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Friday, January 13, 2012

Black Signs with Octagon; A Look at 10-and-under Tennis; Four US Women in 25K Pro Circuit Semis

The sports agency Octagon has announced the signing of Tornado Ali Black to a representation contract. The 13-year-old Black, who reached the finals of the 12s and 14s at the Eddie Herr in 2009 and 2010 and won the 16s division last year, is currently in Europe for Teen Tennis and Les Petits As. Black, who lives in Boca Raton, trains at the USTA National Center.

Tom Perotta of the Wall Stree Journal published this article on the ITF/USTA initiative on 10-and-under tennis. I'm sure you've seen the many advertisements proclaiming "the rules of tennis have changed," which seems a bit melodramatic to me, but the smaller courts, nets, racquets, and most of all, the different balls, must now be used in all sanctioned federation 10-and-under tournaments. Perotta gives plenty of space to the objections to the format, although I must admit I had not heard the injury concern voiced until I read this story. Nick Bollettieri and Patrick McEnroe come out in favor, while others, including Tennis Australia, are not exactly all-in on the concept.

I don't have any expertise from which to address this issue, as I don't follow or cover much of the 12-and-unders, let alone the 10-and-unders, but I do see some 10-year-olds who play in the 12s, which is perfectly acceptable to all federations, so I'm not sure how it holds the very top players back. I confess that I don't see the need for sanctioned 10-and-under tournaments, but again, I haven't studied the issue closely and don't understand most of the objections. Other sports have no trouble attracting players with altered rules and dimensions more suitable for the very young, so I don't see why tennis would consider itself above that concession.

Will this somehow stunt the growth of the sport? I simply don't see how, so on balance, I think helping bring more success to younger players is worth the cost of the disruption we're going through now.

In the $25,000 Women's Pro Circuit event in Innisbrook, four Americans have advanced to the semifinals. Qualifier Grace Min defeated Jessica Pegula 6-3, 6-3 today and will face unseeded Lauren Davis in Saturday's semifinal, which will be a rematch of the 2010 Orange Bowl final, won in three sets by Davis. In the other semifinal, qualifier Lauren Embree, a junior at the University of Florida, will play No. 2 seed Gail Brodsky.

In the $10,000 men's Futures in Plantation, No. 8 seed Jack Sock has reached the semifinals, beating No. 3 seed Benjamin Balleret of Monaco 6-3, 6-1 in today's quarterfinal. Sock and partner Nick Monroe, the No. 2 seeds, lost the doubles final today to the unseeded University of Virginia team of Drew Courtney and Jarmere Jenkins 7-6(3), 7-5.

For complete results, see the Pro Circuit page at usta.com.


Barry said...

Quite shocked the usta is making Bogomolov repay $75,000 for changing nationalities! What a joke! This is the same orginazation that paid their CEO $9 million a few years ago!! The usta is a horrible orginazation and I wouldn't give them a red cent!

Jerry said...

Joke or no joke, fair or not fair...it is a matter of contract that was signed (or not?) a while back when. If there was no contract. Bogomolov is doing USTA a favor by paying anything.
It is hard to blame him for switching allegiances in face of better opportunity, as a US player he would only show as a 'statisitics' - one of the few Americans in the top 100. BTW...didn't USTA do something similar not too long ago with kid named Collarini (Argentina)?

work-hard-tennis said...

Can someone tell me how these college players are playing the pro tournaments? School is in full swing now at my daughter's college, and their tennis season has started. Do their schools all start later? How can they afford to miss the classes?

simple said...

@work-hard-tennis Many schools (most that I know of) start this upcoming week. Also coaches schedule dual seasons around the pro tournaments they know their players will play in. Also it's not too hard to take their books with them on the road and get friends to take notes with them. Finally, they can learn in advance what they'll be missing so as not to be surprised by anything. It all just requires organization.

letsbereal said...

Let's not kid ourselves either. It's not like the girls who are playing pro tournaments during school are actually taking school too seriously. Many of them are taking joke, athlete majors are just skating by. They went to college because they weren't good enough to turn pro at the time despite how much they wanted to. They are not in school to get an education. (Obviously, there are major exceptions to this rule. And I know people will get all upset about this but I know for a fact, at least at one particular school, that this is very very true).

tennis said...

it really does depend on the school AND the major. If a student is studying tougher subjects(anything pre-med, business at some schools, majors dealing with math and sciences, and some certain other majors) then it is much more difficult to miss the classes, unless as Simple said they have friends taking notes for them. But as you said, a lot of the athletes just decide to take cake-walk majors so they can get a degree without actually accomplishing anything. Honestly, i think that is a big reason so many of the better players go to school instead of going pro is because they are told that they won't have to do much work if they don't want to and simply skate by with a major in "folding laundry".

Jerry said...

Going pro without significant and continuing financial resources is a huge bet. I've read somewhere that on WTA tour 115th (or so) player breaks even, similarly for ATP - this means that to make decent money you have to be in top...what...top 20?
Very few people make big $$$, and travelling on the tour is probably very tough, unless you are pampered being top 20. 100 players worldwide making a living playing professional tennis - that is not quite 2 NFL teams.
In some countries you can get paid just for playing and 'representing' them (ie Kazakhstan - some 'foreign' players are now 'Kazahkstani"), not the case in the US. If you want to stay involved in tennis in the US in 'later years' you still need a college degree (probably any degree).
BTW what does it mean 'without accomplishing anything'? You can say that about a lot of college majors, regardless of athletes enrolled in them or not.