The USTA held another conference call today to introduce Jim Courier as the new Davis Cup captain. I hadn't planned on doing anything more than listen, since the practice partners for the March tie with Chile are obviously a long way from being decided. But several times during the call, Courier mentioned working with younger players, so I asked him what specifically he was planning to do in that area.
"I think most of my focus will be working closely with Patrick McEnroe and his team, Jose Higueras, who was my great mentor during my career, Jay Berger, who will remain coach of the team, and all the staff at the Player Development sites that they have, whether it's New York here, where I live, or down in Boca or Carson. I think that's a way for me to get to know these players a little bit better. I'm planning on traveling some this winter to those locations, where they're having some camps, so I can see some of the younger players and also see some of the players who are going to be playing Davis Cup for us next year as well. I've signed a multi-year agreement, so my hope is to be in the position for quite a while, and to integrate our much younger players into the team over time."
Courier was also available to reporters at a luncheon earlier today in Manhattan, which was attended by espn.com's Greg Garber. Garber has more on Courier's past success as a player in Davis Cup, and his prospects for matching that as the captain, in this article.
The complete transcript of the conference call can be found at ASAP Sports.
The fields for the USTA/ITA Indoor are set, including the wild cards. The men's field is here, and the women's field here on the ITA website. Great work by the ITA staff to display photos of nearly all the participants.
The USTA singles wild cards were given to Evan King of Michigan and Alex Cercone of Florida, with the doubles wild cards going to two Stanford teams--defending champions Bradley Klahn and Ryan Thacher, and Kristie Ahn and Nicole Gibbs. Defending men's champion Steve Johnson of USC was given an ITA wild card. It appears that Dennis Nevolo of Illinois, ranked 26th in the preseason polls, was the last at-large to get in. All the players ranked above him who received entry also had reached the quarterfinals of the regionals, as the men's committee mandated. This left 8 players ranked above Nevolo, who did not receive entry because they either did not play a regional, or failed to make the quarterfinals. The wild card reserved for Columbia, the host school, went to Haig Schneiderman.
The women's at-large bids were not as cut-and-dried. As mentioned in the selection document, as long as a player competed in the regional, it was not necessary for her to reach the quarterfinals to be considered, and Bianca Eichkorn of Miami and Venise Chan of Washington, both in the preseason top 15, were granted entry despite not reaching the regional final eight, as was Mari Andersson of Cal-Berkely. Kristie Boxx of Mississippi appears to have been the final at-large selection, although I'm not sure why Andrea Remynse of UCLA is not competing, as she met the criteria. The loser of the match on Thursday between Nicole Gibbs and Kristie Ahn of Stanford will receive an ITA wild card. Nicole Bartnik is the wild card from Columbia.
I hope to hear from the ITA tomorrow on the reason that the Princeton women's team of Hilary Bartlett and Taylor Marable were selected, as they lost the final of the regional to Yale's Vicky Brook and Lindsay Clark. UPDATE: It was an error by the ITA that has been corrected. Brook and Clark are now listed.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010