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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

D-I Jacksonville University Drops Men's and Womens Tennis; Virginia Tops Women's Recruiting Class Rankings; Saville Hopes for Wimbledon Wild Card

Although there's no mention of it on either the University's main website or athletic website, this USTA Florida sectional tennis briefing contains the unfortunate news that Division I Jacksonville University is dropping both its men's and women's tennis programs after this year. Jacksonville University, in Jacksonville, Florida, is a member of the Atlantic Sun conference.

President Kerry Romesburg is quoted as saying: "Tennis is a program in which we invest a substantial amount of funding based on the roster size, and our recommendation has nothing to do with dissatisfaction with our program, our coaches, or our student-athletes. It is driven completely by the rising cost of athletics in general, and an attempt to better focus our limited athletic resources. We realize this is a difficult and unpopular decision, especially since there are many advocates for the program and very few detractors. However, it is the best decision for our university."

Although this isn't the jolt the Maryland men's tennis program's elimination sent through the collegiate tennis community, it is depressing nonetheless and it's hard to think we've seen the end of these announcements.

The Tennis Recruiting Network's women's recruiting class rankings were revealed yesterday, with the University of Virginia coming out on top in a very close race with Georgia Tech, who also received commitments from three blue chips and a five-star. Following Virginia and Georgia Tech in these initial rankings are North Carolina, Stanford and Vanderbilt. Another set of rankings for the 2012-13 class will be released after the spring signing period.

Australia's Luke Saville is one of the rare juniors to hold two slam titles at once, but because of Bernard Tomic's success, he has been able to avoid much of the frenzy that often surrounds a "next big thing" during his country's grand slam. In this article Saville talks about the other Australian teens having success on the professional level, and in this one, about his hope for a Wimbledon main draw wild card. As the Wimbledon junior champion, he will certainly receive one into the qualifying, but I believe he's correct in saying he will have to win quite a few professional matches between now and then before standing a real chance for a main draw wild card. There is no reciprocal wild card between Wimbledon and the other slams, but they do not necessarily allocate all their wild cards to British players either, feeling that process has resulted in a lack of work ethic among some of the regular recipients.

And for those of you patiently waiting for my response to the Wayne Bryan letter to the USTA, it's coming tomorrow.

In the meantime, here's what John McEnroe had to say about the historic lack of Americans in the second week of the Australian Open.