Monday, July 25, 2011

Sock Turns Pro; Kosakowski Qualifies for ATP Farmers Classic; Furman's Scarpa Retires

I will have more on the other Clay Court championships on Tuesday, as will the Tennis Recruiting Network, but if you are looking for the winners of all four divisions, they appear in my Honor Roll at left. The slideshow and videos from the Girls 18s Clays will also be up later this week.

It was announced today that Jack Sock is turning pro. A deal with CAA Sports, which represents Novak Djokovic and Andy Murry, has been rumored for several months now, and apparently that agency, which also represents Lauren Davis and Ashleigh Barty, got Sock a clothing endorsement deal with Adidas. Sock had been sponsored by Nike, without compensation of course, prior to this signing.

Along with Adidas clothes, the sponsorship comes with the opportunity to train with other Adidas-sponsored players in Las Vegas. I spoke with Sock's longtime coach Mike Wolf today, and he said Sock would be training for the next week with the likes of Gil Reyes, Andre Agassi's friend and trainer, while hitting with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Juan Monaco.

After that, Wolf and Sock will travel to Kalamazoo, where Sock will defend his 18s National title with an eye toward winning the US Open wild card that goes with it. If he does not repeat as champion, Sock will likely play the USTA's US Open wild card tournament in College Park Maryland, August 18-20.

Sock is obviously very excited about embarking on his professional career and posted this tweet today:

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For more comments from Sock about his decision, see this article from the Lincoln Journal-Star.

Today at the ATP Farmers Classic in Los Angeles, Daniel Kosakowski, the now-former UCLA Bruin, defeated Denis Kudla 6-4, 7-6(4) to advance to the main draw of the tournament. Kosakowski, 19, had beaten No. 1 qualifying seed and 106th-ranked Tatsuma Ito of Japan 6-0, 6-2 in the second round of qualifying Sunday. He will play fellow American qualifier Tim Smyczek in the first round Tuesday. For more on Kosakowski's win over Kudla today, see this article at uclabruins.com.

NCAA champion Steve Johnson, who qualified into the main draw last year in Los Angeles, received a wild card into the main draw this year, and will play Gilles Muller of Luxembourg in the first round, also Tuesday.

College coaching legends have been in the news a lot lately, with the move of Bob Hansen from UC-Santa Cruz to Middlebury, and the passing of former Kalamazoo College tennis coach George Acker last week.

Today comes the news that Furman's Paul Scarpa, who holds the NCAA Division I record for wins with 853, is retiring. Scarpa coached the Paladins for 45 years and won 17 Southern Conference titles. He also developed the scoring system used today in Division I men's and women's dual matches. For more on his illustrious career, see this tribute from the school's athletic website.


Peter Pouser said...

Nothing against Jack but there's something terribly wrong with a system that rewards a kid for taking the easy route. If you can't get into the Open by beating professionals then you don't deserve to be there at all. Drop the handouts and make the kids earn their way.

USAalltheway said...

Peter, your comments about Sock playing Kalamazoo are totally unfounded. Based on your thoughts:
- No WC would be awarded to anyone because they did not "earn" their way in by beating the right pros and coming inside the top 100
- The NCAA Champ does not get in

There are WC given for all sorts of reasons that have nothing to do with winning their way in and not just the kids. Every major does this as well as most other tournaments.

Brent said...

Peter - you are really missing the boat on this one. Not sure if you are complaining about the Kzoo wild card, the national playoff wildcard, or all WCs in general. It generates a ton of interest and great storylines, and the 105th ranked player is in no position to complain that the WC player took their spot. If you are complaining specifically about Kzoo having one, it is a great tradition, and I would argue that there may not be a huge difference between winning 7 matches in Kzoo and 3 matches at the national playoff. Were you offended at how 'terribly wrong' it was when Chang won Kzoo, got the wild card, hadn't 'earned' a spot in the draw, but won a round, helped convince him to turn pro and won the French 18 months later?

Just A Thought said...

I think another aspect is that if Sock doesnt win KZOO, which is worthy of a WC, he gets another shot at the College Park Wildcard tourney. If he doesn't win that, he will probably play qualies. So he is getting three different chances to enter the US Open, which seems pretty ridiculous. I like that he has to earn it, but if he loses in the first two opportunities, enough is enough. Not a shot at Jack, but at the USTA if they allow this to happen for their juniors. Make them play the sectional wildcard tourneys as a backup!!

Peter Pouser said...


Get your facts straight before replying. If Sock wins at Kzoo he gets a wildcard into the US Open main draw. That doesn't require him doing anything other than beating a bunch of our kids, none of who are ranked anywhere near the top 100. The NCAA champ isn't guarenteed a wildcard but if they're American it's almost 100% certain they'll get it. However, at least they've done it by beating tougher, more adult competition.


I think it's pretty obvious that I'm talking about the Kzoo wildcard and I firmly believe that the kids do not deserve a main draw wildcard. Sure, it generates some interest but that doesn't mean the kids deserve their spot and it doesn't mean it'll do anything for their game.

Did Chang deserve a wildcard in 87' ? No, he didn't. However, (before you start squealing) I think anyone with a grip on reality would appreciate that our tennis landscape was vastly different back then. In the 80's you could give one of our kids a wildcard and know he'd compete well with the pros. That isn't the case today and hasn't been for a long time as anyone who understands tennis would be very well aware.

USAalltheway said...

Have you looked at what some of the kids have been doing lately when you say they can't win?
Tomic with big wins at 18
Harrison made noise last year at 18
Kudla has good wins at 18 & 19
Sock has beaten at least 3 in the top 150 and took #63 to 4 sets at the US Open last year.
I agree that they may go far, but neither will someone ranked 104

Brent said...

USA, did you mean to address your comment to me? Where did I say that these 'kids can't win'? Don't believe that and didn't mean to imply that if I did somewhere.

Peter, are you ranked #105? It just seems like a bizarre point to be so offended by. This is not a circus side show. Assuming they don't draw a top guy, these guys can be very competitive - look at Sock's performance last year or the results that USA references.

USAalltheway said...

Sorry Brent,
Meant the commments for Peter.

tennis said...

you take out thw WC at Kzoo, then all of the 18's nationals become a joke and nobody plays anymore USTA tournaments and goes all to ITF competition. I am not being drastic, it is just fact. That's why winters, springs, and clays is such a joke of a draw compared to Kzoo. So if you want to completely make USTA tennis a joke, then yes, get rid of the WC. If you know anything about the top junior players and their coaches mindset, it is not.."O, let's play kalamazoo so we can get some good experience and maybe a gold ball", it is.."Let's play kzoo so maybe you can win and play in the US Open". Ask any competitive player who goes to kalamazoo and they will tell you the same thing

Richard Smith said...

I think private coaches of top juniors and the juniors themselves think they are better than playing SuperNationals. All the Nationals should be loaded with the best players.

Why does a US Open main draw WC need to be on the line for the "top ranked" players to play a tournament?

Does that alone say volumes for the greed in America?

For putting the juniors on too high of a pedistal?

How long ago has the Kalamazoo winner done ANYTHING at the US Open? They do NOT deserve it.

Bottom Line, these players have proven that they are not as good as they think.

If we want American tennis to become really strong, our best juniors need to be competing consistantly against our best juniors.

We always have the best 12-14 yr olds because they play all the Nationals and play against each other. Lets continue that pattern.