Friday, June 4, 2010

Collarini Reaches French Boys Final; Stephens Plays for Doubles Title; Assessing Junior Slam Winners Future Prospects; Longines Event Concludes

Andrea Collarini, the U.S.-born 18-year-old who grew up in Argentina and competed for that country until earlier this year, has reached the finals of the French Open boys championship. Collarini, who is now living and training at the USTA's Boca Raton complex, will meet Agustin Velotti of Argentina, a good friend who is also unseeded, in Sunday's boys singles final. They last played over a year ago, at a Grade 1 in Colombia, with Collarini winning via a retirement. The New York Times Straight Sets blog had a brief post on Collarini today. In the girls final, Ons Jabeur of Tunisia will meet Elina Svitolina of Ukraine; both players are unseeded. Jabeur and Svitolina played in the round of 16 last week in Belgium, with Jabeur taking a 5-7, 6-0, 6-4 decision.

Sloane Stephens and partner Timea Babos will play for the girls doubles title on Saturday. In the semifinals today, the pair rolled past Denmark's Mai Grage and China's Saisai Zheng 6-0, 6-1. The fifth seeds, Stephens and Babos will play the unseeded Spanish team of Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino and Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor. The boys doubles final is an all-South American affair. Velotti and his partner Facundo Arguello, also of Argentina, will play No. 7 seeds Duilio Beretta of Peru and Roberto Quiroz of Ecuador.

For the ITF coverage of the junior championships, click here.
For complete draws, see rolandgarros.com.

In reading the Straight Sets coverage of juniors earlier in the week, there was an interesting comment posted by reader Lucy Ferr, who looked into the fate of junior slam winners. It will probably come as a surprise to very few of you that it's a very small percentage of junior slam winner who also collect a men's or women's slam title.

The 12-and-under exhibition event sponsored by Longines has concluded at Roland Garros with Spain’s Jaime Delgado and Russia's Aleksandra Pospelova winning the opportunity to play in a mixed doubles match on Saturday with Mary Pierce and Gustavo Kuerten. New York's Lauren Fishbein lost to Pospelova in the semifinals, but certainly made the most of her trip to Paris, which included meeting Serena Williams, who was practicing on a nearby court.

For photos and more from the event, click here.


Unknown said...

I only sort of agree about the junior slam winners not going on to win a slam in the pros. That may be true, but it does not tell the entire story by far. Most of them do go on to have nice careers. Just because Fed and Rafa and Serena dominate the slams does not mean the other players who won junior slam winners did not have great tennis careers, most of them did and do.

A better comment and analysis would be the silliness of USTA junior rankings. In most case the top ranked 10s and 12s and 14s never go anywhere in tennis. Tennis parents joke that if you look at the top 12 year old you know who will not be tops in the 18s. The reason is in many case the top 10s and 12s win by pitty patting the ball which eventually fails them. Or they just had such an early start and the better athletes who start later catch them.

But I would bet winning a junior grand slam leads to a profitable pro career or a great D-1 scholarship at a great school or the ability to network and land a great job almost every time.

Not every McDonalds all American basketball player wins the NBA championship. But everyone has the chance to get a top scholarship or play in Europe and make money or land a nice job with a booster.

And every junior grand slam champ also earns huge benefits.

tex said...

don't forget the 10, 12 and 14s who cheat which is not allowed in professional tennis

Former SoCal Junior said...

I grew up with Michael Chang, who was a top 12 year old, and I remember how everyone thought in the 12s that he wouldn't make it in the 18s. Ha ha ha.

I would deny that there is a reverse correlation. Many top players were good at 12 years old. I would agree, though, that too much success at 12 sometimes has a detrimental effect on development.

As for jr. slam winners, it's all relative to age cohort. It's great to win a Jr. Slam at 18, but if there is a large group of 18 year olds doing better at the pro level, it doesn't mean as much.

results said...

The best American juniors at the moment are Jack Sock and Ryan Harrison. They both won a lot in the 12's as well and are doing the best in the transition to the pros so its rather difficult to buy that argument.

been-there said...

From my experience, you really don't want to have too much success in the 12's. Some success--yes, but not too much. Of course there are exceptions like Ryan or Christian, but from what I have seen, it puts the pressure on too much. All of a sudden parents are thinking that their 11 year old is going to be the next Andre Agassi. They insist that the child practice 5-6 hours a day. If the kid is at the top in the 12's, well everyone (friends, neighbors, schoolmates) expects that he/she is going to be up there in the next age group.

It is better to have some success in the younger age groups and play other sports at the same time to take off the pressure. (For both the kid and mom/dad!!!!)

Don't win national Little Mo unless you are the absolute exception! Ha ha

getreal said...

to results...best juniors agree about Harrison's results "consistently" being a level above his peers but w/ Sock, has not done much of anything since winning one 15K futures last fall and zip at the challenger lever. Good player w/ potential but would not put him above his peer group yet.

thecolornotthebird said...

the usta often gets criticized, but now they really deserve kudos. why should they waste all of the money they have been wasting trying to pick out the best 12 year olds in the usa and then trying to develop them? when they can wait for the best talents to identify themselves at 18, 19, 20 or later and then put their resources behind them. recruiting collarini to play for the usa is a big step in the right direction, although probably premature. the lawn tennis association was negotiating with djokovic to become english when he was already top-10 in the world (atp). the usa can grant citizenship to anyone they want (see liezel huber), so the most efficient use of resources is to wait until someone is seriously contending for slams at the professional level and then make the deal.

murphy said...

nice idea color not bird

even doing that they will screw it up. incompetence will always win out when it is rampant through an organization

love-tennis said...

What boy do you know that is truly a U.S. citizen would be named "Andrea"?