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Thursday, March 26, 2009

More on Blue Gray; Kimbell Profile; Easter Bowl Acceptances

As promised, I wrote a more formal account of the Blue Gray Tennis Classic for The Tennis Recruiting Network, which is available here. Although I spent only a few hours there, it was obvious that this is an event with a history. The signs, the trophies, the attendance, the media coverage--it was all reminiscent, to me, of Kalamazoo. For an excellent photo gallery, see the Montgomery Advertiser, which provided excellent coverage before and during the event.

ESPN's Rise recently posted a feature on Spring Nationals doubles champion Lilly Kimbell, emphasizing her interest in a balanced life and in attending high school and college. For the complete story, click here.

There was also a short account of ITF World Junior No. 1 Yuki Bhambri's first round loss to Diego Junqueira at the Sony Ericsson in this story by the Miami Herald.

The Easter Bowl acceptances were released a few days ago. For the 14s and 16s competitors, click here. For the 18s, click here. The wild cards are still to be named, but the girls field is very strong, with Lauren Embree, Kristie Ahn, Nicole Gibbs, Christina McHale, Beatrice Capra and Jacqueline Cako among those scheduled to compete.

On the boys side, several of the top 1991 birth years aren't competing, although Bo Seal, Matt Kandath and Tennys Sandgren are entered, but all of the top 1992s are in, including the four who went to Spain, as well as Evan King and Jordan Cox.

Several of that group will also be competing in another exhibition match against a college team, when they take on Southern Cal on March 31. I'll have more on that early next week.


Jon King said...

Ms. Kimbell is making the right choice, she is pretty much at her tennis peak. Her small size and lack of much muscle tone limits her. She should concentrate on school and playing a little college tennis. She is definately not destined to make money as a pro.

abc said...

Jon King-

I agree that Kimbell doesn't exactly have a lot of muscle...but she is definitely not "small." Just didn't think it was fair to put her at a double disadvantage.

justthefacts said...

Its interesting regarding Kimbell's game. She was not supposed to win much after the 12's. Then the same for 14's. Then 16's. And now, she is having success in 18's. Along the way, she decides to play an Orange Bowl last year, and wins..yes it was in 16's, but still impressive. Her game has always been troublesome for opponents, but do agree that without a huge weapon, she may have trouble with aspirations past College. That being said, perhaps her tennis "mind" could take her farther than some think? Pretty good volleys too.

love-tennis said...

Yes, it is true, she has been underestimated since she was young. She has what are called "intangibles". Many many opponents' parents would bark (especially the boys' parents) at their child for losing to her. After awhile though, that was not true and she gained some respect for playing smart: dropshots, changing the pace, and being able to naturally adjust her game to the moonballer or the hardhitter. Many, in fact, most kids do not have this ability to adjust; they play one way.

She also played every sport under the sun from 1st until 10th grade and was very strong at all of them; she is a very good athlete.

In soccer, at halftime, it'd be time to take her to a tennis tournament, and sometimes her teammates would cry, no kidding.

She is a teenager right now. Can more be said? If you have one in hour household, you know what I mean. The one fact for sure, she is at 60% of her potential right now. Whatever she chooses to do with it, she is a great humble kid which are what her parents are most proud of. She definitely would have to work to get that other 40% going though to do anything past college, I agree.

Atlanta 10nis said...

Kimbell is not pro material, she is a classic college player. She is smart and has spunk, but no weapons to take to the pro level.

The 16s and 18s are light years away from the pros, but she will have no problem landing a college scholarship.

love-tennis said...

You know, when I read this zootennis.com blog as far as I can tell, almost "NO ONE" is pro material by all the opinions. So who is? Everyone in the Capra blog said that she was not. Everyone in the Cako blog said that she was not. So who is then? Embree? Oudin got killed at Indian Wells. Mchale?

And what about doubles? Does that not count? Mchale won the doubles at the Australian Jr. Open--does she have a chance?

Colette Lewis said...

One of the most memorable tennis conversations I ever had was with John Roddick about pro potential.

He said that when anyone asks you if so-and-so can be Top 100, always say no and you'll be right 99.9% of the time.

Although I indulge in such speculation occasionally in private conversations, I've mentioned often how my friend and colleague Joel Drucker always answers "who knows?" to any such conjecture. (And he's seen way more tennis than you or I ever will). I find the comments you mention a bit off-putting as well, only because it presumes that all players should want to be professionals. I believe someone should want to be the best tennis player that he or she can be, but if excelling at the game isn't satisfying to them, or they are using that talent as a means to an end, what's wrong with not being a 'pro', and concentrating instead on what allows them greater self-expression?

I don't think anyone means anything personal by these comments; they are just trying to find a key to predicting the future, even if there isn't one.

Pat Harrison said...

To the people who think Lilly can't make money, I would strongly disagree. If she ever commits to it 100% she would make it. She would be a top 20 in the world doubles player and a top 100 caliber singles player. Very few girls move as well or anticipate as well or play as smart with as much variety. These are all weapons just like a big forehand or backhand. I've seen her play a million times and my kids hit with her often and she never had a problem with the pace. Phil Hendrie and the coaches at Newk's have continued to do a great job of developing her game. Its great that she wants to play college tennis because thats what she wants but I also believe she could make it professionally as well and she still may.

CA coach said...

We have friends and family on here, but no offense, Kimbell is not anywhere close to "top 100 singles material". The girls we see coming out of these other countries are better movers, much stronger, and every bit as good as anticipating.

Americans get silly with USTA stuff. The USTA rankings are meaningless on the international stage. The game is international and moving to a higher level every year. Kimbell is not top 1000 when considering all the international girls.

Take a tour of Spain, Russia, Croatia, Argentina, etc. like the coaches in out group have done. You have no idea what is out there if you think Kimbell could ever be a money making pro.

Pat Harrison said...

Ca Coach, Funny you should mention that. I just got back from Argentina and Chile a few weeks ago from the I.T.F.'s over there and thats exactly what I was basing my opinion on. I've seen them all on a regular basis(male and female). I didn't see your coaches there because we were the only Americans who made the trip. My opinion has nothing to do with as you called it(silly U.S.T.A. stuff). It has to do with the fact that she won the Orange Bowl last year and lost a tough 3 setter at the U.S.Open in her only trip there to a girl from 1 of the countries you mentioned. It also has to do with the fact that she has alot of room for improvement, if as I stated earlier she chooses to committ 100% to tennis. Most girls mature early and peek early. Lilly is not close to either yet. These girls you speak of are not better movers and don't anticipate better. Are there a few out there who do those things better? YES. Are there even more who are stronger? Yes, but we're talking top 100 not top 10. I guess we'll just have to have a different opinion and see what the future holds.

steven s said...

"Love Tennis", I enjoy your opinions immensely on this forum. They are thoughtful, polite, and often informative. I have sensed your affiliation with a specific player, and you have confirmed my "sense" on this thread. I do agree with Colette 100% on this, in that nobody means anything personal, or in a negative way toward Lily. And I commend you for enabling, and supporting her to have a life outside of tennis. I know tennis parents who would not have allowed this with such a talented player. They would have restricted social life, outside tennis activities, and insisted on their kids being robots. I strongly feel these type of kids either become PRO's, or, social misfits.

tennisparent said...

I do remember not too long ago Patrick Mac was quoted stating that Melanie Oudin would never make it in the pros becasue of her size and now she is one of the USTA's best hopes. Enough said.

Amtex said...

Lilly Kimbell has zero shot. Look at Alexa Glatch, much more junior success, even against internationals, more weapons, bigger, stronger, smart as a whip. She has said the levels are 100% different. She has said playing the top 18s and then playing a top 30 player is night and day.

She knows maybe she could be top 70-80, maybe.

About 40 women make money after expenses in tennis. Alexa Glatch has little chance....Kimbell has no chance.

bullfrog said...

Unfortunately, the truth is that Top 100 players do not make any money. Without endorsements and all the strings attached, Top 50 players barely break even. Players like Jill Craybas and Lisa Raymond share a coach to keep their expenses down and admit they have no money in the bank for when they retire. That's just reality. I met Alexa Glatch's family and had a brief chat with them. They made sure she kept her grades high so when she feels she's reached her maximum tennis potential, she can go to college, albeit at a later age than most. They are supporting Alexa because she has commitment, work ethic, and a passion for the game. They want to give her the opportunity to be the best she can be. Good for them that they can afford to do this, most people can't.