USTA Names Summer Collegiate Team Coaches; US Open National Playoff Deadlines Approaching; ITF Junior Clay Season Begins in Europe
The USTA announced the college coaches who will be responsible for the Summer Collegiate team, with two coaches returning and two new ones coming aboard. Jamea Jackson, the women's assistant coach at Oklahoma State, and Bo Hodge, the men's assistant coach at Alabama, are returning to the staff. They will be joined by Audra Cohen, the women's assistant coach at the University of Wisconsin, and Ryan Sachire, the men's associate head coach at Notre Dame.
The team is one of the primary ways the USTA supports college tennis, providing a training camp, coaching, and travel assistance to American collegians who want to play in Pro Circuit events during the summer. Last year there were 25 players named to the team, which is usually announced in the middle of June.
USTA General Manager of Player Development Patrick McEnroe said this about the team and the four coaches:
“The USTA Collegiate Teams provide us the opportunity to work with some of the top Americans playing college tennis, and allow us to use the USTA Pro Circuit as a means to develop their games and keep these collegians on the pathway towards professional tennis. These four coaches all have professional playing experience and can provide some great perspective for our top collegiate athletes.”
For the complete release, please visit tennispanorama.com
The USTA also sent out a reminder that several of the sectional US Open National Playoff qualifying tournaments are closing their entries in the next few weeks.
Blake Strode, the Arkansas All-American who won last year's National tournament, is playing in the New England section's qualifying tournament, which will take place May 18-22 at Yale. Defending champion Nolan Paige, 17, is also entered. There are 65 entries in the men's draw and 29 in the women's draw. This year also features a mixed doubles competition and the prize for winning that national playoff is even more enticing, because the winning team gets directly into the US Open mixed doubles main draw, not the qualifying draw.
As I mentioned when the mixed doubles competition was first announced, I would expect several members of the USTA's summer collegiate team to pair up for that opportunity after the NCAAs are over. May 18th is the entry deadline for the Florida and Mid-Atlantic sectional tournaments, with May 20th for Northern California, May 23rd for Hawaii and May 24th for the Midwest section. I'm thinking about covering the later stages of that tournament, which will be in Cincinnati, Ohio, June 4-8. The last sectional event is in the Southern section, where the deadline is June 20th and the tournament from July 1-6.
For more on the two completed sectional events, and for other entry deadlines, see the tournament page at usopen.org.
The next four weeks are the heart of the ITF junior clay season in Europe, with two Grade 1s and two Grade As offering substantial points for those competing. This week at the Grade 1 33rd Torneo Internazionale "Citta' Di Santa Croce" Mauro Sabatini in Italy, which I will call Santa Croce for obvious reasons, there are only a few Americans in the draw: Denise Starr, Nadia Echeverria Alam, Tristen Dewar, Richard Del Nunzio and Connor Farren. Starr lost in the final round of qualifying, Echeverria Alam and Del Nunzio in the first round of the main draw and Dewar in the second round of the main draw. Farren, seeded 13th, won his first round match and has not yet played his second round.
Next week is the Grade A Italian Open, and all the US boys entered in the French are also competing in Milan, with the exception of Dennis Novikov, who is playing this week in the Tampa Futures. Christina Makarova and Stephanie Nauta are the only two US girls in the main draw, with Vicky Duval withdrawing. Echeverria Alam, Dewar and Starr are in the girls qualifying; Emmett Egger is listed in the boys qualifying.
After the Italian, there is a Grade 1 in Belgium, then Roland Garros the following week, May 29-June 5. There is one more Grade 1 on clay in Germany the week after the French, and then the surface switches to grass, with Roehampton and Wimbledon the main events.