USTA Releases Collarini; Novikov Falls in Second Round of ITA Regionals; Vekic Update; Andrew Helps Make Lexington South Carolina a Tennis Destination
I received a brief statement from the USTA today regarding the announcement over the weekend that Andrea Collarini would return to representing Argentina after nearly three years playing under the US flag.
"Andrea has asked that he be able to represent Argentina again. We will release him. We wish him all the best."
I followed up with a question regarding any repayment of grants, etc. that Collarini received while training with the USTA and I was told he would not be required to provide any reimbursement, and the paperwork releasing him to Argentina is being sent to the ITF.
The USTA/ITA Regionals are underway throughout the country, and already there has been a major surprise with No. 2 seed Dennis Novikov of UCLA, the Kalamazoo champion who won a round at the US Open in both singles and doubles, falling in the second round (his first match.) Novikov did not play the All-American due to an ankle injury he suffered in a Futures tournament this fall, and he will not be playing at the National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships next month either, unless he receives a wild card. Novikov has struggled since his Open success, winning two qualifying matches and and two main draw matches in three $10,000 Futures in California, suffering losses to Xavier Smith, Jason Jung and Daniel Nguyen. In today's match at the UC-Irvine regional, Novikov lost to USC sophomore Jonny Wang 6-4, 6-4.
NCAA champion Nicole Gibbs of Stanford, who suffered an injury at the US Open, is now back playing, and is the top seed in the women's Northwest regional. [Update: Gibbs withdrew.] For the regional draws, see the ITA tournament page.
I expect we've seen the last of Donna Vekic in the juniors. After her run to the WTA Tashkent final, and a recent semifinal at a $100,000 Challenger, she is now ranked 108 on the WTA computers. The 16-year-old Croatian, who trains in England with David Felgate, was the subject of the WTA's "Getting to Know" series, and also this post from Women's Tennis Blog that goes back, with photos, of her days in the Little Mo events.
It's easy to overlook the work it takes to put on a tournament, from the facilities, to the logistics, to the organization and its leader, the tournament director. This The State feature, about Jorge Andrew, the Tennis Director for the Lexington (South Carolina) County Recreation and Aging Commission, traces his role in drawing many major events to the area, not previously known for its tennis culture. Andrew is the director of the ITF Grade 4 event in Lexington beginning November 5th. I've never been to that tournament, due to its date often conflicting with the ITA Indoor, but I've heard many good things about it.