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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rain in Mobile Threatens to Disrupt Spring Nationals

©Colette Lewis 2009--
Mobile, AL--

About two hours into registration for the 2009 USTA 18s Spring Nationals, the predicted rain finally materialized here, and five hours later, nearly two inches has fallen on the 60 courts of the Mobile Tennis Center.

This is no quickly passing spring storm, and depending on the source, there are predictions of rain through Monday, which would cause major scheduling headaches, even with such a huge number of courts. There are almost no indoor courts in the area, so there can be no relief on that front and at the beginning of the tournament, with so many matches the first two days, there's nothing to do but hope there's a window that allows utilization of all the courts at the site. That of course makes it difficult for a tennis journalist, who can watch two or three matches at a time, but not 40 or 50. So should I miss a big upset, I hope the circumstances will be considered.

I didn't find any must-see first round matches in the boys draw, but there are a few that caught my eye in the girls side. No. 6 seed and 2008 16s Easter Bowl champion Ellen Tsay faces unseeded Mary Clayton, the youngest of the Ft. Lauderdale clan that includes Chris, Alex and Missy. Number 17 seed Emina Bektas has drawn unseeded Chichi Scholl, who reached the round of 16 at the Orange Bowl and has been playing Pro Circuit events most of this year. The match between No. 8 seed Ester Goldfeld and Elizabeth Epstein, who was the eighth seed last year, could also be an entertaining one.

Watch the Twitter Updates section in the sidebar Sunday for weather reports, and, I hope, some first round match commentary and news.


TechGirl said...

DOes anyone know where you can get a list of the dates when the ITA rankings are release? They had one the last couple of years but I can't find one this time.

chipcharge said...


They should come out about every Tuesday the rest of the season.

love-tennis said...

How ridiculous that some of these players aren't seeded? Here Emina has to play this girl who played on that 'fancy' USTA team against the colleges (Scholl) in the first round, while others have very easy matches. Scholl should have been seeded but of course with the seeding rules, she wasn't. Give me a break.

get real said...

If you are a good player it does not matter who you play 1st, 2nd ect. Emina should have stepped it up. Scholl is a good competetor but like all the other girls plaing this tourney is beatable. Step up or Shout up. This is the problem with juniors, they think the draws should work in their favor. To be the best, beat the best.

abc said...

I agree. Of course, players would all love to work their way into the tournament match by match, progressively playing tougher opponents. But, there is also the viewpoint of if a player gets a tough first round and pulls through, think of how much the draw opens in his/her favor. And it was not just given to that person, he/she had to pull that first match to earn it.
If there's anything we, as in most people, have learned by now, its that seeds don't mean that much. As many parents tell their kids, "It's just a number next to his/her name." And if you want to win the tournament, you're gonna have to beat everyone, regardless of how early in the draw.

love-tennis said...

Get real, I do agree that Emina should have been ready for that match. Very much agree. Really though, my point is about the seeding in general.

If Scholl is picked for a fancy USTA team of the top juniors that play against college teams, why isn't she seeded? Why aren't these kids who only play ITF's not being seeded?

I remember in the Easter Bowl a few years ago, Brooke Bolender (who is one of the USTA's top choices for their elite teams) got into the EB with a wildcard. She wasn't even seeded. Yet she was one of the top 3 picks of the USTA supposedly. She'd been doing all the fancy traveling so her record wasn't as good as some of the others so she wasn't seeded. This happens numerous times.

John said...

Get Real

You are missing the point in that the round you lose makes a big difference in an event as to points earned, etc. Selection into certain events such as Fed Cup depend on points and if a player like Scholl is dropped into the draw unseeded, it then hurts the player who has been playing USTA events and has earned the seeding. The USTA could fix this easily but chooses to bury their heads in the sand and respond just like you did in your post. Interesting......

curious said...


If you say fixing the problem would be easy, then how would you do it?

cut the crap said...


Sadly, I think you take the view of many American tennis players: I need to get my ranking higher and win win win.
Instead of the mentality of, oh, I need to improve my game. This match could be the perfect test to see where I stand with my strengths and weaknesses--against a "USTA" player.

American tennis players get so caught up on winning, losing, as well as their rankings, and that's what hurts American tennis. People pick on McEnroe and the USTA for the things that they've done wrong. Well, that may be true, but has it ever occurred to anyone that maybe the players need to step up? Many players like to go to tournaments for social events, and I think we all know this, parents, coaches, as well as players. Many of these players socialize up to the last minute before their match and won't perform up to par. But when they do get on the court, the idea that "I need to win" pops up into their heads. Obviously, competitiveness is great, but is there a point where it is taken too far?

All I'm saying is that junior tennis players need to cut the crap if they want to get good. It has to come from them first, not the USTA.

John said...

Cut the crap

You are doing an 'end-around' on the issue i'm raising. You make good points, but on a totally different tangent. So get on a different soapbox!

To the USTA committee who approves seedings for National events - if you are going to have a WC system for entrants (which I'm in favor of), then make sure you deal with those players when you "approve" the seeding list. Going off some meaningless computer list adds no value. SEED the WC's.....NO ONE would complain because it would be the right thing to do for the players, and the event.

So cut the crap, USTA and make that simple change. You've been sitting on your hands now for 4+ years since introducing the "points system" and you just continue to let this basic issue go on and on and on and.....well, on.

get real said...

What i meant is, if you are going into high level tourney, you should be prepared for anyone. I do agree Schroll should have been a seed, but if she was and lost first round we would be knocking the usta again. I think the way the system for rankings and the way draws and seeds are STINKS. But, why would you expect anythig more from the usta. They are going to do what they want and operate they want no matter what. Is there a solution to this, maybe boycott event? That hurts our children. I think the usta forgets they are kids and this is a junior event. That is why we are not creating anyone from the usta. Hopefully, the kids that have to deal with a bad draw will only get tougher and kids that are not given special treatment will dominate.

toughenup said...

What's wrong with American tennis is all the bitching about how this person didn't get seeded or this person gets all the lucky draws. It's crap. Just practice harder and get better.

These kids need to toughen up. They are way too soft. Most juniors get so much free clothes and racquets when they don't deserve them. These kids would get alot better if they had to work for their stuff or pay for their court time. Also parents need to discipline thier kids more. They are way too soft of them.

The players who suffer the most and who work the hardest become the better players.

John said...

Toughen up // cut the crap

Looks like you both are missing the point. No one (at least me) is talking about tough or easy draws. And none of my comments are about a player's work ethic.

Simple point is if you are going to enter a top ITF or WTA player into a draw via a WC, then seed that player.

It helps the quality of the event and the players. No one wants to see very top players play early in a tournament vs. the Q/S/F.

Someone tell me why the USTA chooses not to seed top players who enter via WC's?

doubles said...


Colette would know more than me but if a player gets a wildcard into Kalamazoo and that player is good enough then that player would be seeded for sure. I'm guessing there are plently of examples of this. So it does happen in usta tournments.

Ryan Harrison could be one of those players that would need a wildcard if he doesn't fit the criteria of usta, sectional, atp, or itf rankings because he has been injured for a long time and his ranking has/will drop. He would definitely be seeded high.

Also, I agree with toughenup, our kids do need to practice harder and get tougher.

John said...


Exactly. The USTA does take the time and effort at the Zoo (and the girl's Hardcourts) to get the wildcarded players seeded.

Either they don't care or don't have the time to do it for events like Mobile, neither or which is acceptable to me.

Whether some juniors practice hard enough or not and are "tough enough" for your standards is a different topic. Not disagreeing....just saying that is a different topic.