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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Corwin Leaving USTA for Milwaukee Club; Juniors Advance at Eastern Section US Open Qualifying Playoff


Timon Corwin, the USTA's Senior Director of Junior and Collegiate Competition , will be leaving the organization next month to oversee tennis operations at the Western Racquet Club in Elm Grove, Wisc. and its sister club, the Moorland Park Tennis Center, also in suburban Milwaukee.

It was just over three years ago that Corwin announced his departure from his positions as Men's Tennis Coach at Kalamazoo College and director of the USTA Boys 18 & 16 Nationals to join the USTA. I did an interview with Corwin at the time, which is available at the Tennis Recruiting Network for those with accounts at that site.

When I spoke to him over the phone yesterday, Corwin described his departure from the USTA as more of a family decision than a professional decision. Corwin and his wife Rachel, an attorney, are from the Milwaukee area and still have close family members there; both received law degrees from Marquette University.

Although Corwin doesn't have extensive experience in the club management realm of the tennis industry, he said he was excited by the challenge, and by the prospect of cutting down the extensive travel required by his USTA position, which amounted to 90 days per year.

The opportunity came up in January, and when the job was offered to him, Corwin couldn't envision turning it down.

"I felt like I was part of a dream team (in the USTA's Boca Raton Player Development Headquarters), but it is more like a return to the lifestyle of the past," said Corwin, whose family includes Tim, 15, Felix, 13, Emma, 11 and Oscar, 4. "Rachel and I want to raise our kids in that environment. The older kids have adapted and would be fine anywhere, but Oscar is in his formative years now."

Corwin hopes to do more on the court again, and perhaps bring Milwaukee area juniors to the Kalamazoo tournament for inspiration. Being closer to Kalamazoo College, where he won team and individual NCAA Division III titles in 1986 and directed the Nationals for 14 years, also has its attraction.

"I'm excited to be back in the midwest, and to be able to physically connect with the friends I have there," Corwin said. "It feels like coming home."

Corwin's last day with the USTA is May 7th, and he expects to start work at the Western Racquet Club right away. But despite his career change, he expects to continue to work closely with the USTA as a consultant, a volunteer committee member, or anywhere his input could be useful. And on the court, he will be implementing many aspects of the philosophy of USTA Head of Coaching Jose Higueras.

_________

In other USTA news, the first of the sectional tournaments for a US Open qualifying wild card began Sunday at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and several juniors are still in the mix. The Eastern section's men's field is a 256 draw, although there were many first round byes; the women's field was a 64 draw, with only a few byes. The women's semifinals are set, with Julia Elbaba, the Easter Bowl 14s finalist last year, meeting 28-year-old Katerina Sevcikova, and Jennifer Kellner, the high school senior who will be attending Notre Dame this fall, meeting 30-year-old Nikola Hubnerova. Elbaba defeated fellow high school sophomore Anna Mamalat in the quarterfinals today.

The men are through to the round of 16, with high school juniors Alexander Petrone and Jason Tahir still alive, as well as Elon recruit Cameron Silverman. For the complete draws, see the TennisLink site. For more on the upcoming events in other sections, see usopen.org.

For si.com's article on the event, click here.

38 comments:

correction said...

It's "Elm" Grove, not "Elk."

And am I the only one that thinks the US Open Playoffs are a scam? 16 tournaments -- up to 256 participants in each, so 4000+ entrants. 16 winners get to compete for a single wild card -- not to the US Open, but to the qualies? And, adding insult to injury, the entry fee is a steep, steep $135 -- for a tourney with no backdraw?

IMHO, just another example of the USTA milking its m

bjorn said...

you are not the only one.

clearly a money grab

Eric Amend said...

Give it a rest, Correction!!!!

If it's not one thing, somebody else finds something else to whine, bitch, and moan about because people are just never satisfied.

I'm so tired of all of the USTA bashers and haters out there that hide behind their anonymity, criticize; Write your real name OR come up with a constructive and feasible alternative!!!!

Everyone, All together now: whaaaaa, whaaaa, whaaaa, whaaaa, whaaaaa, whaaaaa, whaaaaa.............

The USTA is damned if they do and damned if they don't!!!!

P.S. Do we really care if it's Elm or Elk Grove???????
NO, WE DON"T!!!!!!! People will figure it out!!!

Tyler said...

After you put it that way, yes sounds like a scam! The winner of that "road to the US open" should get main draw.

wi tennis said...

Good luck to Timon. He's a class act. I love the tournament idea! At minimum, it gives juniors another chance to compete, especially against adults. $135 is a lot unless they're chairing the matches.

Eric Amend said...

You guys are delusional!!!!

A MAIN DRAW WC????? You're crazy!!!!!

This is the classic example of people never happy with what they have!!! I love your "Give me more"/"Let them eat cake" attitude!!!!

How about if the USTA didn't have this opportunity for anyone in the first place???? You wouldn't have had this chance to pile on and criticize, so you would have had to look for something else to whine about!!!!!

This WC tournament is structured for players who are ranked too high and not get into the qualifying in the first place!! Anyone that already knows that they are going to get into the qualifying with their ranking WILL NOT play in this event. So, a college or lower ranked player, who would never even get a sniff of a chance to get into the Open qualifying, WILL NOW HAVE their chance. This is the USTA saying to those lower ranked players, "hey, we see you out there" and we want to give you a shot that you would otherwise NEVER have without this tournament.

One more thing; America is the land of Capitalism and opportunity, supply and demand, so if the $135 is too high for you, you have the option to NOT pay the entry fee. If enough people don't pay the entry fee, then maybe the USTA reduces the fee next year.

If the draws fill up, then the opportunity wasn't for you, yet clearly enough people were willing to pay the "steep" price for a chance to earn a minimum of a couple thousand dollars for losing in the first round of Qualifying while playing in U.S. Open at the BJK Tennis Center, and a maximum of getting to the MD.

PattyAtlanta said...

Dream Team in Boca Raton? Wow, these people have inflated self importance, especially Pat Mac. Wake me the next time Boca Raton produces a money making pro.

Amtex said...

Eric Amend, who cares if you are tired of USTA bashers? Its a horrible organization or juniors. Other countries put way more money back into their juniors and have way more top 100 pros. Spain and France are 1/7th our size and put a higher % of money back into juniors and have more top 100 pros.

This is a junior tennis forum, the USTA has done a horrible job for American junior tennis. And we will comment on this fact as we see fit.

The USTA is clueless with juniors. They blow millions on a few select kids who never make the top 30 as pros. They give departing CEO $10 million based on inflated US Open numbers that they control through ticket give aways. They throw money at McEnroe who has never coached or found one top 50 pro in his life.

The USTA is brutally bad for junior tennis.

Man in the Moon said...

Eric Amend
broken MP3 player --

I think you have heard that once or twice before.

What a surprise coming from you---

think of something else to say!!

how do you like it --

I am done with you!!!

John said...

Amtex -- well said!

Regarding the entry fee for this qualifying event, if this was being played indoors with chairs on every match, the price would be reasonable. But if it's outdoors and no chairs on each court (just roving), then this the cost here is beyond "expensive".

Eric - you sound intelligent enough to understand the concept of pricing in a monopolistic environment. So maybe you should give it a rest.

Joy said...

135$ for unsupervised tennis maatches is a ripoff clear and simple. Good only for wealthy. Usta profit is motive. Can't argue with someone who thinks this is value or good service or respectful of the game or it's players

analyst said...

I'm no diehard fan of the USTA (especially junior development) but I think the US Open Playoffs are a great idea--a chance for a college player or top junior or aspiring/former pro to have a shot at getting a WC into the US Open qualies--by playing(and winning)2 tournaments! That's cheap considering the normal route that might result in a WC. I was at (but not playing) the playoff at Flushing this weekend and it was a weird tournament to say the least--70 year olds playing 18 year olds, rec players playing former Davis Cuppers--but fun. The players who shelled out the $135 fee with not a chance in hell of winning said things like they always wanted to have a chance to play at the NTC, they wanted to have a few good matches,they wanted to have fun. No one twisted their arm to register, and unlike the high fees at junior tournaments that must be tolerated to get endorsements and ranking points, this was is a completely free-choice event. The downside is that the good players have to stick around pricey NYC for almost a week, playing a bunch of 6-0, 6-0 matches before they get some real competition. The tournament should go with 2 matches a day next year and also have more of the Playoffs in June so that more college players can participate.If the USTA makes money off this "hey, you never know" event, more power to them!

Brent said...

The same people complaining about the Playoff winner not getting a main draw wild card, would be complaining when that guy got triple-bageled in the first round - and took the spot from a more deserving player.

For those complaining that the $135 is too much, really? This is not a for-profit entity, so you do realize that the more money brought in, the more benefit can be provided, correct? I don't know if that is the right price point to max out the $ they are bringing in, but that SHOULD be their focus - not some egalitarian right that we all have to try to qualify for the freaking US Open. Cut it out. If you think it is too high, don't sign up. If enough other people agree with you, the USTA will drop the price. Looks to me like they got a pretty good turnout this year.

The Dude said...

It's a great idea but with prohibitive fees like the entirety of USTA junior tennis. Eric likes get scold and condescend from his high horse to us plebeians who didn't compete on the tour like he did (but couldn't earn a living). If he had kids competing in junior tennis he would more readily empathize with us parents.

May or June would have been a better month for the pro aspiring collegiate players to compete.

agree said...

Totally agree w/ analyst. I think he is the only commenter here that has actually been to one of these events. Seems like a neat idea to me. Entry fee is a little high, but not that big of a deal really.
I think there would be a lot of interest if they offered doubles next time around and allowed the main draw wild card into that draw (maybe even mixed doubles, too).

wi tennis said...

We keep eliminating more and more juniors from the sport because of cost. The tournament is a great idea! If we want champions, make the tournaments financially accessible to all juniors. Charge the adults whatever you want. Developing champions is partly a numbers game. Your average rich kid isn't going to have the toughness of your average poor or middle class kid.

some thoughts said...

PattyAtlanta

You think the usta can bust out a money making pro in 2 years? That is how long they have been coaching there. Development takes longer than that.

In fact, there is NO PROGRAM that can do that.

Before, the USTA was supplemental to the players private coaches. Only doing camps, taking players on trips, and giving out funding.

Your Atlanta coach Jerry Baskin has a proven record of developing players. The Young parents have destroyed their son's Donald career. Torry Hawkins did pretty well with Scoville Jenkins. Brian Devilliers did an awesome job with Oudin.

But across the country, almost every program hasn't developed a money making pro.

The USTA helps WAY MORE than the "token couple players" that most people bitch and moan about.

Amtex---Having Spain and France being 1/7 the size of the US is actaully a positive for them and hurts the US. Why? because the top players can train together to where in the US everyone is so spread out. They don't have to travel far for tournaments...not in the US, etc etc.

One last thing--I'm waiting for someone to write which players deserve help that apparently hasn't received any or their fair share. That would be interesting to read.

juniortennismom said...

To: Some Thoughts

I agree with you 100% on every point! Couldn't have said it better myself..

Eric Amend said...

John,
Sure I understand that the USTA has a monopoly, but I also know that this tournament wasn't held last year, hence; Something is better than nothing!!

See, all of you USTA bashers, being the scrooges of Zoo Tennis, would rather that there was no opportunity tournament at all, while I see it as a great experience, just as "Analyst" described it, and an amazing opportunity for people who would otherwise NEVER get this chance had the USTA not given it to them.

OK, Full Disclosure and I'm not boasting about myself.
Back in 1984, tennis returned to the Summer Olympics for the first time in about 40-50 years as an exhibition sport. Professionals were allowed to play as long as they were 21 years old or under. The USTA didn't know how they should decide who deserved to represent the U.S. so they held this exact same opportunity event with 256 draws in each section throughout the country that fed into a 32 draw at the National Tennis Center.

I had always loved the Olympics and I wanted to be apart of it in my hometown of Los Angeles. I was an 18 year old senior in High School when I won the Southern California tournament and went to Flushing where I came in third behind Kelly Jones and Derrick Rostagno. Jimmy Arias was wildcarded straight into the Olympics because the opportunity event was held during the French Open so he couldn't participate.

My point is that Rostagno, a Freshmen at Stanford, Jones, a Sophomore at Pepperdine, and myself would have never had the opportunity to experience the moment of a lifetime had the USTA not held this tournament instead of allowing a committee to decide the team in a boardroom.

That was the only time a tournament decided the Olympic spots in tennis, so it was a one-off event. NOW, the USTA can hold this opportunity event annually, instead of once, to feed the American players dreams to play at the U.S. Open.
It seems to me that $135 is more than worth that chance for someone to come out of relative obscurity, just as I was an obscure player on the big stage, to EARN themselves that moment.

Also, I've had three years experience as the founder and Tournament Director of both the Calabasas Men's Challenger and the California Bowl Level 3 National and there is no way you can afford to put linesmen on all the lines as "delusional John" says would justify the $135 entry fee to him. Linesmen and Umpires at a Challenger cost $20,000 for the week using 4 courts.

P.S. Man in the Moon,
Please use your own original material, not my original material!!

abc said...

Ok, I think some people need to realize that college is big in the US. It's not so big in Spain and France.

Did the Jr. Fed/Davis Cup in 2008 mean nothing? It clearly must have meant something, as neither of the US teams lost a match. So maybe our juniors do compare quite well to the other countries. However, King, Sarmiento, and Ahn have all decided to go to college (I believe McHale is still undecided) while Kudla and Stephens went pro. That's 1/3 of the group while other countries probably have at least 2/3 of the group going pro. And furthermore, I haven't seen that many good juniors recently coming from either countries, boys or girls. Yes, France had their phase of Gasquet, Simon, Tsonga, etc, but every country has a phase where they're blessed with a group of talented players.

Also, the "damned if you do, damned if you don't" saying could not be truer. Would you rather have the USTA support everyone and have mediocre players (but at least everyone has a chance!) or have the USTA focus on fewer individuals who have a chance of going pro? I agree, their selections need to be better, but how can you predict who will be good? That's a big mistake imo, picking players too young. Let them grow. See how they develop physically and mentally. Heck, see if they even still want to be playing tennis when they're into their mid teens. Players change so much through out the age groups, it's so hard to predict who's going to be good (with a few exceptions).

John said...

Eric - I'm not and I don't think anyone is saying that it isn't a great (absolutely) great idea to have this event. My only point was that if the revenue from this event is $500k and the cost to administer it is $200k, then what gives? I don't call that USTA bashing and if you do, then you have pretty thin-skin. It's basic accountability.

One point of reference for me is a Jr. National Open event I attended 4-5 years ago, held indoors, with chairs on every court during the event and the entry fee was about $100. I doubt that club made money but am sure they didn't hold the event to lose money either.

But these events we are discussing are outdoors, without the chairs you mention.......so while I don't have as many points of reference as you, I'm far from delusional in thinking that $135 a pop is crazy expensive for this event, unless the USTA is intending to make a profit.

Brent said...

John - again, you need to remember that the USTA is a not-for-profit. That does not mean however that every event they run has to 'breakeven' specific to that event. Any 'profit' though from a specific event is by definition rerouted into other USTA activities - without doing so, they would lose their 501(c)3 status. Whether the revenue and the costs balance specific to the event in question could not possibly be less relevant.

getreal said...

The idea of a national playoff is in theory a great marketing tool to reach out to the grassroots to get involved, I mean 4.0 players and above you really don’t have a shot at winning but would be fun. That said the $135 entry fee is clearly a rip-off, it really should be more like $85. Still, I would be OK if the USTA used the proceeds to go back to the sections for junior player development, but it seems that (correct me if I am wrong) the proceeds will add only to their bottom line. With a little foresight, by earmarking the funds to go back to the sections for player development, it would have been a win win and I would pay $200 an entry if that was the purpose. Even better if they could have turned it into a charity event for player development and we all could have used the entry as a tax deduction. Also, and this is in line with my philosophy that that the US is too big a country and the USTA has to few coaches to play any meaningful role in player development, so this would be a great way to get some $$$$$$$ back to the sections. The sooner the USTA accepts that and get funds back to the sections to help their top juniors develop the more chance we have of producing players.

Eric Amend said...

Brent,

Thank-you for being much smarter than I am and explaining something I have no knowledge of what-so-ever!!

John said...

Brent - I understand finance for non-profit organizations, fund accounting, etc., and appreciate your comments.

However, you said, "Whether the revenue and the costs balance specific to the event in question could not possibly be less relevant".

IF the point a person (myself and many on this thread) was that the cost of this specific event is high, then again, my comments couldn't be more relevant. I'm not talking about the overall financial results of the USTA, I'm only talking about this specific event. Now, you along with Eric, are missing the point.

Eric Amend said...

John,

If you would start at the top if the comments from this post, you will notice that my comment, and reaction, was based off of what "correction" said when he called it a "scam" and the USTA "milking it's members out of money". "Tyler" wants a MD wildcard, which is ludicrious, hence my "give me more/never enough" comment.

Reread the entire comments section and look at how many people called it a "money grab" but never said it was a
great idea. So, I'm not only refering to you with my
comments, I'm refering to those people as USTA bashers because they choose to ignore the positive aspect altogether. So, I don't think that constitutes "thin skin" rather, you filtered out, and ignored, those comments by those people when you refered to me as having thin skin.

It's those people that don't bother to see the value of the tournament that are frustrating to debate with on a topic.

You just think it too expensive and I completely disagree. Ita just you and I have never agreed on anything where the USTA is the topic.

Man in the Moon said...

Eric,

I am 10 steps ahead of you..

Glad that you got my satire...

not great when your words come back and bite you, in your supercharged ego --

bringing up stuff from 25 years ago, about you, is really lame...

especially since you couldn't earn a living at it..

and if the the thing about playing some qualifying matches at the USO courts is stilled filled in your memory bank---

you didn't have much too remember...

concerning your comment about umpires on every court for each match...

well, the Zoo & the old National Clay Courts had umpires on each court for ALL matches 256 draw singles and 128 draw doubles and back draw for EACH EVENT B16'S & b18'S...

The entry fee was $95.00.

I am not quite sure how they did it---

I would imagine thru SPONSORSHIPS..

So, if you want to make your tournament -top drawer

here is a piece of free advice --

spend more time on improving your tournaments and less time -- giving your insight -- with the same old, same old...

no need to respond -- just refer to the above paragraph...

John said...

Eric – thankfully this horse is about dead. If the USTA would just say the charge is $135 and that $75 is the tourney fee and there is a $60 fee/contribution to the USTA for development (or whatever), that would sit better with me. It would be transparent and be fairer to the entrants so they know where their hard-earned money (or trust fund) is going.

I’m curious at what price would YOU raise an eyebrow?

That price shouldn’t have anything to do what a person can afford, or what the USTA can ‘get away with’ because there are thousands of 5.5-6.0 players with a dream, but what fee covers the cost and maybe adds a few bucks to their development fund? If that is more than $75 I’d be very surprised.

PapaBear said...

US Open Playoffs- Here is one fact: I'll bet that the people most familiar with junior, college, and pro tennis could put together a list of twenty players, both on the men and women's side, of the 4000+ entrants that they think will win the play-off and they will most certainly have the winner on their list.

The play-off is a good publicity event in that it creates conversations on the courts throughout the nation. It's nice to think of the U.S. Open as hypothetically "open" to all, but in reality there is only a select group that have a real shot at winning the play-off. Those that enter, who don't have a top 400 world ranking or a top NCAA ranking, have been misguided if they think they have a shot at the WC spot.

However, I suspect the majority of players will enter just for the experience of having participated- and they were willing to part with $135 to do so. Not too expensive- the profit will most likely go back into broad-based programming.

USTA Player development (yikes!) another time.

Papabear said...

Oh, and by the way, if 4.0s big-serving Bill or Spectacular Sue are lucky enough to draw Bode Miller or Oscar-winner Elizabeth Shue first round they might just get a win. Also, there is a 2014 Olympic Downhill WC qualifying tourney next week if anyone wants to come with. Ambulances on site.

been-there said...

I think the US open playoff idea is really fun, but it is too expensive. I could see if you were playing at the real U.S. Open site, but ours is at a regular tennis facility where we play all the time; no excitement in that. Of course they can't have everyone come to New York, but $135.00 for your regular tennis facility does seem too much. Is a great idea though.

Eric Amend said...

John,
I think you have a good idea and I agree with you that it would be nice if the USTA was transparent with the proceeds of this event.   Setting aside a portion of the entry fee for some sectional junior development or some philonthropic endevour outside of the USTA entirely would be nice.  Whether or not they have reasons for not being transparent and/or decide to implement your idea remains to be seen.    

Also, I think $135 is the ceiling for the entry fee because $150 is too much to justify to the playing, and paying, tennis public.


P.S. Man in the Moon, you really should use google more  and not just the ATP website when looking up people's career accomplishments.  Do yourself a favor and google my name and Olympics together and you'll see the result of the qualifying tournament I played at the NTC in 1984.  That memory was what Master Card calls "priceless" because you can't buy it with any amount of money.    

John said...

Eric - well said about the value of that life experience.........'priceless' doesn't even do it justice.
Also, thanks for this last post - it shows your true colors and ability to stay above the fray.

Sally said...

I'd like to address a few of the comments which have been made regarding the US Open National Playoffs. The entry fee is $125 with TennisLink/Active.com adding $9.88 handling fee; that handling fee is not set by the USTA. The 16 sections which are running these events will keep any profit and will those profits will be shared by the Districts/CTA’s in their section; the money will be going to develop and fund programs. With that being said, I can tell you almost half of the entry fees will go towards payment of officials, after that there's trainers, court rental, player's shirts/amenities, player party, printing and publicizing costs, etc. Trust me when I say there is not a huge amount to be made.
When so many are quick to jump on the “money grabbing” “USTA bashing” comments I really wish you would consider the whole picture and realize there are great and caring volunteers out there always trying to provide you and all players a wonderful experience. I say to you if you aren’t happy with the way things are being handled then get yourselves into your local USTA , sign up to volunteer, step up to chair a committee, run for a Board position, and help make a difference!

John said...

Sally, you said, "I can tell you almost half of the entry fees will go towards payment of officials, after that there's trainers, court rental, player's shirts/amenities, player party, printing and publicizing costs, etc".

The point of (at least my) comments is that every tournament has those same costs that you mention.......and most of those events are MFIC or FIC formats, with a LOT more matches per entrant. And those events, even the indoor ones, cost less than this event. So it comes across like like the USTA is using this event opportunistically to funnel money into their development programs, without really disclosing that purpose.

So at least to me this isn't about volunteers at this event or the 1000's of other events that work so hard behind the scenes. Those are more than appreciated.

I think most of this discussion is about the USTA's transparency and equity. Along those lines, I wish you hadn't made the comment about the handling fee being $10 per entrant which (I believe) is 5x the rate for any other USTA event. That is just throwing gasoline on this conversation. Where is that extra $8 per entrant going??

Rather than "bash" conversations like these, maybe stop, think, and realize maybe you could take away a nugget or two for future communication improvements.

In business, organizations listen (and listen hard) to their customers. My beef with the USTA is that generally, they don't and as we all know, they really don't have to.

Tyler said...

Wow, I was quoted, thanks! A main draw wild card is not so unrealistic when you consider that the winner of the USTA playoff is probably going to be better than the NCAA champion, and argueably better than some of the absurd wild cards given in the last couple of years into the main draw.

Tennis Guru said...

Tyler--

It's not only you but its many bloggers who just whine and moan about the usta. You talk about bad decisions being made, like "some of the absurd wild cards given in the last couple of years into the main draw." or my favorite, the usta only helps a few players.

I am WAITING for examples. Which players have been getting shafted? Which players got main draw wildcards that the us open national playoff will be better than?

They all would be great agruments if you raised the bar and gave examples and even explained how you would solve something, rather than point out the negatives.

Anyone can do that, especially in a blog where you do not have to give your name.

Someone be original, please!!!

Tyler said...

Guru,

Not taking the bait, sorry. I'm pretty sure all posts are original, technically speaking. Sticks and stones...name calling...now that's original.