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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Krueger Signs with Octagon; Johnson Gets Asics Deal; European Championships Begin with Upsets



There has been much speculation in the past few months as to whether Mitchell Krueger would actually end up attending Texas A&M, and the answer to that question is now officially no. Although at Wimbledon Krueger had not yet signed the papers relinquishing his amateur status, it had been rumored for months that he was considering skipping college and training with a group of young pros at the USTA. Soon after returning to Texas from London, he signed a contract to be represented by the sports management agency Octagon. Although there has been no press release, Krueger is now listed on their website as a client, and is being featured in promotional banner ads for Tecnifibre, his racquet sponsor.

Steve Johnson, who took a different path, playing all four years at the University of Southern California, signed an endorsement deal with Asics for shoes and apparel. Johnson, who received a wild card into the ATP Farmers Classic in Los Angeles, and plays his first round match against Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands later tonight, appears in this YouTube promotion for the company.

The biggest junior tournament in Europe that isn't held in Paris or London is taking place this week, as the European Summer Championships are underway.  The 14s are in Pilzen, Czech Republic, the 16s are in Moscow and the 18s, which are an ITF Grade B1, are in Switzerland.

Although the tournaments are in the early stages, there have already been several upsets of note.

In the boys 14s, top seed Jay Clarke of Great Britain lost in the second round (his first match) to Carlos Divar of Spain. The top seed in the girls 14s, Olga Fridman of Ukraine, has advanced to the third round, but No. 2 seed Maia Lumsden of Great Britain was beaten in the second round by Denisa Cichova of the Czech Republic.

The girls 16s field is a strong one, with Croatia's Ana Konjuh, a Wimbledon girls quarterfinalist and No. 11 in the ITF junior rankings, the top seed. Konjuh has advanced to the third round, as has No. 2 seed Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic, who is No. 5 in the ITF junior rankings.

Petros Chrysochos of Cyprus, the No. 1 seed in the boys 16s, was upset by Johannes Haerteis of Germany in the second round, but No. 2 seed Elias Ymer of Sweden is through to the third round.

In the girls 18s, top seeds Margarita Gasparyan of Russia and Belinda Bencic of Switzerland have made the third round, but No. 3 seed Illona Kremen of Belarus lost in the second round to Tess Sugnaux of Switzerland. In the boys 18s, French Open boys champion Kimmer Coppejans of Belgium has reached the third round, as has No. 2 seed Frederico Silva of Portugal. No. 5 seed Enzo Couacaud of France, who reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, lost his opening match to Laslo Djere of Serbia.

For the 18s draws, see the ITF junior website. The draws for the other age divisions can be accessed by click on the links above, or going to the TennisEurope website.

20 comments:

Austin said...

Can anyone see me shaking my head about Krueger? Didnt know if it could come through the website or not. Wish him luck though.

Brent said...

Austin, I agree. Great results recently in ITF but has done literally nothing in pro events. Like you, still will be cheering for him though.

get real said...

Personally, I think college tennis is overrated except for a very few programs and don’t think there is one path. Isner is not a good example because of his height/serve and most recently the others who went pro and having success left after a year or two (Rhyne Williams, Tennys Sandgren, Daniel K… ect) I don’t see any of those players benefitting from more college tennis.
Looking at the success of juniors who chose pro directly instead of college: Denis Kudla, Christian Harrison, Ryan Harrison, that was good choice. Didn’t work for Jordan Cox but that’s not to say he would have benefitted from college either.
As for Kruger, his game will develop if he has the right training program/skills and probably develop a lot more playing pro tournaments than college dual matches. The question is how far can he take his game, and I think he has a better chance to take it further not playing college tennis but training at a higher level and playing pro tournaments. Sure it’s a risk but playing pro tennis is never a sure deal.

Tennis Dad said...

I see the USTA has snagged the top college recruit in the US to turn pro for two years running. Last year Bjorn Frantangelo and now Mitchell Krueger. I bet they will do the same with next year's top recruit. USTA Player Development are under pressure to ensure they get the top players to turn pro.

tennis said...

i can see you austin haha, can you see me doing it as well along with a *facepalm*

Austin said...

How can you lump Christian Harrison into a success group? He is ranked 641 in the world and has not won more than one round at anything higher than Futures. He is 18 and has not made it to a Futures final this year. I certainly hope he does get good results soon, but certainly has not yet.

If you plan on being a teaching pro your entire life after your career is over then college is really irrelevant and might as well take advantage of any sponsorship money right away, but if you plan on going into another business and do not have markedly better results than your peers then go to college.

Austin said...

Look at Steve Johnson, THE dominate college player and he is struggling to start the summer against mediocre players. These kids are getting eaten alive that turn pro early. Hardly working out for ANY of them.

Brent said...

get real, agreed that Williams, Sandgren, and Kudla have had some good results. Hope it continues. But they certainly haven't broken through either. Are any of the examples you referenced as pro successes earning a living playing the game? Until that happens, think we should file those under 'the jury is still out' category. How many others would be on that list along with them and Cox - Bangoura, Britton, McClune, Trombetta, etc.? And so, is the inverse true - would you say that Steve Johnson and Brad Klahn and Chase Buchanan damaged their chances at a pro career by not choosing the pro route sooner? And why does Isner's height/serve make him an irrelevant example that the college route can be the best path for some?

LovetheGame said...

Not sure what everyone else thinks, but if Krueger wants to be a pro player and believes he's ready, than great for him. While many players have benefited from going to college, many have also been world class juniors and while at college, their careers stalled. The percentage of top 100 players that went to college is very slim. If that's a players ultimate goal and they are willing to risk a free (or reduced) college education, than fantastic. I have a family member that didn't go to college, became top 100 in the world for many years, and now is going to graduate college later in life. There are many paths to success and many people view success in different ways. Best of luck to Krueger.

Maryjo said...

I agree with Austin and his assessment of C Harrison. In 2011, in 11 total tournaments, was given 6 WCs. I wish every aspiring pro could be guaranteed that kind of start and see what they could do with it.

KZOO FAN said...

The wild cards for 2012 Kalamazoo National Hardcourts B16,18 have been posted on www.ustaboys.com

get real said...

Austin I disagree about Harrison. For someone who has been seriously injured on and off the past few years Christian is doing great the last few months. Overall very few of any of these players will make it to the to the top 50 or even consistently in the top 100, but that said not sure college and dual matches are the path to develop your game with maybe a few programs if that. The thing with Isner if he did not have the big serve which he developed in college doubt we would be hearing much about him. That seems to be his only weapon but it is indeed a big one at that. These kids can go to college anytime but at least when they go they will more likely take harder course and get more out of it. Too many college athletes to top 20 programs just take the easiest courses/majors to play their sport so what’s the point of that. As for Buchanan and Klahn not sure if their tennis would have been better served if they went pro after two years at college. Kulda is playing at a higher level and a couple of yrs younger. I wish Mitch the best of luck and think he made the right choice in terms of hitting partners and matches to see if he has what it takes!

tennisforlife said...

Colette - on an unrelated matter i heard that all the charges against Connor Pollack have been dropped. Would be great if you could confirm and follow up with a story to spread the word if that is indeed the case! Tragic situation for a good kid!

Hogwash said...

Austin, Get a clue..Do you realize that a lot of the top teaching pros in the country make more money than most Harvard graduates..You come on here making demeaning comments about people who become teaching pros as if they are low lifes.. School teachers make next to nothing financially. They do it for the love of helping people..Teaching tennis pros are very similar... The difference being they make a lot more money if they are good..NO, you do not have to have a college degree to go into another business. Can it help in many instances? Yes.. Necessary..NO..A college degree is the single most over rated thing in the world unless you plan on going to some type of graduate school program where it is necessary..I have no doubt that many narrow minded people on this blog will disagree... Tons of teaching pros actually have degrees and i can guarantee you they havent used it one bit. The reason they teach? They love it and make more money teaching than they would with that degree. Lose the arrogance about teaching pros.. I bet most of the top ones make a lot better living than the people criticizing that line of work on this blog..Your idea of a successful pro seems to be that they have to become a grand slam champion.. WRONG.. These guys ranked 50 to 150 for a good bit of time that also play doubles make a very good living..

Brent said...

Hogwash, interesting hypothesis. NY Times states that the median mid-career (defined as at least 10 years post-grad) salary is ~$130k for a Harvard grad. Now, you put a couple qualifiers on there. You said 'a lot' of 'the top' teaching pros make more than 'most' Harvard grads. So, let's assume then that that is equivalent to saying, 'a lot' of 'the top' teaching pros make more than $130k. What does 'a lot' and 'the top' mean? Does 'the top' mean the top 10%? And 'a lot' means 50% of that subset? So, at that point, you could have alternatively said, 'the top 5% of teaching pros in the country make more than $130k'. Is that a fair restatement of your position?

college fan said...

Austin, Not sure Johnson is best served going straight to the ATP level. Coming out of college, Isner, Devvarman and Farah all won challengers (which always helps confidence) rather quickly before moving up to the top level.

Austin said...

Get Real,

What results exactly are you basing "Chrisitian has been doing great the last few months" on? The best he has done in a tournament is this week actually, he has won two matches at a Challenger.

Hogwash,

When did I say anything bad about teaching pros? Dont try to twist what I said. What I said was going to college is irrelevant if that is your plan to stay in tennis your entire life, getting a degree has nothing to do with it. And, I dont know what country club numbers you are using, but "most teaching pros make more than Harvard grads" is a ridiculous statement. I know many, many teaching pros and very few make great money, and the ones that do are on the court 12hrs a day. Now there are exceptions of course, but not even close to the norm. Most have gotten out of the business and into the corporate world as they have gotten older. The ones that have stayed in it are the cream of the crop. Also, I think your view of teaching salaries is a little off as well, as I have several teaching friends that make more than $50k, tenured teachers are above $70k, not great money, but I wouldnt call that next to nothing. Clearly you do not follow what I say on here, being a Top100 pro is what I have always said is successful, based on what researchers have found financially, not grand slam champion.

College Fan,

I think Johnson will be fine, but the point I was making is that these juniors turning pro dont have the results that prove they will be successful on tour, and we are seeing a very dominant college player struggle against Top 200 guys, so just imagine they will struggle even more. If I was in their position and had a significant money offer to turn pro maybe I would do the same thing, but I stand by the fact you need significantly better results than your peers to think about going pro right out of juniors. Is there an exception out there someone can burn me with? Of course, but I will come back with ten times the numbers supporting my argument.

BTW, Krueger won a total of 5 games against a player ranked 452 in qualifying this week.

Again, I support all American players, but that doesnt mean I agree with their decisions on this topic, clearly I am strongly against it most of the time.

get real said...

Tennisforlife
I do not believe this blog is the place to report on Pollock’s situation. I am not disputing that he is a good kid, and many (including myself) would agree with that. It’s good news indeed the charges are dropped. At the same time, though, as an assistant college coach one would hope that any assistant coach would have better judgment than put himself in the situation where such accusations could occur (true or false) in the first place. It’s great Pollock is cleared of wrongdoing, and may any young person who knows Pollock learn the serious consequences that can happen with poor judgment.

Colette Lewis said...

To the anonymous post I just received (which will not be published without a name)
Martin Blackman is no longer at the USTA

Austin said...

Pollock was cleared of a heinous crime, which is great, and if he was wrongfully accused then he should turn the tables on the accuser, but he did have illeagal drugs on him at the time of the arrest(assuming that was indeed still the case), so still a poor decision for a college coach. Much easier to move on with your life and fix the mistake with that being your wrongdoing though instead of the more serious charge.