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Thursday, April 26, 2012

All US Junior Teams Win Opening Matches at ITF Qualifying; Lagardere's Tobias Honored; SEC, ACC, Big East Announce Conference Awards

The North/Central American and Caribbean qualifying began today in Mexico, with the four US teams all taking their opening matches in the round robin play.  The girls 14-and-under World Junior Tennis team did it without Easter Bowl champion Emma Higuchi, who was ruled ineligible by the ITF at the last minute, with Nicole Frenkel taking Higuchi's place. The ITF rule that Higuchi ran up against is below:

Higuchi's application was a few days short of the three months required by this rule and the ITF would not waive the requirement. She should not have any difficulty playing for the US in the World Finals in August if the US qualifies this week.

The other three teams competing were the players that were announced.  The Junior Davis Cup team of Stefan Kozlov, Jared Donaldson and Ernesto Escobedo beat Mexico 3-0, and the Junior Fed Cup team of Brooke Austin, Taylor Townsend and Gabby Andrews also defeated Mexico 3-0.  The boys World Junior Tennis team of Michael Mmoh, Frances Tiafoe and William Blumberg won 3-0 over Canada and the girls team of Frenkel and Raquel Pedraza (Jada Hart is also on the team, but did not play) beat Canada 2-1, having clinched the win before losing in the doubles.

Francoise Abanda of Canada is back after being out six months with a shoulder injury; she was on the 2011 team that reached the final last October, but did not play from then until earlier this month. She will get a test of her level when Canada plays the US on Saturday.

For all the results from today's play, see the ITF tournament page.

I'm still getting through all my google reader items after two weeks away, and this article by colleague Rhiannon Potkey for the Ventura County Star is definitely worth passing along.  Lagardere Unlimited's president of tennis, John Tobias, recently was named one of SportsBusiness Journal's 40 Under Forty, and given his list of clients, that's hardly surprising. Tobias represents No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska and No. 6 Caroline Wozniacki on the WTA side, and John Isner, Mardy Fish and the Bryan brothers from the ATP. Tobias explains the marketability an agency looks for when scouting a young player and why he couldn't be at the gala held for those honored by SBJ.

Three major conferences held their tournaments last weekend, so the ACC, SEC and Big East were able to release their conference awards this weekend. The all-conference teams are available by clicking on the links below.  (For an easy-to-follow list of schools that have won automatic bids to the NCAA Division I tournament, see the Texas College Tennis blog.)

Player of the Year: Beatrice Capra, Duke
Freshman of the Year: Beatrice Capra, Duke
Coach of the Year: Brian Kalbas, North Carolina

Player of the Year: Jarmere Jenkins, Virginia
Freshman of the Year: Mitchell Frank, Virginia
Coach of the Year: Brian Boland, Virginia

SEC Women:
Player of the Year: Lauren Embree, Florida
Freshman of the Year: Lauren Herring, Georgia
Coach of the Year: Jenny Mainz, Alabama

SEC Men:
Player of the Year: Eric Quigley, Kentucky
Freshman of the Year:  Nik Scholtz, Ole Miss
Coach of the Year: Dennis Emery, Kentucky

Big East Women:
Player of the Year: Shannon Mathews, Notre Dame
Freshman of the Year: Jasmin Kling, DePaul
Coach of the Year: Jay Louderback, Notre Dame

Big East Men:
Player of the Year: Greg Andrews, Notre Dame
Freshman of the Year: Sebastian Stiefelmeyer, Louisville
Coach of the Year: Rex Ecarma, Louisville