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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Vandeweghe Qualifies at Wimbledon; Thomson Named William and Mary Coach; Sock Receives Hall of Fame Wildcard

Despite several rain delays, women's qualifying did finish today at Wimbledon, with American CoCo Vandeweghe advancing to the main draw. Vandeweghe, seeded 14th, trailed 11th seed Lara Arruabarrena-Vecin of Spain 5-3 in the final set, and Arruabarrena-Vecin served for the match at 5-4, but Vandeweghe broke at 30-40, quickly held serve and broke again for a 6-2, 6-7(2), 7-5 victory.  Alex Glatch, the other American in the final round of qualifying, lost to Camila Giorgi of Italy 7-6(5), 6-2.

Earlier, 18-year-old German Annika Beck had qualified with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Petra Rampre. Beck has had a memorable month, winning the French Open girls title then qualifying for her first slam, on grass, less than two weeks later. Beck isn't the only reigning junior slam champion in the Wimbledon draw, or even the youngest player, with 16-year-old 2011 Wimbledon girls champion and wild card Ashleigh Barty of Australia having that distinction. But it got me thinking about former junior slam winners who made it through, and after some research, I found that six women, exactly half of the qualifiers, had won a singles title at a junior slam.

In addition to Beck and 2008 US Open girls champion Vandeweghe, Karolina Pliskova and Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic, Kristina Mladenovic of France and Mirjana Lucic of Croatia also have junior slams on their resume. Karolina won the 2010 Australian girls title, her twin sister won Wimbledon that same year, and Mladenovic, still only 19, won Roland Garros in 2009. Lucic, who at 30 is the only one of the six older than 20, won two junior slams, the US Open in 1996 and the Australian Open in 1997.  The Wimbledon website has an article about Lucic, who was a ladies semifinalist in 1999, and about the Pliskova twins.

Among the men's qualifiers, only two of the 16 won junior slams: Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia, who won Wimbledon in 2009, and Ryan Sweeting, the 2005 US Open boys champion. 

For more on all 16 of the men's qualifiers, see this post from the blog Foot Soldiers of Tennis.

Wimbledon also holds doubles qualifying, with Bobby Reynolds of the US teaming with former Old Dominion star Izak Van Der Merwe to reach the men's main draw, and Lindsay Lee-Waters and Megan Moulton-Levy, the latter formerly of William and Mary, qualifying on the women's side.

Complete draws can be found at the Wimbledon website.

Speaking of William and Mary, the school announced today that Tyler Thomson, who was head women's coach at Minnesota for 13 years, had been named to that position in Williamsburg, Va. The complete release is here.

Jack Sock has received a wild card into the ATP Campbell's Hall of Fame Championships next month in Newport, Rhode Island. The local newspaper, the Newport Daily News did a lengthy story about Sock, but unfortunately there is no link available, with the story behind a paywall.  Here are a few comments from Sock, who is recovering from surgery in March and is currently training with Gil Reyes, Darren Cahill and Andre Agassi in Las Vegas.

Asked about the dangers of hype, Sock said:

“I don’t think about it too much. I’m not the only one that’s up and coming — there’s Ryan Harrison and Denis Kudla and Steve Johnson. It’s not all on one of our shoulders. I want to be one of the best players in the world and compete for Grand Slams and stuff. I worry about myself and what I’m doing and trying be the best I can and the results will come.” 

He said he considered playing college tennis, but after weighing his options, he felt going pro was the better decision. “College was always in my mind. I always planned on going, and until early last summer, I was contemplating it,” Sock said. “It was 50-50 for a while. I just felt ready and prepared and I’m a guy that, once I start something, I want to finish it. If I went to school, I’d probably want to stay longer.”

His top school choice was Nebraska, where his brother Eric plays on the men’s team.

“I would have loved to go play with my brother and all those guys on the team who are very good friends of mine,” Sock said. 

Sock has also been given a wild card into the main draw of the BB&T Open in Atlanta, which is the week after Newport.

Georgia Tech's website published an article a few days ago saying that graduating senior Kevin King and University of Georgia freshman Nathan Pasha had been awarded qualifying singles wild cards into the BB&T, but that article has been taken down. The article also said King and Ignacio Taboada of Georgia were given a main draw wild card into the doubles. Whether that's still the case, I don't know.


Urlich said...

It never ceases to amaze me how much of a jump it is to go from being a top flight junior to being a pro. In addition to assistance from Cahill, Reyes and Agassi Sock also practices with Adidas players such as Tsonga. He has a good support network, it will be interesting to see his progress in the next year or two.

USTennis said...

Isn't it strange how the same guys get the wild cards every single tournament. There are other young US pros, perhaps not USTA pros, out there that deserve a chance. When will USTA be staisfied that an American does well, it does not have to be a USTA trained American.
Give some other deserving players a break!

Wildcard syndrome said...

When will Jack Sock realize that receiving wildcard after wildcard does NOT help his development. It happens year after year to young promising US pros who do not take advantage because they are not good enough.

Ryan Harrison declined many Tour level wildcards and started qualifying and it really helped him.

Jack does NOT deserve any Tour level wildcards. He is not even a good Challenger player (yet). Last time I checked he is a 300-350 in the world player. That is good future level and below average challenger level.

Make him earn it and he will prgress faster.