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Friday, September 21, 2012

My Report on Olympia Fields Invitational; Chase Curry Back on Court; Great Britain's Loss is Australia's Gain (Again)

Fall tournament tennis is certainly more relaxed than the spring season's dual matches, and in a setting as lovely as the Olympia Fields Country Club near Chicago, it's downright serene.  My look at the Olympia Fields Invitational, hosted by the University of Illinois, can now be found at the Tennis Recruiting Network. Again, I would like to thank TRNet for giving me the freedom to cover virtually whatever strikes my fancy in the junior and college tennis realm. It helps encourage me to seek out new tournaments and explore new topics, which I hope you find interesting and informative.

There was great news today, which I found on twitter thanks to @Mitch_Krueger, regarding Chase Curry, who was badly injured in an automobile accident on Thanksgiving Day 2010.  Curry is back playing tennis at Division II Midwestern State in his hometown of Wichita Falls, Texas, according to an article in the Wichita Falls Times Record News. Curry, who won the Wes Richards sportsmanship award here in Kalamazoo back in 2009, has shown in these past months an inspiring combination of dedication and determination. His family, a great source of strength to him throughout this ordeal, must be so proud of the strides he's made since that tragic day. The article, entitled "Curry Comeback Takes Another Step" emphasizes the milestones Curry has reached since then with undoubtedly many more still ahead.

In May of 2011, the BBC published a story about 13-year-old tennis player Naiktha Bains, who was born in England, but due to a variety of circumstances, ended up living in and competing for Australia. Entitled "The One that Got Away," the BBC placed much of the blame for her move on the LTA.  This week another such story surfaced, about 16-year-old Isabelle Wallace, who, coincidentally, is on the same Australia Junior Fed Cup team as Bains for next week's International Finals.

Wallace is from Scotland, and while Andy Murray is interested in establishing an academy there according to recent reports, Wallace's father says there has been no improvement in the facilities in the six years they have been away.

He said: “We’ve been in Australia for about six years and returned to Scotland four months ago but nothing has changed.

“There was a lot of talk about new academies and developing training facilities when we left but there’s been absolutely no action.

“Girls who used to play with Isabelle in Scotland and who showed a lot of talent have either given up or put their tennis on hold. It’s tragic.

“How can a country hope to get anything out of a sport if it puts nothing in?”

The complete article from the Daily Record is here.

Great Britain's tennis fortunes are brighter than they have been in many years, with Murray's fabulous summer and the emergence of Heather Watson and 18-year-old Laura Robson (who reached her first WTA final with a victory over Sorana Cirstea of Romania today in China and was, ironically, born in Australia), but the depth there is not so great that they can lose young prospects at this pace. Great Britain's teams did not qualify for the Junior Fed Cup or Junior Davis Cup this year, which isn't the end of the world, but the fact that they did not have a single girl in any of the junior slams this year apart from Wimbledon should merit concern.  Robson and Watson are young enough to bridge any gap that may be developing now, but their success shouldn't be an aberration.


Kiwi said...

It's kind of sad but if either of those families had decided to move to the USA you wouldn't have written anything about them. But because they have chosen somewhere else to live you write a piece that takes a cheap shot at that country, as if they deliberately went out and recruited the kid. Talk about sour grapes and complete lack of perspective or journalistic integrity.