UCLA Women, Southern Cal Men Take Top Spots in ITA Rankings; Loeb in College Spotlight; New Academy in Charleston SC; Do British Players Need to be Hungrier?
As expected after the Southern Cal men's win over UCLA and the Duke women's two losses, the new ITA rankings have two new No. 1 teams. Southern Cal has moved past Ohio State and is now the top-ranked men's team, while UCLA has moved into the women's top spot, with Duke falling to No. 6.
The men's rankings didn't change much except for that shuffle, with Texas A&M moving from 11 to 8 by virtue of their SEC conference tournament title. In the always important area around No. 16, on or above which a team will host an NCAA regional, Clemson has moved up to 16, with Cal, who lost to Stanford over the weekend, dropping to 19.
The men's Top 10:
1. Southern Cal
2. Ohio State
8. Texas A&M
9. North Carolina
For the Texas College Tennis blog's rankings, click here.
In the women's rankings, Georgia moved from No. 6 to No. 2 after winning the SEC team tournament, and Cal moved from 10 to 4 after beating Stanford. The Clemson women, who beat both Duke and North Carolina over the weekend, moved into a hosting position, going from 17 to 12.
The women's Top Ten:
5. Texas A&M
These are the last ITA rankings released before the NCAA selection show, which is scheduled for April 29, at 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time for the men and 5:30 p.m. EDT for the women, on ncaa.com. The rankings provided to the NCAA committee will be released by the ITA on May 1.
In the individual rankings, Jamie Loeb of North Carolina and Clay Thompson of UCLA continue to hold down the No. 1 positions. Loeb is the subject of the USTA's College Spotlight, where she answers questions about her decision to go to college, her expectations prior to joining the Tar Heels and her goals for this year, which include NCAA titles, both team and individual.
The women's Top Ten in singles:
1. Jamie Loeb, North Carolina
2. Robin Anderson, UCLA
3. Kristie Ahn, Stanford
4. Julia Elbaba, Virginia
5. Hayley Carter, North Carolina
6. Lauren Herring, Georgia
7. Beatrice Capra, Duke
8. Cristina Stancu, Texas A&M
9. Jenny Jullien, Saint Mary's
10.Emina Bektas, Michigan
The men's Top Ten in singles:
1. Clay Thompson, UCLA
2. Julian Lenz, Baylor
3. Marcos Giron, UCLA
4. Mitchell Frank, Virginia
5. Guillermo Alcorta, Oklahoma
6. Axel Alvarez, Oklahoma
7. Peter Kobelt, Ohio State
8. Jared Hiltzik, Illinois
9. Nik Scholtz, Ole Miss
10. Ray Sarmiento, Southern Cal
Sarmiento and Yannick Hanfmann have taken over the No. 1 spot in men's doubles, with UCLA's Jennifer Brady and Robin Anderson retaining the top ranking in women's doubles.
Complete rankings can be found at the ITA website.
I received a press release today announcing a new tennis academy for the Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston, South Carolina. Beginning July 1, Jeff Wilson and Bryan Minton's MWTennis will take over for Instinctive Tennis Academy, offering beginner, after-school, adult and high performance tennis, as well as fitness and nutrition instruction. In addition, Michael Joyce, who was Maria Sharapova's coach for seven years and has been recently working with Jessica Pegula, will become Director of Professional Tennis at the academy. The complete release can be found here.
The LTA's Michael Downey, recently hired to head the British tennis federation after working for many years at TennisCanada, spoke about the need for more urgency from Great Britain's coaches and players according to this article from the Daily Mail.
"'Does the average coach know what it takes? Does the average prospect know what it really takes?' he asked. 'We need to make them hungrier. We are competing with countries where it’s about getting to a better life, and that provides a different level of fight, but we do have a lot of talent out there. We have to let the talent exceed expectations."
Can you make someone hungrier? To me that seems more an internal engine than an external one, but it will be interesting to see what form the LTA's attempts to do it take.