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Monday, November 16, 2009

ITA Indoor Recap; Duke Women Get NCAA Rings; College Connections on Pro Circuit This Week; Comment Reminder

My recap of the ITA Indoor Championships is posted today at the Tennis Recruiting Network, and with that, the fall college tennis season comes to a close for me. It will be two months before the spring season begins and it's three months until the next collegiate major: the Team Indoor championships. But many college players compete in Pro Circuit events throughout the fall, and the last two weeks, with Challengers in Charlottesville, Va., Knoxville, Tenn., and this week, with a Challenger in Champaign-Urbana, Ill., there are current and former college players filling up the draws.

The University of Illinois has four former players in the main draw: Kevin Anderson, Ryler DeHeart, Ruben Gonzales (a wild card) and Rajeev Ram, who just won the Aachen Challenger yesterday to reach a career-high ATP ranking of 78, making it unlikely he'll need to play in the Australian Open wild card tournament next month. Fighting Illini sophomore Dennis Nevolo was given a wild card into the main draw, where he'll play top seed Kevin Kim. Wild card Blake Strode, the 2009 NCAA semifinalist from Arkansas, advanced to the second round with a win over Vince Spadea today, and 2007 Kalamazoo champion Michael McClune defeated Alex Kuznetsov in first round play today. The final round of qualifying's winners include Tulsa's Arnau Brugues, Tennessee's Kaden Hensel, and former World Junior Champion Ricardas Berankis. The tournament's website provides some live scoring and results are updated regularly.

The Futures tournament in Amelia Island, another new location, and the third consecutive Pro Circuit event on clay, completed its qualifying today (it takes four days when there is a 128 draw) and nearly everyone qualifying has a college connection. Starting from the top--Vahid Mirzadeh currently at Florida State; Joey Burkhardt currently at Florida; Fred Saba committed to Duke for 2010; Nicolas Barrientos former D-II West Florida player; Tennys Sandgren possible spring 2010 enrollee at Tennessee; Robbye Poole formerly at Ole Miss; Denes Lukacs currently at Baylor. That's 7 out of 8, with the eighth being 19-year-old Richard Hampel of the Czech Republic, who isn't playing college tennis that I know of.

The wild cards in the main draw went to NCAA champion Devin Britton, former Florida Gator Tyler Hochwalt, Florida State freshman Connor Smith and Jack Sock.

For the complete draws, see the Pro Circuit page.

The women are not playing in the United States this week, but there is a $50,000 tournament in Toronto, the Tevlin Challenger, which features many Americans. Christina McHale is in the main draw, and there are several young Americans in the final round of qualifying. The tournament's website has complete draws.

When I spoke to Reka Zsilinszka at the ITA Indoor, she told me that the team would be receiving their national championship rings the following weekend at the Blue Devils football game with Georgia Tech. NCAA individual champion Mallory Cecil was also honored as a Honda award recipient. For more, see the Duke athletic website.

And finally, a couple of reminders. There have been several thoughtful comments about clay training that have not been published because they were left anonymously. Please use the name option, NOT the anonymous option, when posting a comment to facilitate discussion.

As we approach the holiday shopping season, please consider using the links at left for Tennis Warehouse, Amazon and OTZ Sports for purchasing from those sponsors. Revenue generated from these sales help offset the cost of my travel as I cover college and junior tournaments throughout the year.


June in Cali said...

In the last month or so there have been questions about what certain players went on to do when they finished college. It made me wonder if anyone has written an article or done any research into the path players take when their college tennis career ends. Do they go on to a tennis-related job or do they move into a different area altogether. Do they continue to play tennis at a high club level, do they gladly quit the game altogether or does the natural drop in standard (from college to club) make it hard for them to find a level that allows them to continue playing?

I've been taking my girls (I have three daughters, 8 and 10 year old twins) to women's collegiate matches here in Cali since they were little and in that time they've seen squads change year by year. Each time they've asked,especially when it involved a favourite player, what is 'X' doing now and each time I've had no real answer. While I dont expect to be able to tell them what a specific player has gone on to do, it would be nice if I could give them an idea of where they typically go to. Plus, any stories about diverse careers for women really are wonderfully motivating for young girls.