Loeb, Chirico Win Three-setters in Wimbledon Junior Debuts, US Boys Go 0-3; Wall Street Journal On Why Tennis Pros' Kids Don't Choose Sport
All the US men exited Wimbledon before the third round, and a similar pattern is taking place in the boys championships, with all three American boys who played today losing their first round matches.
As in the senior tournament, the US girls are doing better. Sloane Stephens and Serena Williams advanced to the fourth round with win today, and Jamie Loeb and Louisa Chirico, both playing at the All England Club for the first time, picked up wins in the the girls championships.
Loeb defeated Victoriya Lushkova of Ukraine 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-3 to advance to the second round, overcoming a rough stretch in the middle of the match where she lost five straight games. Leading 4-2 in the second set, Loeb failed in her two chances to take a 5-3 lead, and was broken at love in her following service game to lose the set. Lushkova held to open the third set, and Loeb saved a break point to make it 1-1, then broke in the following game. The 18-year-old from New York found herself in the same situation in the third set as she was in the second, with a 4-2 lead, but this time she held for 5-3 and then broke Lushkova at love to take the match. Loeb will play No. 10 seed Camila Giangreco Campis of Paraguay in the second round.
Chirico, the No. 15 seed, won her first match on grass, defeating Helen Ploskina of Ukraine 6-3, 1-6, 6-2. Chirico was up 5-1 serving for the match when she was broken, but she broke right back to secure the victory. She will not play again until Tuesday, with her opponent the winner of the Petra Uberalova and Maia Lumsden match. Uberalova was in the Roehampton doubles final on Friday, so she was not scheduled to play on Saturday. No. 5 seed Taylor Townsend, Johnnise Renaud and qualifier Dasha Ivanova will play their first round matches on Monday.
Noah Rubin lost a tough match to Luke Bambridge of Great Britain, falling 3-6, 6-4, 9-7. Rubin was down 3-1 in the third, got the break back for 3-3, but had more trouble than Bambridge holding serve down the stretch and was finally broken to give Bambridge an 8-7 lead. With Bambridge serving at 40-0 in the final game, Rubin saved two match points, but not the third, and Bambridge got the only win among the four British boys in action on Saturday. Spencer Papa lost to Hyeon Chung of Korea 6-3, 6-2 and Luca Corinteli fell to No. 10 seed Johan Tatlot of France by the same score. Stefan Kozlov is now the only US boys still alive, and he will play his first round match on Monday against British wild card Joshua Sapwell.
Eight boys seeds were in action today, with two losing: No. 16 seed Wayne Montgomery of South Africa lost to Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia 6-3, 6-3 and No. 12 seed Maxime Hamou of France lost to Stefano Napolitano of Italy by the same score. The only girls seed to fall in Saturday's first round action was No. 7 Katy Dunne of Great Britain, who lost to Ioana Ducu of Romania 6-2, 6-2.
The doubles draws have been released and Taylor Townsend will not be defending her title. The other four US girls are in the draw, all playing with non-US partners. Renaud is partnering qualifier Kyoka Okamura of Japan, Loeb is playing with University of Georgia freshman Ayaka Okuno of Japan, Ivanova is paired with Katherine Ip of Hong Kong and Chirico is playing with Alejandra Cisneros of Mexico. Chirico and Cisneros are the No. 6 seeds. Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic are the top seeds.
The ITF junior doubles seedings rarely make any sense, but they do this year, with US Open and French Open boys champions Kyle Edmund of Great Britain and Frederico Silva of Portugal at the top of the draw. Defending doubles champion Nick Kyrgios of Australia is not seeded with his partner Thanasi Kokkinakis, whose ITF ranking is too low to get them a seed.
Martin Redlicki, who fell in the final round of qualifying, did get into the doubles draw, and his is playing with Serbia's Laslo Djere. Papa and Kozlov are playing together, and Rubin is again with Clement Geens of Belgium after reaching the semifinals of Roehampton together. They are seeded No. 6. Corinteli is playing with Mexico's Lucas Gomez.
The draws can be found at the Wimbledon website.
Simon Cambers' article for the ITF junior website is here.
If you didn't see the link to this Wall Street Journal article in one of the comments yesterday, take a moment to read it. Tom Perotta explores the dearth of second generation tennis players in the professional ranks. Why don't top tennis professionals encourage their children to aspire to follow in their footsteps? Lindsay Davenport and Tracy Austin give their thoughts, with Davenport saying, "Junior tennis, it's rough. People cheat, you get yelled at by other parents. I saw a dad walk on court and smack my opponent with an open hand, right in front of me. The sport beats up a lot of players."
Austin, whose children do play, says, "Tennis is too hard. It's so much more time-consuming than baseball, lacrosse, all these other sports. You cannot take a week off. The drive has to be so strong, the fire. Nobody was going to stop me."
The isolated nature of the sport, the desire for their children to find their own path and earn their own spotlight, the nomadic lifestyle, all are reasons top pros give for not encouraging such a career path for their children. But many have children who play. Chris Evert's sons did, so did Pat Cash's son, Bjorn Borg's son and Brad Gilbert's son, just to name a few. The fact that they didn't go on to be Top 100 in the world just re-emphasizes what those of us close to the sport, including members of that elite club, know--it's incredibly difficult to do.