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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Virginia, Ohio State & Kentucky Men Get Top 20 Wins at Home; US Drops Davis Cup Tie in Serbia

Virginia has long been considered a great indoor team, with that qualification the result of three ITA Team Indoor titles, but as of yet, not a single NCAA final. In today's 9-4 win outdoors over the fourth-ranked Texas men, the top-ranked Cavaliers established themselves as one of the teams to beat in Athens this May. Virginia has struggled in doubles this season, while that's been a strong point for Texas, but in Charlottesville today Virginia took three of the four doubles points (as agreed by the coaches, the match was the best of 13, with all four doubles and nine singles match worth one point) and posted the first three singles points. It was 6-2 when Drew Courtney clinched the match for the Cavaliers at No. 4 singles. For the complete results, see the Virginia athletics site.

Eighth-ranked Kentucky, the only team to beat Virginia this year, had its own big match today, although this one was in the conference and featured the traditional format. 2009 SEC champion Mississippi, ranked 15th, was in Lexington, and they left on the wrong end of a 5-2 score. The Wildcats, playing outdoors for the first time this year, won the doubles point and at No. 1, 4 and 6 singles to beat the Rebels for the first time since 2002. For the complete recap, see the Kentucky athletics website.

In Sunday's third men's match featuring two Top 20 teams, No. 3 Ohio State extended its home winning streak to 99 straight with a 4-3 victory over No. 17 Texas A & M. The Buckeyes, who like Virginia have been struggling in doubles this year, won the doubles point and took the No. 6, No. 1 and No. 3 singles matches for the win. The A & M website called it a near upset, and it was a close match, but not one that came down to the final court. I was intrigued by the contest at No. 1, which featured the past two Kalamazoo 18s champions, No. 16 ranked Austin Krajicek and No. 23 Chase Buchanan. Buchanan won it 6-3, 7-6(3), handing Krajicek his first dual match loss of the season. For the story from the winner's perspective, see the Ohio State athletics website. I'd like to add that it's always a much more informative story when the SIDs make the effort to get some quotes from the coach.

In women's Top 20 action today, No. 10 Clemson defeated No. 13 Florida State 5-2 in the ACC opener for both teams. For more, see the Clemson athletics website.

The U.S. lost its Davis Cup tie to Serbia 3-2, with John Isner taking Novak Djokovic to five sets before dropping the third point. For captain Patrick McEnroe's take on the weekend, see his blog for usta.com.

After posting a list of all the collegians competing in the Davis Cup on Friday, I was happy to find this complete rundown of everything that happened this weekend, even in the lower Groups, at gvtnews.com. Bernard Tomic won both his matches in Australia's sweep of Chinese Taipei, as did Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania, who beat Great Britain 3-2. John Lloyd's tenure as Great Britain's captain is much in doubt and Neil Harman of the Times believes the country has sunk to a new low.


Pablo said...

Do you know whether or not Ohio State played outdoors? They appear to be a team full of boys since they refuse to step up to the plate and play Men's tennis when it's slightly less than 50 degrees outside, as confirmed by their refusal to show up and compete against Baylor a couple of weeks back when it was 48 degrees.

Eric Amend said...

Anything "slightly less than 50 degrees" is considered inappropriate tennis weather by the ITA rules so, when did we stop following the rules???

For your information, Baylor protest of the match with Ohio St. was denied this past Friday so O St was correct in their refusal to play in horrendous conditions!! This isn't junior tennis where they may play in such adverse conditions, as some of you have said on this blog, this is big time D1 collegiate tennis with too much riding on these matches, like jobs and seeding at the NCAA tournament!!

What hasn't been said on this blog about Ohio State's refusal to play was that they were never offered a contingency plan to play indoors, something that each and every coach needs to have in case of inclement weather, IF HE TRULY WANTS TO PLAY YHE MATCH, and you would think that Baylor would know that playing outside in February has the significant possibility of inclement weather!!!

Funny how the same thing happened when Virginia traveled to Baylor last year and were rained out. UVA would have played indoors but Baylor didn't have a contingency plan in place.

So, people who ripped O St. for not playing, what is the common thread here??

By the Rules said...

Totally agree with Eric. You would have thought that Baylor would have a backup plan or told OSU not to come since the weather predictions were unfavorable. I would also like to point out that we aren't talking about junior or pee wee tennis. The body of a ten year old is far different that that of a 20 year old. Everyone knows that injuries, crapping etc are far more prevalent and occur more easily for a man than a child. That being said playing in horrendous conditions increases the possibility of injury. The following week there was a writeup on the Baylor site about how they played in windy and cold conditions and how macho they were. If someone got hurt how macho would that be? Taking a player out for weeks or the remainder of the season isn't what I would call being a good coach and watching out for yur players. The purpose of the rules is to protect the students.

been-there said...

Horrendous conditions? 47-48 degrees? We practice in 35'ish degree weather outside all the time.

How can you build mentally tough tennis players with the Ohio State mentality? One thing isn't to their liking and they walk, oops, I mean fly back home. Sort of like the players who won't play the backdraw after losing in the main draw.

Make 'em play if you are a parent or you'll have an elitist prima donna tennis kid, and believe me there are enough of those around.

John said...

Been there............I'm wondering what the guidelines are for professional tennis matches........wonder if they would be playing when it is less than 50 degrees and if not.....why do you think that is?

been-there said...

I searched for the rule for professionals, but I can't find it. I saw rules for regular adults in "extreme" weather situations, where they defined it as under 32 degrees or over 95. If any player wanted to back out if it was not within that range, they could, apparently. A few sites commented that there were no official guidelines in the friend at court book.

The pro's certainly play in super hot weather, don't they?

Here is from the Baylor website:

On Weather.com's predictions...
"Weather.com prediction has been very stable for the last several hours that there will be little or no wind, bright sunshine, clear skies with temperatures in the mid-40s."

been-there said...

Okay, I just realized why this bugs me so much and why I am annoyed that you are defending that decision.

It is an excuse. It is not a hazardous condition. It is an excuse. "My team doesn't play as well in the cold, or my top player is ill so I am trying to find a graceful way out of this match", or whatever it was. That is ok, you are the coach and you can get out of it. But call it what it is. Don't call a beautiful sunny day with no wind chill, "hazardous".

That is an insult to God.

Eric Amend said...


I'm sorry but anytime the weather is below 55 degrees, it's called a "sunny day", NOT a "beautiful sunny day".

Once again, the ITA rule is anytime the weather is below 50 degrees, a coach has the option to ask for a contingency plan to play indoors. Baylor opted not to even have a contingency plan because they didn't want to play a team (Ohio St) that plays most of it's matches indoors while Baylor plays most, if not all, of there home matches outside.

Baylor opted not to have a contingency plan last year when it rained against the best indoor team for the last 3 years, UVA, so the onus falls on Baylor because they have made the miscalculation of needing an indoor facility TWICE, and both of the times they were against indoor teams. I'll make it easier for you; Baylor didn't want to play indoors.

You're failing to acknowledge the responsibility of Baylor for NOT being prepared.
Once is an anomaly, twice is a pattern!!!

J said...

Completely agree Eric. The rule is actually pretty cut and dry. And anyone criticizing the players for being "boys" clearly doesn't know what they are talking about. Anyone who knows anything about OSU tennis knows that Ty runs the show, and I would suspect that he alone made this decision.

wi tennis said...

Eric, You're not from the Midwest...are ya? People cramp in 55 and sunny! haha!

been-there said...

Yes, true, it is the coach that leads the kids. Often coaches do many things that kids don't agree with, but they have to go along with it, and shut their mouths.

The 18's National Open was in Waco about a week before. It was freezing out; it must have been in the 30's. I sat there for 5 days watching, piled on blankets, and froze every time. I guess that is why I am not buying the "they'll get injured" story when it was far warmer when OSU didn't play.

By the way, aren't 18 year old's close enough to college age, so shouldn't we worry about their injury situation too then?

Heck no, they are in the prime of their lives, they are fine! Enough with the wimpy tennis players! Our sport won't get any respect until we start being men.

Brent said...

Holy smokes! Eric, I usually love your commentary on here but you have completely untethered from the dock on this weather thing. Let's first make clear that we agree on a couple things - it is an absolute embarrassment that a high level D1 program like Baylor does not have an indoor facility ready and waiting in the case of weather issues. Secondly, OSU was well within the listed rules to refuse to participate. I'm not arguing those points.

But, having said that, it is absolutely beyond ridiculous that OSU would refuse to play in weather near 50 degrees. There is no material increase in risk of injury at 50 degrees. You don't have to play with gloves on for goodness sakes. Come on. It also sends a terrible message to your team - it sends the message that there are built-in excuses all over the place. What if the lighting wasn't great for an indoor match? What if it is extra windy for a match at Illinois? What if the fans are a little loud at Georgia? It just teaches his players that, if conditions aren't ideal, they aren't expected to compete without excuses. Horrible decision.

Fed Up said...

This whole debate is really just a small part of what goes on in college sports. It would really be nice if all the rules were really followed-ITA, NCAA. Why is there never any discussion on this forum about the major infraction of rules that coaches ignore: practicing 7 days a week with no days off, exceeding the weekly quota for practice, calling recruits etc. The list is endless.

Pablo said...

Eric... give me a break. Horrendous Conditions??? You make me laugh. It was 48 degrees, sunney with a 2mph wind. Where do you justify horrendous in this case? It's obvious OSU can't step up to a challenge, and would rather cower away from competition. I hope this approach bites them in the "rear-ends" when they finally get to play real man's tennis later in the year. I hope they bring a long their pink shirts cause they should be wearing them wherever they travel.

Pablo said...

Brent - you are spot on.

Eric Amend said...


I appreciate your willingness to see both sides of the issue. I've never said that there was a risk of injury to the players for playing in temperature below 50 degrees but we have standards just like every other NCAA and professional sport and Ohio St. had every right to ask for the contingency plan.

The set standard is 50 degrees; there is a wind standard in professional tennis that I learned about while being a tournament director for 4 USTA Challengers, although it's very unlikely that the standard would be approached because it's set pretty high. I don't remember what it is because last Challenger I ran was in 2003 and it was never an issue.

We all know that there is a hugh difference between indoors and out so it's my opinion that one of the reasons a temperature standard is set is to create a relatively equal playing field for both teams.

I'll role play here for you. I'm the head coach of Ohio St. and I'm scheduled to play Baylor outside in early February. It's going to be the first match we play outside for the year so I know it's going to be an advantage for Baylor no matter if it's "sunny and a beautiful" 72 degrees but that's ok as long as we play within the standards set by the governing organization AND, if it's below the standard 50 degrees, that the hosting institution (Baylor) has a contingency plan in place to allow us to the respect we deserve as a visiting competitor.

I'm not worried about my guys getting hurt in sub 50 degree weather, I want a fair competition for my guys on a relatively equal playing field where I know that Baylor already has an advantage as the home team.

Brent, Baylor didn't have the contingency plan in place because Baylor was trying to back Ohio St. into a corner thus giving Baylor EVERY advantage. That's exactly what happened against Virginia last year; Baylor didn't want to play UVA anywhere else but outside on their home courts in front of their crowd.

I'll agree with you that the match COULD have been played BUT, there are standards so that both teams can expect to produce their best effort on the court without an overriding advantage to the home team.

Look, It was bad luck for Baylor that the standard fell below the 50 degrees AND it was bad luck last year when it rained against UVA but Baylor chose to roll the dice with the weather and they lost both times because they refused to give back any advantage to the visiting team!!

been-there said...

When we did our recruiting visits, one coach told me that the university HAD to provide indoor courts in case of foul weather.

Is that not true?

Another point I don't get is how that OSU coach told his boss that they flew home without playing the match. How could you do that, moneywise? Wow, it would never fly where I work.

john said...

AS far as the ATP matches go, the temperature of the masters series held in germany each year is quite often in the 30s and the heat index in australia every year is around 160 or higher, so it is obviously not an ATP rule. And, the year that hurricane frances went thru NYC during the open winds were around 35-45 mph with gusts.
Also, you are not required to have indoor courts as a back-up, while it would obviously be nice so the match would be played either way.
Lastly, im not saying what OHIO State did wasnt in the rules, because it was, but give me a break. 48 degrees is not the least bit cold. It may be within the rules, but it shows a huge lack of a backbone by OSU.
Im very surprised as well because ty tucker is one of the "tougher" coaches in college tennis and for him to do something so "soft" is very dissapointing.
I didnt think OSU was going to win NCAA this year anyways, but now i have no doubt they wont. You have to be amazingly tough to be able to go into ATHENS and win, and apparently they arent tough enough to deal with 48 degree weather, while sunny and no wind.

Eric Amend said...


You cannot compare professional standards with collegiate standards!!

College baseball uses metal bats, pros don't.
College basketball uses a shorter 3-point line.
College basketball has 40 minute games, NBA has 48.
College football stops the clock on a first down, NFL doesn't,
College tennis doesn't call lets on serves, pros do.

There are different standards for college athletics and the ITA has a 50 degree temperature standard.

Fran said...

Eric, Thank you for all your insightful and thoughtful comments. The rules are in place for a reason. And by the way if the USTA had any brains, they would relocate that National Open in Waco during the month of Feb. And "been-there", you uttered the word GOD: that will be a point penalty. And by the way, "Pablo," real men can definitely wear pink.

been-there said...

Thank you too Fran. I am respectfully down love-15 due to my unbecoming, poor sportsmanlike swearing. I will try to watch my language in the future.

I am not so sure about the pink thing though. It kind of goes with the men's earrings which still doesn't do much for me.