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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Tennis Australia Under Fire; Tomic to Play Davis Cup; Indian Wells Wild Cards Announced; Kriese Joins Junior Tennis Champions Center Staff

I mentioned a few days ago that Tennis Australia was the subject of a 60 Minutes type investigation by the Australian television show Four Corners. Entitled "State of Play," the documentary that aired on Monday was critical of the current leadership, and it has sparked yet another debate on the policies and priorities of the administration led by Geoff Pollard, Steve Wood and former Illinois coach Craig Tiley. After watching the show, I must confess that it was more balanced than I had expected, and I think that the questions about TA's entering player management and the squelching of dissent were valid ones, but for me, it all boils down to one question--how much time is enough time? Tiley has been there less than five years, and in that span there has been notable success on the junior front for Australian players. Is that insignificant, as Lleyton Hewitt implies? Or is it a sign that the program is succeeding? After all, it's not likely that a Grand Slam winner is going to develop in that short period of time. In response to the show, those who are supportive of the current management have chimed in (and yes, they should have been included in the televised show) and in this story from The Australian, the highest-ranked Australian, Samantha Stosur, gives her opinion and sensibly points out that the quest for money isn't necessarily a bad thing. And echoing the recent discussion in the U.S. about Pete Sampras's possible involvement in player development, is this:

[Stosur} had also heard arguments about recruiting former Australian champion Pat Rafter, Darren Cahill -- another former Hewitt coach -- and the respected Bob Brett. "If these people want to help, then step right up," Stosur said. "I keep hearing their names mentioned, but do they really want to come and work for Australia? I've not seen any quotes from them saying they do."

To watch the complete show, and for other background information, click here.

And in (semi) unrelated Australian tennis news, Bernard Tomic was today named as the No. 2 singles player in their tie with Chinese Taipei, beating out Carsten Ball. Former Fresno State star Peter Luczak will be Australia's No. 1. For more, click here.

If you followed my tweets, or actually retweets, today, you saw that Christina McHale, Ajla Tomljanovic and Ryan Harrison are among the main draw wild cards at the upcoming BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. The qualifying wild cards include CoCo Vandeweghe, Sloane Stephens, Julia Boserup and Filip Krajinovic. For the complete release, click here.

And finally, former Clemson coach Chuck Kriese has joined the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Md. as Senior Director of Competition. JTCC is a USTA Regional Training Center, where top ITF Juniors Denis Kudla, Junior Ore and Mitchell Frank train. For the complete release, click here.


The Dude said...

Watching the link you posted, criticism of Tennis Australia by Hewitt is similar to the common criticism of the USTA, namely why aren't past US Champions (e.g., Sampras, Chang, Navratilova) not involved in U.S. junior development? The respond by Tiley is also similar in that of Pat Mac, time, more clay courts, and more time. I suspect both countries will have a hard time producing future champions because the sport is too expensive and both organizations want to rifle shoot and pick winners rather than broaden the base who receive monetary support.