The Koz Interviews me about US Open Junior Championships; NCAA Champs visit White House; Pro Circuit is Back; US ITF Junior Events Downgraded
On Sunday, I had an opportunity to talk with Dave "The Koz" Kozlowski for a few minutes about the US Open junior championships. That short interview is now available at Tennis Ledger.
And for those of you who don't read Peter Bodo's TennisWorld blog regularly, I should point out that on Sunday, he posted on the US Open boys final between Jack Sock and Denis Kudla.
The visit to the White House is the pinnacle of an NCAA athlete's career, because it means he or she has won a national championship. The Stanford women's tennis team and the University of Southern California men's tennis team were in Washington DC yesterday to be honored by President Obama.
The Pro Circuit is back, after a hiatus of several weeks due to the US Open. There is a $25,000 women's event in Redding Calif., which has both US Open girls finalists in the field. Daria Gavrilova of Russia is playing on a junior exemption and will meet qualifier Whitney Jones in the first round. Yulia Putintseva received entry via a special exemption and has drawn top seed Jamie Hampton in the first round.
There is a men's $50,000 challenger in Tulsa, which has already lost No. 2 seed Donald Young, who was beaten by wild card Blake Strode 6-3, 7-6(4) in the opening round. Top seed Taylor Dent is facing qualifier Oleksandr Nedovyesov, the former Oklahoma State all-American, in the opening round.
This week Claremont hosts the first of three men's $10,000 events in California. Wild card Dan Kosakowski won his opening match today, as did former college players Devin Britton, Dimitar Kutrovsky and Conor Pollock. USC junior Steve Johnson, the No. 8 seed, will play Stanford junior Ryan Thacher, a qualifier, in a first round match Wednesday.
For complete draws for all three tournaments, see the Pro Circuit page at usta.com.
In the past, many juniors, both international and American, have gone from the US Open to the Grade 1 in Lexington Kentucky. But this year, with the tournament dropping to a Grade 4, the participation has fallen. This is part of a disturbing trend that is basically financial in nature. ITF Grade 1, 2, and 3 tournaments are prohibited from providing private housing for junior players, and the tournaments can not afford the alternative, which is paying for the players to stay in hotels, As a result, they have all elected to become Grade 4s, which aren't required to provide housing. This has led to the virtual elimination of higher level ITF tournaments in the U.S., with only Carson, Easter Bowl, US Open, Tulsa, Eddie Herr and Orange Bowl providing the opportunity for substantial ITF points without leaving the country. The Hard Courts in New Jersey and the Grade 2 in Columbia/Lexington South Carolina have joined the Grass Courts in moving down.
For the draws for this week's Kentucky tournament, see the ITF junior website.