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Saturday, January 3, 2015

USTA National Collegiate Team Starts 2015 with Training Camps

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
Amritraj believes the former collegiate players who have spent time at Carson during the off-season, including Austin Krajicek, Chase Buchanan and Tennys Sandgren, who are pictured above, have been instrumental in mentoring the collegians as they prepare for professional careers.  Amritraj, who will be traveling to Australia later this month, also mentioned Sam Querrey's Carson training sessions, saying he believes the No. 2 American, now working with USTA Lead National Coach Tom Gullikson, is poised for a big year in 2015.

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.


India said...

I don't understand why the USTA chose Stephen Amritraj to be the coach of the National Collegiate Team. First of all, he left the US to represent India as did his cousin, Prakash. Aren't there about 1,000 other former US players who reached a ranking of 973 (Amritraj’s highest) or better on the ATP tour who would like this job? And, what makes anyone believe he has any coaching ability?
As for Amritraj’s statement that he “believes the former collegiate players who have spent time at Carson during the off-season, including Austin Krajicek, Chase Buchanan and Tennys Sandgren…have been instrumental in mentoring the collegians as they prepare for professional careers,” that sounds like a load of crap that a spokesman would say only because it sounds nice. Those guys are struggling to survive on the tour themselves, so why should they help their up and coming competition who can take food off their table? If the statement is true, then I advise them to concentrate on their own development. Maybe Andy Roddick could be expected to mentor someone because he “made it” but the USTA should be helping these guys, and the collegiate team players, and shouldn’t expect these struggling tour players to do that job for them.

Typical said...

American who gave up his US citizenship to become a citizen of India is in charge of something involving USTA training. Sounds about right.

Scratch my back said...

Perhaps a few main draw entries (dollars) for those helping out to make the struggle of 2015 a little less painful.

Begs the question said...

Why couldn't this job go to an America?

Colette Lewis said...

Just to clarify, although Amritraj did represent India on the pro tour, he never gave up his American citizenship to become a citizen of India. He is only a citizen of the United States of America.

The truth said...

Yeah it is not unusual for that to happen. This readership doesn't know much about international tennis and how these things work. He probably played Davis Cup for India because he had duel citizenship. India probably paid him money to play. These people need to get a life and stop spreading bad rumors. If you know Stephen this guy loves everything about American tennis. He is a great ambassador of the sport.

Shows his citizenship as India, he might want to correct it. said...


Weird still said...

He represented India on the pro tour, but is a US citizen? Ok... like half and half.

The truth said...

No you can change who you represent with the ITF. He can have dual citizenship and choose to represent India with the ITF. KInd of like Mayo Hibi and Dominique Schaefer. They have dual citizenship but choose to represent a different country in international competition. Are you getting it now.......?

No, I don' t get it said...

As an American, I would want to represent my country.

The Small Lebowski said...

Here's an idea to speed up college matches without resorting to no-ad scoring: eliminate sitting down on every changeover.

Seriously, is it necessary to sit down on every single changeover? I can understand at the end of a set, but every single changeover?

Just switch sides. Take a quick sip of water, towel off for the 500th time and get on with it.

Even at the Futures and Challenger level and also for juniors; if it's not on TV or if it isn't necessary to move fans in and out of stadiums without distracting play too badly, why sit down on every single changeover?

Keep the action moving. Anyone else?