Collins Commits to Florida; Zina Garrison's New Academy Partners with KIPP; Wilander Beats Alabama Recruit; Murray on (too much?) Federation Support
I ran across an item on the IMG Academies blog that highlighted the college signings of the seniors there in all sports, including tennis. Danielle Collins, ranked No. 3 in the 2012 class by Tennis Recruiting Network, hadn't previously revealed her choice, but she's listed as committing to Florida. I checked with her longtime coach Scott Dei this evening, and he confirmed it, although the 17-year-old from St. Petersburg will not be signing until the spring. The Gators have two seniors this year--Claire Bartlett and Joanna Mather--but did not announce any signings in the recently completed early signing period, at least not yet. Collins will be playing the Orange Bowl and hopes to receive a wild card into the Eddie Herr.
The University of Mississippi announced the signing of Stefan Lindmark, a Swedish junior who was as high as 40 in the ITF rankings earlier this year, and Texas A&M is justifiably proud of its class, now that it has NLIs from Shane Vinsant and Mitchell Krueger.
Former WTA professional and Wimbledon finalist Zina Garrison has announced a new academy in her hometown of Houston, which will partner with KIPP, the alternative school system that you may have seen on 60 Minutes, or read about in Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers: The Story of Success. According to this article in the Houston Chronicle, construction will begin in 2013 and will include 10 tennis courts in the first phase.
I know Mats Wilander has been busy lately, because his twitter updates are coming from all over the United States. His Wilander on Wheels traveling clinic stopped in Georgia last week, and Alabama recruit Becker O'Shaughnessey had the thrill of playing the seven-time Grand Slam champion. He lost in a match tiebreaker to the 47-year-old Swede, who now lives in Idaho, but had an opportunity that very few juniors get. According to this article from the Macon Telegraph, the match drew a large crowd too.
And one last miscellaneous item: Andy Murray, who will be playing in the World Tour Finals in London next week, has, unsurprisingly, done quite a few interviews this week. In a lengthy one in the Daily Mail, Murray discusses his love of boxing, his coaching situation, which will continue to include his friend Dani Vallverdu, the former University of Miami star, the reason he had to leave Scotland to train, and the overall superiority of the Spanish system. He also thinks the Spanish method of discontinuing federation funding at age 18 might be one of the keys to their depth and success in the pros.
"Do you know that in Spain, at 18, your funding stops?" he asks, pointedly. "From there, you get nothing that you cannot earn for yourself. We’re funding guys to 27, 28 — while in the most successful tennis nation in the world you’re basically on your own. Maybe there’s something in that."