Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Crawford to Florida; Catching Up on Other News

Blue chip Oliver Crawford has posted to his Instagram account that he has made verbal commitment to the University of Florida.  I admit to being surprised by this, not because it's Florida, rather because when I spoke to Crawford last week in Kalamazoo, he gave no indication he was close to making a decision.

Crawford, No. 5 in this week's Tennis Recruiting Network's rankings for the Class of 2017, was vague about what schools he was interested in.

"I don't know yet," Crawford told me when I asked about his college plans and whether he'd taken any unofficial visits. "I haven't taken any unofficials, I haven't done anything yet. Maybe I'll be looking at that later, because I'm not sure yet."

In other news that I've missed over the last several weeks, Jimmy Arias has been named assistant coach at the University of South Florida in Tampa.  The Sarasota resident, who was ranked as high as No. 5 on the ATP tour, has been working as a television commentator since retiring from professional tennis.  For more on Arias's background, see the South Florida website.

A couple of weeks ago, the USTA announced that Eric Butorac was retiring from professional tennis and would be joining the federation as Director, Professional Tennis Operations and Player Relations. NCAA Division III champion Butorac's unique path to the top doubles level of men's professional tennis is explored in detail in this feature article about the Butorac family published by the Rochester Minnesota Post-Bulletin.

Although no details have been released regarding participants or draw size, the ITA schedule for the upcoming collegiate season includes a new tournament, the Hall of Fame/ITA Grass Court Championships in Newport, Rhode Island, September 16-18, 2016.

The USTA Collegiate Team relies on the expertise of college coaches during the summer, and this article from the Decatur, Illinois Herald & Review provides a look at their responsibilities, with University of Virginia Associate Head Coach Dustin Taylor the focal point.

At the recent BB&T Open in Atlanta, Lisa Stone had an opportunity to talk with Reilly Opelka and his family about his junior career and his transition to professional tennis in this article at Parentingaces.com.

Although most of the talk about new tennis facilities in the United States have been centered on the USTA's campus in Lake Nona, Florida, a 60-court facility is now up and running in Rome, Georgia. This News-Tribune article explains how and why the project took eight years before becoming a reality.