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Friday, June 19, 2015

Hodge Hired as Associate Head Coach at Georgia; Fritz Receives Main Draw Wild Card into ATP Nottingham; Examinations of British Tennis Begin

Just a week after Will Glenn left his position as men's associate head coach at the University of Georgia, Bo Hodge has been named to replace him.  Hodge, an All-American at Georgia from 2001-2004, is leaving the same position at the University of Oklahoma, where he has coached since November of 2011.  Prior to that, Hodge was an assistant at the University of Alabama.

"It was a family decision to accept the associate head coach job at Georgia. I am from Athens and UGA is my alma mater. My wife and I are expecting a baby girl in November and we wanted to be closer to our families,” Hodge said in this release announcing his departure from Oklahoma.

In the release from Georgia announcing his hiring, Hodge again emphasized his interest in returning home.

"Being from Athens and playing at Georgia, it has always been a dream to come back and coach my alma mater. I also want to thank John Roddick and the University of Oklahoma athletic department. I spent the last four years at Oklahoma and learned so much from John. I'm so excited to wear the red and black again, and my wife and I are thrilled to return to the Classic City."

Taylor Fritz has received his first main draw wild card into an ATP event at next week's tournament in Nottingham. Fritz received qualifying wild card into the BNP Paribas Open in March and beat ATP No. 109 Dudi Sela of Israel 6-3, 6-0 in the first round before falling to ATP No. 125 Thiemo De Bakker of the Netherlands 6-4, 6-4 in the second round. 

In Nottingham, Fritz will face ATP No. 66 Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain in the opening round. The draw can be found here.  Connor Smith and Daniel Nguyen are in the qualifying draw, which unfortunately hasn't been posted on the ATP website yet, but is available via live scoring.

A few more Wimbledon wild cards have been given out and I've updated the post from yesterday.  Josh Meiseles of the ATP has tweeted that Denis Kudla, who is in the final of the $50,000 Ilkley Challenger tomorrow against Matt Ebden of Australia, will get the final men's main draw wild card if he wins. Ebden won last week's Challenger and already has a Wimbledon main draw wild card. Qualifying for Wimbledon begins Monday.

With Wimbledon just days away, the state of British tennis is again foremost in the minds of the media.  The BBC reported late last week that Mark Petchey, Andy Murray's former coach, believes the LTA National Centre, which opened in 2007, is a white elephant, with the money better spent on multiple small training centers rather than one big one. With the USTA's Lake Nona project underway, I'm sure they are paying close attention to what are perceived as the shortcomings of the LTA's National Centre in Roehampton.

Twenty-six-year-old David Rice is Great Britain's 12th ranked men's player at No. 421. (Jared Donaldson, the 12th ranked US player, is 158).  According to his current coach, he shouldn't be training at a multi-million pound facility with that ranking, which topped out at 283 in February of 2014.  In this article, the coach, Hamid Hejazi, explains his position, and Rice discusses why he thinks his previous high performance coaches were not getting the best out of him.

Twenty-year-old Katy Dunne, who received a Wimbledon qualifying wild card, feels she needs to leave the country to get the competition she needs, according to this article, although Dunne herself is not quoted. The article says Dunne needs sponsors in order to do this, although I can't imagine that the British No. 6 (at WTA 331) would not be providing her with funds for coaching and travel. (WTA No. 38 Varvara Lepchenko is the US No. 6).