USTA Releases Sample Calendar for 2014 National Junior Events; DecoTurf Boys High School Championships This Weekend; Pollock's Attorney Speaks Out
The USTA today released an official announcement of the changes to the national junior tournament structure which were ratified earlier this month at the annual meeting in La Costa California. The complete release:
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., March 28, 2012 – The United States Tennis Association today announced a series of reforms to the National Junior Tournament Schedule designed to make the system more efficient, effective and affordable for current players and those who will enter the pipeline through the association’s 10 and Under Tennis initiative. The new system also aims to foster more local and sectional competition as well as fortify two historically important elite national championships in the summer—the USTA National Clay Court Championships and USTA National Championships. The new structure aligns the Junior Tournament Schedule with the current USTA Player Development philosophy and goals for training and competition.
The changes were proposed by the USTA National Junior Competition Committee after more than a year of research. The amendments received overwhelming support from the USTA Executive Committee (comprised of the 17 USTA section delegates, the USTA board of directors, presidential appointees and past presidents of the USTA) at the USTA Annual Meeting held earlier this month.
“The changes to the Junior Tournament Schedule were not taken lightly; they were heavily researched and well-vetted, ensuring we proceed down the right path to develop future world-class players as well as lifelong players and fans,” said Jon Vegosen, Chairman of the Board and President, USTA. “These changes are part of our overall long-term strategy to grow tennis in the United States and make sure tennis is the sport of opportunity for everyone regardless of their socio-economic background or geographic location. With more kids coming into the sport through 10 and Under tennis, this new calendar will make sure that there are more opportunities for kids to compete locally, translating to lower travel expenses and less time away from school.”
The majority of changes will take effect in two years. A sample of the 2014 USTA National Junior Tournament Schedule is attached.
“We believe this is the right way forward for developing players at all levels of competition,” said Patrick McEnroe, General Manager, USTA Player Development. “Our goal is more competitive matches at the right levels along with more opportunities to train, and this new approach works well on both counts. It also places a greater premium on sectional and regional competition, meaning more players will have the opportunity to challenge themselves and compete close to home.”
Changes to the schedule include:
· Converting the USTA National Winter Championships to a team event in 2014
· Eliminating the USTA National Spring Championships in 2014 to avoid a major national championship being contested during the school year
· Create more local player opportunities and enhance the standing of the current flagship national events—the USTA National Clay Court and USTA National Championships
· Change in draw size to 128 singles players and 64 doubles teams for the USTA National Clay Court and USTA National Championships for the 18s, 16s and 14s age groups and to 64 singles and 32 doubles for the 12s
· Creation of new tournaments including the USTA National Grand Masters (a progressive event that will feature the top finishers in younger divisions advancing to compete with the best older players), the USTA National Winter Team Championships and starting in 2013 the USTA National Doubles Championships
· Creation of more local competitive match play opportunities while reducing the expense and time of travel through new regional events
A sample of what the junior calendar will look like in 2014 can be found at this link.
There is no reference to the Easter Bowl, other than the ITF Grade B1, but note the calendar says, "the intent is to sanction the BG18 Easter Bowl ITF and To Be Named Event at the same site." This is a 32-draw for 12s, 14s, and 16s, but it appears a third "Masters" for the 14s and 16s has been introduced that wasn't in the proposal I linked to back in February. If it is held concurrently with the To Be Named event, it obviously weakens the TBN event and further segregates players at an age when breakthroughs from one level to another are common.
I can't see how this furthers the goal of making the system "more efficient, effective and affordable," and I don't understand what problem that particular scheduling is solving.
I'm sure many of you will have thoughts on the calendar, but remember to use a name, as anonymous comments will not be posted.
The DecoTurf High School Boys Tennis Championships are this weekend with 24 teams competing for the title in Louisville Kentucky. The girls championship, held last weekend, was won by Baylor, who beat Girls' Prep, also from Chattanooga, Tenn., 5-2.
There are plenty of excellent players heading to the Bluegrass State, with Jared Hiltzik playing for New Trier,(Ill.), Brett Clark for Baron Collier(Fla.), and Blaine Willenborg and Roy Lederman for Pine Crest (Fla.). For more on the tournament, including results from the girls competition, see the USTA Kentucky website.
Georgia Tech men's assistant tennis coach Conor Pollock was arrested in Atlanta over the weekend, charged with rape and possession of marijuana and cocaine. His attorney, J Tom Morgan, is quoted in this Atlanta Journal-Constitution update as saying his client is "absolutely not guilty."