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Monday, October 24, 2011

Giving the Junior US Open Its Due; Licker Leaves T Bar M, Lands at Lakes Academy in Frisco, Texas; ITA Regional Winners Include Gullickson

I received my latest issue of Racquet Sports Industry in the mail Saturday, and found a very interesting piece in the "Your Serve" section, which proposes more exposure for, and better treatment of, the US Open Junior Championships. The author, Chris Nicholson, doesn't say anything I would disagree with, as I have always wanted the two singles finals to be played back-to-back instead of concurrently. The number of fans at the junior finals in New York is always a great disappointment to me, and I think Nicholson is on to something in advocating for more marketing to the local tennis community, which has made the US Open qualifying into an event the past several years.

The entire piece, including tournament director Lew Brewer's response to Nicholson's suggestions, can be found here, in the digital version of the current issue of the magazine. The easiest way to reach the article is to click the double arrows pointing right to get to the last page of the magazine, then clicking one page back. As we've seen with moving the Orange Bowl to clay, things can change if the USTA truly wants them to. The question with the US Open Junior finals is whether they are motivated to make changes there.

Late last month, Dave Licker, one of the top junior development coaches in the country, was let go from his position at T Bar M in Dallas, in what the club told him was a cost-cutting move. I spoke with Licker today for the Tennis Recruiting Network profile I'm doing this week on his student Mitchell Krueger, and he confirmed that he has a new position at the Lakes Academy in Frisco, Texas, and some of his students from T Bar M, including Krueger, have followed him there. Licker is now heading the Lakes Academy's High Performance Academy. For more on Licker's background and his new position, see the Lakes Academy website.

Many of the ITA regionals ended today, although several will extend until tomorrow, so I will have a complete list of results in Tuesday's post. The ITA regional page has been updated with today's winners, so check that out. I'm linking below to several schools' athletic websites for articles on some of the day's results.

Chelsey Gullickson of Georgia defeated Lauren Embree of Florida 6-2, 7-4 in the Southeast regional in Gainesville. For more on the 2010 NCAA champion's day, which also included the regional doubles title with Lilly Kimbell, see georgiadogs.com.

North Carolina's Lauren McHale earned a trip to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, where her younger sister Christina trains, by beating Nelly Ciolkowksi of Clemson 6-3, 6-4. Both were 9-16 seeds. For more, see tarheelblue.com.

Alex Musialek of Kentucky took out teammate Eric Quigley in the final of the men's Ohio Valley regional 6-3, 6-3. As the article on ukathletics.com points out, Quigley was already assured of a place in the USTA/ITA Indoor after winning the consolation tournament at the All-American earlier this month.

Raymond Sarmiento of USC won the men's Southwest regional, and considering the Trojans elite status as a program, it's surprising to learn, as I did from this release at usctrojans.com, that it's the first USC men's regional singles title since 2000.

The women's Southwest regional title went to USC's Sabrina Santamaria, who beat teammate and fellow freshman Zoe Scandalis 6-2, 6-1. The doubles title also went to freshmen, with Skylar Morton and Robin Anderson of UCLA beating Santamaria and Kaitlyn Christian.

Stanford's Nicole Gibbs defeated 2011 NCAA champion Jana Juricova of Cal 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, avenging her semifinal loss to Juricova in the NCAA individual championships in May. Gibbs will play teammate Mallory Burdette in the final. Burdette, like Quigley, has already qualified for the Indoor by winning the consolation title at the All-American.


US Open Junior watcher said...

There is great doubt that anything will change with the US Open Juniors while it is under its current administration. Starting with the pathway to the Junior lounge which goes directly by the trash bins and loading dock and ending with the suggested schedule changes, the Director is not prone to listen to any outside suggestions. Customer sensitivity is not the Director's strong suit. Many tournament directors, coaches and parents can confirm that. Since upper management casts a blind eye to the situation, nothing is likely to change. Unfortunately.

Also a US Open Junior watcher said...

I think the USTA should create a mini kids day prior to the Junior finals to bring kids and their parents out to watch the great tennis.There are plenty of courts and the focus could be 10 and under tennis.I don't think it is the decision of Lew Brewer, when and where the matches are played.I think Jim Curley is the person who would ultimately make the call.