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Friday, October 30, 2009

Fields Complete for Thursday's Start to ITA Indoor; Lucero Compares College Tennis Competition with ITF Futures

The ITA today released the complete 32-player fields for both men and women (and 16 doubles teams each) at the Indoor Championships at Yale University next week. Since I detailed the regional winners back on Tuesday in this post, (Corrie beat Carvalho to win in Texas), I'll just go down the list of at-large bids, in the order of their preseason ranking, starting with the men. Only those who reached the quarterfinals of the regionals were eligible for at-large bids.

Guillermo Gomez, Georgia Tech
Dimitar Kutrovsky, Texas
Sanam Singh, Virginia
Michael Shabaz, Virginia
Alex Lacroix, Florida
Dennis Nevolo, Illinois
Jordan Rux, Baylor
Diego Cubas, South Carolina
Austin Krajicek, Texas A&M
Marek Michalicka, Wisconsin
Javier Garrapiz, Georgia
Jason Jung, Michigan

The ITA wild card went to Raony Carvalho of Texas Tech, and the two Yale wild cards went to freshmen Marc Powers and John Huang.

Women receiving the at-large bids are:

Hillary Barte, Stanford
Laura Vallverdu, Miami
Yasmin Schnack, UCLA
Sanaz Marand, UNC
Reka Zsilinszka, Duke
Marina Cossou, Cal
Kristy Frilling, Notre Dame
Lenka Broosova, Baylor
Noemie Scharle, Florida State
Kristie Boxx, Ole Miss
Mari Andersson, Cal
Katie Rybakova, Florida State

Anastasia Petukhova of Fresno State received the ITA wild card. The Yale wild cards are Stephanie Kent and Jessica Rhee. Kelcy McKenna of Arizona State met the criteria for an at-large bid, but is not in the field, perhaps due to the $50,000 Pro Circuit women's event in Phoenix, where qualifying begins next weekend.

There are two schools with three players in the field: Virginia on the men's side and Cal on the women's.

In the doubles, because there are only 16 spots and 12 regional winners, there is only one at-large bid available, although I believe there were actually two for the men. JP Smith and Boris Conkic of Tennessee earned a spot by winning the All-American, but they did not play together in the regional, and Conkic and Rhyne Williams won there, over Sandgren and Smith. Sandgren and Smith are the top ranked team in the preseason rankings, so they got an at-large, and with the A-A spot available, Mortiz Baumann and Marek Michalicka of Wisconsin, the next highest ranked team not already in, received entry.

There was one at-large bid in women's doubles, and it went to NCAA champions Andersson and Jana Juricova of Cal.

For the complete list of participants, see the ITA tournament home page.

Over at Tennis Recruiting Network, colleague Marc Lucero has crunched some numbers regarding the fields of the recently completed All-American tournaments and the ITF Futures events being played during that time to try to determine strength of competition in college. Although I don't attend a lot of Futures events, I do go to at least one every year, and from that I've always judged the competition level to be very similar to what I see at the Indoors or NCAAs, or All-American. Thanks to Marc, there's actually some research to back that up.


Thomas Falcon said...

Marc's research is great and useful but his contention is so weak Tennis Recruiting does itself a disservice by printing it. Biggest problem is that he doesn't acknowledge that the player's games might have stagnated since they achieved their highest ranking. That's why futures is better than college tennis. Instead of getting great competition 1-3 times a year you get it weekly. Instead of there being a ceiling to your competition you can jump from futures to challengers to the main tour. Instead of being limited to a certain amount of hours coaching and on-court you've got unlimited time. Marc also chose not to look at the rankings of the finalists in those futures events. If he did that he might have found that they were, on average, way higher than at the All American. Or he might have found that they were, on average, a lot younger than at the All American.

An interesting read but too many holes in it and too much misleading information to be presented as proof of anything or to be included on a serious tennis site.

getreal said...

to thomas

I agree with your analysis that futures offer a talented player the best opportunity to pop through to the next level and equally important to devote 100% of their effort to developing their game to achieve that. I agree with you that the problem with college tennis is that a player's time and focus is divided between school, social and tennis with the development of tennis limited. To take that a step further, all too often a player’s course choices are dummied down so the player can have enough time to practice, so both the school and the tennis are ultimately compromised. I am not sure what the best path to take is but I do think college tennis has its pitfalls in preparing a player for the pro circuit which is why most top international juniors go directly to pro.

wi tennis said...

As Marc said in his article, there are also players that only play during the summers and part time, so their rankings are under-stated. He said it balances each other out, generally. Which is not scientific, but probably fairly accurate.

I believe there is more to playing ATP/Futures/Challenger events and "the tour" than just the on-court match and practice. The mental component is SO huge. Some players leave college and do better. They have matured mentally and physically. They have the piece of mind that they can fall back on a college degree in case they fail. They know that if money gets really tight, or they can't handle the mental strain of workout/tennis/travel/hotel/be on your own every day...then they can get a job outside of playing tennis. The more worries you have off of your mind, the easier you can focus on just tennis. Also, the stress of playing in a team match makes playing an individual match seem easier, many times.

If a player truly has professional aspirations, they are training/watching video, etc. more than 20 hours per week. A coach just can't require that. A coach can work with you as many hours as you request. It is incorrect to say there are limits on hours with a coach, unless the player wants it to be that way.

There are many ways to make the tour and many more ways to fail. However, if you are playing #1 at an SEC, ACC, Big 10, Pac 10, etc school, you are going to have a battle on your hands every week. I don't care who you are.