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Monday, March 5, 2012

My Feature on Mitchell Frank; Pro Circuit Update; Tennis Night in America Spokesman John McEnroe on Growing Tennis

Last month when I was in Charlottesville, I had an opportunity to sit down with University of Virginia freshman Mitchell Frank, the No. 1 player in men's Division I college tennis. I've interviewed Frank many times, usually after a win, occasionally after a loss, and he always has perceptive comments and analysis to offer. This interview was obviously more about his background, his accomplishments and his goals than a single tennis match, and I hope his determination to ignore the naysayers and pursue his dream of becoming a top 100 ATP professional comes through. His coach, Junior Tennis Champions Center director of tennis Vesa Ponkka, guarantees it, telling me "one of his strengths is that he doesn't care what other people think, not in an arrogant way, but a good way, a very healthy way. He's proven everybody wrong five different times now and he's going to do it one more time."

The article is available now
at the Tennis Recruiting Network.

The weekend's Futures saw three former college players continue the streaks they'd started last month. Former University of Virginia all-American Sanam Singh won his second consecutive $10,000 Futures title in his home country of India, putting his professional win streak at 10 as he heads into this week's Futures, also in India.

Tennys Sandgren and Rhyne Williams won their second straight doubles title, following their Brownsville Pro Circuit win with one in Harlingen. The former Tennessee teammates, seeded second, beat No. 4 seeds Thomas Fabbiano of Italy and Di Wu of China 6-7(6), 7-5, 10-6 in the final. Fabbiano won the singles title, however, beating top seed and Brownsville champion Peter Polansky of Canada 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.

The men's US Pro Circuit takes a break this week, although the first Futures of the year in Canada is underway in Ottawa. The women are in Fort Walton Beach for a $25,000 event. Allie Kiick, Yasmin Schnack, Sachia Vickery and Jacqueline Cako received main draw wild cards.

Also check out the ITF Pro Circuit site for an interview with former Texas A&M all-American Austin Krajicek, who reveals his tennis playing Frankenstein.

And congratulations to former NCAA doubles champion Kevin Anderson, who beat qualifier Krajicek in the first round of the Delray Beach International and went on to win the title, his second on the ATP tour. The former Illinois all-American, who left school after his junior year in 2007, beat unseeded Australian Marinko Matosevic 6-4, 7-6(2) in the final and has now broken into the Top 30 of the ATP rankings.

The women's qualifying for the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells began today, with Madison Keys losing 7-6(4), 6-1 to top seed Greta Arn of Hungary. Jessica Pegula, who was beaten by Keys in the Pre-Qualifying final on Sunday, won her first round match, defeating Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia 7-6(4), 7-6(5). Former Florida and Miami star Julia Cohen also picked up a win, defeating Eva Birenova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 7-5.

Tonight is Tennis Night in America, with the annual Madison Square Garden exhibition, this time featuring Andy Roddick, Roger Federer, Caroline Wozniacki and Maria Sharapova. John McEnroe is one of the spokesmen for the event, and he answered questions about attracting young people to the game in this interview. Is it me, or has McEnroe taken a much more thoughtful approach to the whole question of what's wrong with American tennis since he opened his own academy?


get real said...

Enjoyed McEnroes comments but getting US kids to look at tennis as cool will be a challenge because all the cool athletic kids play other sports, football, basketball and baseball,and there are no signs that is changing. Even at the D1 level tennis is always a non-revenue generating sport with relatively few spectators and not considered a cool sport. THat would be nice but dont see how we will get there.

AM said...

I believe less kids will be playing football in this country as parents get educated about concussions, brain damage etc. If a few of those kids pick up a tennis racket, who knows.

If Frank is ranked #1 in the country, how is he playing #3 on his team if he's healthy? I must be missing part of the story. His game doesn't look "pro" and his movement is clunky but it's hard to argue with results.