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.