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Monday, April 7, 2014

Indian Wells Tennis Garden Wows Easter Bowl ITF Competitors

Cameron Klinger plays Austin Rapp on Court 4 Monday morning

©Colette Lewis 2014--
Indian Wells, California--

Only weeks after the Indian Wells Tennis Garden hosted the best players in the world at the BNP Paribas Open, the spacious venue welcomed participants in the ITF Grade B1 Asics Easter Bowl for the first time in the tournament's 10-year history.

The juniors who played on the 16 stadium courts and practice courts used for this week's event were suitably impressed.

Cameron Klinger, who was assigned to the tournament's Stadium Court--Court 4--because he was playing local entrant Austin Rapp, was impressed.

"This is an amazing site, I wouldn't want to have it anywhere else," said Klinger, who attended the BNP Paribas Open in 2013, and played a few matches at Indian Wells when it was used as an auxiliary site for younger age divisions in years past. "Just a few more umbrellas and it would be great," said the 16-year-old from Sacramento, who defeated Rapp 6-3, 2-6, 6-3. "But yeah, I love it here. It got a little hot at the end there, but I like heat, so no complaints from me."

Tournament director Lorne Kuhle, who took over the tournament in 2013, is responsible for the move to Indian Wells and he credits CEO Ray Moore and BNP Paribas tournament director Steve Simon for making it happen.

"I've had long relationships with them, and it was my dream that we could come here," Kuhle said. "I took it over at such short notice last year and we crammed it in at Sunrise (Country Club) and we got the job done, but it isn't even close to the opportunities and the potential the Tennis Garden offers."

Kuhle believes playing a major junior event at a professional venue is important for their growth as tennis players.

"These kids are preparing to go into the big leagues now, so let's give them a taste of what it's really like," Kuhle said. "We made sure we had the badges and the scoreboards. It's like a high school baseball team playing at Yankee Stadium. This is a big deal, I think, for the kids. We've got a radar gun going. You feel like you're at a pro tournament when you're here, I think. I'm not playing, but I would think you do."

No. 5 seed Olivia Hauger, who had a breakout tournament at another world class tennis venue, reaching the quarterfinals at the Australian Open Junior Championships in Melbourne back in January, had nothing but praise for her experience Monday.

"It's great, it's very impressive," said the 16-year-old Hauger, who defeated Ndindi Mwaruka 6-1, 1-6, 6-1 in her first round match in the 92 degree afternoon heat. "I like the courts a lot and there's a great vibe to it. You can see tennis courts in both directions going so far, it's really cool."

Cool as in great, not cool as in the temperatures Brienne Minor left behind in Chicago as she played in her first tournament since February.

"It's definitely tough," said Minor, a junior who has verbally committed to the University of Michigan for 2015. "Not only did I come from the cold and playing indoors for so long, but I haven't played a tournament in a while, so I haven't gotten a lot of match play."

Minor managed to stay on the court against Sophie Chang for three and a half hours in the searing heat, but she lost  6-3,5-7, 6-4. That result didn't dampen her enthusiasm for her first visit to Indian Wells.

"I thought, wow, a bunch of pro players played here," said Minor. "Wow, there's like a million stadium courts. It's really overwhelming, but it's nice playing here."

Minor's coach Mark Bey believes the opportunity to play on courts designed for professionals is important for juniors' development.

"I think developmentally it's wonderful to have the kids play on the big courts with all the space in the back, so they can learn how to retrieve and play a court from a different visual perspective," said Bey, who said court conditions and weather conditions also provide learning experiences for juniors.  His only regret?  That the Chop House and Nobu restaurants, popular new additions this year at the BNP Paribas Open, weren't open.

Thirty-six of the 64 first round matches were completed on Monday, with the boys draws featuring the only losses by seeded players.  Jean Thirouin defeated No. 16 seed Oscar Janglin 6-2, 6-2; Rafael Lenhard downed No. 9 seed Ulises Blanch 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 and Christian Garay beat No. 10 seed Julian Zlobinsky 6-3, 5-7, 6-0.  Top seeds Francis Tiafoe and Henrik Wiersholm play their opening matches on Tuesday, as do girls top seed Sofia Kenin, No. 2 seed Usue Arconada and Carson International Spring Champion CiCi Bellis, the No. 4 seed.

For complete results and Tuesday's order of play, see the TennisLink site.

The 12s, 14s, and 16s do not begin play until Thursday under the new USTA junior competition revisions.


Wrong Direction said...

What has happened to Ryan Harrison? He barely qualified in Houston (down 1-6, 2-5) in last round to a player ranked 162 and today he lost to Donald Young 0-6, 1-6.

He has really taken a turn for the worst when he moved to Boca Raton and the USTA started coaching him last summer. His old coach got criticized for the job he did but Diego Moyano has been with him for a couple months now and Ryan is struggling to win matches and his progress has significially declined ever since.

His dad needs to be back with Ryan. Only coach who has had success with him.

Ryan is a great kid but this shows you that bad coaching does affect good players. Ryan is playing the wrong style and is being trained the wrong way.

SeminoleG said...

Would've loved to be there, BUT hotels @$300 a night the cost for Jr event is ridiculous. Mobile was cost effective, Palm Springs for USTA Jrs outrageous. Great kids get to see Indian Wells but @ what cost. USTA needs to consider the economic impact the selected locations will have. My bud just found out kids split locations and not @ Indian Wells.

Feedback said...

Ryan Harrison - he continues acting like a brat and he is turning himself into a loser. It is a sickening lack of respect to address your father in public like he did. If I was his father I would not watch any of his matches ever again. Diego is a good coach but Ryan is turning into damaged goods. Bad head, bad attitude. No coach can fix that.

Palm Springs - difficult place to get to, expensive lodging and spread sites. The Music Festival doesn't help. Why do they continue to have it there is beyond comprehension. It continues to foster the idea that tennis is beyond the reach of a lot of folks. It is.

russ said...

Wrong Direction: I guess you haven't seen the video of Ryan telling at his Dad to leave at the Sony Open.

SeminoleG: The Best Western at $99 or the Holiday Inn at $129 too downscale for you?

SeminoleG said...

@ Russ
Where is a Best Western, or Holiday Inn for those prices this week? In Fresno! Lots of parents were scrambling and a few of our academy kids are spending $260 +.

More economic places need consideration. Just found out Clay Courts for 12s, @ PGA West Palm! At least moved from Polo n Boca but can't they find more economical locations.

ex-Jr. Parent said...

Your daughter does not have to play all these L1 G12-14 Supernationals. Their results do not mean too much. Save your money for when it really counts - G16-18. Jr. tennis is a journey that preferably should be filled with memories of many interesting places and IW is one of them.

Wrong Direction said...


I agree with you that Ryan is acting like a brat and terrible what he did to his father, who is a great coach.

So it is the USTA who is spending over 150K in Diego's salary and travel expenses to coach Ryan Harrison while he is acting like that? A good coach would not put up with that.

Lendl did great job handling Murray's mindset and behavior when he was with him. A good coach, especially who is not depended on Ryan's salary nor job security has the ability to change that. So, that falls on the coach and so far it has been headed in the opposite direction.

russ said...

SeminoleG: I just looked on Travelocity for the rates for 4/9/14 and found them. But after further research it seems as if this year's Easter Bowl coincides with the Coachella Music Fest so the rates skyrocket on the 10th and thru the weekend. That's a bummer because in all the times I've been to Palm Springs I never had any trouble finding a place for less than $175 a night even when I rented a two bedroom condo at the Rancho Las Palmas (which was the tournament site in previous years). So the problem isn't Palm Springs in my mind, but the timing of the event.

fan said...

There's a $70 motel at IW..

Colette Lewis said...

Not available for that rate after tonight.

Coach said...

Russ, that video is typical of so much that is wrong with the media..it only catches Ryan telling his father to leave the match. It makes it look as if his father had said or done something wrong....the truth from people who were there is that Ryan was yelling at the ball kids so badly, even swearing toward them that his father told him he was an embarrasment. Seems as though he is the only one trying to make Ryan grow up and hold him accountable for his behavior... This is probably a major factor in his lack of development since he quit working with his father a few years ago.. So many people say you shouldn't have parents coaching their children..obviously in this case it has been a disaster with his father not coaching him...his game has regressed significantly, attitude has regressed even more. Dogopolov went back to his father to get turned around now, so obviously in these cases "father does know best". He's not young any more so it looks like what he has now is what we will see for the next bunch of years unless like Dogopolov he grows up and goes back to his father..

Really pricey stuff said...

Our player spent many of the last few years at Rancho Las Palmas with coach during Easter Bowl and it was always at least $250+ a night for standard room. (Could of had budget hotel for $179 but when player is going to go deep or even win, you don't try to save and risk bad accommodations.) With travel expenses it was a $2000 event. That's tennis, particularly in Palm Springs. Add Carson on top of that for a financially painful couple weeks. But just one of many......cha-ching.

Igor said...

To really pricey,

Room rates are triple from two years ago.
I asked the manager and it was demand of the music festival. Very poor planning.

kayak said...

FYi….try VRBO.COM :)

russ said...

Coach, that may be true of the video having that kind of backstory, but by referencing the video I was only trying to show that the chances of Harrison getting back with his father may be slim. I also believe that Harrison is currently in much worse shape than he was a few years ago. I'm just not certain that his father is the answer to what ails him. Even when the father was the coach, Harrison's behavior and maturity were issues.

Coach said...

Russ, it all depends on Ryan. If he actually wants to be a top player he will listen to who he needs to regardless of who it is. Yes, he has always had a problem with attitude but his father kept it somewhat controlled. Now it is completely out of control. If his father isn't the answer then there probably isn't one. His strokes used to be smooth and his game had variety. That's all gone. Now it's one dimensional and predictable. The common denominator when his game was good and attitude controlled was his father.

Jeff said...

Harrison is no different now than he was in the juniors or at any other time of his life. Even when his father was coaching him. Next to Rhyne Williams he was the most abusive player out there. All this attention comes now that he seems to have hit a snag in his game. Karma is an awful thing sometimes.

Alex said...

Jeff, he hit a snag in his game a long time ago.. We are talking about his attitude. It's way worse now than ever. The abuse of ball kids, umpires, language has never been as bad as it seems to have gotten now. He is out of control.