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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Shelton in Alabama Tennis Hall of Fame; JP Smith's Throwback Game; Checking in on the Pro Circuit

The Georgia Tech women's program has flourished under Bryan Shelton, and its 2007 team title, along with Amanda McDowell's individual title last year, are irrefutable evidence that nice guys do finish first. Shelton was recently inducted into the Alabama Tennis Association Hall of Fame, and Bill Bryant, a columnist at the Huntsville Times, the town where Shelton grew up, uncovers the uncomfortable truth about the venue of the induction, and the characteristically classy way that Shelton handled it. Women's college tennis is fortunate to have him, and what he's done at Tech has raised the bar for everyone.

Anyone who has ever spoken with Shelton knows that the article's closing quote is sincere and heartfelt.

"It's easy to put a smile on your face when things are going your way. What really matters is when things aren't going so well," Shelton said. "Does your attitude go south or does it click in and stay strong? It's hard for me to say that all of the time and not live it, and that's what I try to do every day."

The Knoxville News-Sentinel posted a short story a few days ago about 2008 NCAA finalist JP Smith, and his unusual game style. Smith and Pepperdine's Andres Begemann are the only players I saw at last year's NCAAs who are serve and volley players--am I missing anyone else? Conor Pollock, maybe?--and this year, Ole Miss's Devin Britton comes to mind, but there is no denying that it is a game style favored by few, whether it's juniors, college or pros.

The Pro Circuit has three tournaments going this week, and once the NCAAs begin on Friday, I'm probably not going to have much time to check in on the results, so here's a brief review, early in the tournaments. There is a new men's Challenger this year in Savannah, Ga., and there have already been several losses by seeded players. Mike Russell defeated No. 2 Vince Spadea, and No. 5 seed Donald Young went out to Jonathan Dasnieresde Veigy of France, who won the Vero Beach Futures last week. In this week's men's Futures event in Orange Park, Fla., Ryan Harrison, in his third tournament back from injury, took out the No. 2 seed Todd Paul, the former Wake Forest star, while Bob van Overbeek downed 2007 NCAA doubles champion Andreas Siljestrom, who had qualified. Other juniors who won their first round matches are: Tennys Sandgren, Raymond Sarmiento, Alex Domijan and Rhyne Williams.

I am finding the ATP site to be a more reliable place to find results now, so here is that link.

The women's Pro Circuit event is a $50,000 tournament in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla., where they completed the first round today. Top seed Melanie Oudin won, as did Gail Brodsky, qualifier McCall Jones, (who played No. 1 for BYU this year, but did not qualify for the NCAAs), Rebecca Marino and qualifier Alison Riske. Riske, who will no doubt be assuming the top spot at Vanderbilt next year, defeated No. 7 seed Florencia Molinero of Argentina, ranked 236th, 6-4, 6-4. She will play 2007 NCAA champion Audra Cohen in the second round. Florida Today has been providing excellent coverage of the event. For today's story on Oudin, click here. For the complete results, see the usta.com Pro Circuit page.

And finally, Bernard Tomic has finally arrived at IMG/Bollettieri's, where he will train when not at tournaments. Nick's blog has photos of Tomic's session with Taylor Dent here.


Virginia said...

Dom Inglot of UVA is a serve and volley player for the most part.

the old pro said...

it is a very difficult transition from the juniors to even the lowest levels of the men's professional events. it's nice to see our juniors doing well the last two weeks in the florida futures. the usta gets a lot of heat, some deserved, but the barcelona training initiatives seem to already be having a noticeable impact.