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Sunday, January 10, 2010

First Pro Circuit Tournaments of 2010 Underway in Plantation; New Pac-10 Tennis Website; More Robson; Mestach, Olivo Win Coffee Bowl Titles

Qualifying for first Pro Circuit event of the year in Plantation, Fla. began Friday with a 128 draw for the men's $10,000 tournament. Yesterday's dismal weather in South Florida delayed the men's second round of qualifying and the women's first round until today. The women's event is a $25,000 total purse, with a 64 draw. Sloane Stephens, who was injured most of the fall and didn't play after the U.S. Open juniors, is back competing and she didn't lose a game in her first round qualifying match. Because she finished the year in the ITF junior Top 10, Stephens receives ITF wild cards into three main draws of $25,000 events this year, but she undoubtedly decided that she needed the matches in this tournament. It's also great to see Spencer Newman back playing tournaments for the first time since his knee injury at the Easter Bowl back in April. He's also had a good start, winning his first two matches in qualifying.

Results were not so good for two players who graduated out of the junior rankings this month. Chase Buchanan lost his second round match to 16-year-old Ciprian Porumb of Romania, who is ranked outside the ITF Top 200 junior rankings, and Devin Britton lost his first round match to Eric Hechtman, a former University of Miami player, who today beat 16s Orange Bowl champion Alexios Halebian. Shane Vinsant posted a good win over Dennis Novikov to reach the third round of qualifying. Notable results in the women's first round include USC recruit Kaitlyn Christian's win over former Trojan Amanda Fink and Allie Will of Florida defeating No. 4 seed and WTA No. 318 Julia Glushko of Israel.

For complete results, see the Pro Circuit page at usta.com.

The daily dose of Laura Robson news is served up by Neil Harman at the Times, who spoke with Robson's mother Kathy and coach Martijn Bok. Kathy is quoted as projecting that her daughter will add another half inch to her 5-foot-10-and-a-half-inch frame. I share her hope that everybody gives Laura "space to get better and be kind to her."

There's a new website devoted to Pac-10 men's tennis that will update the activity of the seven teams in the conference during the dual season, all on one page. It has links to team pages and a forum, so check it often during what should be another very competitive race for the conference title.

The Grade 1 Coffee Bowl was completed last night, with No. 2 seed Renzo Olivo of Argentina and An-Sophie Mestach of Belgium winning the titles. This week's Grade 1 is in Venezuela, the Copa Gatorade, and only a few U.S. players are competing there. Lauren Davis, Jessica Wacnik, Nikita Meka, Leyla Erkan, Tristen Dewar and Julia Elbaba are listed as main draw entrants. There are no U.S. boys in the main draw. See the ITF junior site for entry lists.

20 comments:

Eric McDonald said...

What do you mean by "the daily dose of Laura Robson news"? You write daily about American players who haven't achieved near as much as Robson so why be so snide when another country gets excited about one of the very few good young players they've had in decades. I very clearly remember you were equally dismissive of a young Andy Murray and the attention he was given in the UK press. He turned out to be a pretty good player, didn't he.

As someone else here once said, you always find some way to shine a negative light on players who aren't from the United States. All that does is sour what is otherwise a lovely little blog and does you no credit at all.

Man in the Moon said...

Eric,
I truly enjoy both zootennis and Colette's viewpoint (most of the time) and I am clearly a big USA fan.

But I must totally agree with you on both counts -- Andy M & Laura - and yes Murray is fantastic and he has improved each year.

wi tennis said...

I didn't take her Robson comments to be negative. I felt like Colette was agreeing with her mom's quote that was meant to be protective.

Tyler said...

The PAC 10? All that football money and only 7 men's tennis teams and 9 women's tennis teams?

Should it be the USTA, the NCAA, Title IX, who has accountability for the reduction of tennis opportunities for American Players at the college level? Colleges continue to take internationals, the back page of tennisrecruiting's signings and athletes who didn't make it on the pro circuit (as pros), what gives?

College Tennis Fan said...

Tyler Said: "Should it be the USTA, the NCAA, Title IX, who has accountability for the reduction of tennis opportunities for American Players at the college level? Colleges continue to take internationals, the back page of tennisrecruiting's signings and athletes who didn't make it on the pro circuit (as pros), what gives?"

The answer is that primarily the NCAA is to blame with the USTA contributing.

While Title 9 is a huge contributor to this problem, it will be virtually impossible to repeal politically.

The good news is that all the NCAA has to do is impose a limit on the number of scholarships to international players to solve the problem. This would be easy to do and it's completely legal.

Instead the NCAA continues to state this fiction that they can't do this because they are worried that it would be deemed to be unlawful discrimination. Any licensed attorney will tell you that this is hogwash and a USTA committee report and investigation confirmed this. While it is illegal to discriminate based upon race, ethnicity or ethnic origin, there is nothing unlawful about treating people differently based upon citizenship or residency. That is why state colleges can charge more for tuition and can require more rigorous admission standards on out of state and international students.

What boggles my mind is that the USTA and ITA put out a FAQ on the USTA website that states that putting such a limit might be discriminatory when they must know that this isn't true. In fact I understand that Jon Vegosen who is the Chair of the USTA Collegiate Committee is an attorney so he must know that this can't be true.

Extremely disappointing and outrageous, not to mention frustrating.

Fan said...

Did Britton really think that just because he won NCAA's last year it would be a good decision to turn pro? He was far from dominating throughout the dual season, and he just got hot at the right time at the end of the year. The guy is still having trouble winning first round matches at the futures level.

He's young so there is still time, but losing to Eric Hechtman is terrible. He was playing 4 and 5 when I remember him at Miami.

thepeacegarden said...

I don't think Colette's comments about Laura Robson were 'snide' at all as Eric McDonald put it. I am a huge fan of Laura's and stayed up in UK to follow her Hopman matches but I also very much appreciate and enjoy all of Zootennis blogs and tweets.

Tyler said...

College Tennis Fan - Thank you so much for your response, I'm going to copy it and keep it. I'm in touch with many baffled USTA junior tennis parents and your response will be spread.

Fan - I watched the Britton match, it wasn't even close. However, Hechtman is much improved, he won sole survivor for Delray - and was feared by many of the qualifiers including Britton before taking the court. I also attended Plantation last year when Jesse Witten was the talk of the tournament and all he did was give Djokovic all he could handle at the US Open.

The USTA seems to place potential way ahead of who's playing better today, right now, this month. People blasted me about Jesse when I thought he should be given more opportunities but the USTA doesn't believe in late bloomers - Tsonga a late bloomer may have had a tougher road with the USTA.

If the cream rises to the top, the USTA should extend opportunities, qualifying draws should be larger, battle, battle, battle, battle, more matches, survival of the fittest, Bradenton uses that game plan, why not extend it to the 10k, 25K, 50K, etc.

Never Happen said...

Re: the limit on foreign players. It would ultimately be the college presidents who would make this call for the NCAA. They are the NCAA. They run the football BCS, they make the big decisions in college sports. The NCAA staff in Indianapolis just puts these in motion for the membership. (The USTA has zero power in this arena)

So I'm a college president. Part of something my college promotes and is proud of is an international population on campus. Every school is boastful of having x number of students from x number of countries studying at their campus, some on academic scholarships, etc. So why am I going to be alarmed and/or motivated to support any type of legislation that would limit say the 6 or 7 international tennis players on my tennis teams to 3 or 4? Especially if said players are doing well in school, helping school win conference titles, achieve high rankings, etc.

The decision makers in this - the college presidents - simply don't care at all about any type of limit. Why should they given all they oversee at a given college/university?

Jerry said...

re: foreign players
I'm OK with foreign players in private colleges, but in public (state) schools that are funded by US taxpayers...well, it does not seem right to give that money to foreigners.

Fan said...

Tyler, I understand that Hechtman might be playing well, that's fine. But you are talking about one of the next big American players (as the USTA is promoting him) losing 2 and 1 to a guy who currently does not have an ATP point.

Maybe Britton will start playing well and making dents in futures and challengers. But at this point you have to think the USTA is seriously wondering if this kid has the chops to eventually make it on tour (or even win a futures title).

College Tennis Fan said...

Never Happen said:

"Part of something my college promotes and is proud of is an international population on campus. Every school is boastful of having x number of students from x number of countries studying at their campus, some on academic scholarships, etc. So why am I going to be alarmed and/or motivated to support any type of legislation that would limit say the 6 or 7 international tennis players on my tennis teams to 3 or 4? Especially if said players are doing well in school, helping school win conference titles, achieve high rankings, etc.

The decision makers in this - the college presidents - simply don't care at all about any type of limit. Why should they given all they oversee at a given college/university?"

This is interesting speculation on your part, NH. However, I simply don't agree that college presidents don't care. We just need to keep the presssure on them. Many of them have to be embarassed that their tennis teams are stocked with foreign players who make the team look like mercanaries and not representatives of the U.S. or the local community.

For example, it is simply laughable and embarassing that a team like Mississippi State which is based in the small rural town of Starkville, Mississippi is being represented by Hrehan Hakeem of Darwin, Australia; Louis Cant of Belgium, Artem Ilyushin of Russia; Antonio Lastre of Malaga, Spain; Daniel Sanchez of Mexico; George Coupland of Hatfield, England; and Christopher Doerr of London, England. Even the guy whose name sounds like an American and who is listed as from Austin, Texas (Max Gregor Smith) it turns out if you read his bio that he was born in England and is a native of Barcelona, Spain!

What kind of connection to the Starkville, Mississippi agricultural community do these guys have?!

Baylor University won the NCAA in 2004 with ZERO U.S. players on the roster. What connection did all the Germans and Spaniards on their team have to Waco, Texas?!

College presidents and college coaches have to be embarassed and this is why we have to continue to complain and keep them embarassed. In fact, I recall reading a few years ago that it was the Vanderbilty University President who publicly started a campaign against the deluge of foreign athletes taking all of the U.S. scholarships and dominating the sports teams. The NCAA is not an international college organization, it is a U.S. National Organization.

So, we need to keep the pressure on the NCAA, college presidents and college coaches, however, mostly the NCAA and college presidents who make these decisions. If I had the time and money I would hire an attorney to bring a lawsuit against the NCAA which shouldn't be hard to win because the law is on our side. There is nothing in the law that would prohibit the NCAA from limiting the number of foreign scholarships.

Tyler said...

College Tennis Fan

How much time and how much money do you need? Gideon's Triumph comes to mind. College tennis in the NCAA is becoming a pipe dream for some american players and it's absurd. The sad thing, this only occurs with Tennis which I believe is part of the reason the NCAA or college presidents don't care as much, there's more noise with Football or Basketball. I have been hanging around the Plantation women's 25k and men's 10k, for me its both funny and sad when you see all these international players with international coaches walking around in american college jerseys. Almost like finding a NIKE shoe on the Galapagos Island, you can explain how it got there but you know its wrong. The fact that John Isner came through college and is an american player should motivate the USTA to protect more of the college spots for USTA players, but the USTA simply doesn't make that link. To fan, we are in total agreement. I was shocked by the beat down and surprised by Britton's approach, especially knowing what the USTA is hoping he becomes.

brackj said...

I totally agree that AMERICAN TAX DOLLARS, should go primarily to fund AMERICAN players. There should be a limit to the number of intls on scholarships. I believe men's only get 4.5 total anyway.
QUESTION: How do people/WE ban together to make this an issue besides posting on this blog?
Any suggestions or lawyers out there.

Tennis Lawyer said...

BrackJ said:

"I totally agree that AMERICAN TAX DOLLARS, should go primarily to fund AMERICAN players. There should be a limit to the number of intls on scholarships. I believe men's only get 4.5 total anyway.
QUESTION: How do people/WE ban together to make this an issue besides posting on this blog?
Any suggestions or lawyers out there."

I recommend that you contact Michael D. Hausfeld, Esq. who is one of the top class action lawyers in the nation. He is presently bringing a class action lawsuit against the NCAA on behalf of NBA player Ed O'Bannon to stop the NCAA from using the name and likeness of FORMER college players for commercial purposes.

I thought of him because he is already familiar with suing the NCAA as he has a current case against them right now and so if you explain your case he might be interested or might know another attorney who can bring it. I would recommend that you first approach him by e-mail so that he knows what it is about before you call him.

His contact informatin is below:

1700 K Street, NW Suite 650
Washington, DC 20006
202.540.7200 ph
202.540.7201 fax
mhausfeld@hausfeldllp.com

another POV said...

On the international players:

1. You guys are neglecting the fact that good American players have the support and infrastructure to go pro skipping college completely, which can be both good or bad, depending on the personality of the person.

2. There are only so many good american players at a time, what happens when all the good ones are gone?

3. Limiting the number of international players helps out big school or past dominant schools like USC, UCLA, Stanford etc. The smaller schools will never get all the good american players and wont even be able to get any good international players and the tennis title will end up in the same few schools over and over.

4. The whole country is based on foreigners coming in and improving, pushing, diversifying the rest. Tennis is an international sport, its not like the NFL, so there will be more foreigners player tennis than American players.

College Tennis Alumn said...

In response to Another POV:

I disagree. First of all, there are tons of good U.S. players. Just because they all don't stack up to all the best players in the world doesn't mean that they're not good.

Second, no one is advocating the exclusion of foreign players, just a limit on the number of scholarships that can be allocated to them.

Third, tennis may be an international sport but the NCAAA and college tennis is a national --not international -- organization. The international players can play in international and professional tournaments. The foreign players can participate in our country's college tennis program but just with some limits. They shouldn't be allowed to virtually take over the competition like they are presently doing and they shouldn't be allowed to take the majority of the scholarship money. Some can get scholarships, but not all, and some can pay college tuition if they just want to participate.

Tennis Lawyer said...

Here is another lawyer that I would recommend that you contact. He has also recently and successfully sued the NCAA. His name is Steven G. Sklaver and his contact information is as follows:

Steven G. Sklaver, Esq.
Partner
Susman Godfrey
Los Angeles, California
Phone: 310.789.3123
Fax: 310.789.3014
ssklaver@susmangodfrey.com

According to his bio he was the:

"Lead day-to-day lawyer for the class in White, et al. v. NCAA, a certified, antitrust class action alleging that the NCAA violated the federal antitrust laws by restricting amounts of athletic based financial aid.

RESULT: The NCAA settled and paid an additional $218 million for use by current student-athletes to cover the costs of attending college, paid $10 million to cover educational and professional development expenses for former student-athletes, and enacted new legislation to permit Division I institutions to provide year-round comprehansive health insurance to student-athletes."

Bryan said...

Tyler,
Tsonga was ranked #2 in ITF in 2003 and was top 200 in the world in 2004. He was top 100 by atleast 2007. Jesse is a nice challenger player but to group him with Tsonga is absurd because they are nothing alike as far as where they started and where they are now. I don't know if Jesse ever cracked top 150 ATP. You are better off betting on Harrison who has had results in the juniors and early on in ATP.

Tyler said...

Thanks maybe the comparisons are not spot on. However, I do know Tsonga was playing in Tallahassee not long ago, was overweight, and happy to get a bag lunch. The point being, not everyone peaks at the same time. Clearly Jesse had a nice run last year when he got his act together including at the US Open, and somehow he seems to be allowed to disappear or the system helps him disappear.

I'd rather beat on the USTA. I haven't attended many pro circuits, but they're interesting in that a bunch of motivated players show up with dreams, do the travel, and then get to wait, or play one match a day, or get turned away for some absurd reason, minute late, alternate. I think tennis in America should borrow from other sports and possibly other nations where competition is KEY. It doesn't take long to realize as a participant on zoo tennis that tennis is more politicized than it is a sport. A lot of talk is around who did and did not get a wild card, etc. Who's in and who's out.

The constant rant is the lack of US quality players. If you're a late bloomer or an after school player - good luck. Bradenton always bragged about making their players on the back 40. Where its battle battle battle, survival of the fittest. The USTA is loaded with alternate lists. On the one hand they support no cut HS school tennis, yet for players who should get to battle battle battle, they can't find enough tournaments to play, or get in. If the USTA wants american players they need to figure out how to give them more opportunities. Consider their play-in tournaments for a wild card, 8 hand selected people get invited, eight? There should be 8 tournaments in 8 regions or there should be a tournament with a 128 player draw. Someone else posted how Alexandra Stevenson has pissed away close to 8 free opportunities this year, competition should have been the message not exclusivity. With other sports an athlete is found or discovered through competition, with the USTA and college tennis, and professional tennis for American players there's a lot of navigation.

zoo tennis and a cup of coffee in the morning, makes my day!