Monday, July 27, 2009

Catching Up: Other Clay Champions; Cox Turns Pro; Strode, Lumpkin Win on Pro Circuit; Mayotte Hired by USTA


I'm back in Kalamazoo now, and I anticipate the next two weeks will be full of pre-Nationals posts, starting, I hope, with the list of wild cards tomorrow. But when I was in Memphis, I didn't have time to follow the other Clay Court championships, so today is a good day to congratulate the winners:

Boys 12s--Tommy Paul
Girls 12s--Anastasia Nefedova
Boys 14s--Roy Lederman
Girls 14s--Kelsey Laurente
Boys 16s--Bjorn Fratangelo
Girls 16s--Kyle McPhillips
Boys 18s--Jack Sock
Girls 18s--Krista Hardebeck

The USTA release, including all the doubles champions, is available here. The Sun-Sentinel spoke with Laurente about her victory, and the Naples Daily News talked with Fratangelo after his title. And the Hampton Roads Daily Press had a very thorough wrap of the McPhillips win in Virginia Beach in Sonny Dearth's blog. Also, from the Memphis Flyer is this story, entitled "Why You're Not Great" about Germantown, Tenn.'s Catherine Harrison, who reached the round of 32 at the girls 18s Clay Courts.

IMG announced today that Jordan Cox will be represented by the agency as he pursues a professional tennis career. Cox, who qualified for the main draw this week in the Godfrey, Ill. Futures, has an intriguing first round contest with Austin Krajicek, a meeting between the two reigning Kalamazoo champions.

In last week's Pro Circuit events, unseeded Blake Strode, the 2009 NCAA semifinalist who just graduated from Arkansas, won his first professional title at the $10,000 Joplin, Mo. tournament. Strode beat recent Tulsa grad Arnau Brugues in the final 6-1, 6-3. The only set Strode lost was to top seed Michael McClune in the quarterfinals. With this win and his appearance in the final two weeks ago in Pittsburgh, Strode is making a strong case for a U.S. Open qualifying wild card. In the women's $10,000 event in Evansville, Ind., the winner was Liz Lumpkin, who played No. 5 singles for UCLA in their 2008 championship season. It was Lumpkin's first Pro Circuit title, in fact her first final in singles; she has been in three doubles finals. Fourteen-year-old Sachia Vickery qualified and reached the semifinals of her first professional event. This week the women are in St. Joseph, Mo., where CoCo Vandeweghe is the top seed. For more, see the usta.com Pro Circuit page.

The USTA announced today that Tim Mayotte will join its Player Development program as a National Coach. Mayotte, the 1981 NCAA champion while at Stanford, will work out of the USTA's Boca Raton Training Center.

25 comments:

Just wondering said...

Colette do you ever no what happened to Nick wood from tennese or Conor thompson of Georgia who used to be high nationals but have dropped from tournaments

justthefacts said...

It seems that more US juniors are taking the S. American-Eastern European approach to tennis, throw out education as an option by the time you are 17 and go 100% for pro before having any results on the pro level. Or even throw out education at 13 or 14 by only doing the minimum to get by online. Denis Kudla did that after winning the 16s (not 18s) Orange Bowl and now Jordan Cox after a nice run at Wimbledon as Cox had the fortune of not having either Tomic or Kuznetsov, the two favorites, on his side of the draw. Both decisions seem premature when you compare their results to Sam Querrey and Andy Roddick, or even Ryan Harrison, had before they made that decision. I only hope this is not a trend because unless the junior is ready to make a real run it is very tough and a real roll of the dice.

5.0 Player said...

Regarding the press release that Cox is turning pro, the fiction that Nick Bollietieri is Cox's coach is laughable.

I was similarly amused that recent videos on tennis.com featuring the Harrison brothers tried to force in how much Bollieteri was involved in their development when virtually everyone in the junior tennis world is aware that Pat Harrison did it all.

Some things never change. Just as Sharapova in the 90's and Seles in the 80's finally had to make clear when they were teenagers that "Nick is not my coach."

I realize that IMG wants to promote their academy by tying their players to their big name coach, but it's annoying when they try to give Bollieteri credit for players that he had very little to do with.

tennis fan said...

What it he world is the USTA doing? They keep saying that they want to move in a direction to improve US tennis and create future champions, but they are hiring people with little to no player development experience. Working with an established player does not count. Mayotte and Peterson are nice people, but hiring them to develop future Americans... You've got to be kidding me. It appears that Patrick is just hiring his friends. The sad part is that he (Patrick) will leave his position at the USTA having not made any progress and putting USA tennis further behind other countries.

Tennisman said...

In response to "justthefacts" - perhaps the European way works, afterall 17 of the top 20 men in the ATP ranking are European and 16 of the top 17 if you include the S. Americans. It is good to see our top juniors take the risk of going for it, and not have the cushion of if all else fails they can always go to school for free! Go for it Jordan Cox, Denis Kudla and Ryan Harrison.

justthefacts said...

To Tennisman

Could not agree with you more that pro is the way to go if the junior has results at the pro level as that increases the odds that the junior is ready. If the junior is not ready by his or her results its a real roll of the dice. Of the US juniors you mentioned Harrison is the only one with those type of results. Don't forget that of the few S Americans and Eastern Europeans who make it at the top pro level, there are hundreds who don't. Advocating for any top US juniors to drop out of school to pursue pro tennis without protennis results first is irresponsible. Look at what happened with Phil Bester, Scoville Jenkins, Philip Simmounds. Again, hope this is not a trend.

old timer said...

This is a free country. If a junior thinks is good enough and brave enough to go pro. Go for it. Europeans and South Americans do it all the time. Many don't succeed and go back home or stay in the States to teach tennis. If you do the math you will see that in modern times very few Americans that have gone to college have stood out in the pros. Maybe something different needs to be tried. The pro circuit will let you know right away.

justthefacts said...

To old timer

You say if “you do the math you will see that in modern times very few Americans that have gone to college have stood out in the pros.” If you do the math very few US players have made it on pro level whether they went to college or not, but the top ones all waited until they had results on the pro level first. Roddick was committed to Georgia, was the number #1 junior, won Australia Jrs, US Open jrs, Challenger matches etc,, Querrey was going to go to a Ca college before he had a string of wins at the pro level. Blake, the Bryans all went to college for two years. Don’t think there is a straight path but it sure seems you need pro results before turning pro. If these young players who turned pro don’t pop through the futures it can get pretty wearing after the glamour has worn off. Neither has really dominated the juniors like Harrison or Tomic did as a much younger age. Seems that going pro before you are ready can have as many pitfalls as waiting to late. DO agree that two years in college to develop your game is probably the max you can spend before the odds of dong something on the pro level fade.

The Dude said...

Well it's apparent that education was never a goal with some of these juniors so why not go for the brass ring? They're not going to be investment bankers or hedge fund managers.

brian said...

what's the big deal, only in the US do people make a big deal in turning pro, chase your dreams and if they don't work, get a loan and go to college

tennis said...

the only reason in the US that people dont turn pro more often is because we have so many great opportunities and amazing schools. If the other countries had the same kind of opportunities as the US, they would not be turning out as many pro tennis players as they are

Austin said...

One thing about James Blake is that he was a grade ahead of kids his age, so he was only 19.5yrs old when he turned pro, the same age as most kids when they go pro after one year.

Rod said...

The reason turning pro is a big deal is because if it isn't done right it can ruin you.

If I were to compare the challenges of playing tennis to other sports I would compare it to being a pitcher in baseball or a quarterback in football.

Baseball and football are legendary for the care they take in developing pitchers and quarterbacks because if you don't do it right the player can be ruined. Once the damage is done the player rarely recovers.

I think Britton will go on to a better career than Kudla and Cox and much of it will have to do with the way he managed his career.

questionforrod said...

to rod

You say..."The reason turning pro is a big deal is because if it isn't done right it can ruin you."

Most would agree. Could you elaborate how that relates to tennis...

sam said...

Still trying to figure out the big deal about the word PRO. Kids in the rest of the world play for money all the time at local tournaments, you can play all year in France winning small amounts at club tourneys. Getting free clothes, racquets, strings and hotel rooms is a form of compensation so what's the big deal. By turning pro and not making it doesnt mean their lives are over, they can still go to college, thats the beauty of the USA, you can go at any age

tennis said...

to sam, if you turn pro and make lets say 50,000 dollars, then decide to go to college, you have to pay for college, and wont get into as good of school becuase you cant play tennis for the team. if you do not turn pro, you can collect the 50,000 dollars and write it off as expenses and then take a full ride to any school. so if you do not turn pro in a case like this, you are pretty much making 200000 dollars PLUS a degree that will help you make money and get a good job in your life after tennis.

to questionforrod,

it relates to the people who paly tennis. if they turn pro and dont make it, they wasted a great college opportunity, and risk having to basically feed balls out of a basket for the rest of there lives.

sam said...

To tennissaid, Agree with you, however these kids that are turning pro are getting money up front, hopefully they put some away for college and use the rest to develop their games. Feeding balls out of a hopper for the rest of your life is far more enjoyable than sitting in a stuffy office and besides you only live once, enjoy it and if it happens to be on a tennis court, even better

getreal said...

Most top US international juniors are not into education and therefore aren’t giving up anything by turning pro as soon as a top agency will sign them. If pro doesn’t pan out they can go to college. Signing with an agent gives the junior the best shot to break through even though it’s still a long shot. It's not like any of these kids are giving up the option of getting a foot in the door at a ivy type school like Duke, Stanford or Virginia because most could not get in even as a top recruit. That would be tough decision. But these kids can still get a college degree if pro does not work out.

Been there done that said...

I am sick of hearing how if these kids do not make it in tennis and do not have a college degree then they are considered failures. Does anyone follow these supposed failures around after their careers are done. I would bet my life most of them still end up making better money than people with college degrees. Just because they are not still in the limelight and you do not know where they are does not mean they became failures. A college degree is the most overrated thing in the world. Most people simply do not care to work on Wall Street or become Doctors or whatever you people think is so glamorous that comes with a degree from Ivy League schools or Stanford or whereever. Get a grip and get over the college education thing. It is not that important to a lot of people even though they could easily afford it and does not exclude them from getting a good paying job when their careers are done. I have a degree and it has not helped me in any way, shape or form in my current job and was completely unnecessary for what I enjoy doing.

tony said...

To Been there done that
I think you seem to be a little bit confused as to what a" college education" is supposed to do for people. The four some odd years you spend in college are supposed to "educate" you to open up your mind and think for yourself. While its true that sometimes your degree doesn't apply to your career, it certainly does not render your college education useless. Far from it actually. It sounds like you had a less than ideal college experience, and that is unfortunate. But for many who have the privilege of playing college tennis while getting most of their education paid for, I think it's safe to say these are probably some of the best years of their lives.

sam said...

Tony, You gotta be kidding,90 % of college in the USA is party, party, party and then call home for more money with no open minded thinking at all. Trying to make it on the tour and traveling internationally is a far more maturing experience than playing pong 4 nights a week

tony said...

Sam, That is just a ridiculous statement. Lets be serious here but if an athlete chooses to lead a life like that then I doubt they would be "mature" enough to be able to handle the grind of the circuit.

steve said...

Sam, speaking of "open minded thinking". your statement there, should absolutely none of it.

Been there done that said...

Tony, I actually played college tennis for 4 years for a top 20 school and had a blast. It was a great experience. You clearly missed my point. I already had an open mind before I got to college. As for the education. I've never had to use it. I could think for myself long before college. You learn that at home. I just think people here in the States get waaaay to hung up on a degree. It has not helped me in any way. If the kids in the U.S. are going to make it professionally they bettter get out there as soon as possible and learn what its like to be a PRO. I think having a degree and seeing the other side as well is exactly what I am doing here. Thats an open mind.

wow said...

Sam,

could not agree with you more. the comments about education and college shows why american tennis is going down the tubes. sounds like a bitter group of KIDS who would rather dream of what could have been instead of worrying about the moment