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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sean Hannity Criticizes New USTA Junior Competitive Structure; Olympic Teams Announced; Bellamy, Dai Win 18s at Southern California Sectionals

Tennis parents come from all walks of life, but not many have their own television shows on Fox News as Sean Hannity does. I admit to being vaguely aware that he had an interest in tennis and children who played from a post Peter Bodo did a couple of years ago at TennisWorld, but until today, our interests never intersected. (I vote, but I'm not much interested in political commentary, whether it's Fox or MSNBC).

Because I've never watched his show, I don't have any preconceived notions about him, so when I heard he had written an article decrying the recent changes in the USTA junior competition format and schedule, I wasn't sure what to expect.

Hannity explains calmly and clearly why he thinks the changes are a mistake, focusing on the lack of national opportunities and what he believes are the consequences of those cutbacks.

I have recently explained my objections to the plan to one of the principal architects of it at the USTA, and I admit my focus was on what I perceive to be the complexity of the new system and the lack of grass root support for it rather than the particular issues that Hannity raises. But as with Tom Walker, who wrote a guest post on my site prior to the vote in March, I am sure that Hannity is speaking with day-to-day, in-the-trenches experience of a tennis parent, and of someone who loves the sport. He writes:

When you talk to juniors, coaches, tournament directors, umpires, and parents at junior tournaments, which I do almost every weekend, almost all are against these changes. It is clear that if any junior tennis players, coaches, tournament directors, and parents were consulted, the sample must have been very small.  

Hannity may have a large audience and devoted followers in the political arena, but I'm unsure what influence he may have in motivating the USTA sections to reconsider their votes. This is a conversation worth having however, whether it ultimately succeeds or not, so if you would like to contact your section again, the phone numbers can be found in the Tom Walker post I linked to above.
The United States Olympic team was announced today, with Andy Roddick, John Isner, Ryan Harrison and Donald Young the men's singles players for the USA, and Roddick, Isner and the Bryan twins the doubles teams.  The women's team will consist of the Williams sisters, Vavara Lepchenko and Christina McHale in singles and the Williams sisters and Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond in doubles.  Two-time NCAA champion at Virginia Somdev Devvarman, who has been out with an injury, received a wild card into the singles for India.

The complete list can be found here.

The California sectional championships ended yesterday, with Ashley Dai and Robbie Bellamy claiming the 18s divisions.  The link to the complete draws is here. The final results are below:

Robbie Bellamy def. Ernesto Escobedo 6-7, 7-6, 7-5
Ashley Dai(4) def. Alyza Benotto(1) 6-4, 6-0

Eduardo Nava def. Michael Genender  6-0, 6-3
Annika Ringblom(4) def. Jwany Sherif  6-3, 6-1

Taylor Fritz(1) def. Isaiah Strode  6-4, 6-2
Dominique Schaefer(2) def. Claire Liu(7)  6-4, 6-4

Ryan Nuno(2) def. Austin Di Giulio(5) 6-3, 6-2
Taylor Johnson(3) def. Lauren Park(6) 6-3, 6-2

Ivan Smith(1) def. Emilio Nava(9) 6-1, 6-3 
Amanda Tabanera (3) def. Amy Huang(4) 6-4, 6-0


Big Time said...

If i had Hannity's income i would favor a system that privleges the rich, too.

Bart said...

The usta should concentrate on growing the game of tennis. Instead they run it like a greedy public company. Charging too much for tennis tourney entry fees, building obscene stadiums for the us open. Watching a match at Ashe stadium is pointless as the seats go so high up you can't see anything. I would like to see more parents skip the entire Usta system and play itf's.

rick said...

I worry to about the diminishing opportunities for our young players to be able to play other players from other areas. We need to expose our players to all different styles of players so they can adapt to those styles. If the opportunities continue to diminish then so will the interest in tennis in general.

Tennis debate said...

Why doesn't zoo tennis post the response from Patrick McEnroe and the USTA....?it seems like this site only reports one side of the jr comp debate?

Colette Lewis said...

@tennis debate
I will. But I'm busy at Wimbledon right now. And what evidence do you have that I only post one side of the debate?

zootennis reader said...

Welcome back to KZOO, C.L.

Tmom said...

Big time the new changes don't level the playing field for rich and poor. I have 3 kids playing. If we had the opportunity to go s regional segment with multiple age divisions, we would do it. Now we have to pay 2 people to take 2 of the kids and still drive up to 9 hours for the privilege of playing in our region.