Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bangoura, Goldfeld win New Jersey ITF; Features on Oudin, Querrey, Devvarman; Andy Murray Looks Back; My Post on Britton

It was difficult to follow the results from last week's ITF International Hard Courts, and I'm not even sure what grade it is--the ITF site says 2 and the TennisLink site says 3--but the final results are posted on the the latter site. Congratulations to Sekou Bangoura, Jr. and Ester Goldfeld for winning titles there. Seeded seventh, Goldfeld defeated Grace Min 6-0, 6-3 and the unseeded Bangoura beat No. 5 seed Oliver Golding of Great Britain 6-3, 7-6(10). Both are also playing in the Grade 1 in Canada on special exemptions, and won their first round matches today.

Lots of comments about what's missing from U.S. tennis on this blog over the weekend, and in this excellent feature from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about Melanie Oudin, her coach, Brian de Villiers addresses an aspect of that issue:

There is a lot of talent out there,” said Brian de Villiers, who coaches Oudin out of the Racquet Club of the South in Norcross. “Personally, I don’t think [young players] are pushed enough. I don’t think they have the big picture of the dream. Life in the States is very results-now; people aren’t willing to believe in something and stick to it over the long run through the ups and downs.”

Another young American going into the Open with high expectations is 21-year-old Sam Querrey, who reached his third US Open Series final at the Pilot Pen, clinching the Series title en route. Even though he is seeded in a Grand Slam for the first time, Querrey has a lot of points to defend; he reached the fourth round at the Open last year. This story, from the Hartford Courant, looks at the young friends that have accompanied Querrey on his rise into the highest level of the men's professional game.

The Indian press has both junior No. 1 Yuki Bhambri and Somdev Devvarman to follow this week and next, now that the NCAA champion from Virginia has qualified for the main draw. Bhambri, who just won a Futures event in India this weekend, is indeed one of the favorites for the boys title in New York, as this story states. Devvarman is only the seventh Indian player ever to play in the main draw of a Grand Slam in the Open era, according to this story in the Hindustan Times.

No. 2 seed Andy Murray did a brief Q and A for the New York Times Straight Sets blog, and he remembers very well who he played on his way to the U.S. Open boys title in 2004. One win he doesn't mention is his 6-0, 6-1 first-round trouncing of Argentina's Juan Martin de Potro, who wasn't quite 15 years old at the time.

And my second entry for the Times' tennis blog, on Devin Britton's whirlwind of a weekend, can be found here.


15 comments:

J said...

De Villiers is right on target! Another good read this weekend is in the Huffington Post in an article by Adam Dub - Can American Tennis be Saved? Great Reading!

Jon King said...

De Villiers is wrong. How come American kids will start football and basketball at 5, battle every day for year after year, level after level, injury after injury....and end up the very best basketball and football players on the planet?

I see kids at tennis academies playing hour after hour of tennis, conditioning, etc., yet never make it. Tennis is now global, not like the old days.

And no offense to Oudin, I have seen her play several times. In my opinion she just doesn't have much size or speed or weapons compared to the very elite players, and won't ever break the top 40. She caught Jankovic on a very, very bad day.

Caroltennis09 said...

Oudin and her coach have done lots of interviews and gotten a ton of press based on one nice run at one tournament. Tennis history is full of one run players. Sharapova and other women were winning Grand Slams at age 17. Besides that one run, hasn't she lost in the first/second round of every other pro tourney she has played in? Now her country club coach is an expert on American tennis?

gsm said...

UVa's Mike Shabaz, the NCAA doubles champ, got a WC into the doubles. He & Odesnik play Isner & Querrey first round

Jerry said...

Comparing football/basketball to tennis misses the mark. Football and basketball are primarily american sports (football is only american), so naturally we have the best. These two sports are also 'free', you can have a very good training in primary and high school, you also play locally and do not spent your money on travel.

Tennis is very expensive (training and tournament travel), the academies are for the ones who can generally afford it - so we get the best from among those who can.

Seminoleup said...

"De Villiers is wrong," what? If there is one thing that is clear, that's tennis players are like snowflakes there are many unique paths that make a player. De Villiers is right with regard to Melanie and should be congratulated. Basketball and Football are team sports and keep the interest of young children with relative ease compared to tennis. Rarely do Basketball and Football players "play up," divisions are often determined by age or weight class, tennis fails in this regard. Try explaining to a 14 year old who wants to get good in tennis why they just lost to an 11 year old or 10 year old with 4 overzealous coaches illegally coaching through the fence. The USTA's largest failing at the grassroots level is the inconsistency with officials and tournaments directors. Young players often simply just want to play, however tournaments are growing exponentially in cost, tennislink is taking a piece with tiny operational costs, the ten point tiebreaker determines third sets at some nationals, and doubles which the USTA claims to be pushing are limited to pro sets at times these scenarios occur with plenty of court time available. "Get them on and get them off." Few are going to develop long term or be discovered when the tourney director wants to profit quickel, officials discourage children and parents with inconsistent decisions from court to court and tournament to tournament, with little oversite by the section, "well a yuk, yuk, yuk and a yuk yuk yuk." Compare a USTA grassroots tournament with a soccer or basketball grassroots effort and you'll see why the pipeline often runs bare. The parents help drive it but you need better coaching. Check the price to play and get good at basketball or football versus the $8300 wanted for 105, two and a half hour sessions - with no guarentee. When American players bubble to the top, something special has taken place.

B said...

The USTA giving Shabaz a WC is a travesty. He hasn't played a tournament all summer. Why they would pick him over Cory Parr, who has won 4 futures doubles titles this summer (he hasn't lost a match since NCAA's) is mind-boggling. I understand winning NCAA's gives you the chance for it, but you should have to prove that you are ready and have trained to play in the biggest tournament in the world.

iluvtennis said...

Cory Parr had the same chance as Shabaz to win NCAA's and earn the WC and wasn't able to come through. If Nguyen/Sundling are getting one then certainly so should Shabaz as he is clearly a better doubs player then both of them.
In my opinion if you win NCAA's then you should get the WC automatically, it's a much tougher tournament to win then kzoo or any Futures Event.

tennis said...

nobody from college is READY to play in it, parr would get equally demolished as shabaz, give it a rest.

B said...

Winning one tournament doesn't really qualify you to be ready for the Open. Not saying Cory would do any better, but at least he has gone out and played over the summer and proven himself to some degree. Same thing for all the other Americans who grinded through the Amercian circuit and had some good results. I think that should count for something.

And I agree that winning 1 future is not equal to winning NCAA's, but 4 in a row? That's pretty impressive, and they beat some pretty good teams along the way.

iluvtennis said...

Winning 4 in a row is awesome, especially tough to do with the current scoring format in doubles. Having said that Cory played only 4 events in 3 months as a "pro", hardly grinding away. Shabaz had to take 2 sessions of summer school so he can graduate on time so he can become a pro in 2 years. Certainly would have been better if he turned pro and was playing full time but you also have to respect his decision to get an education....the WC was fairly earned.

collegefan said...

Shabaz earned a spot on the College Development team. That's the same team that Parr was part of this summer as he traveled around playing futures. However, Shabaz declined his spot. As Iluvtennis said, he instead took classes this summer. Georgia's Nate Schnugg made the same decision as did some others.

tennis said...

every AMERICAN who wins NCAA should get a WC in my opinion. its just a good insentive to keep grinding it out in college tennis and i think it helps the players have something to play for besides the NCAA title. Not that the NCAA title isnt an unreal accomplishment, but the US OPEN wildcard is pretty amazing as well.

Emory said...

De Villiers is spot on, but he should have gone further to add that in America we pay way too much attention to junior sports. In other countries players don't get praise until they've achieved at the senior level. Here we have devote sports shows, magazines and blogs to them. So these kids grow up with the idea that junior success is the pinnacle when, in reality, it's nice but nothing special.

tennis said...

what juniors get praise for doing well in the juniors?? the only thing i know is that the usta uses WC insentives for kids to play certain tournaments so that they can battle it out with the best in the country i.e. kalamazoo. if the USTA gave maybe not equal insentive, but maybe different WC insentive for 6,7,8, tournaments a year, everybody would play them and you would have all the juniors pushing each other to get better at a relatively good rate. The biggest thing the USTA does well is get the juniors of the same age together and have them battle it out. Now if they just did it for tournaments instead of practice we might be getting somewhere.