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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

July Aces; Lertcheewakarn's Open Plans; Girls Team Event Underway; Post's Live Chat with McEnroe Friday

The July aces are up a day early, because my Kalamazoo preview for the Tennis Recruiting Network is scheduled for tomorrow's usual slot. A special thanks to Susan Mullane of Cameraworks USA, who is responsible for the fantastic photos of Andrey Kuznetsov and Noppawan Lertcheewakarn from Wimbledon. I look forward to seeing her at the US Open, where she'll be the photographer for the ITF junior site again this year.

Speaking of Lercheewakarn, she is the subject of this feature on canada.com, in advance of her debut at the $75,000 Vancouver Pro Circuit event, where she is using her junior exemption for finishing 2008 as the ITF's World Junior Champion. In addition to discussing her celebrity status in Thailand, and the interesting story of how she came to the attention of Marek Malaszszak, who coached Steffi Graf as a junior, there is reference to her playing the U.S. Open Juniors and "a wild card into the qualifying round of the U.S. Open." Does anyone know where this comes from and how it would already be decided?

The USTA girls 18 team championships began yesterday in Northern California. I can't tell what the seeds are from the TennisLink site, but it looks to me that the defending champions from the Midwest could be challenged by both the Southern and Southern Californian sections. Today's second round match scores are not yet complete.

In the ITF World Junior competition in the Czech Republic, the No. 2 seeded U.S. girls reached the semifinals with a 3-0 victory over Argentina, and will take on Japan next. Two countries have a chance to duplicate the dual championships of the U.S.A's boys and girls last year: Japan and the host country. For a review of today's action, see the ITF Junior website.

Patrick McEnroe, the General Manager of Player Development, will be doing an online chat on the Washington Post website Friday at 2:30 p.m. EDT. If you have a question or comment for him, you can submit it at washingtonpost.com


Jon King said...

I submitted a question asking McEnroe if the USTA development program is planning to build real red clay courts so that we can start raising a generation of kids with both hard and real clay experience. Seems logical to me if we are willing to wait the years needed to build these kid's games properly.

Tennis mom said...

Where is the evidence of the Marek guy coaching Graf? That seems a made up story now being made real by repetition in stories about Lertcheewakarn. (I googled the names and found not a single reference linking him to Graf - in many miles of media coverage about her career - until the stories about Lertcheewakarn started to circulate this summer.) As far as I can recall, her coaching path was a narrow one: father to Slozil to Gundhardt (with a very brief unhappy stay at Bolletieri's - the latter so unsuccessful that Bolletieri who will claim anyone as "his" doesn't claim her I don't think). I don't think "he was on court with her once" or whatever he might have been merits this kind of association. (I'd say more broadly these kinds of claims about coachs' former associations or roles in major players' careers often turn out to be very thin, and it always make me uneasy. I think someone else pointed this out in another context a few weeks ago.) If in fact he did play a major role in Graf's development, that would be interesting and newsworthy in the sense of adding something we didn't know before.

Colette Lewis said...

Thanks for researching that. I agree that those often tenuous connections can get exaggerated beyond recognition and then take on a life of their own from one story to the next.
I suspect he may have been a federation coach early in her junior career, but I agree there's no evidence to suggest that he was a "major" influence on her tennis.

Tennis mom said...

Hi Colette,

I didn't mean to chase you there! Nor did you say he had a major role - but I noticed in the googling versions of the phrasing "coached Graf as a junior"
and it seems that perhaps wildly exaggerates whatever contact he had with her. And really, I just meant to give it as an example of how often that pattern of very loose (tenuous as you nicely put it) association gets blown up later into something much more significant when the player is successful.

Enjoy your blog very much. Thanks for all your work.