First, I want to make clear that I am not in Arizona for the Winter Nationals (If my stories don't have a dateline, I am not at a tournament.) I have never been to those particular tournaments, because I can't fit them in my schedule after the Eddie Herr-Orange Bowl-Junior Orange Bowl marathon I run between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
I did receive an eyewitness account today from someone at the Mitch Stewart - Gage Brymer round of 16 match in the boys 18s , along with the above photo, and am happy to pass it along. Stewart, a 17 seed, who as a junior in high school has already made a verbal commitment to Washington, beat UCLA recruit and No. 2 seed Brymer 7-6(5), 1-6, 6-3.
It was definitely the match of the tournament so far. Brymer jumped out to a 2 break lead in the 1st set winning the first 14 points of the match. Stewart put in the hard yards and scrambled his way to 7-6(5) win. He is an amazing scrambler and fighter. Brymer won the 2nd set relatively quickly 6-1. In the 3rd, Brymer started making some errors and Stewart continued to run down everything. Brymer saved 2 match points serving 2-5, but Stewart served it out winning at love.
More photos from the Winter Nationals can be viewed at this PhotoBucket link: Winter Nationals
The TennisLink site for the 12s and 14s is here; the TennisLink site for the 16s and 18s is here.
I have begun the daunting task of getting through all my tennis related feeds from the past six weeks, and I've run across a several interesting items.
Chris Oddo, writing for USA Today, caught up with Brian Baker, who will be playing in Brisbane, Auckland and in the Australian Open for the first time as a professional (he played in the Australian Junior Championships in 2002 and 2003). Baker spent his off-season training in three different places: Nashville, with Todd Martin in Ponte Vedra, Florida and also at Saddlebrook.
Liam Broady of Great Britain, who reached the finals of the 2012 US Open boys championship, is aging out of junior competition, and he was the subject of this feature by BBC Sport. Broady talks about his goals for 2013, the difficult transition from juniors to "seniors", and the lack of pressure he now feels due to the advancing age of most of those in the Top 100. There is also a sidebar on the ATP's top-ranked teenagers, none of whom are in the Top 200.
The NCAA announced a long list of likely changes to its recruiting rules earlier this month, which would put all sports on the same recruiting calendar and end restrictions on the forms of communication between a coach and a perspective student-athlete. It appears to be an attempt to allow a coach and a student-athlete to have a better opportunity to learn about each other, and also to eliminate many of the thousands of petty rules that compliance offices spend the bulk of their time monitoring.
The complete list is available at NCAA.org. The vote is set for January 19th in Grapevine, Texas.