Kozlov Wins Tournament for Delray ATP Qualifying Wild Card; Futures and Challengers as Unpaid Internships; Vazquez, Akkerman Join Tar Heels; Jenkins, Gibbs in AO Wildcard Playoff
Fifteen-year-old Stefan Kozlov defeated Spencer Papa 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 today in the finals of a wild card tournament for a place in qualifying at the February ATP event in Delray Beach. Unlike other wild card tournaments, this one was not small, with a 256-draw requiring two matches a day. Held on clay, the wild card tournament not only resulted in a place in the qualifying draw next February, but it was also undoubtedly excellent preparation for the Eddie Herr Grade 1 next week, which both Papa and Kozlov have entered.
Complete draws can be found at the TennisLink site.
The Challenger Tennis blog has an important article today on a well-known, yet as still largely unaddressed issue of the huge financial obstacles faced by those playing Futures and Challengers. Examples of the inability of tennis to provide a decent living to those ranked in the 150-300 range are abundant, and there are links to some of those in the post. The ITF really must do something about the $10,000 Futures which haven't raised their prize money in 15 years. As former ATP top pro and now coach Magnus Norman told me last year: "They’re increasing the prize money all the time for the ATP and WTA for the best players in the world, which is good, because they sell the tickets, sell the media, but they should think about the future generation a little bit more."
A few more signing announcements have come out this week. For the men, Northwestern announced its signing of Logan Staggs; Wisconsin announced its signing of Lamar Remy and Josef Dodridge; North Carolina signed Robert Kelly.
The North Carolina women announced the addition of Marika Akkerman and Cassandra Vazquez. For more on Vazquez's commitment see this article from Tennis Recruiting Network.
The full fields for the USTA's Australian Open wild card playoff have not been released, but the USTA Public Relations account tweeted today that 2013 NCAA champion Nicole Gibbs and 2013 NCAA singles finalist and doubles champion Jarmere Jenkins have been invited to compete.