USTA Launches College MatchDay; Virginia Men, North Carolina Women Remain at No. 1; Dennis Novikov in College Spotlight; Q and A with Notre Dame's Bobby Bayliss
In an effort to market college tennis more effectively, the USTA is introducing a College MatchDay, which in 2014 will spotlight an important college dual match every week of the team season.
Based on the popular ESPN College Football GameDay, the College MatchDay will get a trial run this season with two matches, the Stanford women at Florida this Sunday, February 24th, and the Duke men at Virginia March 22nd. According to the release I received from the USTA, College MatchDay will feature "activities and local outreach surrounding the host team’s campus. Additionally, Ken Thomas will broadcast each College MatchDay on RadioTennis.com."
As part of the USTA's repositioning of the Junior and Collegiate Competition area from Player Development to Community Tennis, there are now more resources available to college tennis, and Virgil Christian is now in the position of USTA Director, Collegiate Tennis and Market Development. Let's hope this provides increased exposure for the sport on the collegiate level, where the tension and excitement of a team format is waiting to be discovered by students and local tennis fans. For the release, see usta.com.
The new ITA team rankings were released Tuesday, with Men's Indoor champion Virginia obviously retaining the top spot and North Carolina holding on to No. 1 in the women's rankings despite their loss to Florida. Florida's loss to Duke cost them the No. 2 spot, with UCLA moving to that position, followed by Duke, with Florida now No. 4. Stanford's loss to St. Mary's dropped it from 7 to 13. The Top 10:
1. North Carolina
10. Texas A&M
4. Ohio State
10. Ole Miss
This is the last week of polling for the team rankings. The computer takes over with next week's rankings, which will also feature new singles and doubles rankings. For the complete lists, see the ITA website.
Dennis Novikov, the 2012 Kalamazoo 18s champion and a sophomore at UCLA, is the subject of usta.com's College Spotlight. Novikov reveals what he's gained from college tennis and UCLA coach Billy Martin assesses what Novikov has that many college players lack. One correction: the body and the caption both say that Novikov was the first Kalamazoo champion since Gimelstob to win a round at the US Open when he beat Jerzy Janowicz last year in New York, but Jack Sock had a first round win over Marc Gicquel of France as the Kalamazoo champion in 2011.
And finally, the Tennis Recruiting Network published a question and answer piece today with retiring Notre Dame men's head coach Bobby Bayliss. Harry Cicma asks Bayliss about the highlights of his career at Notre Dame, and Bayliss answers in his own inimitable way. Here's hoping he finds time to write that book, "Cross Court Reflections," while staying involved as Director of Tennis Facilities at Notre Dame.