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Monday, November 24, 2014

USTA Holds Playoffs for 2015 Nike Junior International Teen Tennis and Les Petits As Teams

The USTA has been conducting a playoff for spots on its boys winter 14-and-under team for many years now. Usually in November and December, a group of the top ranked players who turn 14 the following year are invited to compete in a Boca Raton tournament that will decide who will go to the major European winter tournaments in England (now the Nike Junior International Teen Tennis) and France (Les Petits As).  The number of players and the playoff system has varied over the years, but the spots are decided on the court, with usually one place reserved for a "captain's pick" after the Eddie Herr results are in.

In the past, the girls have been chosen without the benefit of a playoff, but this year they too had a competition to determine three of the spots of the four-player team.

According to USTA National Coach Eric Nunez, these were the results from the boys semifinals, with both finalist qualifying for the trip:

Leighton Allen def Govind Nanda  6-3, 6-2
Cannon Kingsley def Nathan Han  6-4, 7-5

Nanda defeated Han in a third place playoff and will also be included on the team.

The semifinals results in the girls playoff, courtesy of USTA National Coach Kathy Rinaldi:

Caty McNally def Tyra Hurricane Black 6-3, 6-2
Amanda Anisimova def Kacie Harvey 6-4, 6-3

Black defeated Harvey 6-3, 7-6(2) to join McNally and Anisimova on the team. The fourth player will be named later.


format change said...

Off topic but interesting in the context for the debate over college tennis format.

It's interesting to see how the very traditional game of cricket has managed to keep itself relevant by introducing alternate shortened formats in addition to the original 5 day format which is thriving as a result. Maybe something for tennis to think about.

Uh, ok said...

Cricket? Relevant?

George Opelka said...

The college "team" format is the X-Factor that makes college tennis relevant and exciting. Traditional scoring preserves the skill component of the game. No Ad scoring removes that 1 exciting see-saw deuce-ad game of the match and replaces it with a slot machine.

Scanlon said...

Cricket? Ten meals later and we have a winner. Even the longest college tennis ties require only a light snack and no more than one bowel movement.

It certainly helps to use a shortened format in order to attract top pro players to these exhibition matches – they don’t want to be out there grinding for 2+ hours in the off-season, unless the money is persuasive. But for the most part, these experimental formats like IPTL have major flaws.

Cumulative game formats are problematic because the match could essentially be over after 3 or 4 sets (matches) with one team having a 6+ game lead with, say, the marquee men’s singles still to come. It’s largely anticlimactic.

And they have an enforced “Shot Clock” of 20 seconds with a point penalty at risk. What happens after really long points when the players are gassed? In a normal match the chair umpire uses discretion there, which is entirely warranted. A 20 sec shot clock will only encourage shorter points and more risk-taking. Fans love seeing the occasional 30 shot rally, but they’re not likely to happen much with an enforced 20 sec shot clock. And good luck enforcing a shot clock, anyway. What happens if a server tosses the ball at the 20.5 second mark? Point penalty! What a nightmare to officiate.

And this 5 minute “Shootout” for a tiebreaker? That’s when you know the administrators are trying too hard. A standard 7-point breaker is one of the more exciting aspects of tennis, and I’ve never heard anyone complain that it’s too ponderous. You can play, what, about 7 total points in 5 minutes? If a player gets up a few points in this shootout, you’re going to see some serious soccer-like time-wasting, even with the point penalties.

And they have this “Power Point” option, called by the receiving player, which makes the next point count double. It makes it easier for the receiving player to break serve, just in case he’s having trouble through normal means, like using his talent. Nice touch. They forgot to add a “Mulligan” for the server.

No-ad, on its own, is a bad enough debasement of the sport, but this other stuff is just carnival tennis, worthy of the Royal Caribbean.

Tennis format. said...

If you care - cricket in the 70's was dying. The traditional 5 day test match ( yes that's 5 days with tea and lunch etc) was dying. The cricket purists decried the introduction of the 1 day game and then the even shorter 20/20 format but a strange thing happened. Fans came back to the game the really really REALLY long 5 day format came back to life. The notion of multiple scoring formats might save the college game. Just a thought.