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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

USTA Study of Junior Injuries Produces Troubling Numbers; Paul Roetert Leaving USTA; Delic Chats at Illinois

In an article today for Foxsports.com, Richard Evans writes of a study on junior injuries conducted from 2007-2008 by the USTA, which was recently presented at a coaches meeting at the Boca Raton Training Center. The numbers are not encouraging. Of the 861 players surveyed, 41 percent reported an injury, with 13 percent reporting two or more injuries. Although the article doesn't address this specifically, I'm assuming these are injuries that prevent a player from competing.

National coach Tom Gullikson is quoted as saying "it's worse than we expected," and those expectations were probably pretty low to begin with if you're around junior tennis players as much as someone like he is.

Evans explores three possible reasons for all the injuries: strings (the relatively new strings that allow for extended rallies), surface (the pounding that hard courts inflict on the body) and stress (pressure and expectations). There is a quote from Patrick McEnroe about the possibility of the Orange Bowl returning to clay, the surface that it was played on before it moved to Key Biscayne from Flamingo Park.

It would be extremely interesting to compare the injuries of junior players in this country with a country that has the majority of its training and tournaments primarily on clay to see how much of a factor this might be. (It may be possible to do this by just comparing the Southern California juniors with the Florida juniors, or at least the 12 and unders, as those in Florida do much of their training on clay.) If it's demonstrated that clay training does result in fewer injuries, it would add another plus to that side of the surface ledger.

Evans goes on to praise the dedication and attitude of the national coaching staff (although I believe he's mistaken in including Rodney Harmon, the former head of men's tennis among them) and the effort to address this important issue. As anyone who has followed tennis since the U.S. Open knows, it's a problem at the very highest level of the game too.

I don't believe there's been an official release, but Paul Roetert, the former Managing Director of Player Development and current Managing Director of Coaching Education and Sport Science, will be leaving the USTA at the end of the year. Roetert has also served as the tournament director of the US Open Junior Championships.

Amer Delic, the 2003 NCAA singles champion while at Illinois, is recovering from a knee injury and while unable to play, he is back in Champaign, finishing his degree. He did a chat today on the Fighting Illini website, answering questions about his decision to turn pro, breaking racquets, his favorite cities and when he might be back on the tour.


Hoo fan said...

Singh has pulled out of the ITA Indoors. He's won 4 matches (including qualifying) at the Charlottesville challenger and is scheduled to play Thursday in the 2d round of the MD

Man in the Moon said...

Treatise on the USTA / Paul Roetert

First and foremost I am not in anyway, shape or form associated with the USTA, nor am I a coach (individual, college or academy), agent,player,tournament director,reporter owner of an academy or current parent of a player.

Yet, I do have in my Blackberry the contact info for many of the top juniors, collegians, ATP Americans and the top echelon of the USTA.

Paul Roetert is a good man with vision, excellent work ethic and will be missed.

He has a job description / goal that was and is totally flawed.

This happens many times in the world of business (big & small companies) make the same mistake.

Companies / Associations that do not have a valid premise, the conclusion will be incorrect.

$10,000,000 homes are not marketed in poor, run down neighborhoods.

The USTA should not be in the market of trying to take credit for producing a world class tennis player. It doesn't work in

The USTA can assist, but tennis players cannot be cut from the same cloth.

If you look at any individual sport in the USA - golf, swimming, figure skating, track and field, diving, speed skating, chess, fencing, gymnastics, boxing, ad nauseam

The above all have Associations /Federations in the USA and throughout the world.

The USTA is the only association that tries to take credit for it's players.

It is a position that they just can't win.

Did you ever read how the PGA wanted to train, teach Tiger Woods to play golf, Michael Phelps to swim-

Absolutely never - because it is an impossible task

The Federations provide the events and do provide some assistance prior to the Olympics-- but leave the basic training to the individual coaches and really don't interfere.

Once the USTA tried to be the developer of tennis players -- it went down hill -

So, the USTA basically is trying to sell $10,000,000 homes in a poor area --

meaning the premise is way off - and they shouldn't be in that business to begin with.

All the other associations in the USA have figured that out a long time ago -

Because you can't win that game!!!

My prediction, AMERICA WILL CERTAINLY HAVE TOP PLAYERS IN THE FUTURE (emphasis added) - but NOT because of the USTA!!!!

coaching said...

Man in the Moon

Thankfully a great topic and well researched argument on zootennis.

Which players are you saying that the usta takes credit for?

It was only two years ago that the usta went into private coaching. With that being said, the usta was providing supplemental coaching, and primary with assistance in wildcards and grant money.

So the usta should not take credit in the development of players, unless those coaches had the players one-on-one.

Kelly Jones had a signficant role in Marty Fish, when he was employed by the usta. Steve DeVeries had the same with Robbie Ginepri. That was 6 yrs ago. David Nainkin is doing a great job with Sam Querrey, even though Grant Doyle did a phenomial job with Sam.

Man in the Moon said...


you raise some interesting points.

First, I don't have a problem with the coaches, don't have a problem with Paul Roetert -- perhaps a little bit with Pat McEnroe simply due to the fact he is wearing too many hats -- and can't do justice to all of the positions he has.

Therefore, I don't have a problem with the players, coaches,for the most part management --

My problem is with the Owner (USTA) they really shouldn't be in this business.

Your point about taking credit -- when a player becomes a pro--the ball game changes-- the player can choose who, when and where his coach will be.

It could be a money thing in the beginning for a pro player to get help from the USTA -- fine - and then let the chips fall where they may.

In the juniors - the USTA has tried to take credit for players for many years -- people on the inside knew that the USTA had basically nothing to due with the player and yet tried to take credit, because the player attended a few USTA sponsored clinics / on a National Team, or was coached for a short period of time by a USTA coach,etc.

I also know that the USTA coaches will certainly defend the USTA because the coaches are employed by the USTA and get paid quite handsomely -- I do know they work hard.

so - the point of view of a USTA coach can certainly be jaundiced.

Please tell me why all the other associations in the USA do not use the same game plan as the USTA?

I still say that associations can not ans should not take credit in an individual sport -- just too hard to do.

Man in the Moon said...


sorry I did not answer you question.

USTA would try and take credit for any player in America that achieves.

As a matter of fact -- that is the Mission Statement of Player Development -- to produce top 5 players in the pros.

I don't think that is ever going to work - and that is why all the other Associations in the USA - don't take that position!!

Paul Anacone was the architect in the late 80's who sold a bill of goods to the USTA powers at that time.

The USTA thought because Anacone was the coach of Sampras - and the "Big Wigs" were so impressed with that, they did whatever he said.

Anacone single-handedly destroyed American tennis for 10 years -- by brilliantly doing away with the 12 and under Nationals.

Which had a lasting effect on junior tennis in America.

He was also the one who came up with the USTA getting involved (started) with National Coaches,
and trying to have a federation produce Champions --

The other associations / federations know this doesn't work - as mentioned in my previous post.

And that is the essence of my thoughts --

Federations / associations do not produce champions, they are home grown. (EMPHASIS ADDED)

choices said...

With Paul Roetert leaving, the USTA loses one of the most quality persons in tennis. Paul helped a lot of players, is an excellent communicator and a voice a reason in the organization. It had been said that he would not survive the McEnroe reorganization. He did for a while and now he is leaving. Probably because he feels like he is up against a system that is no longer willing to listen. The sad part is that he is leaving USTA Player Development in the hands of Pat McEnroe who a lot of coaches, players and families no longer respect and Jose Higueras, a man with good ideas but operating remote from Palm Springs. Rodney Harmon left and now Paul Roetert, not good moves. Let's hope that the USTA senior leadership is able to reasses what PD really needs. Quickstart and the development of young talent is on the mark. PD needs to follow.

Lisa Harper said...

Hey Colette,
I got the chance to watch a few of the recent 50K events and saw Audra Cohen, Riza Zalameda, Amanda Fink and a few of the other girls who were at the top of Div I college tennis over the last 5 years. Made me wonder what has happened to Kristi Miller and the Thompson twins. Do you have any idea?

Colette Lewis said...

@Lisa Harper:
I believe that Miller was going to start law school, but I'd have to check on that.
I'll see Christian Thompson this weekend, as she is now the women's assistant at Yale.

Lisa Harper said...

Hey, thanks Colette. Pity Kristi didn't do better, she always seemed like a really nice person. Reminded me a lot of Alice Barnes from Stanford. Thought she wanted to coach though.

I think it'd be really interesting for someone (maybe you or Tennis Recruiting) to do a 'where are they now' for the former top Div 1 players who've gone on to really good careers outside of tennis. I know Tennis Recruiting do one but I think it's way more random in who they select. As for ideal candidates, I remember Erin Burdette was a vet, Alice Barnes was doing medicine, Alison Silverio was doing law (I think) and now Miller.

jdtennis91 said...

Kristi got engaged in August to former GT Player David North and she got accepted into her first law school at Georgetown-one of many more to come :)

She is currently teaching tennis as well