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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

USTA Pairs Juniors with Collegians at Land Rover Napa Valley Classic; Pan-American Acceptances Announced

I'd heard many great things about the Land Rover Napa Valley Classic, which is hosted by Cal-Berkeley men's head coach Peter Wright every September. Coaches who had participated spoke glowingly about the venue and the atmosphere, which, although low-key, is given added significance by the wine harvest. This year, I heard at Kalamazoo that juniors were going to be a part of the tournament for the first time, and because the event was scheduled for this coming weekend, I had enough time between it and the U.S. Open to add it to my live coverage calendar.

Here is the complete release from the USTA:

FLUSHING, N.Y., September 21, 2010 – The USTA announced today that US Open boys’ champion Jack Sock will join seven of the nation’s top juniors in a unique tournament format playing against some of the country’s top collegiate players in the Land Rover Napa Valley Tennis Classic, September 24-26.

The round-robin event, which will take place at Meadowood Napa Valley in St. Helena, Calif., features four players from six NCAA Division I schools including the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Florida, the University of Illinois, the University of Kentucky, the University of Texas and the University of Southern California.

“I’m very pleased that juniors are now being incorporated into this event and will be competing against some of the country’s top collegians,” said Patrick McEnroe, General Manager, USTA Player Development. “Collegiate competition is a key component of the pathway from junior tennis to professional tennis, and letting our juniors compete with college veterans will help with their physical and mental development.”

Each school will send four players to compete alongside the eight juniors*, and the 32-man field will be split into eight pools featuring three collegians and a junior. Following three matches in pool play, the eight pool winners will compete in a single-elimination, 10-point tiebreak tournament. The winner of the tournament will receive a USTA-sponsored wild card into a USTA Pro Circuit event that is yet to be determined.

The event, which was founded 10 years ago by Cal coach Peter Wright and Meadowood Tennis Director Doug King, will feature junior players for the first time after being held exclusively for collegians the first nine. The juniors were selected by USTA Player Development based on ATP rankings (if applicable), national rankings and results, and a selection of younger players for developmental purposes.

“Bringing the elite juniors to this event gives us a unique opportunity to help American junior development,” said Wright. “Add in the USTA wild card as first prize and I think this new format will add excitement for the players and fans.”

This will be the tenth consecutive year the event has been held at Meadowood, and the third year Land Rover has served as the title sponsor

For the first time this fall, the USTA will serve as title sponsor and host of the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center’s new indoor tennis facility. The USTA will also serve as the title sponsor of the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships, the USTA/ITA National Collegiate Wheelchair Championships and 88 USTA/ITA Regional Tournaments. In all, close to 10,000 players from nearly 600 schools participate annually in the ITA Regional Championships, which encompass 24 host sites from the Division I level and 64 from the small college divisions nationwide.

Land Rover Napa Valley Tennis Classic – Roster of Participants

USTA Juniors
Mitchell Frank (17, Annandale, Va.)
Bjorn Fratangelo (17, Pittsburgh)
Marcos Giron (17, Thousand Oaks, Calif.)
Alexios Halebian (16, Glendale, Calif.)
Hunter Harrington (17, Spartanburg, S.C.)
Mitchell Krueger (16, Aledo, Texas)
Mackenzie McDonald (15, Piedmont, Calif.)
Jack Sock (17, Lincoln, Neb.)

University of California, Berkeley
Nick Andrews (JR, Folsom, Calif.)
Carlos Cueto (SO, Spain)
Christoffer Konigsfeldt (SO, Denmark)
Pedro Zerbini (SR, Brazil)

University of Florida
Sekou Bangoura (SO, Bradenton, Fla.)
Alexandre Lacroix (SR, France)
Nassim Slilam (JR, France)
Bob van Overbeek (SO, Boca Raton, Fla.)

University of Illinois
Johnny Hamui (SR, Wesley Chapel, Fla.)
Stephen Hoh (SO, Australia)
Dennis Nevolo (JR, Gurnee, Ill.)
Abe Souza (SR, St. Louis)

University of Kentucky
Brad Cox (SR, Duluth, Ga.)
Alberto Gonzalez (SR, Bradenton, Fla.)
Alex Musialek (JR, France)
Eric Quigley (JR, Pewee Valley, Ky.)

University of Southern California
Daniel Nguyen (JR, Oxnard, Calif.)
Jaak Poldma (SR, Estonia)
Raymond Sarmiento (FR, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.)
JT Sundling (SO, Thousand Oaks, Calif.)

University of Texas
Jean Andersen (JR, South Africa)
Ed Corrie (SR, England)
David Holiner (RS FR, Dallas)
Vasko Mladenov (SO, Bulgaria)

After Napa, I will be making my annual trip to Tulsa for the D'Novo All-American, which is immediately followed by the ITF Grade B1 Pan-American Closed Oct. 11-17. The boys acceptances are led by Dennis Novikov, Bjorn Fratangelo, Shane Vinsant and Mitchell Krueger, all in the ITF Top 100. Lauren Davis, at 16, is the highest ranked player in the girls field, which features eight Top 100 players, including last year's finalists Eugenie Bouchard of Canada and Ester Goldfeld of the U.S.


Interesting Format said...

Should give several of the JRs an idea of where they stand against some pretty good college competition.
I wouldn't be surprised if one of them were to win this.