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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Girls 18s Clay Court Wrap; WTT's New York Buzz; Sock No. 1; Peterson Named USTA National Coach; Harrison and Williams Out of Kalamazoo

My weekly column for The Tennis Recruiting Network is a look back at last week's USTA Girls 18s Clay Courts in Memphis. While you are at the site, check out Josh Rey's story on the junior amateur team that the USTA and World Team Tennis put together this year. Rey, who I met when he did the Orange Bowl coverage for the USTA in 2007, talks with Sloane Stephens, Alex Domijan and coach Roger Smith about their experience with the New York Buzz during this month's WTT season, which ended with a loss to the Boston Lobsters. And on Friday, Tennis Recruiting Network will have a story on the boys 16s and 18s Clays, where Jack Sock won the 16th and 17th gold balls of his junior career. (If you're wondering, Al Parker had 25.)

With those wins, Sock has ascended to the top of the 18s rankings, while holding on to the top in the 16s. Can anyone else ever remember when the USTA's top-ranked 18s player competed in the 16s division in Kalamazoo? Here is a link to the post-clay USTA rankings, released today.

The USTA has announced the hiring of Lindsay Davenport's former coach Adam Peterson as a National Coach in Player Development. Peterson, the 1990 Boys 16 National champion in Kalamazoo, was an All-American at University of Southern California. Peterson will work in the West Coast Development Center in Carson.

And for those of you who don't read the comments, it has been confirmed that neither Ryan Harrison nor Rhyne Williams will be playing Kalamazoo this year. Neither gave injury as the reason for their withdrawal.


Austin said...

I believe Brian Baker was the top ranked player in the 18's in 2000 while competing in the 16's at Kalamazoo. I know he didn't play 18's at Kazoo that year.

getreal said...

Your headline is misleading. We all konw sock is #1 in the 18s in points only but Sock is without a doubt the #1 collector of titles of his generation. Good for him if that's his goal.

usatennis said...

Everyone can sit back and say that sock isnt that good and that he just wants to win gold balls. First off, 90 percent of the americans that think they are too good too play clays and win national championships are definitely not. Second, after all the kids that just play itfs because they are scared to play nationals wont make it in the pros and they wont have 20 gold balls to show their kids like jack. kalamazoo is the only tournament of the year where all the juniors come together and play each other which is disappointing and just hurts american tennis. A lot of the kids winning nationals are as good as the kids that only play itfs and they put themselves out on the line under pressure against each other. In the long run, that might turn out to help them as many of the other kids have trouble playing their peers in college and the early stages of the pros.

Iknow said...

First off, 90 percent of the americans that think they are too good too play clays and win national championships are definitely not.

A lot of the kids winning nationals are as good as the kids that only play itfs and they put themselves out on the line under pressure against each other.

Wow those are some big statements with very little proof. all the top americans who play itfs don't want to waste their time playing little super nationals they can just let the little kids win them and then show up for kalamazoo. Want proof that there is a difference in level between itf and usta lets just look at the quarterfinals from the last two years of the 18s at kalamazoo.

In 07 we have McClune, Michael Harrison, Ryan Schnugg, Nathaniel Trombetta, Ty Forman, Steven Thacher, Ryan Kecki, Mateusz Damico, Kellen. How many nationals did those guys play that year?

In 08 we have Harrison, Ryan Klahn, Bradley Williams, Rhyne Krajicek, Austin Trombetta, Ty El Mihdawy, Adam Thacher, Ryan Buchanan, Chase. same question...

don't just talk if you'r going to say something actually do some research.

getreal said...

To USAtennis

It’s not an either ITF or USTA. The reality is that until the 16s the same top us juniors have played each other since the 12s, they know each others game, and it’s usually the same group in the quarters. Tennis is an international sport and by the time these juniors are 16 US juniors need to play internationally to see where they stand. If the ITFs were at the same level as USTA nationals then US players would rack up a bunch of jr slam titles. When the juniors start playing ITFs they do not have the time or funds o play both USTA or ITFs, which is why the 18s USTA nationals, especially national opens, are weak except for the Kalamazoo.

getreal said...

To usatennis

also if our top juniors only play each other they never experience playing on red clay, competing against the top Latin American, European clay courters, or the top international juniors... their game develops in a USA vacuum

10isTHEbest said...


What can you possibly be talking about the U.S. juniors being scared to play national tournaments just because they choose to play in higher level events and aim to use the ITF circuit as a stepping stone to the pros? It is definitely not guaranteed that if you play ITF's, you will turn pro but it puts the player much closer than national tournaments, some of which players don't get pushed to losing even 3 games in a set until the later rounds. I think that was an absurd comment that showcased no common sense whatsoever.

usatennis said...

to everyone-
I meant the comment more to say there is definitely an overlap between the top level kids that play and win the nationals and the lower kids that only play itfs and lose first round.

Austin said...


You want proof? What have any of the '07 guys you listed done in the pros so far? Nothing. Heck, only Nate Schnugg has even managed to play #1 for his college team. McClune, the best player of that year, has been a complete bust.

The only people who dont see that avoiding playing in the U.S. with pressure are a) the players doing so, b) their parents, c)their coaches.

If a junior goes out and wins a Challenger or wins three matches in a pro tournament then we'll talk about how good they are at this point.

If Im not mistaken we have produced 5, yes 5, guys to make the Top100 in the past 7yrs. And two of those, Young and Levine, were only there briefly. Only 1 of them, Querrey, has made it into the Top50. ZERO of our juniors in the past 7yrs have been seeded in a grand slam.

All of you can keep spitting out rubbish about higher competition, blah, blah, blah. I'll keep throwing facts at you.

I dont want to discourage the kids, hope they all make it to the top, but the mindset of Americans is that they are better than they really are. Would love to see an environment where they just went out and played instead of being jerked around.

In the end most of these kids are going to look at their mantle and see it pretty empty after they moved up out of the 14's and started accumulating a bunch of losses with stories of what they "would have won."

10isTHEbest said...

I guarantee you that most of the juniors that play ITF's over nationals would much rather look back at their careers and realize that they devoted themselves to a level of tennis capable of producing future pros. Don't you think someone would rather have the opportunity to play in a junior grand slam than win a ball at a national? Yes, winning balls are wonderful but if you strive to reach the next tier of tennis, gold balls aren't going to get you there.

ncaafan said...

I disagree with you 10isTHEbest, most of the American pros are the ones that have won gold balls at times in their career, not the juniors that lose in the 2nd round of junior slams and the quarters of KZoo. The ones that make it on the tour take on all comers and win. Winning Clay Courts goes further to progressing your tennis then losing in the first round of junior slams.

10isTHEbest said...

Who ever said that the best juniors were losing first round in the slams? I guess Britton and Cox didn't reach the finals of the U.S. Open and Wimbledon and Coco Vandeweghe didn't win U.S. Open either.

ncaafan said...

First off girls junior tennis results are not comparable to mens. Second, Wimbledon was a good tournament for USA juniors but take a look back at Roland Garros if you want to see the best American juniors losing in the first and second round. And for the record I think these players should play the junior slams but they are not doing themselves any favors by thinking they are too good for USTA events. If they all played clay courts it would be a very strong tournament and isnt that the whole purpose of the USTA academies, to put the good Americans in the same location?

usatennis said...

I agree with ncaafan. I never said they shouldnt play ITFs because they should to gain the proper exposure and get used to the pros. However, they should also play the junior nationals to get used to being the favorites and actually consistently winning matches. If they only play ITFs, they also arent getting enough match experience. Besides, like I said, they would probably find they are not above the national level kids as much as they think.

analyst said...

The fact that tennis is a world sport with unrelated national (i.e.USTA) and world (ITF)governing bodies and systems for junior development makes it challenging for the junior player to decide how best to allocate their time and money with regard to tournament play. Throw into that mix the fact that juniors may also play in men's and women's events, and you can see why it may be difficult to decide which path to take.Players who do well at one level, even if they don't dominate or win a championship, may want to move on to the next level to challenge themselves and maximize their development. Time for development is limited. There are just so many damn options for tournament play that choices have to be made and those choices may be driven by things like money, geography, education, etc. Once you leave the juniors, nobody cares what you did there unless you can build on it; it's what you do later that matters. Sure, maybe some are being unrealistic in thinking that they have a future beyond juniors, but you certainly can't fault them for trying to maximize their development beyond the juniors. And that may mean opting out of National championships that will do nothing to foster that goal.

10isTHEbest said...

My thoughts exactly analyst. Straight on.