrison may deserve one but has plenty of time to play US Open. Let some of the older kids who have worked so hard have a chance. That makes sense.

tennisthinker said...

What about a kid like Kandath who has shown good consistent reults. Or what about Sundling who gave Rhyne a run for his money at the zoo. Mcmorrow who has shown very consistent results as well. Andre Dome who nearly took out Jenkins at the zoo. I think minimum these kids would be suited much better at the very least to go compete in the qualies above the ones who have been listed. I also believe that they could perform and go a couple rounds deep if they recieved main draw wc's.

tennisponderer said...

mcmorrow and dome both 90's and have not shown amazing results. except in krajiceks case, who is a 1990 and already in college, most of the 1990's are going to college soon. so why would the usta give wildcards to people who will soon be going to college and also have no legitimate chance of contending in new york. krajicek is the only 1990 who is not already in main draw who has a legitimate shot of winning the tournament.

kandath i agree would be a good pick for at least qualies. as well as sundling in qualies.

analyst said...

Sorry- I meant to say that Kandath is 2 months older than Cox and Van Overbeek.

analyst said...

I'm with Tennisthinker. Kandath, Kevin King and Lipman would all be better picks for WC's in the Juniors than some of those suggested. Kandath is a late 1991, only 2 months older than Cox and Van Overbeek. He has beaten Evan King, Cox, Kudla, Ore, Fowler and Bangoura and in the 18's Zoo played tough high quality matches with Steve Johnson (who went 3 with Krajicek) and Buchanon. Kevin King beat Sandgren, Rhyne Williams and took a set off Harrison. Lipman took a set off Buchanon and has posted good results this year. I don't think that Sock, Pasha or Ore can beat any of these 3, nor can C. Harrison. If the latter are destined for future stardom they'll be playing in the Open for the next few years. Let them wait until they are ready to really challenge and meanwhile give some of the other players a shot. They have worked hard and acheived mostly on their own. Is the USTA their federation too or does it only represent a handful of chosen "future stars"?(who experience shows are as liklely to flame out as they are to become stars). Let the 14 and 15 year olds wait a year and give some of the 16's and 17's a chance to play in their federation's biggest junior event--they have a better chance of doing well than many of those who are given WC's. Kandath won the 16's back draw at age 15 last year and was passed over. Meanwhile Emmet Egger was given a WC into the qualies. Where is Emmett right now? Giving 14 year olds a chance to experience the "big stage" when they aren't realistically able to compete is a waste of a wild card and patently unfair to other US juniors who are actually better players and have a better shot at making some noise in the tournament. Let the future work itself out. Award the WC's to the best players at the moment and let the others earn their spot the following year when they are ready to compete. If you want tennis to grow in this country, support and reward more than a handful of players from each birth year.

tennisjunky said...

Collete , glad i picked Krajick.

to analyst,

yes you hit the nail. The USTA only cares/works with a few juniors in each age group, usually its the same group since the 12s. No doubt Kandath has had some good wins, and he may be only 2 months older than Cox or VanOverbeek but he is considered a 91 and frankly he does not play at the same level as the top 91s even though they are older. It is really a dumb concept, catagorizing kids by birth year, even if the kid was born on 11:59999999 PM on 12/31, but who even said USTA high performance is logical. As for back draw win, nobody really cares about the backdraw and in fact I think after 16s there is no point. There is not backdraw in the pros or the ITFs. While I dont have a real clue who will get the WCs, I would be surprised if one Maindraw one did not go to Sarimento. I just wanted to go the record with that.

seen it all before said...

Analyst, What a redundant letter. No, King did not take a set off Harrison so at least be factual in what you print. If the U.S.T.A. is going to be held accountable for the futre of American PRO tennis then the wise thing to do would be to develop the kids who have a chance to make it on the big stage in a few years. It is up to them to make the decisions on who has a legitimate chance to make it. The factors are: Talent, Desire, and Commitment. Are some of the 17 and 18 year olds probably better right now than the 15 and 16 year olds. Of course but I personally had rather the youngsters get the experience and get used to the big stage than the older kids who clearly aren't going to make it professionally or don't have the desire to play after college. Obviuosly not all the kids picked by the U.S.T.A. will make it but that list is a lot more likely than the marginal older kids who are going to college. If we are going to develop great PRO tennis players they simply aren't going to come from the kids who go to college for more than a year or two at best. We better focus on the ones who are committed at early age or they won't have much chance. Look at the last group of great Americans: Sampras, Agassi, Chang, Courier, Martin. How many went to college and for how long. Blake went for 2 years. Isner went for 4 but does anyone believe they are on the road to winning any big tournaments. Me either. If we are going to develop great players college is NOT the answer. Therefore I say give the youngsters a chance who can still develop at the highest level and may commit to it.

Analyst said...

Here's another ridiculous example of WC's being wasted: in glancing at the draws from the Legg-Mason ATP event I saw that Junior Ore and Denis Kudla wre given a wild card into the main draw doubles! Were there no other pro or even college players who deserved that wild card more and actually stood a chance to win a round? (Kudla-Ore lost 6-1, 6-1 to Eduardo Schwank and someone) One other WC was to Goldstein and Isner for comparison. I don't know if this was the USTA's doing or the tournament director's since Kudla & Ore train out of the DC area, but PLEASE....Am I the only one who thinks this is ludicrous?

Brent said...

I would go with...

Main Draw:
Cox (auto)
Van Overbeek

Harrison (auto)

I'm assuming that some of the guys already in college (i.e. Krajicek), some of the guys heading to college (i.e. Thacher, Nevolo, Lipman), and some of the guys focused on pros (i.e. El Mihdaway) who otherwise would have been considered, would pass on the opportunity for different reasons.

Austin said...


No, you are not alone. Giving two 15-16yr olds a wildcard into an ATP level tournament when they dont even compete in the highest age division in the juniors is just stupid. However, money talks. Good experience for those two though and something they will get to remember for a long time.

tenniskunky said...

Hey analyst, Austin

you are are assuming that USTA High performance has a plan or thinks outside the box. Their choices are predictable and often illogical and the result is 8 Americans in the top 100. And for that matter I don't see any top 20 ATP players in the pipeine either, at least not from what I saw at Kalamazoo last week. I did not see the glimpse of a future Nadal. My take is our best athletes chose other sports- more money, more glamor, more fun. As Rebecca said, that goodness we have wild cards because so few Americans made it on thier own into the main draw or qualies. USTA High Performance should be embarassed!!!!!!! I am.

tennisobserver said...

i agree with seen it all before. 1st of all, cox vanoverbeek. kudla, and king are all 16 already. so they are definately not too young to compete at the us open. king and lipman are going off to college soon and do not have any chance of doing well at the open. and they do not at this point have a legitimate chance of representing the us in any other competition in the future.

the reason the usta goes by birth year, Tennisjunky, is because that is how the ITF juniors classifies the kids age. its the best way to pick kids especially into itf's(THE US OPEN BEING AN ITF)
i also agree that picking kids such as egger as a qualies wildcard was not a good idea(the only reason he recieved one is due to his being on the boys 14's team that went to the czech republic as the best player from the us. i think giving christian harrison a qualifying wildcard is a great idea. his brother 2 years ago, at that time being the same age ass christian is now, got the qualifying wildcard into the us open qualifying. ryan seems to be doing pretty well to me, so i think they should do the same for christian.
the usta should only give 1 1990 boy a wildcard, if he accepts it, and thats krajicek as he is the only real 1990(excluding the ones who are already in main draw: klahn, jenkins, trombetta) that has a real chance of doing damage. as for the other 1990 players, they do not hav a real shot at that, so why waste it on someone who doesnt have a shot when the usta can give the wildcards to the 92's or 91's when in the next year or 2 they can do some real damage.

a lot of people complain that the usta only gives things to the players who have good results and they are not focused on growing our US players. this may be true some or most of the time,but if they give the wildcards to the younger players, 92's 91's not 90's, then these players will have a chance to gain more experience and compete against the top junior level there is. if the usta gives the wildcards to king, lipman or other 1990s, it is just showing again how poor their judgement is for the future of US tennis.

also, 1990's who some people think "should get the wildcards as its their last year" had there shot a year or 2 ago to get a ranking(such ads klahn, jenkins, trombetta) and did not as those other 3 have. its not their time anymore.

Austin said...

Anaylst said that our athletes choose other sports, thats true.

One thing we sometimes forget is that in America tennis is way behind football, basketball and baseball. We are also anywhere from tied to behind soccer, swimming and golf. So that puts tennis at anywhere from 4th to 7th in the pecking order for our most talented athletes.

Then there is the rest of the world. In most of the other countries throughout the world tennis is behind soccer and sometimes one other sport depending on which area of the world you live in. That means that tennis is 2nd or 3rd in the pecking order for other countries. Therefore, even though they are smaller, they get better quality than we do.

There are exceptions of course. Sampras was an incredible all around athlete. Roddick and Fish are two others that are just "athletes" who could excel at multiple sports.

Russia is a good example. When kids are little they get them all together and do tests on them to see which sports they could excel in. The ones with good hand-eye coordination and quick feet are tennis players. We have so many athletes that are backups in football and kids who ride the bench in basketball that would be perfect for tennis, but its not the thing to do where they come from and we miss out on those athletes. There's nothing the USTA can do about that.

usta girl said...

Speaking of USTA "High Preformance"...
USTA high performance as they deem it is such a joke.

why do you thing the usta cannot produce any players? And out of the majority of players from the united states who do end up going pro and making it on the tour..... most of them say the USTA had NOTHING to do with their development but they also have such sour feelings many dont even want to play davis cup.

way to go usa!

Bystander said...

I totally agree with analyst. For Kandath, the problem with the USTA High Performance modus operandi is that Matt was not picked in the 12s or the 14s so he is not in the USTA chosen few, although last year he beat Kudla, Ore, Carlton, Kehrer at the Zoo. The wild card Egger got last year into the US Juniors and getting trashed IMO, did more damage to his psychie than the helpful exposure did for his game. In tennis, juniors should exhaust the competition in their own age group before playing ahead.

McLovin said...

Foe juniors who want to be pros, IMO, the ITF's are a waste of time and money. The ITF ranking system can be bought just like the USTA points based system. You only have to spend $$$ and play in the less competitive venues. All in the hopes that you can qualify for the junior grand slams and lose in the 1st qualie round like many US juniors do. The ITF competitors in the USA are the same home schooled kids that play everything. Only the Grade A's are competitive. The real test of your game and the ability to compete is in the futures. For one thing, the costs are so much CHEAPER than the ITF's. If you win, you get expense money back. Bypass the ITFs and you can be tested and save a lot of $$$. Do it the Nadal way.

10is said...

Kandath is working with David roditi.

quite obvious said...

mclovin, if itfs are such a waste of time why did the best 1989(donald young#1 itf) 2 of the best 1990's(klahn and jenkins both top 30 itf i believe) the best 91 at the time and the new best 91(rhyne williams was 7 itf, and buchanan top 20 i believe) and the best 92(ryan harrison) focus so much on itfs'?? because its obviously a much better over USTA tournaments to get better and to see international competition instead of seeing the same people over and over. and, it is much more important to the junior players who want to do something with there tennis to play the Junior grand slams than it is to play supernational clay courts, or spring supernationals, or winter supernationals. Kalamazoo is the exception. Why?? because the winner recieves a...Junior us open wildcard for 16's and main draw for 18's.

Brent said...

Part of it is a chicken-or-the-egg kind of argument. For example, a lot of the best 18s didn't play Clay Courts because the level of competition wasn't there. Well, if they had all gotten past that and played, their main reason for not playing would have evaporated and you would have had a Clay Court version of Kalamazoo.

Tenniscoach said...

To Bystander: Have you ever thought that some of the young talented kids might not want to train with the USTA in Boca? The application requires a year's commitment, and some kids don't want to give that or are happy with the way they are being coached at home. It is not all the USTA's fault that they don't have the best young players right now. Put the training center in West LA, New York, or San Diego and you might have a few more applications.

Optomist said...

Tennisjunky, You may not have seen the next Nadal but I did see a few kids with more than a good chance of reaching the top 20.Thacher if he ever commits to tennis full time would have a chance. Buchanan is young and confident enough and physically gifted enough. Harrison is barely 16 and while D.Young won this event at 16 Harrisons overall game is far more equipped for the pro game. If he continues to develop he will be a sure fire top 10 player. There is no weakness in his game except his head. If that comes with maturity he will be very successful. There are many others who will be moderately successful if they are committed especially in doubles. Krajicek, Jenkins, El Mihdawy, Trombetta, King, Domijan, Seal to name a few. After apparently watching the same Zoo tournament you did I have a far more positive opinion on the future of American tennis and with the 14's winning both tournaments in the Czech Republic things are looking even better for the future of American tennis. Lighten up its getting better. I see it a lot differently than you so I guess time will tell.

roditifan said...

David Roditi is obviously the best choice the USTA could make on any decision. He is a stand up guy and a great coach. One of those people you always want to be around.

Tennisman said...

I agree with tennis coach about a new York training center. A lot of kids in new York have talent(kandath, ahn, mcchale) but don't know if they want to go all the way down to Florida to train.

tennis said...

roditifan, david roditi is a great guy and a very good usta coach for sure. but im not sure if hes the best coach or decision-maker there is.

tennisman, if you are refering to Christina Mchale, the mchale with more potential and talent, she did attend the usta program last year. and kristie ahn was down in boca raton quite a bit herself.

Tennisman said...

Tennis, yes i was talking about christina mchale. I didn't know that ahn has spent a lot of time at the boca facility. Also does anyone know the new people who will be living at the USTA in boca?

sameol' sameol' said...

Tennisman, Does anyone care who is living in Boca? Until they find a way to get the best players down there on a regular basis they won't be able to build it up much. They will always have to use the excuse that they are taking the younger kids because the older better kids won't stay down there without good competition on a regular basis. The younger ones that come from weaker areas of the country will be the best they get with the better older ones coming in occasionally. Is Patrick Mcenroe just a would be name to throw around or is he going to be in Boca actually trying to coach some of these kids. If hes not down there then its the same old throw a name out there to make it sound good but nothing changes. Just a different person making the decisions.

McLovin said...

quite obvious...you missed my point. Just because players chased points in the ITF does not make it the proper strategy for pro development. I was NOT comparing the ITFs with the USTA Nationals, I was comparing them with the futures! There is no competition in the below Grade A ITF tournaments, no deep draws. The low grade tourneys are played by the same home schooled players that play USTA Nationals, chasing ITF points so they can play Wimbledon juniors and lose early. Jenkins and Britten both lost 1st rd singles and doubles. Buchanan lost 2nd round singles,1st rd doubles. Harrison lost 2nd rd singles but made it to the qtrs in doubles. What I'm saying is the futures have better competition than the ITF below Grade A and are a better test for development. The final point is that this road to pro is much cheaper than the ITF road. That is why El Mihdawy and many other are choosing this route wover the ITFs.

mclovin, if itfs are such a waste of time why did the best 1989(donald young#1 itf) 2 of the best 1990's(klahn and jenkins both top 30 itf i believe) the best 91 at the time and the new best 91(rhyne williams was 7 itf, and buchanan top 20 i believe) and the best 92(ryan harrison) focus so much on itfs'?? because its obviously a much better over USTA tournaments to get better and to see international competition instead of seeing the same people over and over. and, it is much more important to the junior players who want to do something with there tennis to play the Junior grand slams than it is to play supernational clay courts, or spring supernationals, or winter supernationals. Kalamazoo is the exception. Why?? because the winner recieves a...Junior us open wildcard for 16's and main draw for 18's.

tennisjunky said...

To tennis observer…

I know the ITF ages up on each birth year and that’s why USTA high performance focuses on 4 kids in each age group but that is not about development. A Dec 93 will be at a disadvantage over a Jan 93, physically and emotionally even though in the long run the Dec 93 may be the better player, but because of his birthday that kid gets bypassed. It seems to me the focus of USTA high performance is to get competitive teams for 14s and 16s Jr. Davis Cup which in reality is meaningless. Who really remembers or cares. And if you look at the ITFs, the best 90s don’t even play the Jr. Slams, Berankis, Elias, Ignatik etc. Another problem is the lack of money for player development. France has a significantly bigger development budget than the US. Also, another problem the US is a big country and there are probably ten kids in each age group that have potential but the USTA only focuses on 4 or 5 and lets the rest fend for themselves.

Bystander…Agree than Kandath has had some good wins, and is competitive but not sure his two handed game will translate into professional tennis. This summer he lost in the first round of both future qualies he played and one was to a pro ranked 1440. Got a ways to go. He has yet t have a really great win. Buchanan has already won a futures. Harrison a Grade A, not on that level at all.

To Optomist. I stand by what I said about Kalamazoo, I saw Nadal play in Spain when he was 16 and none of our juniors are close to that.

Another problem is the USTA high performance coaches are very political and clearly have their favorites. My only observation is they act way too self-important/cocky to anyone outside their inner circle of players. The organization needs a total overhaul, new blood and a new vision and that won’t happen as long as these coaches act like they have a job for life.

analyst said...

I think the first thing the USTA should recognize is that the US is unique. Most people, not only the rich, live very comfortably and their children have a multitude of options open to them as far as sports,education and career paths, etc. The desperate, burning desire to excell at tennis as a way out of less than ideal life circumstances is not something that can be artificially superimposed on these kids--and their parents. That's just the reality and bemoaning the fact that US kids don't have the desperate desire that foreign players have is futile. That doesn't mean that there aren't kids out there who love the game and will work hard and persevere and do all that is neccessary to become a pro. But there is more than one way to reach that goal.Parents in the US will think long and hard before packing their 12 year old off to Boca Raton to live dormitory style and be brought up by someone else. That's a big risk to take with your kid. The USTA needs to acknowledge that there are other coaches and programs and even parents around the country who can do a pretty darn good job at producing players with pro potential. Why not spread that USTA money around? Instead of spending $100,000 on one player (a figure I have heard in regard to the USTA chosen few), why not $20,000 to 5 and their coaches? Do that in the early years and see who emerges. Hire some talent spotters/coaches to travel around the country actually watching the players in each section(rather than looking at results without actually watching the kids play)and select out 5 or 10 from each section. Do this consistently so that you don't miss someone. Seems to me that there are many college coaches out there that are very diligent and astute and really work hard at identifying talent--their jobs depend on it.Find someone like that to head high performance. The approach now is too hit or miss. Invest smaller sums in more young players, gather information over time--see who has the work ethic, the desire, the physical attributes as they mature--increase the monetary support as the info comes in. Investing huge sums of money on a few kids who look like they might have what it takes at 12 or 13 is very risky indeed; you will certainly overlook many and often back those who don't have all the ingredients at 16 or 17. And those you overlooked may be lost forever if the money runs out, or the sacrifice it takes to travel, train and compete on their own is too much.