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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Signing Day: Redlicki to Duke, Hardebeck to Stanford, Vinsant to A&M; Hingis to Begin Working with Vickery and Others at Mourataglou Academy

Today's the first day that high school seniors can sign a National Letter of Intent for the 2012-2013 school year. It's one of the biggest days of the year for the Tennis Recruiting Network, and today they had not one, not two, but three blue chip announcements.

Michael Redlicki, the 2010 Kalamazoo 16s champion, has decided on Duke and this evening Shane Vinsant announced he will be attending Texas A&M.

I spoke with Krista Hardebeck last week about her decision to attend Stanford and she made it clear that UCLA was very much an option for her. I hope this afternoon's announcement article I wrote about her choice gives some insight into her thought process. I've been writing about Hardebeck since she won the 2009 16s International Spring Championships in Carson as a 14-year-old and I look forward to watching her compete in college tennis next year.

A few days ago, the French sports daily L'Equipe reported that five-time Grand Slam champion Martina Hingis had signed on to coach four young women at Patrick Mourataglou's academy in France. Three--Sachia Vickery of the US and Russians Yulia Putintseva and Daria Gavrilova--are still juniors, while the fourth, Great Britain's Naomi Broady, is 21.

If you don't read French and would like to read more about Hingis' return to tennis, read this post, "Tennis in the Blood", from Peter Bodo on his TennisWorld blog. Bodo reminds us just how much of a prodigy Hingis was, winning the French Open girls title at age 12. Although you might not recognize many of the names of the players she beat that summer (she turned 13 in September of 1993), it is still a remarkable accomplishment, and one that will not be broken, as long as the ITF retains its more recent rule that players may not compete until the reach the age of 13.

ITF Tennis - Juniors - Player Activity
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Hingis was a very popular champion with connoisseurs of the game, and many miss her court sense and variety in the current era, which elevates power above all else, but can she teach that style? I don't know if she's even trying to, but Gavrilova already has a game that leans in the Hingis direction, so she would seem to be a most willing student.

One part of the story I did not quite understand is the statement that Hingis will travel to Australia with the quartet in January. The 16-year-old Putintseva, with her WTA ranking of 241, and Broady, ranked 201, are likely in the women's Australian Open qualifying, and Putintseva and Gavrilova, 17, have WTA or ITF rankings that would assure their entry into the junior championships, but Vickery may not. Ranked 420 WTA and 295 ITF, the 16-year-old from Florida may have to go through junior qualifying or get a wild card unless she posts some great results at the Eddie Herr and Orange Bowl.

Speaking of the Australian Open, the fact sheet for the junior championships is out, with the deadline for entry December 13th.

See the ITF junior website for more.

2 comments:

clay? said...

Further to our little clay issue what's the bet Kalamazoo will be on green clay by 2012, in fact, Patrick, let's put everything on green clay. Afterall apart from half the US Futures, (of which there are only 31 per year, Europe has aprox 300 per year), and Challengers, there is not another professional event in the world on this surface!
Tell me again why US tennis is going nowhere!

stephen said...

Not quite true, "clay?";) There are a handful of challengers and futures on green clay in, at the least, Canada, Britain and, prevailing conditions allowing, The Lebanon.