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Thursday, July 15, 2010

ITA Summer Circuit; Clay Court Seeds Announced; John McEnroe Names Boys Scholarship Recipients

My weekly article for the Tennis Recruiting Network is now available, and it was one of those stories that was a great learning experience for me. I was aware of the ITA Summer Circuit of course, but I had only a vague idea of how it worked, so I needed to ask a lot of questions of those with much more familiarity with it than I had. I was struck, as I hope the story conveys, at how relaxed everyone seemed. The stress level was certainly several notches below what I usually observe at a national tournament, but it still had the validity of an organized competition--these were not practice matches.

In addition to the draw and entry page at the ITA website, there is another page with the results of the finals played for each event in each reason.

The seedings for the USTA National Clay Courts have been released, with Whitney Kay receiving the top seed in the girls 18s in Memphis (which I will be covering) and Bjorn Fratangelo given the No. 1 seed in the boys 18s in Delray Beach. Following Kay are Emina Bektas, Danielle Collins and Kyle McPhillips. After Fratangelo are Emmett Egger, Wyatt McCoy and Gonzales Austin.

Dangerous floaters in the girls 18s draw are Orange Bowl 16s champion Breaunna Addison, Ashley Dai, Whitney Ritchie, Florida Closed winner Lindsay Graff, and Lynn Chi, who beat Collins in the Florida Closed quarterfinals last month on the same Har-Tru surface.

Unseeded boys that no seeded player wants to face in the second round include Andrew Butz, Alexios Halebian, Hunter Harrington, Dennis Mkrtchian, Spencer Newman and Bob van Overbeek. It appears that there was no deviation from the most recent USTA National Standing List.

In the boys 16s, also in Delray Beach, Nolan Paige, Mackenzie McDonald, Maxx Lipman and Richard Del Nunzio are the top four seeds. At the girls 16s in Virginia Beach, Brooke Austin, Spencer Liang, Jamie Loeb and Kourtney Keegan are 1-4.

Except for the girls 16s, the seeds are available only via the competitors list on the Tennis Link sites.

John McEnroe announced the results of the tryouts he held on Wednesday for scholarships to his new tennis academy in New York. Nearly 200 boys attended the tryouts, and the five winners, one of whom will receive a full scholarship, were introduced during the World Team Tennis match between the New York Sportimes and Philadelphia Freedoms. For the names and ages of the scholarship recipients, see the WTT website.

And speaking of tryouts, here's another story on Nick Bollettieri's talent hunt in India.

20 comments:

Joey said...

Thank you for that ITA article. I work at the Ohio State Tennis Center and the coaches are putting a TON of work in the ITA we are having this weekend. It is nice to see the appreciation the events get, even when school isn't in session.

I am surprised that Kay is seeded ahead of McPhillips and Collins. Do they put ITF junior and senior results in consideration for the seeding?

I plan on attending the ITA at Ohio State and should have some pics, videos and reports on my blog.

Tennis Guru said...

Van Overbeek, Halebian, Mkrtchian, Harrington, etc are not seeded in the 18s?? Why is Kalamazoo special to seed the way they want and not Clay Courts? They are the same level tournament. Leaving those players out of seedings is terrible and will make the draw lop-sided. Definiely not great for the tournament.

thinking out loud said...

I wonder how many of those seeds could have played #4 for the Gators last year

thecolornotthebird said...

Last year Van Overbeek was QFs of Orange Bowl, Kalamazoo and the three spring clay court Futures in Florida. He reached SFs of this tournament 2 years ago. Maybe this just reflects how strong the field is this year.

Brent said...

The approach to seedings here is clearly broken. There has to be a way to lead to more effective seedings (correcting obvious things like Van Overbeek), while still rewarding people for playing USTA events and not opening it up for biased decisions.

Clayisforplaydoh said...

Ryan Harrison wouldn't be seeded. Evan King won Clay Courts in 2008 and wouldn't be seeded. Agree with Brent. And with Tennis Guru. As the USTA seems to think clay is important, it would make sense to give this tournament more attention and more emphasis. These issues really give it the feel of an unwanted stepchild.

Jim Kline said...

I see John Mac also does not get it. Picking 6 boys and 6 girls is like trying to find a needle in 10000 haystacks.

Until the American tennis establishment just concentrates on growing greatly the sport among kids, we will not see anymore American champions after the Williams sisters and Roddick retire.

Other countries develop champions by creating a tennis culture that includes many and letting the cream rise, not by handpicking a few little kids out and throwing huge money at them.

fan said...

correct and our tennis culture is not good

tony said...

@Jim Kline. While I see what you are getting at with your comment, I think "academies" are a different story. You almost have to give out a couple of scholarships to "worthy" students. These talented students, will then in turn bring in more students themselves. Players will join academies that have other good players. Let's not kid ourselves, academies are businesses first.

On a side note, any idea where Jay Harris of Brown went to?

Jim Kline said...

Tony, thats my point. Sure John Mac followed the classic academy model to attract students. But there are 100000 academies and very few American champs. A guy like John Mac could have gone another route. He could have worked to bring tennis to the masses of kids, grow the game.

There are academies on every corner, in every tennis club, we didn't need another one.

getreal said...

the problem w/ B18 Clays seeding is that not seeding vanoverbeek is unfair to any seeded player that runs into him. when parents spend a lot of money to send their kids to these tournaments the seeding needs to be somewhat accurate. its hard to get it 100% correct, but this messes up that part of the draw. the tournament director cant be that clueless

Common Sense said...

The Clay Courts, Hard Courts, and Winter Nationals should all have the SAME seeding criteria. The Easter Bowl should NOT be an ITF tournament. In fact, all players should have to play Easter Bowl and Clay Courts if they want to play Kalamazoo.

For some reason, Kalamazoo has a "special" seeding that should NOT take place. If players want to be seeded high at Kalamazoo then they should play the other Super Nationals. The top juniors in 16s and 18s should play all the Super Nationals anyway.

Look at the ITF rankings for the Americans--so many juniors have over-inflated world rankings. Some have World rankings higher than they would be seeded at Kalamazoo.

If you want American Champions here is the developmental formula--PLAY SECTIONALLY, REGIONALLY, AND NATIONALLY!!!!

That was the way when we had Grand Slam Champions!! We need to bring it back.

Seedings said...

It's not just vanoverbeek that got left out of the seedings, there is about 5 players that got left out. Bob is probably the best one left out but the others are some of the best in the draw as well.

Shame on the seeding committee. Have some guts and do what is best for the tournament!!!

thecolornotthebird said...

agree with getreal: poor seeding does a tremendous disservice to the seeded players. they really need to have a seeding system that captures every match played at a pro, college, itf and usta junior level. the USTA does have their "Top 500 Rankings" that captures the top players at every level, but they only update it a few times a year. the juniortennis.com global rankings seem to consider matches at every level.

joe said...

common sense, if we did things your way then not only would people not play the other supernationals, but nobody would play kalamazoo, and they would revoke the yearly us open wildcard.

Sam said...

we talk about the tennis culture not being good, and then the next 500 comments are about the seedings being incorrect, who cares what the seedings are, whoever wins it needs to beat whoever is in his way, seedings just protect the so called good players, how about a tourney with no seeds and then we would find out who is the toughest

tennisforlife said...

Come on Sam! Don't make silly comments. For a lot of kids getting into the super nationals means a chance to win a couple of rounds and maybe impress a college coach. Playing Van Overbeek in the R256 is not likely to be helpful for those kids. That's why they have the seedings.

Sam said...

I guess Vega wasn't to concerned about playing Van Overbeek 2nd round, nor was Richmond about playing Egger. As I was saying forget the seedings and let the best kid win it.

The Dude said...

Quinton Vega is a ball striker who crushes the ball. When he's feeling it, he hits more winners than anybody.

getreal said...

To Common Sense

For seeding to mean anything it needs to take into account all wins and losses, not just USTA because none of the better players play USTA except for the Zoo or maybe Clays. Your point about players must play the USTA tournaments for a ranking at supernationals does not make sense because of the $$$$ (there is no reimbursement to play the USTA tournaments vs ITFs and the cost to play USTA adds up quickly) , the level of most at the regional and national USTA is weak, the time (can’t miss school for both ITFs and USTA and most juniors want a shot to play Wimbledon jrs).