LTA Sees Dozens of Top 100 Players in Its Future; Kubler Out with Injury; Bhambri Receives Chennai WC; Nike Masters Recap
Nearly three weeks ago, the LTA announced the players included on its "Team Aegon," which represents the highest funding strata of British tennis. Among the 32 players more than half are juniors: Luke Bambridge, Katie Boulter, Liam Broady, Jack Carpenter, Eleanor Dean, Katy Dunne, Kyle Edmund, Tom Farquharson, Richard Gabb, Oliver Golding, Ashley Hewitt, Pippa Horn, Evan Hoyt, Alice Keddie, James Marsalek, George Morgan, Laura Robson, Joshua Sapwell and Heather Watson. There were a few noticeable absences, Dan Evans, Tara Moore, the Ren sisters, Peter Ashley among them, but there's no possibility a federation can please (and fund) everybody.
The most eyebrow-raising news to come out of the LTA at their annual meeting was identified in this headline from the Daily Mail: LTA promise bright future with 33 teenagers on track to make it to the top 100. Why the LTA would want to make such a prediction, I have no idea, but to even suggest that there is some kind of mathematical certainty to this, to put faith in what the article calls "figures...based on scientific trajectories of current junior performance" indicates a serious lack of understanding of the nature of development. Perhaps if you have ten players in the Top 30 in juniors, there is a 70% likelihood that two will reach the Top 100 in the professional rankings(I'm making all this up for illustration purposes-I don't have access to such numbers), but that would be based on previous data, and, as stock brokers are so fond of reminding us, past performance is not indicative of future results. I hope they are right, that in the next ten years the ATP and WTA have eight or 10 or 15 British players qualifying for Wimbledon on their own rankings. But it sounds wildly optimistic to me, and claiming that there is some kind of scientific basis for this optimism borders on delusion. The Daily Mail also published this article on Orange Bowl champion George Morgan, and five other "ones to watch." Morgan is, of course, 17 years old, not 14.
Australia's hope that one of its young players to make a mark during the Australian summer tournaments was dealt a blow today, when it was announced that Jason Kubler, the 17-year-old former junior No. 1, will not be competing in any of the big ATP tournaments in that country due to a knee injury. The Advertiser is reporting that Kubler's injury will undoubtedly help the cause of 18-year-old Bernard Tomic, who has been widely criticized for not participating in Tennis Australia's wild card tournament, although he did provide the medical documentation required when he withdrew due to illness. Olivia Rogowska and Marinko Matosevic won wild cards to the Australian Open main draw in that tournament.
Another 18-year-old former junior No. 1 who did not have the breakthrough in 2010 that had been hoped is Yuki Bhambri of India. Bhambri's ATP ranking has fallen from 338 at the end of last year to 502 this year, with an assortment of injuries keeping him from competing as much as he would like. He has received a wild card into the ATP tournament in Chennai India next week, according to this article from The Hindu.
And in going through my Google reader for the first time in weeks, I discovered this article from the Bahama Journal about the final matches of the Nike Junior International Masters tournament.