I spoke with USTA National Coach Stephen Amritraj yesterday about the training camps scheduled for the National Collegiate team and about the off season training that he conducted at the USTA's facility in Carson, California.
The men's camp, which began on Monday, consisted of six participants: Virginia's Mitchell Frank, Georgia's Nathan Pasha and Austin Smith, North Carolina's Ronnie Schneider, UCLA's Mackenzie McDonald and Stanford's Tom Fawcett. A playoff was held for a main draw wild card into next week's new $15,000 Futures at USC in Los Angeles, with Fawcett winning that competition. (The other three wild cards went to Trojans Yannick Hanfmann and Eric Johnson and junior Taylor Fritz). Frank was already in the main and McDonald, next in, probably is in, as he isn't in the qualifying. Jason Cook, the former Miami and Pepperdine men's assistant, helped Amritraj run the camp, which was scheduled to help the players prepare for both the Futures and the upcoming dual match season. Not all those collegians invited to Carson were able to come, as some are competing at the Plantation Futures in Florida, also next week.
|photo courtesy Stephen Amritraj|
The women's collegiate training camp begins next week in Boca with USTA National Coach Anibal Aranda conducting it, with help from private coach Laurie Warder. The women participating are the University of Florida's Josie Kuhlman, Brooke Austin and Peggy Porter, who will begin training on Wednesday, and UCLA's Chanelle Van Nguyen, Robin Anderson and North Carolina's Jamie Loeb who will arrive later in the week. All are expected to play qualifying for the $25,000 Pro Circuit event in Plantation that kicks off the year January 12th. Because the women's tournament is a week later, and some already are missing school, no wild card tournament is planned, with Amritraj saying that matches at the qualifying level is the most productive place for the six attending the camp.
I asked Amritraj about Jennifer Brady, who had an outstanding few months on the Pro Circuit after taking the fall semester off from UCLA, and he said she is enrolled at school for the winter semester and at this time is not planning to go to Australia for qualifying, as she is still several spots out. She is next in line for a main draw wild card if Irina Falconi, who won the USTA's reciprocal wild card over Brady, gets in on her own ranking, but Falconi is currently seven or eight withdrawals from that.