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Friday, June 5, 2009

Troy Hahn Named USTA Coach; Campus Kids Days Coming; Stephens Out at French; Harrison Profile; Berner's Battle

I haven't heard anything about the summer collegiate team yet, but the USTA has released other news. Troy Hahn, who was the men's assistant coach at Purdue, has been hired as a National Coach according to this release. And the Junior and Collegiate Department, not content with the popularity of the One-Day Collegiate Showdowns, is organizing Campus Kids Days to encourage juniors to attend college dual matches. The concept is just getting organized, but here's the template; I'll have more details when there some places and dates are set.

Sloane Stephens, the last American remaining in the French Open, lost to Kristina Mladenovic of France 7-5, 6-3 in today's girls semifinal. Mladenovic, seeded ninth, will play unseeded Daria Gavrilova of Russia, last year's Les Petits As and Eddie Herr 14s winner. Gavrilova, who is now training at Mouratoglou Academy in France, plays a very unusual game that I would imagine is extremely effective on clay. The ITF website's account of her semifinal win over Australian Open champion Ksenia Pervak explains her strategy well, and Sunday's final should be a fascinating contrast in styles. The boys final will feature another French hope, Gianni Mina, the ninth seed, who will face unseeded Daniel Berta, who is indeed hitting with Robin Soderling this week according to the ITF article. John Martin at the New York Times blog had this story on Stephens and her plans for the next few weeks, which will include qualifying for Wimbledon Juniors later this month.

Christian Harrison, who is scheduled to play in the Grass Courts, which I'll be covering next week, was the subject of this profile in the Boston Globe last weekend.

And Wisconsin recruit Hannah Berner, who plays on a boys' high school tennis team in New York, is featured in this recent story from the New York Times, entitled "She Plays With Boys, and Rivals Don’t Like It."


Robin said...

After this run to the semis of the French juniors, won't Sloane automatically qualify for Wimbledon?

Colette Lewis said...

Wimbledon acceptances are finalized before the French Juniors start.

David said...

Christian looks a little taller in that picture, and they list him at 5-3, which is bigger than he looked at the U.S. Open. Perhaps the growth spurt has begun?

fmrchamp said...

Both the Harrison brothers are the real deal, these kids really know what it means to WORK HARD, which is usually something most juniors don't possess. I feel like a lot of that credit has to be given to Pat. They have the skills, talent, work ethic, competitiveness, and confidence to be winning at the highest levels in the years to come. I have %100 confidence both brothers will be the next great American tennis players.

And that temper will eventually come under control as both mature.

justthefacts said...

to david

not so fast everyone thought Donald was the real deal but they are off to a good financial start if the article is correct that Harrison brothers make more than $100,000 a year each in endorsements... not bad

observation said...

the only problem with christian is his size. so if he grows to be at least a 5-9 or 5-10, then we will see. but i cant think of the last great tennis player that was considerably shorter than that. the only good players i know of recently are the rochus brothers. but as an american tennis fan i hope both of them can become americas next great players

hmm,. said...

the berner issue is very difficult. since there is no girls tennis team, it is only fair to let her play with the boys. however, any male tennis player reading this will agree, that it is nearly impossible, mentally, to play against a girl, not to mention bad for his tennis. girls play nothing like boys, so playing against one will not help him. It will greatly help her, but it is unfair to the boy players as well, if the school does get a girls tennis team, she should play on it as it is a GIRLS tennis team. She is leaving to college soon, but the school needs to fix this problem.

bullfrog said...

It costs more than $100,000 to train and travel the world playing tennis at a junior or pro circuit level, so while it's great a lot of these costs are being offset by their endorsement income, the Harrisons are not breaking even. When you consider their dad doesn't have a job other than being involved with their tennis, then really their position isn't much different than a lot of other peoples' despite the endorsements. This just goes to show the incredible financial hurdle for young Americans to invest in a tennis career, which is a long-shot at best.

good for guys said...

If you actually think about the situation, it is without doubt good for the guys to play with a female every once in awhile. It's not as if they are only playing females the whole season, so this one match provides some adversity that may players will not be able to overcome (ie. the many people complaining about this). Are we trying to say that when the boy isn't particularly fond of his male opponent he should just claim that's unfair, too? Of course not. It's a simple excuse for these teenage insecure guys who lost to a girl and that's it. It's ridiculous to say that playing a match hurt these guys. That's what American's need to get better at anyone to maybe produce a #1 player- overcoming adversity (Andy Roddick complaining to no end about the cloud coverage and whine, whine, whine, about everything... this is our American mentality and it needs to STOP)

Austin said...

Brace yourself folks, this isnt pretty. Below I have listed all of the top prospects since 2002. I started there because Robby Ginepri turned pro in 2001 and he was the last American to succeed on tour. I dont want to hear about injuries and other things, Brian Baker is the only one who truly has an injury excuse. Any players who now play for other countries(which many of you know disgusts me) are not listed. Some of the younger guys are currently in college, but still have tried their hand on tour before heading to college. Hold on, its gonna be a bumpy ride.

Players are grouped in the final year they competed in junior tournaments with their high ranking listed followed by their current ranking.

Rajeev Ram: high-167, current-168
Brian Baker: high-172, current-unranked
Ryler DeHeart: high-208, current-273
Lester Cook: high-296, current-325
Doug Stewart: high-1400, current-unranked

John Isner: high-81, current-114
Adam Fass: high-559, current-1155
Brett Joelson: high-1164, current-1164
Robert Yim: high-444, current-unranked
Chris Kwon: high-447, current-unranked
Kean Feeder: high-552, current-unranked
Jamil Al-Agba: high-943, current-unranked

Wayne Odesnik: high-77, current-87
Brendan Evans: high-144, current-159
Scoville Jenkins: high-187, current-209
Alex Kuznetsov: high-158, current-414
Phillip Simmonds: high-219, current-395
Scott Oudsema: high-255, current-544
Vahid Mirzadeh: high-806, current-1201
Nestor Briceno: high-888, current-unranked

Sam Querrey: high-33, current-54
Nikita Kryvonos: high-389, current-621
Dennis Zivkovic: high-757, current: 975

Donald Young: high-73, current-162
Jesse Levine: high-94, current-140
Tim Smyczek: high-319, current-551
Marcus Fugate: high-587, current-767
Alex Clayton: high-796, current-1269

Michael McClune: high-341, current-454
Dennis Lajola: high-743, current-1434
Nate Schnugg: high-1169, current-unranked
Kellen Damico: high-1364, current-unranked
Johnny Hamui: high-1333, current-unranked

been-there said...

Let's see. They say that the top 50 players all have the strokes; it is the mental side that brings certain ones to the stop. .

So you are telling me it is going to hurt these egotistical young males to play a girl? Um, people, in tennis academies, boys play girls all the time. Any top girl worth her salt is no disgrace to be lost to.

How about working on your mental game boys?

And by the way, no it doesn't necessarily help a girl to play against boys. While it may help her return of serve, the 2 ball rallies that most high school boys can manage do nothing to help a girl's tennis career.

tennis said...

in these academys, the good boys, do not play practice matches with the girls. a boy with any potential are playin with older better boys, not girls. and the girls have no pressure at all when playing a boy, the boy has all the pressure. and a boy playing against a 10 MPH serve and the flattest groundstrokes known to man is not good for his game. a girl playing against a boy gets to work on her return of serve, and get used to playing against a stronger opponent(physically). it is a WIN-WIn for the girl, and a LOSE-LOSE for the boy. simple enough.

bad for boys said...

i would love to hear one good reason it is good for a boys tennis to play a girl, except for the O so popular reason of "its good adversity, get tougher" bull. if someone can give me one, i wont comment again

TheDude said...

When you are a boy and playing an older tournament ranked girl, it is beneficial. Strong playing girls tend to make fewer mistake and keep their baseline shots rather deep. This consistency is good for boys games.

David said...

Austin, Donald Young last competed in juniors in 2007 when he won Wimbledon.

I notice that you didn't include Delic or Sweeting, but did include Levine, Odesnik, Kuznetsov, Kryvonos, Lajola, and Hamui. Why is that? Delic and Sweeting have always represented the U.S. as pros, and they moved to the U.S. around the same age as Levine (and Kryvonos if I'm not mistaken).

Austin said...

Amer Delic finished juniors in 2000.

Sweeting wasnt under the USA flag until he turned pro.

Young made an exception and played Wimbledon in '07, his last 'Zoo was in '06, therefore thats the class I put him in.

I forgot to mention that most of the coaches who oversaw the underachievement of these players are still employed by the USTA. Not sure why. One or two failures are okay, its like having a CEO who just loses money for the company year after year and not doing anything about it.

good for guys said...

"bad for boys"... the "O so popular" reason of adversity/get tougher really isn't that popular. Many of our American juniors aren't that tough, especially in comparison to other countries' juniors. Why are you thinking this is such a popular reason?

Here are a few reasons for you why it is good/not bad for guys to play girls...

1. If a girl is skilled enough to keep a rally going with a guy, this will make the guy actually think about shot placement and patterns that he likes to use to win points. Girls will usually make the boys beat them instead of make many errors which will allow the boys to figure out specific strategies that work best for them.

2. I hate the "tennis is 99% mental" cliche, but you have to admit that alot of tennis is mental, and by being able to cut out the distraction of playing a girl, it is enhancing the guys ability to play under pressure with distractions.

3. If a girl is a "pusher" which in comparison to guys most people would say that many girls are, this playing style will help a guy learn to finish off points and hit consistent winners off of easy shots.

Sure, I agree with you in that we shouldn't combine the ATP and WTA Tours. The levels between these two(WTA and ATP) is extremely different not just in the playing styles but in the overall ability level. But in high school tennis where boys aren't even beating this girl... shes just another player.

been-there said...

It does depend on the level of tennis, but with the exception of Ryan Harrison types, it does benefit boys to play the really strong girls. Let's see them 'cream' Emina Bektas or Hideko Tachibana or Nicole Melichar or Kristie Ahn. I don't think so. Many many boys would lose to these girls. They are mentally tough and have strong serves. As physically strong as a boy? No obviously not. But often they play smarter. Boys that are not filled with only testosterone respect these girls and don't feel bad losing to them; their male friends wouldn't beat them either.

Austin said...

Bo Hodge who was an All-American collegiate player, but did nothing on tour used to be the hitting partner for the Williams sisters. He is on record as saying he has never lost a set to either one of them.

I used to practice with some high level girls(gold ball level) when I was a junior and rarely lost to any of them, and I was not anywhere near a dominant junior.

The disparties between men and women are very large. There is a current top level college woman that I wont name that would barely be a sectional level boy. Sorry, in the words of Tupac Shakur, "thats just the way it is."

bad for boys said...

to been there, have you seen these girls, serves?? they are terrible, for a boys game, so dont say they have good serves, because they dont, at least not in comparison to the boys game.

plain and simple, boys are better at tennis than girls. im not being sexist, its just the way it is. boys are faster, stronger, and more suited for the game. it is much better for a boy to play against a boy around his level, than to play a girl around his level.
playing a girl is not a realistic pressure for a boy, he WILL NEVER EVER EVER have to worry about this pressure in his tournamant matches.

i am writing for the boys who are actually trying to improve their games, so if this is not who you are talking about, then you are right. but if we are talking about a boys improvement, he should never be playing with the girls.

good for guys said...

Well, obvious boys are better at tennis. I think that's fairly obvious and not really what is in discussion here. They are taller, stronger, and able to do much more with the ball. That is very obvious. But this girl who played high school tennis clearly wasn't playing against the top players in the country since she was winning nearly ALL of her matches. Anytime you lose to someone (whether they are a pusher, a hard hitting, serve and volley style) you can always, always have something to gain from it. There is always some way that you can improve yourself in tennis. Sure, we don't want Ryan Harrison practicing with girls all of the time... Rafa Nadal isn't going to choose a girl as a hitting partner. We all know this. But what's true is that this particular girl did not hurt high school tennis by playing for the guys team and all the guys that complained about her just were being little babies.

And then you make the point that guys will NEVER EVER EVER have to worry about this particular pressure in a tournament. Once again, everyone knows this. That's really obvious. But this is also one way to practice a TYPE of pressure. Once you can learn to overcome one type, it will be much easier to overcome other types of pressure that you WILL have on the court. Overcoming pressure is an art, and I don't think it is practiced nearly enough. (It's hard to practice... ie. learning to deal with the pressure of many people watching, how are you going to do that?, etc)

So, this question is not whether guys are better than girls because everyone in the world knows that a top ranked national girl isn't the same level as a top ranked national guy.

enough said...

if a boy tennis player is wanting to improve his game and is actually trying to do something with his tennis, he wouldnt be playing this girl anyways, so it really doesnt matter.

McLovin said...

This girl was beating non tournament playing boys who are cry babies. As a player, you can learn from a girl who is beating you! Let your racquet do the talking. Look, girls are no competition for boys at the tournament or pro level, that's just the way it is. Sharapova had her clock cleaned by an 18 year old tournament boy in a practice match. I won't tell you who the boy was but it is true. These boys on the tennis team should work harder.

been-there said...

Maybe someday the coaches will spend just as much time working on stress situations ("AGH I AM PLAYING A GIRL!!!" "AGH, I AM IN A TIEBREAKER IN THE 3RD SET!!!" "AGH I GIVE UP BECAUSE I AM LOSING!!"), as their groundstrokes. Too few tennis players give credence to the mental aspect, which I still cannot believe when you see it happening day after day in any situation, in any match.

At what point are we going to get it?

john said...

i know this doesnt completely have to do with the issure, but this is the perfect example of the unbelievable level of mediocrity in some high school tennis teams. have berner go to play in socal or floridas boys high school tennis teams, no chance she would start. so it sounds like some pretty low level high school tennis up in New York.