|Photos of each team's eight competitors were posted today|
©Colette Lewis 2014--
The second day of the USTA Spring Team Championships was similar to the first, with beautiful weather, two-a-day practices and team bonding.
Several of the teams developed huddle cheers to use prior to their matches, and a few coaches set up scrimmages with other teams to get their players ready for the competition.
After the first boys practice and before the girls first practice, an extremely well-attended player meeting was held with the topic of sportsmanship the focus.
USTA Director of Junior Competition Lew Brewer opened the meeting by asking for a show of hands from those who had received a bad call during a match. Predictably, most hands were raised, but when he asked how many had given their opponents a bad call, only a few confessed. Brewer went on to make the point that everyone makes mistakes, and not every bad call is evidence of cheating. But he emphasized that in the majority of USTA junior matches, the player must rely on his opponent, and reminded his audience that the Golden Rule was an excellent model for all players to use.
Brewer then asked 18s competitor Jessie Aney to read the new USTA Junior Player Promise to the group, with the Olympic oath mentioned as an inspiration for it. Brewer said this will be a part of every National Championship beginning this year, and hopes that it becomes a part of sectional play as well.
I recognize that tennis is a sport that places the responsibility for fair play on me. I promise to abide by the rules of the game, which require me to give the benefit of the doubt to my opponent. At all times, I shall strive to compete with the true spirit of sportsmanship, recognizing that my behavior on the court is a direct reflection of my character. Whether this match ends with my victory or defeat, I promise to conduct myself in a way that honors my opponents, my team, those who support me, and the game of tennis.
The 32 national coaches, most of whom are affiliated with USTA Regional Training Centers, have been asked to lead their teams in reciting the promise before matches begin on Monday.
In the next part of the meeting, former Davis Cup captain and current USTA National Coach Tom Gullikson spoke about the concept of sportsmanship at the highest levels of the game. Gullikson asked who the ATP sportsmanship trophy is named after, and was suitably impressed when one of the older competitors in the tournament responded with the correct answer--Stefan Edberg. Gullikson spoke of Edberg, his career and his new coaching arrangement with Roger Federer, who was the first and nearly only choice of the audience when asked for the game's current top sportsman or sportswoman.
The first matches begin with the boys, at 8:30 am CDT. All eight dual matches will be played at the same time. Four doubles matches will be played, followed by the four matches in the 18s and 16s, then the four matches in the 14s and 12s (this schedule is for the first day only). At 1:30 pm, the girls take the court with the same schedule.
Obviously, it will be difficult for me to cover all eight matches (I struggle with two at NCAAs and Team Indoors) and to know when a match is critical. Say what you will about the college format, when it comes down to the last match on at 3-3, everyone knows what the score is and what's at stake. Here, with 12 points on the line, not seven, a team may know they will win if they have a 6-5 lead, but with a formula needed to decide who wins the match if it's 6-6, the true sudden death element that you find in college tennis is not possible.
The results should be available at the TennisLink site, but I will try to tweet them as soon as I can confirm them.
As of now, the girls lineups are available on TennisLink by choosing the "Select a Flight" option. I'm sure the boys lineups will be available soon.