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Monday, October 23, 2017

Eubanks Turns Pro; Junior Masters Draws Released Minus Taylor Johnson; ITF Grade 4 Begins in Atlanta; Donations Help with Black's Surgery

Georgia Tech senior Christopher Eubanks announced today that he was foregoing his final year of collegiate eligibility to pursue a career in professional tennis. The 21-year-old from Atlanta, currently 309 in the ATP rankings, was taking the fall off while he decided whether to return to Georgia Tech for his final dual match season.  When I spoke to Eubanks in New York, after the American Collegiate Invitational, he said he had 24 or 25 more credits to take before graduating.  Eubanks went 31-6 last year, reaching the NCAA quarterfinals and was twice a semifinalist at the National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in New York.  For comments from Eubanks and Georgia Tech head coach Kenny Thorne, see this article from the Georgia Tech website.  In a separate article, Eubanks conveys his thanks to those who have assisted him as a student-athlete.

The ITF Junior Masters begins Wednesday (tomorrow night here in the U.S.) with the round robin groups revealed today.  I hadn't noticed that American Taylor Johnson was no longer in the field, but apparently she withdrew some time ago, with Maria Osorio Serrano of Colombia replacing her.  That was revealed in this ITF article about Osorio, just two days after the Johnson article was posted. (There's a mistake in the Osorio article where it claims she is the youngest player in the field. She is older than both Whitney Osuigwe and Marta Kostyuk, although all three are 15 right now). The top two players in each group advance to the semifinals.

The girls round robin groups:

Group Liang:
Whitney Osuigwe(USA)
Elena Rybakina(RUS)
Maria Carle(ARG)
Sofia Sewing(USA)

Group Li:

Wang Xin Yu(CHN)
Marta Kostyuk(UKR)
Kaja Juvan(SLO)
Maria Osorio Serrano(COL)

The boys round robin groups:

Group Shuai:
Wu Yibing(CHN)
Jurij Rodionov(AUT)
Marko Miladinovic(SRB)
Emil Ruusuvuori(FIN)

Group Yong:
Axel Geller(ARG)
Sebastian Baez(ARG)
Trent Bryde(USA)
Hsu Yu Hsiou(TPE)

The ITF tournament preview is available here.

The ITF Junior Circuit resumes in the United States this week with a Grade 4 in Atlanta.  Rain sent the girls first round of singles indoors today, with the boys scheduled to play their first round of singles on Tuesday. I don't know if they will play through Sunday now, or double up later in the week.  Top girls seeds Addison Guevara and Tara Malik advanced, with No. 4 seed Sofia Rojas the highest seed eliminated. She lost to qualifier Nikita Vishwase 6-3, 4-6, 6-0.  The top seed in the boys draw is Vikash Singh of India, with Tyler Zink the No. 2 seed. 

The New York Times' David Waldstein has an update on 19-year-old Tornado Alicia Black and her quest to resume her tennis career, which had been derailed by a need for hip surgery, which she could not afford. A gofundme campaign and two large personal donations have resulted in the funds necessary to have the surgery and pay her expenses while recovering. She will not be able to coach, her current source of income, during her rehabilitation. For more on Black's immediate and long term plans, read the article


Essie said...

That is such good news about Alicia Black. I hope she does what Sloane Stephens did and actually have a great tennis career. Now, she needs to drop that ridiculous "Tornado" name. There is no need for that.

Sly Black/ Tornado Alicia Black said...

I was just watching Sloan Stephens lose to Konta on television today and I saw that the name of Stephens's new coach who came out on the court to give Stephens advice was named Sly Black. When I Googled Sly Black’s name, I was stunned to learn that he is the father of Tornado Alicia Black and that he also coaches or coached her and her sister. The web also indicates that Sly Black runs his own academy and also coaches Coco Gauf.

What puzzles me is that Tornado Alicia's Black financial hardships (she couldn’t even afford to have her hip surgery and can’t afford to see an orthodontist so her braces are falling off her teeth) have been well publicized on this blog and in the New York Times. The implication has always been that her father was dead or had left the family which is why the two girls grew up on food stamps and often homeless (and living out of their car). So, I was surprised to learn that her father obviously has a job, runs an academy and obviously makes money particularly if he coaches Sloan Stephens.

Until I heard about Mr. Black's professional background, I had always assumed their father was either deceased or in poverty himself. I'm surprised that this paradox has not been mentioned in the media before. Can someone who may know about the situation shed some light on this? Why didn't/ doesn't Mr. Black support his daughters financially? (One article indicates that he still does coach his younger daughter.) Thanks in advance for any information. If he does not support is family and daughter then that is nothing sort of disgraceful.

Jon King said...

Sly Black ran a very small academy 5-6 years ago at South County Regional Park in Boca Raton. His daughters were there, along with a very young Cori Gauff. Sly had some Visa issues and had to leave the US. His daughters remained here. Sly was never in a strong financial position, it was a tiny academy with a handful of kids.

He only coached Gauff for a short time and it was 5 years ago. His coaching of Sloane Stephens is very new. She was first at Evert Academy, then with Nick Saviano for years, followed by Kamau Murray.