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Friday, January 11, 2013

Doyle Commits to Stanford; An In-Depth Look at Player Development in Russia; Draws Out for Grade 1 in Traralgon

My article this week for the Tennis Recruiting Network is Caroline Doyle's announcement of her commitment to Stanford, starting this fall. This gives the Cardinal three blue chip freshmen: Taylor Davidson, Carol Zhao and Doyle, which is a formidable recruiting class, even for Stanford.

If you missed my tweet a few days ago, 16-year-old Liz Jeukeng will be joining Clemson for this dual season, along with Carola Pederzani of Italy, according to this release from the Clemson website.

ESPN W today published a fascinating article by Kate Fagan about the famous Spartak tennis center in Moscow, which is celebrated for its role in developing many of Russia's most accomplished players.  It provides a thorough look at the center's history and how it has changed since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, both from a coaching and an economic perspective. The selection process, the scarcity of court time, the advantage of affluent families--none of these descriptions seem much different from what we are accustomed to here in the United States. Spartak's inability to offer continued training for those children who reach a world class level in their early teens, forcing them to countries and academies outside of Russia, is also explored, with Irina Khromacheva and Yulia Putintseva two recent examples mentioned.

It's a long article, but a must-read for anyone with an interest in player development.

While the Grade 1 Copa Gatorade continues in Venezuela, with top seed Christina Makarova, No. 14 seed Usue Arconada and No. 4 seed Luca Corinteli the Americans who have reached the quarterfinals there, the Grade 1 in Traralgon Australia begins Saturday.

As expected, the draw for the Australian Open junior event is a good one, with both world No. 2s entered: Gianliugi Quinzi of Italy is the boys top seed and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic is the girls top seed. Boys number 1 Nikola Milojevic, who just took over the top spot after winning the Coffee Bowl last week, is not in the draw, but is still listed in the acceptances for the Australian Open juniors, where he will be the top seed. Girls world No. 1 Taylor Townsend is not defending her titles in Australia.

There are no US girls in the Traralgon draw, a very unusual circumstance, although four remain listed in the Australian Open Junior acceptances: Christina Makarova, who is still in Venezuela, Sachia Vickery, who played the $25,000 Pro Circuit event this week in Innisbrook, Florida, and Jamie Loeb and Allie Kiick.  The three US boys in the main draw of the Australian juniors, Thai Kwiatkowski, Mackenzie McDonald and Martin Redlicki, are all in the Traralgon draw. Michael Mmoh, who said during the Junior Orange Bowl last month that he would be going to Australia for qualifying, did not make the trip after all.