Spring Nationals Fields; Easter Bowl Moving to Clay?; Sarmiento Blogs from Spain; More on Oudin, Brodsky, Stephens
The USTA 18s Spring Nationals begin on Sunday in Mobile, Ala. This is the fifth year of the event, which was created when the Easter Bowl 18s was converted to an ITF event. The boys field isn't particularly strong this year, particularly with the recent withdrawals of Ryan Noble and Ryan Lipman, but the girls field features Beatrice Capra, Kate Fuller, Ester Goldfeld, Lilly Kimbell, USTA Winter Champion Hanna Mar, Chichi Scholl and a strong group of wild cards including Grace Min, Lauren Herring, Chanelle Van Nguyen and Liz Begley. For the complete list of competitors, see the TennisLink site.
Inside Tennis is now putting their local edition news online, and Steve Pratt has written on the Easter Bowl's past and future for that publication. Lew Brewer, the director of junior competition for the USTA, is quoted as saying they have explored the idea of playing the tournament on clay, which would most likely mean a move from Palm Springs, where hard courts are the norm, to Florida, where Har-Tru is prevalent. For the complete story, click here.
The U.S. juniors currently in Spain, another sign the USTA is serious about development on clay, are taking turns with the blog for usta.com. The current entry, by Raymond Sarmiento, (photos by National Coach Mike Sell) can be found here.
Melanie Oudin certainly raised her professional profile with her Fed Cup win last month in Arizona, with a New York Times profile of her published yesterday.
And Bonnie Ford of ESPN provides a bit of detail on the competition between Gail Brodsky and Sloan Stephens that kicked off Tennis Night in America's Madison Square Garden exhibition. It doesn't sound like they got the diva treatment, but then, it's not everyone who can get in the Knicks' locker room. Scroll to the bottom of Ford's column for the part about Brodsky and Stephens.