Sponsored by IMG Academy

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Williams Qualifies at Indian Wells; 2012 ITF Junior Regulations; Alternate College Rankings; Virginia Overcomes 3-0 Deficit to Beat Ole Miss

2011 NCAA finalist Rhyne Williams qualified for the main draw at the BNP Paribas Open today, defeating ATP No. 123 Jurgen Zopp of Estonia 7-6(1), 1-6, 6-1. Williams, who turned pro after his sophomore season at Tennessee, is ranked a career-high 427 this week. A last-minute wild card recipient (see Pegula, Jessica), he beat 109th-ranked Marsel Ilhan of Turkey yesterday. The 10 ATP points and the $7,709 he earns for reaching the round of 96 are certainly welcome, with his prize money year-to-date, after 5 Futures and a Challenger, only $4,060.

Tim Smyczek and Bobby Reynolds also qualified for the main draw today, and wild card Jamie Hampton won her first round match over Polona Hercog of Slovenia. For complete results, see the tournament website.

I usually spend a mid-winter day or two reviewing the annual revisions to the ITF Junior regulations, but with my coverage of both Team Indoor championships last month, it was March before I finally got to it this year. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you feel about some of the current ITF regulations), significant changes were few this year, so it won't take me long to mention some of the highlights.

The ITF has come up with a new section called Main Calendar Principles, which sounds something like a mission statement, basically suggesting where and when tournaments are played.

This may not be news you can use, but is useful for putting tournaments in context.

Other changes:

  • The allowable number of late withdrawals has been increased from two to three.
  • A player may not compete in an ITF Junior Circuit tournament if he/she has competed in another tennis event in the same tournament week. I'm not sure what problem this is addressing, but I assume it's related to attempts to play both ITF Pro Circuit events and junior events at the same time. There is an exception that has been added to the One Tournament per Week clause, which involves professional Grand Slam qualifying.
  • Sign-ins for the next tournament when players are traveling as a team with a national coach, are specifically allowed if one member of the team is still in the current tournament.
  • Wild cards do not forfeit their opportunity to move into the main draw (I never knew this to be prohibited before) as a direct acceptance.
  • The commitment to separating players from the same nationality in the draw is extended to qualifying, if the qualifiers are not known when the draw is made and qualifiers are placed.
There are other changes, several of which are related to anti-corruption in the code of conduct appendix, but I don't think they are too pertinent to the junior tennis I know. What do I wish was changed that wasn't?
  • The silly, petty, nitpicky clothing/logo rules that have no practical reason for existing
  • The prohibition against private housing for hospitality
  • The no-ad doubles format
For the complete 2012 regulations, see the ITF junior website.

Those of us who see room for improvement in the ITA rankings may like these from Texas College Tennis blog better. Right now, he's posting just the men, and the women's ranking are the most in need of adjustment to my view, but these are definitely an upgrade.

The No. 3 ranked (in both systems) Virginia men won a second consecutive thriller in Mississippi, beating Ole Miss 4-3 after trailing 3-0. The final four matches went three sets, and Justin Shane, who lost four straight games to Chris Thiemann leading 5-2 in the third, broke back with Thiemann serving for the match at No. 5, then won the tiebreaker 7-4 to complete the comeback.


cobalicious said...

It is great to see Rhyne Williams excel on the pro circuit. He made a responsible and safe decision attending Tennessee for a year and half before turning pro. Successful junior players tend to make rash decisions, accept prize money and turn pro without considering the consequences. One a junior player accepts prize money they lose their amateur status and eligibility to compete in college. Williams excelled during his first college tennis season, ranking among the top 5 as a freshman. Only after this type of dominance is it appropriate for a player to drop out of college and take a shot at the ATP Tour.

what? said...

But he didn't even have a top 20 college ranking until his 2ND year of college tennis....