Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bodo on Britton in Spain; Watson's Future; Qualifying Nears End at All-American Tournaments

Back in June, Tennis.com's Peter Bodo watched 2009 NCAA champion Devin Britton play in the Wimbledon Junior Championships, and wrote this post, entitled "Rod Laver Don't Fish". In his Tennis World blog today, Bodo looks at the USTA and Britton's decision to train this fall in Spain, where he's been for a week or so now. (I believe Bodo has also written a story on Britton for an upcoming issue of Tennis magazine). Today's post, "Three-Headed Calf", is a reference to the freakish nature of Britton's serve and volley game, which Bodo discusses in some detail. He also writes about the entitlement culture in this country in particular, contrasting it with Spain's (not sure about that myself, having no familiarity with that culture) and how differently excellent players are treated here compared to elsewhere. That's not my observation--and why would it be that way, with Federer and Nadal, two Europeans, at the pinnacle of the men's sport? Granted the next U.S. male Grand Slam winner is considered important from an endorsement perspective, but the past decade has proven that fan bases no few borders. I do know that 13 months ago, Devin Britton was being fawned over by absolutely no one in the U.S. tennis infrastructure. And the "hype machine" in the U.S., which I agree was well-oiled in the Donald Young instance, is pretty tame compared to what goes on in other countries where tennis is much higher in the sports pecking order.

But aside from these minor quibbles, it's an interesting read, and I'd love to hear your views on the entitlement premise. As coaches and parents, is that an obstacle?

Speaking of advance publicity, US Open girls champion Heather Watson has received a boatload of it recently, prior to her opening round match Wednesday in the $50,000 challenger in Barnstaple, England. A wild card, Watson has drawn No. 2 seed Melanie South, also of Great Britain, and Watson will be playing doubles with Laura Robson. Watson has apparently not yet officially signed with a management company, although she declared her intention to turn pro a couple of weeks ago. It looks like IMG is likely to represent her, according to this story in the Guernsey Press. For more on Watson and her family, see this story in the Daily Mail.

Qualifying for the All-American tournaments ends on Wednesday, when eight women and 16 men will advance into the draws at Riviera and Tulsa respectively. One match away from qualifying are freshmen Lauren Embree of Florida, pre-qualifying lucky loser Allie Will, also of Florida, and pre-qualifying freshmen Danielle Lao of Southern Cal and Aeriel Ellis of Texas. For complete results of both singles and doubles qualifying, see the ITA tournament home page.

In Tulsa, several freshman are also one match from the main draw, including Vanderbilt's Ryan Lipman, Duke's Henrique Cunha, Oklahoma's pre-qualifying freshman Costin Paval and Ole Miss's Adrian Skogeng Forberg. Two other Rebels have reached the final round of qualifying. For more see olemisssports.com.

For singles and doubles qualifying draws see the ITA tournament page.


gsm said...

Saw where Kecki seemed to roll over Evan King. Also, what's up with Ryan Thacher? Losing in the 1st round of qualifying to someone who then lost to Matt Brewer. Just expected more out of Thacher. Is he healthy?

beenthere said...

Nice to see the USTA sending Britton to Spain to train. Could you see Bollettieri saying, "please go to Spain to train, we really can't do you any good here at this time in your development". What a joke,

Austin said...

In the past decade Stanford has taken a bunch of top juniors and regressed them during their time on The Farm. Maybe its the tough academics, Im not sure. They havent turned out a Top100 player since who, Alex Kim? David Martin and Scott Lipsky, both class of '03, have had some doubles success.

Am I forgetting anyone? I dont think Warburg or Hippensteel cracked the Top100.

wi tennis said...

That's a valid observation, Austin. ...but, was Gould a better developer or just a better recruiter? There's two sides. Also, was Gould more "creative" (legally or illegally) in giving out financial aid? I'm not making any accusations, but that is not very far fetched in men's tennis, especially at the big schools.

Man in the Moon said...

first the facts:
Alex Kim's highest ranking -singles 360
David Martin highest ranking -singles 459 on 6/26/'06 -doubles - 38
Scott Lipsky - highest singles 315-highest doubles 37 3/20/'06

It is not a question of Stanford and producing top pros --

In the '80 -- 35-40 American's were in the top 100 and most were in the top 60.

So, if you were a top American junior- or top collegian you were almost guaranteed a top spot in the top 100.

Now, due to globalization --just because you are a top American junior, or collegian doesn't mean a thing-- that is old news and I have said that (globalization story) many times before--

So, Austin you would have to go much further back then , Kim, et al.

So, I don't think you observation is on the money - due to other factors - whether it was Gould or not.

Wi tennis, quite a non-denial denial about Gould giving out money -- no accusations as you say -- but accusations in an implied way -- I don't know which is worse -- saying there are no accusations or implying there are no accusations -- anyway you leave the door open that Gould could be involved.

My approach - unless you have evidence - don't bring it up or plant a seed --

MacAttack said...

Most top juniors home school and practice and condition 5 hours minimum per day. When the top junior goes to college this training is cut in half. You can call this the harvard/Stanford effect if you would like but to perform academically ans socially and NCAA practice time limitations then naturally your performance level is going to slipp if you are coming from a big time junior program. The juniors who thrive and get better are typically those who attended convential school and trained 2 to 3 hours a day for most of their junior carrer and the opportunity to play with higher caliber coaching and team mates should improve their tennis. Just a thought.

gr8escape said...

Just saw where Ryan Harrison has advanced to the quarterfinals of the Sacramento Challenger....He seems to be on a roll. Hope he will keep it up!!!

Nicole Morris said...

Gee Colette, if you really think that other countries are anywhere near as bad as us when it comes to overinflating junior sporting success then you need to get out more and get some perspective. You going to say that the English and the Australians make more fuss about their junior tennis players than we do? Well that's just a lie. Maybe they make a fuss about one or two if they've proven themselves internationally. But your blog and Marcia's stuff make that fuss about kids who've never achieved anything outside their own state.

Travel around the world and see how much fuss they make about their junior sportspeople. In most places they dont care until those juniors get results against adults. That's healthy because the kids don't grow up with a sense of entitlement and an unrealistic opinion of their own skills.

Also have a look at how much praise we heap on children who have done nothing more than perform against other children. Junior sport gets ridiculous and undeserved levels of attention here. College basketball and college football might have the best kids in the country competing but they're still just kids. We make it seem like they're real pros when they're really not. High School sport is even worse. Then it might just be the best kids in the state, if you're lucky. All of that attention just leads to a sense of entitlement.

Put sport aside and look at entertainment. Reality TV emphasises the hideous sense of entitlement that exists in this country. People think that they deserve to be recognised nomatter how minimal their ability and everyone is ready for their close-up because they've grown up believing that even the most minor achievement is news worthy. Sure it happens in other countries but not to the levels it happens here.

I think it's time to stop fooling yourself and trying to fool us. No other country makes anything like the unwarranted fuss about children playing sport than we do.

Austin said...

Alex Kim got to 106 in October 2002, so he just missed. Guess that means no one after the dominant 1998 has been a successful pro in singles.

Sick we measure success as being Top100 when if you are Top350 you are in the NBA, Top750 MLB or Top1800 youre in the NFL, isnt it?

Man in the Moon said...

Nicole (Howard Cosell) Morris --call it like you see it.

kudos to you!!!

Right on the $$$

Nadel would sweep the clay court after his practice - as least up until last year.

That is after a bunch of Grand Slam wins!!!

I don't know if he is still doing it- but in 2008 he was.

Somehow I can't seem to see my buddy, Donald Young do that!!! (had to get it in)

Man in the Moon said...

pro sports are tough --
that is why they (media, sportswriters, etc) call tennis players ranked above 30 - as journeyman.

As previously discussed , most Americans couldn't name Todd Martin who was # 4-6 in the world.

In America, for the most part people are not interested in the # 1,800 football player, 350 BB player--

and frankly, in the USA unless you are a top 10- 20 player in tennis -- aside from family / friends -- it is not looked upon as successful -- but as journeymen-- tough world at there, Austin