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Friday, February 4, 2011

Krueger Sweeps Titles in New Zealand; Hardebeck Takes Out Top Seed Cohen; Klahn's Wild Card; Lauren Davis Blogs From Fed Cup

Mitchell Krueger swept the singles and doubles titles at the ITF Grade 3 event in New Zealand this week. The top-seeded Krueger, who reached the quarterfinals in singles and the semifinals in doubles at the Australian Open junior championships, beat fellow American and No. 2 seed Emmett Egger in the final, when Egger was forced to retire with an ankle injury. On Friday, Krueger and training partner Jaden Grinter of New Zealand won the doubles over Egger and Mac Styslinger by the head-scratching and heart-stopping score of 0-6, 7-5, 13-11. By the way, for more on the Australian Open juniors, see Marcia Frost's report today for the Tennis Recruiting Network.

Because I was in Florida covering the Plaza Cup, I neglected to notice that Connor Farren had reached the final of the Grade 2 in Ecuador on clay. The fourth-seeded Farren has an excellent win over second seed Matias Sborowitz of Chile before falling to top seed Hugo Dellien of Bolivia 6-4 6-4.

Krista Hardebeck has defeated top seed Julia Cohen today at the $25,000 Pro Circuit event in Rancho Santa Fe 6-3, 4-6, 6-1. Hardebeck plays No. 4 seed Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal in Saturday's semifinals. The unseeded 16-year-old is going to run into some difficulty with her next commitment if she keeps on winning because Hardebeck is scheduled to compete in the qualifying Sunday at the Dow Corning in Midland.

At the Palm Coast Futures, Jack Sock lost in the singles quarterfinals to Matt Reid in a third set tiebreaker, but he and former Texas All-American Dimitar Kutrovsky have reached another doubles final, their fifth as a team. The top seeds will play No. 2 seeds Greg Ouellette, a former Gator, and Blake Strode, a former Razorback, on Sunday.

For complete results, see the Pro Circuit page at usta.com.

The draw for the ATP's SAP Open in San Jose was revealed today, and Stanford's Bradley Klahn, who received a wild card into the event, will play No. 2 seed and world No. 12 Gael Monfils of France in the first round. That match is scheduled for Wednesday evening. According to this article from the tournament website, Klahn and Ryan Thacher have also been given a doubles wild card.

And finally, Lauren Davis is serving as a practice partner, or Future Fed Cupper, for the U.S. team when it plays Belgium in the quarterfinals beginning Saturday in Antwerp. Davis blogs about her first Fed Cup experience, including the often-dreaded Rookie Speech, for usta.com. For all results in group play and more on the quarterfinals, see the Fed Cup website.


The Dude said...

Man, I wonder how players can afford to go all the way to New Zealand to play in an ITF Grade 3.

I was speaking to a young teaching pro at my club who is from Paraguay who was taught the game by Victor Pecci, the former top 10 ATP player. He says that the cost of tennis in the USA, particularly the NYC area is unbelievable at $120 per hr for a private lesson. He said that you can hire a very good private coach to teach you 3 hrs der day, 6 days per week for a month for around $500 in South America. In NYC the same private hrs would cost you $8640 per month. He didn't see how that was possible. I think cost is the most serious impedment to creating American champions in the future, i.e., rich kids don't have the drive and poor kids don't have the money. The dilemma continues.

Colette Lewis said...

Because Krueger was in Australia, I'd guess there was little extra expense to adding the New Zealand tournament. Auckland is often a stopover to and from Australia.

You're Right said...

You're right C.L., M.K. was in Australia doing the Loy Yang and Aussie Open, and his return flight probably went thru New Zealand. My son's did last year.But it's between M.K., Parents, and Coach.M.K. was probably looking ahead at the tournaments from last year that would fall off his record( especially if he wasn't doing those this year, so he needed to play somewhere to keep the points coming in).Keep playing Mitch, Good Luck.

getreal said...

To you’re right…Agree it does make sense if you make the trip to Australia to play as many tournaments as possible, and to the dude, that is definitely a parent/coach decision.

But we missing the real point here. There this constant debate about how to bring more talented US athletes into the sport, but if that is going to happen junior tennis needs to go in a different direction to develop elite athletes. This is not being critical for those that coaches and parents who chose this path at all, but for most families I know the expense and international travel associated with developing an elite tennis player at a young age is a real negative. Again, I am not criticizing anyone who chooses to do that. Heck, elite gymnasts home school, train 8 hours a day for a shot of making the US Olympic team. Families and coaches make that choice. But for the sport to have broader appeal to more top athletes there has to be a more reasonable path to developing an elite tennis player than so much traveling at such a young age at $60,000 a year. For most families even with uber talented athletes that is not reasonable. My opinion there needs to be some revisions with ITF, an organization that clearly promotes this. My suggestion would be for boys until the last year of juniors international travel is limited somehow with more focus on players qualifying for the junior slams through their regions. I am not sure about girls because they develop so much earlier and are ready for the pros earlier. Also, the ITF should allow players to play into the month they turn 19, like the USTA, instead of promoting the good/bad birthday rule. Why should one player with a Dec birthday age out of juniors who may not be ready for the pros when another with a January birthday, who may be just 24 hours younger, be able to play juniors for another whole year. I know lot of coaches argue that why hang out in juniors but most juniors are not young Nadals and would benefit from player more high level ITFS. And I won’t even touch upon USTA junior national coaches and their tunnel visions focus. I would instead focus USTA resources on national training centers that would be more inclusive and at some point the cream would still rise to the top.