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Monday, June 17, 2013

Six US Men Reach Second Round at Wimbledon Qualifying; 11 US Women Begin Qualifying Quest Tuesday; Edmund Wins First ATP Match; Wisconsin Hires West Virginia's Samara

Six of the ten US men who took to the courts of Roehampton today for the first round of Wimbledon qualifying will be back on Tuesday for the second round. No. 4 seed Wayne Odesnik, No. 6 seed Denis Kudla, No. 8 seed Tim Smyczek, No. 12 seed Rhyne Williams and No. 27 seed Bobby Reynolds all won in straight sets, as did unseeded Alex Kuznetsov.

Robby Ginepri withdrew before the start of play, and Michael Yani, Donald Young, Bradley Klahn and No. 2 seed Jack Sock all dropped their first matches.  Sock lost 6-2, 6-2 to Mischa Zverev of Germany, a disappointing loss for him after an impressive French Open run, but it was Klahn who is probably most upset this evening. Klahn had three match points against 19-year-old wild card Filip Peliwo of Canada at 5-4 in the third and again served for the match at 7-6 before falling 6-2, 2-6, 9-7 to the 2012 Wimbledon and US Open boys champion.

Peliwo, who plays Kudla in the second round Tuesday, described the zone he was in in the final few games of the match in this article about the day's qualifying at the Wimbledon website.

The women's first round of qualifying gets underway on Tuesday, with 96 players vying for 12 main draw spots.  The 11 American women in the draw are Julia Cohen, Grace Min, Irina Falconi, Jessica Pegula(14), Nicole Gibbs, Madison Brengle, Vania King(10), Samantha Crawford, Chiara Scholl, Shelby Rogers and Maria Sanchez(12).  Unlike the men, who all faced players from outside the US in the first round, Crawford will play Scholl in the opening round.

Cohen drew No. 4 seed Polona Hercog of Slovenia, Min plays Stephanie Vogt of Liechtenstein, Falconi faces Kateryna Kozlova of Ukraine and Pegula meets Cagla Buyukakcay of Turkey. NCAA champion Gibbs plays No. 7 seed Yvonne Meusburger of Austria, Brengle faces Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland, King drew wild card Lisa Whybourn of Great Britain, Rogers plays a former ITF World No. 1 junior in An-Sophie Mestach of Belgium and Sanchez faces Ana Vrljic of Croatia.

For qualifying draws, see the Wimbledon website.

Although he won a qualifying round at Wimbledon last year as a 17-year-old wild card, Kyle Edmund of Great Britain picked up his first official ATP tour win today in Eastbourne, defeating Kenny De Shepper of France 6-4, 6-4. Edmund, who received a main draw wild card into Wimbledon this year, one of only two British men to be so rewarded, is also still entered in the draw at the Wimbledon Juniors.   Edmund provides some thoughts on controlling his nerves in this article about his win at the BBC.

The University of Wisconsin announced Tina Samara as their choice to replace women's head coach Brian Fleishman, who resigned early last month. Samara spent two years at the University of West Virginia and was at Louisiana-Lafayette before that.  The Charleston West Virginia Gazette had published this article about her presumed departure prior to today's announcement from Wisconsin.


tennistom said...

An absolute headscratcher of a hire at Wisconsin. Her 3 year combined record at West Virginia was 16-47 with her best record coming in her first season at 8-14 (with players that were recruited by the previous coach!) West Virginia lost quite handily to teams such as Syracuse and Buffalo (not exactly college tennis powerhouses) but also finished the past season losing their last ten matches in a row! With a three year run like that, most people would be in line to get fired not a better job. It's known that Tina has a very strong playing background (multiple all-americans and national championships) but she has not shown any success as a head coach. I understand it's important to be a solid player in order to be a good coach but my question to everyone is at one point does coaching talent outweigh playing background and vise versa?

5.0 Player said...

That West Virginia coaching record is nothing short of a disaster.

Actually, I don't agree that you must have a great playing background to be a good coach. There are numerous examples. In fact, often the worst coaches are the good players who the game came too easy to so they can't help mere mortals.

I think Pete Sampras's autobiography sums it up the best. When he won his first US Open after he "noticed" that his serve speed suddenly jumped to 130 MPH during that tournament, he writes: "Don't ask me how" regarding the reason for his serve improvement. This doesn't give me much confidence that Pete could teach his serve to a player if he became a coach.

What usually happens is that people wrongly assume that great players can teach/coach and the hiring of this coach appears to be just one more example. The people who decided to hire her at Wisconsin were probably blinded by her playing record which is probably also why West Virginia hired her to begin with. How many more will make the same mistake?

rush to judgment said...

There are alot of dynamics that go into hiring coaches. People assume as they look at the record that they know the entire situation and pass judgment.

In a coaches first 3 years, especially at a school like West Virginia where the level is low, you are recruiting your own players and the players are not talented. Most importantly, is anyone aware how many girls she kicked off her team because of bad behavior or changing the culture of practice? That will probably explain her record in past couple years.

Samara did not get hired at a top university nor a tennis powerhouse. Maybe Wisconcin wanted someone who was discipline, had a great scholastic record, and ambitious while not concerned about becoming a Top 10 program. Also maybe they wanted a female coach. She does have a decent playing record.

I do not know the other applicants nor do I know if those applicants applied to get more money at their current school.

So many factors go into hiring but looking at only win-loss record for your first couple years at WVU doesn't mean too much - wisconsin tennis is not the NBA or a national powerhouse.

Barbwire said...

What a great opportunity for her. Tina is a great player & becoming a great coach. She respects her players & no B.S when it comes to her recruiting, (unlike 1 famous player who now coaches). She will go a long way & has a better chance in recruiting top players, (can't compare West Virginia to Wisconsin ). She will prove to be the right choice

tennistom said...

@ Rush to judgment I completely understand that there are a lot of factors that go into hiring a coach. But please name me 1 coach in major Division 1 athletics (basketball, football, hockey, baseball, tennis, etc.) that has ever been able to move up the ranks with such a paltry record. You can't because it's never happened. Fair or not, coaches at Division 1 schools are judged mainly by their win-loss record. I understand tennis is not looked upon in the same way major revenue sports like basketball or football are but athletic directors want all of their sports to be successful, which is we are seeing so many coaches forced to resign every summer. Lastly, @ 5.0 player I definitely agree with you that a good coach doesn't necessarily have to be a "great" player but they do have to be atleast a solid one.

rush to judgment said...


Why am i going to name you 1 division coach when you are refuting your own argument by adding football, basketball, baseball, the 3 potential money makers. I understand what you are saying and that would never happen to the above major sports - hiring a coach with a bad record. But we are talking about womens tennis.

We should be comparing college womens tennis with college gymnastics, golf, softball, volleyball etc. and
if you want to look college records in those sports that up, feel free , I do not have that much free time.

Coach Samara did clean house with her "bad apples" including her #1 player, so that does explain her record in only 3 seasons at an always terrible West Virginia program. She had the highest team gpa at both her previous schools (that is why all of these girls are school, right?), never got in trouble, knows what a National Championship feels like.

Like I said before, I have no idea about the other candidates (must not have been good)- she may have been the best one. She may have interviewed well - also Coach Van Emburgh may have given her a great recommendation.

The Top programs do mostly look at win-loss, but completely disagree with you by saying there are alot of schools who do not look at that. They want a clean program especially a non revenue sport and good academics.

We are talking about Wisconsin tennis - they have never been good or competitive. Why not fill it with a coach who has won a national championship, builds good character, holds her students accountable in the classroom?

Bar wire said...

This is womens tennis, it's below swimming ect. Relax tennistom, let her go and do her job & then judge. Honestly, who does to West Virginia to play tennis ???
At least , the players will want to go there & not deal with the former coach !!!

Tennis rocks said...

None of us know who applied or what the selection process was. I'm sure Tina Samara had a great interview but Wisconsin should do their homework as well. Not in any sport - revenue or not - do you get to move up with a dismal record like 16-47. How long do you get to live off your accomplishments (as a player) of almost 20 years ago. It is also worth noting that she quit the Georgia team during her senior year. You would think it's about time to start looking at what she accomplished as a head coach.
As to weeding out bad apples, the # 1 player mentioned in a previous post was recruited TWICE by Tina Samara! She coudn't field a full team because she dismissed players she recruited herself. On a side note, the most successful player in her tenure at WVU both on the court and in the classroom was the lone holdover from the old coach.
Maybe this is just another example that athletic director's just don't care about women's tennis.

College Tennis said...

Tennis rocks

Coach Samara quit the team her senior year because Coach Jeff Wallace would not let her miss one easy non-conference match to go play Fed Cup for Norway, something he agreed upon several months before. not surprising from Coach Wallace.

I do agree with everything you said in your post. Horrendous record and achieves a better job in a better conference. Does not make sense, but it seems everything is political.

Although I doubt the Atheltic director has anything to do with the hire except brief meeting with her and sign off on it. I'm sure his lower administrators did the research and hiring. Shows the current athletic directors interest in the sport.

been-there said...

I certainly wouldn't say that women's sports such as tennis are so low that they'd hire a bad coach, as if they don't care. Not at the high D1 level. Not in the least--they want to win a National Championship and are extremely intent in doing so. They may not have as many fans as football but womens' tennis is a bright spot (often academic) at the top schools. The ones I have been around have been intense, not 'oh well it's a girls sport'. Maybe at the lower D3 or D2 levels but not at the high D1 level. You had better win and you had better work hard. There is little sympathy for anything stopping you from playing hard-core tennis, and you need to win.

** Also, definitely would not say that b/c you were a good player that you are a good coach. Not at all, usually the opposite. The better you were, the worse you often are at communicating/teaching/understanding the kids you coach. You spent your life playing tennis by yourself, not doing social activities that teach you how to work w/ people.

Tennisfan said...

The schedule that WVU was playing prior to Samara's hire was a solid High School schedule at best. They may have had a winning record, but were never close to being ranked. The loses came due to a complete overhaul of the schedule which included the addition of a Big 12 schedule her last year. During that last year the wins were few, however, they beat Marshall for the first time in 15 years, Marquette for the 1st time in program history, and Rutgers who they hadn't beat since 2007. Her #1 doubles team, both recruited by her, beat Texas' #1 team who were ranked #19 in the nation. If you know college tennis, it takes more than the team W/L record to judge a coach in their first few years...

iLoveTennis said...

As a former player who played for Samara, It is very surprising for me to read these comments. I do not know what's the point of all of you of bringing her down and judging her based on a stupid win-loss record. Those who have played with and for her can and will support her work blindly. Unless you are one of those stubborn, lazy, mediocre and stuck up people (with whom I luckily did not have to deal with on my team), I can bet you did not have a good relationship with her and things did not work out so well. I witnessed Samara's hard work, received tons of advice that made me improve, not only on the court, but also made me a better person off the court. As a former player, I cant talk as a nationally ranked player, but I can talk as the team captain that I was and the value that Samara added to our time until I graduated. I can talk for my other teammates at this point and we are very thankful to her and her work. Even after a couple of years now, to the point where not only we bonded as a team, but thanks to her we bonded as a family. I will never stop being thankful to her. People who do not like the hard work, the struggle and sacrifices, will never bond with Samara because she knows a lot about tennis, but she doesnt know a whole lot about dragging people to work, begging people to give their best, nor does she know about having mercy for those who like the easy way. This was not the way she was raised, grew up, and her way of being.

former college tennis player said...

Based on the comments here it is clear folks on this board do not know much about high level athletics, either as a player or coach. And to suggest a DI BCS instiution wouldn't be thorough in its head coach hiring process - regardless of the sport - again speaks to ignorance. The stakes are too high in all sports at this level. I say give this coach a chance and see what she does...in four years you can judge based on the results of her players.

Tennisgrl said...

In response to some ofmTennistom's comments...

Check your facts. Minus the last 7-8 years, Wisconsin has actually had a very good women's tennis team. Top 25 in the 80s and 90s and top 40 in the early 00's. Multiple all-Americans. True not a Stanford or Georgia, but very respectable.

Some great players go on to become great coaches, some don't. Time will tell with samara. At least she's at a school that supports women's tennis financially and otherwise.

But at the end of the day it is up to the players...coaches don't win matches,molayers do.