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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

ITF B1 in Tulsa Entries Close Thursday; Cako Wins Wild Card; Update on Canadian Juniors

Although there are lower level ITF events going on in Illinois this week and Atlanta next week, the next big event points-wise in the U.S. is the Pan-American B1 in Tulsa. Coming right on the heels of the ITA D'Novo All-American college tournament, it's convenient for me to get two tournaments for the price of one plane ticket, and the Case Tennis Center is a great facility. Entries close Thursday at 5 p.m. Eastern, and last year players without ITF rankings did get in. There was a small qualifying field for boys and no qualifying for girls.

Jacqueline Cako lost in the Kentucky Grade 1 final last week, in three sets to Victoria Kamenskaya of Russia, but her great form over the week extended to a wild card tournament for the $50,000 Pro Circuit event in Ashland, Ky. Cako won three matches to earn a main draw wild card for next week's event, according to this article in the Ashland Daily Independent. Ken Thomas of radiotennis.com will be livestreaming from that event again this year. Thomas is currently covering a Pro Circuit Futures tournament in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Stephanie Myles, who writes about tennis for the Montreal Gazette was in New York covering the Open, without, alas, many of Canada's best juniors to write about. Vasek Pospisil and Milos Raonic didn't enter, and Rebecca Marino, who is the third player in her article entitled "Canadian Teens Take Aim at the Pros," lost in the first round, to eventual finalist Gabriela Paz. Gabriela Dabrowski, the only other Canadian in the draw, qualified but fell in the first round. Marino still has the option of attending college, presumably Georgia Tech, where she committed last fall prior to deciding to take a year off, but Raonic has signed with BEST (formerly SFX), so he will not be playing tennis for the University of Virginia. According to Myles, Pospisil was not considering college seriously. Is Tennis Canada actively discouraging their promising players from taking the college development route? If so, they are doing a disservice to the players and to the long-term success of their own federation.


justnews said...

colette- you probably already saw this. they're taking pretty serious action down under.

Tennis Australia hires Felix Mantilla to boost clay expertise

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) -- Australia has hired former Spanish claycourt specialist Felix Mantilla and will open a training base in Barcelona in an effort to boost its sagging world tennis fortunes.

With Lleyton Hewitt's season-ending hip injury and subsequent surgery, Australia has four rookies in its six-man squad to play Chile in a Davis Cup World Group playoff this weekend on clay at Antofagasta.

A loss to the heavily favored Chileans would leave the 28-time Davis Cup champions stranded in the second-tier Asia-Oceania group for at least another year.

As well, Hewitt has emerged as the only singles mainstay of the team for the past several years with the retirements of Pat Rafter and Mark Philippoussis from the ATP tour.

On Thursday, Tennis Australia said it wanted to emulate the Spanish approach, which it said had yielded 21 current top 100 players, including eight men in the top 50 and five in the top 20, including No. 1 Rafael Nadal.

Spain, led by Nadal, take on the defending champion Americans in a Davis Cup semifinal this weekend.

Since finishing his injury-shortened playing career, Mantilla, a former top 10 player who won 10 tour titles and reached the semifinals of the French Open, has worked with some of the top Spanish juniors.

"The expertise Felix will bring to our players will be world-class," Craig Tiley, Tennis Australia's director of tennis, said. "This is no part-time hobby for him. He has given an unequivocal, unconditional full-time commitment and will travel with several of our top younger players."

Tiley also said a new claycourt facility in Barcelona, where Mantilla will mostly be based, will be added to its Canberra and London training bases for elite Australian players.

"I wanted the job as it was a full-time position and I know that's what it takes to develop a young player," Mantilla was quoted as saying in a Tennis Australia statement.

serveandvolley said...

Speculating that Tennis Canada is discouraging their players from college is quite an accusation. Don't always go for the easy target. If you are going to accuse anyone, I would first look at the player and his/her parents, considering they make the final decision. Don't forget the agents who create the deals and persuade players to turn pro. I'm not sure who their private coaches are, whether they are from Tennis Canada or not, as they would have an opinion, but not the final one.

I'm a huge college advocate of college tennis and I thought both players would benefit from college. I feel bad for the UVA coach who got stiffed in the last moment.

However, if there is proof that Tennis Canada made or persuaded these players to turn pro, then I would love to read about it. To recklessly throw Tennis Canada's name out there in a negative way, isn't right. Like I said before, the player and his/her family makes the final decision.

John said...

The topic of Canadian players and college came up.....I had asked the following question but never heard any reponse......Molnar is a Canadian.....is she another one not playing US College tennis, or did she decide on another school vs. Iowa?

earlier question:
Changing topic to women's college tennis -- at the U. of Iowa team.....Sonja Molnar was to be an incoming freshman there, but not on roster.....anyone know what happened there, or where she is now playing?

Colette Lewis said...

I'm not familiar with Molnar. I don't have any info about her not being on the roster at Iowa.