US Open Men's Wild Cards Announced; Whitney Kay, Farris Gosea Win Titles at ITA Summer Championships; NCAA Format Changes Coming?
The USTA announced the men's wild cards for the US Open today. Several of the recipients were already known, including Dennis Novikov and Steve Johnson, and 2001 champion Lleyton Hewitt, who had received the Australian reciprocal wild card at the French and a discretionary wild card at Wimbledon, was expected to receive one.
Others receiving main draw wild cards are James Blake, Rajeev Ram, Denis Kudla, Jack Sock and Guillaume Rufin of France. Rufin's wild card is via the trade with the French Federation.
Ram, 28, was the next US player in the rankings who did not get direct entry. Prominent names who did not receive main draw wild cards, but are in qualifying on their own ranking are Robby Ginepri, Alex Kuznetsov, Wayne Odesnik, Bobby Reynolds, Tim Smyczek, Ryan Sweeting and Michael Yani.
The qualifying wild cards for the men were also announced. Alexios Halebian was guaranteed a qualifying wild card for reaching the 18s finals in Kalamazoo, and there is another wild card still to be granted to the winner of the US Open National Playoffs this weekend in New Haven. The remaining men's qualifying wild cards:
The complete release from the USTA can be found at the US Open website.
The ITA Summer Circuit finale wrapped up today in Bloomington, Indiana, with University of Illinois rising sophomore Farris Gosea and University of North Carolina incoming freshman Whitney Kay taking the singles titles, and with their victories, receiving direct entry into the main draw of the ITA All-American tournaments in early October. Gosea defeated Samuel Monette of Indiana 7-6, 6-0, while Kay beat teammate Caroline Price, a longtime junior rival, 6-4, 1-0, ret.
Tennessee's Hunter Reese and John Collins, the latter a recent transfer to Tennessee from Maryland, took the men's doubles title and an All-American main draw wild card. The women's doubles title went to Nebraska's Mary Weatherholt and Iowa's Katie Zordani.
For complete coverage of the tournament, see the ITA website.
My twitter timeline has been full of debate regarding the rumored changes for the NCAA Division I tournament, but as of yet, nothing has been released by the NCAA. Georgia men's coach Manny Diaz tweeted that the changes will "kill our college game as we know it today."
Again, there is nothing in writing, but changes are believed to be reduction of doubles to a six-game set, with the singles decided in a a super tiebreaker if there is a split, with the goal of shortening the matches.
I don't care for the super tiebreaker and never have, with my objections roughly the same ones former Clemson men's coach Chuck Kriese voices in this article for the Tennis Recruiting Network. I have learned to live with and even appreciate the 8-game pro set (which Kriese also dislikes), but I could never support dual matches decided this way.
From what I heard from coaches in Kalamazoo last week, none of the top Division I programs were consulted prior to this change, and that it emanated from administrators in the NCAA, as well as the tennis committee.
I'm starting to get déjà vu here after the USTA Junior Competition changes, more from the method of implementation than from the actual changes.
In this case however--and maybe I'm being very naive about the cost of holding an NCAA team and individual championship--the NCAA championships are the only part of college tennis that the organization controls. They are not responsible for the rankings or any of the other tournaments and dual matches throughout the year; that is all under the control of the ITA. Certainly it wouldn't be unthinkable to have the ITA organize a season-ending tournament to decide the National Champion. Or it could be decided by polls, computers and bowl games like the BCS decides the football national championship. I'm not really advocating that, but I don't see that the NCAA is negotiating from a position of power, as they have been unable to even get their college tennis team or individual championships on the many mushrooming collegiate sports channels.
And as several college players have pointed out on twitter, how do these changes benefit the student-athletes? By making the format the same as a back draw match in a junior event, college tennis at its pinnacle will look a lot less like a professional development path, where conditioning and sustained concentration are paramount.
Once I have more information, I will provide it, probably via twitter and then this website.