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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Eight Intriguing Questions for College and Junior Tennis in 2012; British Boys Raise Hopes for ATP Success

This is the time of year I look ahead, eager to find out how the college and junior tennis world may change in the months to come. And although 90 percent of my work for the Tennis Recruiting Network is tournament recaps and previews, recruiting profiles and coaching interviews, they have always welcomed this speculative and subjective piece. And if anyone has any other evidence to suggest that Beth Herr is not the last junior slam winner to go to college before turning pro, please let me know. There is no place to go for that kind of information, so I spent a lot of time putting names into google to come up with that particular tidbit. Beth Herr is still very much involved in tennis, as she is married to Steve Bellamy, the founder of the Tennis Channel, and is a dedicated tennis mom to their four boys.

With all their success recently on the international junior tennis stage, the British are hopeful it will translate into success on the professional tour, so Andy Murray isn't their sole ATP Top 100 player (James Ward is their only other Top 200 player).

This article from The Telegraph gives the rundown on eight boys, settling on US Open boys semifinalist Kyle Edmund as the most promising. I'm sure Greg Rusedski has much to add in helping prepare these boys for what's ahead, but I do wish their lifelong coaches were given more recognition for their development work.

Laura Robson, who has gotten this sort of media scrutiny for years, beat Melanie Oudin 6-3, 6-4 in the first round of women's qualifying at the Australian Open Thursday, but as this New York Times Straight Sets blogpost reveals, it was far from the routine win the score would suggest.

3 comments:

Celia Blasko said...

Gee, I don't know where the New York Times got their information but they can't have been watching the match. The Australian Open web site is streaming qualifying matches live (the quality, like their wildcard play off is soooo much better than ours it drives me crazy) so I got to watch the whole Robson-Oudin encounter. Robson was just killing Melanie but next thing you know she'd lost her timing completely and started to make a whole bunch of errors. Mel did pretty good to hang in there but if they're saying it wasn't an easy match they're wrong. Mel only ever played a few points where she was in control. The rest of the time Robson was just slapping her around.

Mel looks a lot bigger than she has in the past - not chubby but solid, like she's been spending a lot of time in the gym. Maybe she's gotten stronger but maybe she's lost some speed? Whatever the problem her serve was really terrible. There was no juice on her first serve and her second serve just kept on dropping short and with no pace.

It also looked like she didn't have any plan on how to win the match, she was just hitting the ball without any purpose. That might be okay if you can hit winners all over the place but Melanie can't do that; she's not Venus, Serena, Maria or Kim. She's more of a grinder, not a power player. I think she needs more of a defined game plan every time she walks on court.

bullfrog said...

Agree with Blasko. It pained me to watch that match. Looks like Melanie changed her grips too. Why would she do that when her confidence is already low and so late in her career? Strange.

Austin said...

Yesterday I posted a tirade against Alex Bogomolov. Today I just read he was forced to repay $75,000 to the USTA after he changed his nationality. That sounds very fair to me. I am glad he wasn't able to walk away for free. Good to let people know you can't have it both ways. He says how that was money he was saving for his son, but I'm not falling for that pity card. It was a contract signed by an adult, know the rules.

Here is a link to the story:

http://espn.go.com/tennis/story/_/id/7451056/alex-bogomolov-jr-repays-usta-changed-nationality