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Monday, May 4, 2009

NCAA Division I Roundtable; College Spotlights; Gullikson Joins USTA, The Other End of the Tennis Spectrum

Every year at this time the Tennis Recruiting Network invites a group of college tennis pundits/experts to answer, via email, a few questions about the Division I team championships. This year, there were more participants than ever, with nine people contributing. Despite that number, there was a surprising consensus, if not on the championship predictions, on the toughest regionals (both those topics will be covered in Friday's installment). For some interesting number crunching in that regard, see Texas College Tennis (That's my daily hat tip to that site.). But as we all learned Saturday afternoon, a 50-1 shot still has an opportunity, as long as it's in the race. Today's edition can be found here. Tomorrow on zootennis, I will put up a post for readers to take a shot at predicting the NCAA winners.

I missed posting last week's College Spotlight at usta.com, which featured UCLA's Andrea Remynse, who comes from nearby Battle Creek, Mich. This week's spotlight is on Texas A & M senior Conor Pollock, who says he will be trying the pro tour after college.

The USTA announced today that Tom Gullikson, who once worked for USTA Player Development before he and several coaches were let go in a 2001 restructuring not unlike the one that took place last fall, has returned as a National Coach. For the complete press release, click here.

Now for the fledgling tennis stars. Most of you have probably heard about Jan Silva, who as a 5-year-old, was considered such a prodigy that his move to Patrick Mouratoglou's academy in France was covered in great detail. Silva is now 7, and back in the U.S., according to this story by Doug Robson of USA Today, who has been following the saga for the past two years.

I recently ran across this piece about another precocious player from California, Tulare's Ivan Smith, a 7-year-old who is profiled in this story from the Visalia Times Delta. He is the younger brother of Xavier Smith, who played at Sacramento State two years ago. I have no idea what the reporter is referring to when he says:

Smith did not drop a single game through the first three rounds. He posted a 10-5 win in the semifinals and a 10-7 victory in the championship match.

Are those match tiebreaker scores? I'm not sure. And apparently Ivan's father is not aware that the ITF recently instituted a rule restricting players as young as Ivan from under-12 international events. And, of course, no ITF play is allowed until a player reaches his or her 13th birthday. The ITF regulations say:

Players may not participate in any 12 & under international individual tournament sanctioned by a Regional Association and/or National Association unless they have reached their 10th (tenth) birthday on or before the start of the main draw.


tennisforlife said...

On the Ivan Smith Story - the reporter is referring to the "Little Mo' tournament which is a national tournament for the 8,9,10 and 11 year old age groups. The 8 and under division (players born in 2001) play an 8 game pro set so I'm guessing the "10" should be an "8"

Austin said...

The USTA needs to take a stand. I want us to win as badly as anyone, but at some point we have to just say no. What am I talking about you ask? The Williams sisters wanting to play the Fed Cup finals.

I love Venus and Serena and would love nothing more than for USA to take home the title, but the fact they did not play in any of the previous three ties to get to the finals should eliminate them from being eligible to compete in the finals. It is not fair to the girls who worked so hard to get there.

I would love to see the USTA institute a rule saying that you can only miss one tie not due to injury leading up to the finals and still be eligible.

Will we lose? Maybe. Well not maybe, the answer is probably. I'm okay with that if it means keeping the integrity of our organization in tact.

For the record I cant stand the way Fed Cup and Davis Cup is set up. I think it should be a two week event that takes place every two years(at the midpoint between Olympics) at one venue and be done with it.

The USTA needs to show the respect the players that got us there deserve. If they toss them aside maybe they wont be as willing to compete in the future when the USTA comes begging.

Colette Lewis said...

Charlie Bricker agrees with you.