Carless Named Head Coach at Cal Poly; Interview with USTA's Tom Gullikson; The Decline of Tennis Prodigies
Tomorrow is another travel day for me, as I head to Tulsa for my annual 12-day stint covering first the ITA Men's All-American Championships and the ITF B1 Pan American Closed, both held at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center at the University of Tulsa. I hope to have the list of wild cards for the Pan American Closed soon, and by tomorrow evening's post the qualifiers should be in place and the draws out for both the men's and women's All-Americans.
I don't seem to hear about the hiring of coaches in a timely manner, which I just chalk up to there being no central place to go for that news. Instead, I just stumble upon something on the internet or via twitter that leads me to news that I wish I had seen earlier. When Pepperdine tweeted today about its hiring of Jason Cook as an assistant coach for the men's team, I knew Nick Carless, the assistant there for the previous four years, probably had gotten another position. He had, taking the men's head coaching job at Cal Poly, where he had spent two years as a player, last month.
I ran across this question and answer session with USTA Lead National Coach for Women's Tennis Tom Gullikson, who was in the news recently when CoCo Vandeweghe announced she was no longer working with Gullikson and had hired Jan-Michael Gambill. Melanie Oudin, who is no longer with her longtime coach Brian DeVilliers, is working with Gullikson on a trial basis. Toby Smith, who conducted the interview for the USTA Southwest section's website during the recent women's challenger event in Albuquerque provides a lot of background and a variety of interesting questions. Although Patrick McEnroe shies away from naming names when asked about up-and-coming players, Gullikson does not. He doesn't mention US Open girls champion Grace Min, but I'm sure that was just an oversight.
Steve Tignor, the Tennis magazine editor who blogs for espn.com on tennis, wrote this piece today on the decline of the prodigy in tennis. He doesn't view this trend as positively as I do, and I'm not even certain there won't be another teenage phenom in the next several years. But I do agree that new breakout stars, especially those like Milos Raonic, who seem to come out of nowhere, are exciting for the game.
And speaking of prodigies, 18-year-old Bernard Tomic, who beat No. 5 seed Viktor Troicki of Serbia today in Tokyo, is in the running to win the Australian Open before he turns 21, according to 12-time grand slam winner Roy Emerson. Emerson spoke about Tomic's prospects with skynews.com.au