Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Look at the Success of Previous Boys Slam Champions; Young and the USTA; Rogers Signs with Lagardere; Anderson Feature

Stephen Kelly contacted me about using a zootennis photo of Jack Sock for a post he did on former grand slam boys champions for his blog A Tough Crowd. I'm happy he did, because it alerted me to his research. Kelly looks at the boys who have won junior slams from 1995-2004, which may be a small sample, but at least it is far enough in the past to have given most of the players time to mature. I also found it interesting that the U.S. Open is, again in this small sample, the slam that best indicates success on the pro tour.

Before Sock won the U.S. Open boys title, Donald Young was the last U.S. boy to win a junior slam, at Wimbledon, in 2007. Greg Couch of AOL Fanhouse, who previously worked at the Chicago Sun-Times, has been following Young's career since he was a teenage prodigy in Chicago. Now 21, Young seems have stalled around the 100 mark in his ATP rankings climb, and in New York, Couch talked to Young's parents about the uneasy relations between them and the USTA. Like Young's agent, I was surprised by the passages in Patrick McEnroe's recent book Hardcourt Confidential: Tales from Twenty Years in the Pro Tennis Trenches that laid the blame directly at the feet of Young's parents. I do think Couch is right in saying that John McEnroe played a major role in raising expectations that Young could not fulfill at age 16 or 17. For Couch's complete column, click here.

Lagardere announced today that it had signed USTA girls 18s champion Shelby Rogers. Rogers had turned pro earlier this year. For an exploration on the process of identifying and signing young players, see this Joe Drape story from the New York Times.

Robin Anderson has not yet decided whether her tennis path will include college, according to this feature from the Newark Star-Ledger. As the top recruit in her class, according to Tennis Recruiting Network, Anderson would have her choice of colleges, so I'm certain it's not a decision that she and her family will take lightly.


Renton said...

Couch's article seems incredibly simplistic and kind of misleading in a few places. Hewitt's parents travelled with him all the way up until he got married and Michael Chang's parents were omnipresent when he was on tour. I mean, those guys were minors when they started playing pros, same as Young. Stands to reason the parents would be on the scene. He's still only 21, I think he's their only kid and he's taken a beating from a lot of areas. Stands to reason they'd be protective. Maybe they need to cut the chord, but it's their child and no-one else's business but theirs.

I also dislike the way Couch says that racism shouldn't be discounted. Firstly, the example he provided asked people to jump to a conclusion but to do it without any real evidence at all. That's shoddy journalism. Secondly, at Challengers there will be countless other players from other countries who aren't part of this country's racial divide. To them he'll just be another player. Perhaps they don't like his attitude or his work ethic? Both of those things are just as likely as racism and should have been mentioned.

Perhaps, now that John McEnroe has his own academy it'd be the perfect place for Young.