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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

KU Singh, Georgia's No. 1, Quits Team; Additional Tennis Notes, Jarring and Otherwise

The University of Georgia announced today that their No. 1 player, KU Singh, has quit the team.  The complete announcement:

Senior KU Singh has notified men’s tennis head coach Manuel Diaz that he has decided to leave the team effective immediately.

Singh’s decision comes just three days before the second-ranked and third-seeded Bulldogs are set to begin NCAA Championships play in Athens, with first and second round matches scheduled for May 10-11 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. Singh was ranked No. 4 in the nation in singles prior to his departure, with an overall record of 17-9.

“This is a very close group and today they’re closer than ever,” Diaz said. “Our program will continue to stress teamwork, togetherness, and playing with our hearts for each other, as it always has. We are united and are moving forward in a positive manner.”

Insiders in Athens are not exactly shocked by this, with signs of discord surfacing earlier this year.  The 22-year-old from India, who had transferred from Illinois after a brief stint there in the spring of 2011, did not travel with the team to this year's ITA Team Indoor for undisclosed reasons. The timing is obviously unfortunate however, especially given the loss of Nick Wood to an ankle injury shortly after the Team Indoor.

Singh's departure also has implications for the NCAA individual tournament singles draw, where he was the No. 5 seed. Another player will move into both the numerical and alphabetical seedings, and of course an alternate will move into the main draw. If the committee goes according to rankings, Duke's Henrique Cunha will move from the 9-16 group to No. 8 and Washington's Kyle McMorrow will now be seeded. Guillermo Alcorta of Oklahoma is currently the first alternate.

And before I move on to other tennis news, hats off to Georgia's athletic department for getting this news out officially. While I'm sure it's not pleasant for them, it's the right thing to do, for everyone involved. Meanwhile, there's been nothing from Brigham Young on why their top two players will not be competing in the regional Friday.

There's already been a lot of drama off the tennis court this week on the professional tours.  Sloane Stephens, who is currently mired in a puzzling slump, was featured in the current issue of ESPN the magazine this month, and she explained in no uncertain terms that her relationship with Serena Williams is nothing like it was portrayed earlier this year.

Bernard Tomic's father John has been charged with assault in Madrid, accused of an altercation with Bernard's hitting partner, Thomas Drouet of Monaco. Chris Clarey of the New York Times provides this report, which contains a rogues gallery of tennis parents and also a Nick Bollettieri rebuttal of the generalization that a parent as coach is a recipe for trouble. Clarey later revealed that the ATP has suspended John Tomic's credential privileges at its events.

Speaking of Bollettieri, his second annual Discovery Open tournaments are coming up at the end of this month for 9, 11, 13, and 15 age divisions for both boys and girls.  Winners of each of the eight tournaments receive a free week at the Academy and an evaluation from Bollettieri and staff, with the opportunity for a full scholarship.  Entries close on Friday, May 10th. See the tournament website for more information on applying.

If you are looking for a tennis camp for this summer, check out the list Lisa Stone at Parenting Aces has compiled. Two of my direct sponsors, IMG Bollettieri Academy and College Tennis Exposure Camps are among those with summer camps, and I would appreciate it if you would use the links on this page to request more information about their offerings.

I ran across this item from a Northern California tennis blog about a recent tournament win for 2011 Boys 14s national champion Cameron Klinger, who has been missed this year on the junior circuit.

Somehow I totally missed this, although I am fairly certain there was no press release by the USTA, but Saddlebrook's Craig Boynton, John Isner's longtime coach, joined the USTA as a National Coach back in March.

And yesterday, the USTA held a conference call with Shelby Rogers and Alex Kuznetsov, the winners of the French Open Har-Tru Wild Card Challenge.  The complete transcript is here.  My question was near the end, about how they felt about using this method of determining a wild card rather than a tournament like the one the USTA holds for the Australian Open wild card. Unsurprisingly, since neither was invited to participate in that AO wild card tournament in Atlanta last year, they prefer this method. (UPDATE:  Rogers was apparently invited to the wild card tournament but was injured and could not play.)

For the AP's article on Kuznetsov and Rogers, click here.


Messed up Draw said...

This news completely throws off the seedings for the Team tournament.

UVA could not be happier about this and is the biggest winner out of this.

The NCAA should somehow switch the seedings because this makes a huge imbalance in the draw.

Not surprised of KU - he has been a plaque for most of the year. Coach Diaz will not put up with anyone acting up no mater what you are ranked which is why he is one of the best and most successful college coaches in history.

College fan said...

I think Pepperdine was going to beat Georgia (even with Singh) again this year.

ugadawgs1988 said...

If he does not want to be there then we don't want him there. Maybe UVA can finally get a title with all of their talent.

russ said...

serena and sloane kiss and make up:


well, that's one less kerfuffle.

tennis said...

Do you have any idea as to why KU will no longer be playing? Anything beyond whatever minimal information you can get from the press release? I know he didn't play in the ITA Indoors and I was wondering about that as well, perhaps it's because of the same issue?

Austin said...

Saw a couple former Illinois players comment on your Tweet yesterday, but I would like them to elaborate on why they weren't surprised.

What a complete joke Singh is, saying a dischord between him and the coaching staff. What a great leader and team player, ha.

If anyone has any insight please comment, it's not like this kid is going to read it. Even if he does, who cares?

Dunboyne said...

Tennis players and their fathers behaving badly...

I heard the BYU players may have been suspended for having impure thoughts about someone or something. Details are fuzzy.

And it's sad to read how Sloane Stephens is, like, feeling really hurt about a missing autograph and twitter-slap and that she hasn't felt this dissed since the ninth grade, like last week.

And today, unfortunately, it's been confirmed that Victoria Azarenka has the second worst anger-management problem in professional tennis, eclipsed only by Old Man Tomic.

What a day for tennis! This is why some of us wake up every morning. And why some of us don't!

UVA student said...

KU has to be extremely selfish for leaving the Georgia team now. Even if he has an issue with the coaches which seems impossible anyway, he cannot hang in there for his team?

Could not be more of a jerk move. a guy who is not dominatating college tennis should not be a selfish as KU.

UVA has an even easier road to the finals - this is set up perfectly for them. If not this year - maybe never?

love-tennis said...

It's really sad for the UGA team. Very demoralizing. They are visiting St.Mary's hospital today, creating positivity, per their tweets.

love-tennis said...

Loved the candidness of Sloane Stephens. Cracked me up.

russ said...

"Practice? We talkin' about practice"

h/t sabre tennis board: http://www.redandblack.com/sports/less-time-more-effort-ku-singh-s-unorthodox-approach-to/article_0963cac0-1bd6-11e2-943d-001a4bcf6878.html

some more context.

Austin said...

haha, wow, if that article is accurate then he is doomed as a pro.

Tennis5 said...

Couldn't resist -
“It’s a challenge sometimes to get him to practice most of the way our American kids practice," Diaz said.

AustinTennisLimits? said...

Austin you have such strong views about so much in tennis playing and coaching. Could you give us a little background on your expertise?

Fan of Austin said...

austin has been a loyal post writer and consistently writes posts that are educated and non-bashing unlike some other post writers on here.

Do not feel Austin needs to be the ONLY writer to post his background.

I do know there are some educated coaches and players who write on Colette's page and many college coaches and junior players read on this site as well.

Of course no one gets more attention than a Wayne Bryan letter, Jack Sock getting another wildcard, USTA mandatory 10U tennis rules or the USTA junior schedule/ranking system.

Open Your Ears Coach Diaz said...

While it's obvious that Singh's decision to quit the team at this stage of the season is outrageous, I have to say that now that the full story has come out and coach Manny Diaz has admitted that he did not even allow Singh to read his statement to him I am even more disgusted with Diaz’s behavior.

I have found that too few college tennis coaches are held accountable for their behavior and feel that they have so much power that they can treat their players like garbage and that there will be no consequences. They are mistaken. What would it have hurt Diaz to hear Singh's statement? First of all, Diaz might have been able to refute any misconceptions or misunderstandings that Singh had and might have been able to persuade Singh to stay with the team for a little while longer; for at least the team's sake. Maybe Diaz would not have been successful but now he’ll never know because he wouldn’t even let Singh SPEAK. Diaz’s statement that Singh's decision had already been made and that his plane ticket was already purchased is silly and nonsensical on its face. It just doesn't wash. Purchasing a plane ticket is not such an act that cannot be undone. For example, everyone knows that Singh could have just changed the date of that same ticket for a week or two later to go home to India after the NCAA’s. Purchasing a plane ticket is not such an irreversible act; it’s not like he cut off his hand or something.

Diaz's refusal to even LISTEN to Singh’s statement is consistent with a person who is stubborn, dictatorial and one who has poor communication skills. It appears that he is so used to having full control of his players that he lost his temper when he found out that one of his players has his own autonomy and free will and that the player’s decision can actually impact him. Diaz's behavior now has me rethinking that perhaps Singh DOES have some valid points with regard to how intolerable the situation was for him. My original instincts were blaming Singh 100% for this debacle, but now with this new information my mind is wide open.

Singh isn't the first guy to quit the team either, Campbell Johnson just transferred last year and has had a great season at Cal this year. Johnson was underutilized at UGA (I don’t think Diaz even played him in singles) and Diaz could have really used Johnson this year, especially now. These two players leaving their teams and the huge damage that those departures caused to the program are reminders to college coaches everywhere that there ARE serious consequences for their behavior. This also makes me very curious as to what Johnson's complaints about the program are and whether they are similar to Singh’s.

Diaz should have been more of the adult in this situation. Instead he acted like a child and placed his fingers in his ears.

To KU Singh: if you read this post, please post your 3 page statement either on Zoo Tennis or in the UGA or Athens Newspaper. I and many others would be very interested to hear your perspective and feedback even if Manny Diaz is not.

Austin said...


Said on several occasions, but will again. Played juniors, played some D-I in college(not top end), taught some when I was younger, worked for USTA. I use Austin, and always have, as my moniker because my employer would not want me using my full name. If anyone tried to post under this name they would be outed immediately, so you know it's always me. The two big misses I have had in evaluating players was Donald Young & Melanie Oudin, definitely thought more highly of them than their careers have shown, but pretty accurate on others as a whole, although it is trending toward me being wrong about Ryan Harrison too.

Also, I dont comment on here about players swings, movement, techniques, etc., I'm not an expert on that and frankly couldnt care less. I post about winning and losing and leave the b.s. at home. The USTA and their practices are of no concern to me either, so I rarely comment on it. When it comes to college tennis, I dont know who pays as much attention to all teams, not just their niche, as I do throughout the year, although I will say "Brent" is a very knowledgeable poster on college tennis as well and enjoy his insights.

In regard to Singh, you can tell about people/players based on their actions and how others perceive them. Immediately the people at Illinois commented they were not surprised "at all" by what he did. Diaz said he was a problem, and Diaz is one of those coaches his former players, for the most part, are extremely loyal to, that doesn't happen if he hasn't earned it. Another thing, top players transfer TO Georgia constantly, more than any other program I would be willing to say, very few transfer out, that says a lot, and I am not a UGA fan in the least.

Singh prioritized academics over tennis as a senior? Dont know any pros that do that right before they gear up to turn pro. Please do not take that as me not valuing graduating, I absolutely do. Do you know any successful pros with his work ethic that has been described from the multiple articles? I sure dont!

I do understand the point of view of the post about Diaz not letting him read the letter, I dont agree, but I do see that view. Here is what the rest of use see:

1) Singh has shown a selfish nature his entire college career as stated by people at both colleges he attended

2) a supposed senior leader quit on his teammates the week of the NCAA tournament for his own selfish reasons

3) plane tickets to India from Atlanta would be a small fortune on two days notice, it had been planned

Okay, enough about Singh and my thoughts and qualifications as a poster on here, time to focus on the tourney that starts tomorrow, still need to figure out my picks, cant wait!

Russ said...

I completely understand coach diaz's response. Why bother listening to a letter reciting a litany of rationales when he probably has already heard them all before. Even if Singh didn't have his ticket, why have a player who is quitting on the team before the biggest tournament of the year? And rather than being dictatorial, I thought coach Diaz screwed up by being flexible to a fault. By letting Singh practice the way Singh wanted to practice (see my earlier post "practice..." for link), coach Diaz undermined his own philosophy and team principles to keep a player happy. Those kinds of decisions often come back to bite you in the ass. Diaz, obviously, hoped he would get the "w" without paying too big a price. He gambled, he lost, and now he hopes to turn the event into an inspirational rallying cry for his team.

Austin said...

Very true. Honestly, I have been baffled at their season. Now they have a very good team, and showed it all year by winning the SEC regular season outright and the conference tournament, however, I just havent thought they were a top level team. Definitely underestimated them, and overestimated Texas A&M.

wi tennis said...

Hernus Pieters played 6, last year, for Georgia. Campbell Johnson wasn't good enough. He's a good player, but probably wanted to transfer to play. He's taken advantage of the opportunity! Good for him!

Bulldog said...

I agree with Open Your Ears. Singh may be a jerk but it couldn't have hurt for Diaz to at least listen to what Singh had to say. If Singh wrote 3 pages then he certainly must have put a lot of thought into it. Even if the information Singh gave him would not have helped Diaz keep Singh there, it might have helped Diaz learn something that could help him improve his program to prevent the next UGA player that becomes unhappy and wants to leave.

Also, Diaz admitted that Singh never mentioned leaving the program before so obviously there was new information in that statement. Even if 19 of Singh's 20 complaints were invalid, so long as even one was valid then Diaz might have learned something. It's obvious that Diaz just lost his temper and put his fingers in his ears. He couldn't bring himself to even listen. Wasn't Diaz in the least bit curious as to what Singh had to say? Seems very stubborn and immature to me. Also, horrendous management and communication skills like the vast majority of these college coaches who are not trained as managers like in the business sector, and it shows.

Hear No Evil said...

Johnson wasn't good enough?! Says who? Manny Diaz? The non-listener? Just because the coach seems to think so doesn't make it true. Diaz is not the Pope. And, now the evidence has come in and Diaz has been proven dead wrong. Johnson is now ranked 60th and Pieters is barely ranked at 116th.

Everyone assumes that these coaches know what they're doing and make the right decisions, and this is often not the case.

Too often what usually happpens is the coach is biased and he benches the player that he thinks is worse than the player he starts but the evidence that the benched player is the better one never comes to the surface because the benched player never even gets in the lineup to prove how good he is. Notice that usually the weaker player that starts is the one with a full ride (often, but not always, an international player) and the coach wants to justify his poor decision to give that player a full scholarship so he keeps "doubling down" by starting him and keeps benching the better player, despite the evidence to the contrary. Or the coach is so biased to prove his decision to award the full scholarship was the correct one that he probably makes himself believe that the full scholarship player is the better one, because he wants to believe this, and keeps starting him.

Most people assume that the coach knows what he's doing and that the starting player is the better player but sometimes the benched player has a chance to prove the coach wrong and Campbell Johnson obviously did just that this year. Johnson is playing in the NCAA singles tournament and it is Pieters who will be benched by the empirical evidence demonstrated in the rankings, not by the whims of Pope Diaz.

By the way, Johnson must have realized that he would have started at UGA this year with the seniors leaving but he decided to transfer anyway which indicates that he must have not liked the UGA program for other reasons as well.

This is not even the best example. A Notre Dame fan pointed out yesterday that the Washington coach keeps starting a player who has lost his last 8 matches in a row often by lopsided scores, but there are many other examples. Who knows how many additional examples we will never even know about because the benched player never gets a chance to prove himself.

Brent said...

I find it odd that Diaz wouldn't just listen to the full ramble of Singh's rationale but have little doubt that it would have changed any component of the outcome. Clearly, Diaz was on tilt from the cumulative total of this guy's selfish behavior. What is the possible explanation under which you would insist on stretching separately from your teammates? And no matter what Singh's frustration may have been with Diaz' approach, you DO NOT under any state of the world, leave your teammates at the altar like he just did. Singh's move is one of the most disloyal anti-teammate moves I can recall in my history of following team sports. 'Selfish' and 'stupid' would both be overly kind descriptions. The fact that someone is actually trying to defend him or paint him as some kind of freedom-fighter is beyond comical. UGA is not my favorite team but I will be cheering for them to bind together and rise up in this Dance.

5.0 Player said...

Brent said: "The fact that someone is actually trying to defend him or paint him as some kind of freedom-fighter is beyond comical."

Brent: I usually agree with you but this time I don't understand what you're talking about. Who is trying to defend Singh and characterize him as some sort of freedom fighter? Ever person on this blog who has criticized Diaz for not listening has acknowledged that Singh was a jerk to quit.

Tony said...

As a college coach, I find it amusing when people say that coaches play favorites and are biased towards one player or another. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Our job is to try and lead groups of young men and women and and instill in them good values, teamwork a good work ethic as well as a myriad of other things. Besides these values, WE WANT TO WIN! Plain and simple. Why would we put someone in the lineup that we don't think will ultimately help the team win? Maybe another college coach can enlighten me on that because it's something I have never considered nor will understand. In the case of Campbell Johnson, maybe he was homewick and just wasn't enjoying himself at UGA and that caused him not to play well. Notice he transferred to a school back closer to home (if he transferred somewhere equidistant to California this would be a different story). Or maybe the system and teammates he has at Cal are more compatible with him leading to his improvement. You see it all the time, some kids improve at certain programs, others get worse. There are a ton of reasons why and we can sit here and discuss them all day. Lastly, to Bulldog, I think it's very unfair to single out college coaches as "bad managers". As stated above, one main part of our job is to try and develop good tennis players but the other large part (sometimes bigger) is to develop better people. I've met plenty of managers in the "business" world who didn't know the first thing about managing different personalities. Rant complete.

russ said...

Singh's history and Diaz's gamble remind me of a fable. Perhaps you may have heard about the scorpion asking a frog to carry him across the river. The frog is afraid of being stung during the trip, but scorpion assures him that he would never do such a thing, because if he did, he would surely drown and die as well. The frog consents and begins to cross the river. Just before they reach the far shore, the frog is stung by the scorpion. "Why?" he cries out as he sinks into the water. "Because it is simply my nature," the scorpion replies.

Austin said...

Campbell Johnson is from California, maybe Athens, GA, which is WAAAAY different than the place he grew up, just wasn't his scene outside tennis. Don't forget these kids have lives away from the court which may matter more than playing time.

Not Amused said...

Tony- You seem to not understand that bias, by definition, is usually more of a subconscious thing, and less a conscious thing, that colors the coaches’ perception. Also, the coach has a vested interest in actually believing and demonstrating to the world that the player he gave the full ride to MUST be better than the player that walked on or the one that has the small scholarship. Usually, most of the decent players on a roster are close enough that this bias goes undetected and it is especially hidden when the benched player never gets in the lineup to prove himself. Another common thing that happens is that even if the coach sees that his full ride player is getting trounced in practice by the smaller scholarship or walk-on player, he will justify in his mind his decision to start the full-ride player by telling himself and those around him that the full-ride player has “more potential” (or must be better in match situations or he was just nervous or something like that) which is a lot of circular reasoning because that belief in “potential” is usually based on the coaches’ original decision to give that player the full-ride.

Examples of bias by coaches and scouts have been demonstrated in other sports as well. The book and movie “Moneyball” illustrates exactly how this sort of thing was rampant in major league baseball until recently and some of it probably still exists today. The scouts and coaches would often favor the player who was tall or ripped or the one whose time in the 100 yard dash was impressive. Conversely, they would usually ignore the player who was, for example, a little bit chubby despite the fact that the chubby player’s batting average was 100 percentage points higher than the “stud” and would favor the “stud” for some illogical reason such as the chubby player had a “bad body” or something. The scouts would often encourage Oakland A’s Manager Billy Beane to make an offer to the guy that seems more athletic and would justify their decisions by saying things like: “Trust me, this guy is a 5 tool player, he can hit and he has much more potential than the chubby player who has just been overachieving, the fat kid’s going nowhere.” The point of the book is that Billy Bean finally wised up and said: “You keep telling me that this guy can hit, but then why does his batting average keep indicating that he can’t hit? I’m signing the chubby player because the statistics don’t lie, they prove that he can hit, and who cares if he’s short and overweight, we’re trying to win at baseball, we’re not in the business of selling jeans.”

The other thing you need to realize is that just because a coach wants to win he doesn’t always make the correct decision and the examples are numerous. The scouts and managers in the 100 years of major league baseball illustrated in “Moneyball” were highly paid and highly motivated to win but that doesn’t mean that they always made the right choices.

I welcome you and any other college coach reading this blog to give us an example of an incident when you benched one of your full-ride players for a walk on for anything short of a situation where the full-ride player was a total disaster or had some sort of injury, drug problem or mental illness.


Not Amused said...

(Not Amused Part 2 Responding to Coach Tony)

Bulldog’s point about tennis coaches often being bad managers and bad communicators is not only that unlike most business managers they never received training for this sort of thing, but he was also trying to say that if some of these college coaches demonstrated these poor management and communication skills in the business world they would have either been forced to improve or they would have been fired. Unfortunately, college coaches tend to be pretty cloistered and are rarely held accountable for their behavior and poor decisions. I am told that the vast majority of Athletic Directors don’t even pay much attention to what’s going on with their coaches at non-revenue sports such as tennis and so, except for extreme cases, these coaches tend to keep their jobs and are never corrected despite their behavior.

And, finally, please spare all of us your sanctimonious clap trap about how you develop good young men. Every college coach seems to spout this sort of boilerplate and self-serving language which is just empty talk that anyone can claim but can never prove. And they often prove just the opposite. All of us who have had kids play college tennis have heard enough of this sort of used car salesman pitch.

A “very well-regarded” college coach made this same promise to my parents in the 1980’s about how he was going to “take care” of my older brother for them and used this exact same language about promising to make him not just a better tennis player but also a better young man and then he proceeded to treat him like garbage and forced him to play challenge matches with a broken foot and threatened to permanently move him down the line-up if he refused to play those matches injured. My brother was one of the best players on the team and had one of the top win-loss records his freshman year but the coach barely played him after his first year because he apparently didn’t like his long hair or that he was a little bit short and chubby or something. We should have realized that something was wrong when he beat every other player on the team in challenge matches but they still put him at #6 as a freshman.

Just like you and the major leagues scouts, this coach probably also wanted to win but his bias and irrational hatred for my brother was stronger than this desire and he had other players who were close enough to my brother’s ability that his team wasn’t hurt as much as it should have been. He probably justified in his own mind his decision to screw my brother over through some imaginary belief such as that my brother was a “bad seed” or didn’t have great “long range potential” or something else… you fill in the blank. I guess he wasn’t a “five tool” player.

I'm happy for you that you find this whole concept of bias and unfairness by college coaches so absurd and amusing. As a college coach I guess you don't have to worry too much about it because you call the shots. However, I can tell you that to this day my parents are not amused.

ahscoach said...

It boils down to the old saying, the player is not more important than the team. Go Dawgs! I admire the attitude. They competed in the indoors without him and finished 2 & 2 against some of the nation's best. They will not win it without him...but they will still be a tough match for most.

Business said...

That last post by Not Amused has to be one of the most powerful posts I've read on this Blog. I almost felt a tear come to my eye when I read about how the guy's parents felt when this coach in the 80's forced his brother play with a broken foot.

NA makes a lot of good points, but I particularly like the one about how the business sector holds employees to a higher standard than athletic departments.

Can you imagine if Coach Diaz was an officer of a corporation or the HR Director when the company's most talented executive resigned? You can be sure that the CEO or Board of Directors would want a report from Diaz as to why the guy resigned. Can you imagine if Diaz was in that role and responded: "Well he had a 3 page written statement but I refused to read it or let him read it to me, so I don't know because I don't want to know."

Again everyone seems to agree, including me, that Singh's decision to leave at this stage of the season was a total jerk move; but this does not at all justify Diaz's stubborn behavior in my opinion.

Tail Wagging the Dog? said...

Your team is the No. 3 seed in the country.
It's the week of NCAA tournament.
You have been working hard for months to get your team ready for this and the team CANCER walks into your office (plane ticket in hand) wanting to read you a 3-page letter with his grievances. HELLO??? I can't believe all the anti college coach stuff I'm reading here. I think some of you are projecting how you feel about another coach you've had a bad experience with (Not Amused?)onto Manny. I think Manny actually showed a little restraint here.

Brent said...

5.0 Player, I was referring to the poster 'Open Your Ears Coach Diaz'.

Looking forward to the matches starting tomorrow so we can talk about play on the court and not this ridiculous behavior off of it.

ahscoach said...

It appears that Diaz was going to bench KU for this weekends matches in Athens due to too many missed practices (basically a team rules violation). He was then available to play the rest of the tourney. KU had been trying to catch up on his classwork that he had missed during the season. He was taking an incredible 28 hours. When Diaz decided to sit him for the weekend KU felt it was unfair and then quit instead of taking the discipline, pulling for his teammates and then try to help them win a title if they made it to Illinois for the championships.

5.0 Player said...

Brent- I don't know how you missed it but the first sentence of the "Open Your Ears Coach" message reads:

"While it's obvious that Singh's decision to quit the team at this stage of the season is outrageous, I have..."

So even this poster was against Singh's behavior and was not characterizing him as a "Freedom Fighter." He just wanted to hear what Singh had to say even though Diaz did not.

No hard feelings though, I still like you and I've also made similar mistakes on this blog. I agree that it will be nice to talk about the matches tomorrow rather than all the drama.

Hear No Evil said...

Tail Wagging the Dog- With all due respect, your post makes no sense. You seem to be saying that Singh's statement for why he is quitting the team is cancerous like it's contagious or something to even listen to it or read it. Are you saying that Diaz is so fragile that it would harm him to listen for a few minutes?

If Singh was trying to read his statement to the entire team then perhaps I can understand some concern that it could hurt player morale, but it was only the coaches who were talking to Singh in their office and Diaz is supposed to be the adult. He should have been able to handle it.

Tail Wag said...

Hear No Evil - That's not what I was saying. When I wrote the team "cancer" that's a common term for a selfish player who can tear a team apart through the course of the season. KU was a cancer on this team for his actions throughout the season. I certainly know Manny could have handled hearing it - he's seen and heard it all over his coaching career. I think he was just over trying to placate his star.
Also - I find the analogy to a business environment a few have made to be inaccurate. Many a successful CEO (manager, etc) would not be all ears for someone 35 years his junior (with obnoxious behavior throughout the past year+) asking to read aloud his issues with his/her treatment, etc. Sure, some would be, but the business world is a far less sympathetic world than the college tennis world.

The Dude said...

Many college coaches exhibit a control freak mentality in college tennis, it's their way or the highway. They run their team with an iron hand in terms of practice time commitment and dogma. They tend not to make any accommodation to any player because they want their players committed to the team and disregard their academic requirements. We have all seen great players quit good tennis teams. This is prevalent in the Ivy's where great juniors want to focus on academics first, the tennis team second. Many an Ivy coach cannot accept the players priorities and then it becomes a test of wills. The player is benched because he wants to study for midterms and didn't attend the "required" number of practices the coach demands. The player then realizes that complying with the coach will jeopardize the student' grades and his ability to get a job in this difficult economy.

It is inexcusablefor Diaz to not hear out Singh's statement privately and I view it as his authoritarian management of the team. Wouldn't it be better for the team to discuss with Singh and allow him some leeway so Singh could contribute to the team's NCAA tournament play?

As a parent I have seen my son's coach play his personal bias treatment to the detriment of the team. My son was the team's #1 recruit and the coach would stack the practice matchups to sort where he wanted players to play. It is easy to do. He beat everyone in the lineup but was benched for coach's personal reaons that he attended fewer practices. The coach was ineffective and the team was dysfuntional and the team players went to the A.D. two years in a row to request his removal. The A.D. rehired for a one year extension much to the frustration of the players. My son then quit the team with a resignation letter to the coach and the co-captias stating that he wanted to focus on school work and wished the team well. He made no complaints and no dirty laundry. The spiteful coach at the next practice told the team that my son quit the team but it wasn't a loss because he was going to kick him off the team this week anyway! We have all seen these types of coaches. After 3 years in the cellar, the coach was fired and couldn't get another college stint and the school newspaper outed the coache's passive agressive conflicts under this coach. My son rejoined the team and played for the new coach the following year.

If Singh had to catch up with his academics and missed some practices, why couldn't Diaz give him a break for the better of the team. With Singh wins, it didn't seem to affect his tennis. Why all the conflict in front of the NCAA tourney?

HooSC said...

The Dude,

You seem to be generalizing your situation onto this current one.
Ask yourself, why has no other player come to Singh's defense or even wished him well publicly? Why has Georgia seemingly played inspired tennis in the NCAAs, including yesterday's win over OU. They don't seem to be acting like a team emotionally reeling from the loss of it's best player or possibly team dissension.
One could argue that they are even overachieving at this stage.

Finally, if Diaz really ran his program like you potentially imply, wouldn't we have heard other stories in his 20+ year coaching career?

Certainly, there are coaches out there such as you suggest, but to make a sweeping generalization that Diaz is one of these based on the fact that he had heard enough and didn't need to listen to Singh's reasons is over reaching.

Ask yourself, what coach (in any sport) on a national title contender doesn't try to talk his best player (and a top ten ranked guy) out of quitting the team in this situation? Obviously, there is more going on. One could argue that we should be giving Diaz credit for taking a stand and moving on. He knows that his team has no chance to win the Title without Singh. Yet, Diaz would rather have his guys play as a united team and know he will lose at some point than accommodate one individual and potentially win it all.