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Friday, January 29, 2010

AO Junior Final Preview; Rubin Reaches Les Petits As Semis; Quigley Spotlight; Kick-off Weekend Underway

I've previewed tonight's Australian Open girls and boys finals, featuring Laura Robson vs. Karolina Pliskova and Sean Berman vs. Tiago Fernandes for the New York Times' Straight Sets blog. I didn't go into a lot of detail on the Sean Berman situation, but from what I've learned, it appears Tennis Australia(or any Grand Slam host) has the final word on a player's nationality for their particular tournament, although Berman will remain affiliated with the United States in future ITF tournaments until he has been released by the USTA and Tennis Australia has provided the appropriate paperwork to the ITF. The Australian press is calling Berman Australian in headlines, etc., although many are explaining his status, since it's likely that very few Australians were familiar with his name prior to last month's national championships. The Sydney Morning Herald had this story on Berman. For more on his win yesterday over Marton Fucsovics of Hungary, and Fernandes' victory over Gianni Mina of France, see this story on the Australian Open website. The girls semifinal story from the AO website is here.

The boys final begins at 9 p.m. Eastern here in the US, and is being played, as it has been for several years now, in Rod Laver Arena. The girls final follows. At the risk of belaboring the point, this scheduling is much preferred over the simultaneous finals always scheduled at the US Open junior championships. The ESPN 360 schedule does include that time slot, although it does not specifically mention the junior championships. I'll tweet a link if it is available.

Today's action at Les Petits As produced only one American singles winner, with No. 12 seed Noah Rubin advancing to the semifinals with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 win over qualifier Joshua Sapwell of Great Britain. Spencer Furman came close to upsetting No. 2 seed Borna Coric of Croatia before suffering a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 defeat. Rubin plays No. 16 seed Xander Veys of Belgium on Saturday.

Wild card Christina Makarova lost to No. 8 seed Kanami Tsuji of Japan by the rather odd scoreline of 6-2, 0-6, 6-0, and Teen Tennis champion and No. 2 seed Gabrielle Andrews was beaten by No. 6 seed Indy de Vroome of the Netherlands 7-6(4), 6-4.

Andrews will play for a title however, as she and Brooke Austin will, for the second tournament in a row, face Americans Alexandra Stiteler and Taylor Townsend for the girls doubles championship. Both U.S. teams won semifinal matches in match tiebreakers.

For complete results, see the tournament website.

Kentucky sophomore Eric Quigley is the subject of the usta.com's college spotlight, and he will be in action this weekend, as will many of the top collegians, in the qualifying events for next month's ITA Team Indoor Championships. A few of the sites have begun play today, most are Saturday/Sunday schedules, with a few extending into Monday. See the ITA page for more information. Ken Thomas of radiotennis.com will be broadcasting from the University of Southern California site, which features men's and women's matches, beginning on Saturday.

For more on the Kick-off weekend, see texascollegetennis.com.


Prue said...

Colette L,

In an interview with Berman's mother, who was born in Melbourne, she was specifically asked what his nationality is and she said it was Australian. There's mention of it in this article on the Australian Open site:

Also, I think it's really unfair to let people so aggressively criticise a child for a decision that was obviously made by their parents. If someone wants to say things like these people were shopping around for the best deal you should make them prove it. If they can't, don't let it go up. I know you don't want to censure too much but can't you at least put a halt to attacks like that?

Man in the Moon said...


Berman is no different than the Amritraj cousins.

They took money from the USA and then went to play for India.

I have no problem with Berman's mother saying that Sean is Australian-- but why then take money from the USA.

Your comment about proving they were shopping for the best deal -- well guess what -- they took money from the USA -- that is clear- Berman played and was compensated for coaches, travel, accommodations etc -- because that is what you get when you are sponsored by the USTA --

Are you denying or thinking that Berman was not sponsored by the USTA?

He certainly went looking for the best deal -- how can you possibly say he wasn't --

Berman, Amritraj, Somdevetc, can play for whoever they want -- but that does not make it right.

And that is what everyone is upset about.

The Amritraj boys could play for whoever they want -- it wasn't going to make a difference --

they weren't going to be good in either case -- but it was wrong to take the money that America invested and run to their native country.

The funny thing with the
Amritraj boys -- they lived, went to school, and spent their whole life in the USA and then switched to India--

probably thinking they could make a bigger splash in India because they weren't good enough to compete in the USA.

But they did take the wild cards in the beginning from the USA and when that ran out -- they skip to India.

Everyone is free to play for whoever they want --

just don't take the money and run -- and that is what people are angry about!!

Ray said...

Why are you lumping Somdev in with the others you reference? He has never been a U.S. citizen & isn't funded by the USTA. He's an Indian who chooses to live in the U.S. It's no different from what Tommy Haas, Xavier Malisse, Max Miryni, Sebastien Grosjean, Maria Sharapova, Radek Stepanek, Mark Knowles, etc. have done for years. Choosing to reside in a different country for training purposes isn't the same thing as changing citizenship.

Man in the Moon said...


I was under the impression (perhaps misinformed) that Somdev received wild cards into ATP events from the USA during and after his stay at UVA.

I know that he plays for India and never played for the USA.

If I am wrong on that count -- I am sorry for lumping Somdev with the other 3 players.

David said...

Man in the Moon, can you clarify what you mean by "receiving wild cards from the USA"? Do you mean receiving any wild card into a U.S. tournament? Because if that's the case, a ton of foreign players have received such wild cards. Do you feel they should all represent the U.S.? How about U.S. players who get wild cards into foreign tournaments?

If you mean wild cards specifically granted by the USTA, which tournaments are you referring to? Other than the U.S. Open, I'm not sure which wild cards they have control over. Regardless, unless those wild cards were preconditioned on him changing his allegiance to he U.S. (which they most certainly weren't), there's really nothing to criticize here. If you're going to blame anybody, blame the tournament or the USTA for granting the wild card, but don't blame a player for accepting it. You should also keep in mind that wild card selections are typically driven my selfish motives (attendance, TV ratings, the desire to promote something, such as college tennis, etc.). Any wild card given to Devarrman probably wasn't given out of the kindness of their hearts.

Regarding Berman, we don't know whether there was any promise to represent the United States long term. If Berman misled the USTA about his intentions, then maybe he deserves criticism, but we don't know that. If not, then he has nothing to apologize for. A player shouldn't feel compelled to represent a country he doesn't even live in anymore because of the decisions his parents and a national tennis organization made when he was 12 to 15 years old. The USTA took a calculated risk and lost. It happens.

I really wonder what the reaction would be if American tennis were benefiting from such a situation. Somehow I doubt there would be condemnation of the kid who chose to play for the U.S.

Sean said...

Tournament directors have sole discretion over who receives wild cards to ATP tournaments. USTA has no control over who receives wild cards to any "U.S. tournaments" other than the ones it owns (or partially owns): U.S. Open, Houston, & New Haven. Somdev didn't even receive a qualifying wild card to the U.S. Open either of the years he won the NCAA championships while every American winner (Devin Britton, etc.) has received a main draw wild card.

BTW the only ATP wild cards Somdev received in the last year were to Chennai & Bangkok. Are you accusing the USTA (or the USA) of arranging those as well?

abc said...

Sean also represented the US in the Czech Republic a few years ago.

Man in the Moon said...

Sean & David
I repeat
I know that he plays for India and never played for the USA.

If I am wrong on that count -- I am sorry for lumping Somdev with the other 3 players.

Prue said...

Man in the Moon,

My point, which was very clear and simple, is that if you are going to criticise anyone it should be the parents, not the child. And, if you are going to make really strong statements about someone, their motives and their actions you should have actual proof to back it up. David understands what I'm saying so it cant be that unclear.

If you can prove that Berman's family were 'shopping around for the best deal', please go ahead and do it. I'm sure that'd be worth reading. If you can't prove it, stifle it. And proof entails more than a tenuous link apparent only to yourself. It means you can show, without any doubt, that person X took something from person Y in exchange for a promise to do Z.

But you can't, can you? All you can do is make an accusation based on a assumption.

Colette has made a wonderful site for tennis juniors the world over. It's somewhere they can go to and read about themselves, currents in their game and even the juniors they would like to emulate.

But I think she spoils a lot of that wonderful work by allowing people such as yourself to post half-truths, wild generalisations and baseless negativity. It's okay to have an opinion, but a lot of the things people say here are just ridiculous and are only wild speculation. Anonymous voices saying some very hateful things about people they don't know and situations they have no understanding about.

Colette Lewis said...

I can't find where Berman represented the US in the Czech Republic. In 2007, when he would have been 14, the US team was Mika DeCoster, Emmett Egger and Christian Harrison

agree 100 percent said...

Prue, I could not agree with you more:
"It's okay to have an opinion, but a lot of the things people say here are just ridiculous and are only wild speculation. Anonymous voices saying some very hateful things about people they don't know and situations they have no understanding about."
You summed up the big problem with this site (and countless others). Unfortunately this is the norm and not going to change. We're on the minority on this one. I guess we just have to live with it.

Bill said...

Man in the Moon

Why do you keep saying "if you are wrong" when multiple posters have already pointed out that you are wrong? There's no "if" about it. Why don't you check your facts next time before making silly accusations.

Man in the Moon said...


that depends on the meaning of IF - is

Man in the Moon said...


if Berman took the money from the USTA that is proof.

So, the question is did Berman take the $$$?

That is either a yes or no answer.

The rest of your comments are noise.

abc said...

Sorry Colette. I meant when they went to England/France for Les Petits and Teen Tennis.

The Dude said...

Why are you people getting so bent out of shape for? If the USTA offers you money and exposure, it's hard to turn down. Don't blame the Bermans. So the family shopped for the best deal, no harm no foul, they did what they perceive is best for them. If you want to criticize then blame the USTA for their judgment.

tennisforlife said...

Berman received coaching from the USTA at Carson - he received multiple wildcards into prestigious USTA events such as Kalamazoo without the ranking or results to back it up. He has done well at the AO - for the 1sy time and has not even had the courtesy to acknowledge the support he has received from the USTA and excellent coaches like David Roditi. Tennis Australia is welcome to him. Prue - it is beyond doubt that he and/or his parents have behaved badly here. The facts are there to back it up