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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Spring Signing Announcements; Serve Clock Coming to US Open Main Draw; Khan Advances to ITF Grade 2 Semifinal in Bulgaria; Three Americans Reach ITF Grade 4 Semis in Canada

Yesterday marked the first day for spring signings, and the Tennis Recruiting Network has posted several features on players who are just now officially committing to schools for this fall.  In the years that I've been following college tennis, the verbal commitments have been happening sooner rather than later, so the big signing announcements tend to come in November, for the following school year.

There have been some announcements from major schools the past two days however, and links to those can be found by clicking the player's name.

Men:
Georgia Tech has signed Cole Gromley.

Iowa has announced the transfer of Ireland's Morgan Lohan from North Carolina State.

LSU has signed Daniel Moreno of Mexico. He joins his brother Agie on the team.

South Florida has signed Chase Ferguson of Australia.

Texas has signed Nevin Arimilli.

Women:
Arizona State has signed Samantha Alicea.

Texas A&M has signed Renee McBryde of Australia.

Georgia Tech has signed Dalila Said of Egypt (she represented Spain in ITF competition).

The serve clock used last year at the US Open Junior Championships
The USTA has announced that a 25-second serve clock will be used this year in the main draw, a change that was tested last year in the qualifying and juniors. Since this New York Times article was published, questions about the penalty for violations have been raised, so I would take that part of the article with a grain of salt. Time violations, in ITF and USTA rules, do not escalate from point to game, they remain at the point level.  There is also a 7-minute time limit from players arriving on court to the first ball being struck.

Coaching, another experiment in last year's qualifying and junior competitions in New York, will not be implemented in the main draw. I do expect it to continue in the juniors.

I did not find any of the experiments tried last year in the juniors to be intrusive, with everyone adjusting quickly. There were few time violations and the coaching was not a big deal as far as I could tell, with some players using it regularly and others never using it. 

I wrote a two-part Tennis Recruiting Network article on the experiments at the NextGen Finals in Milan last November, talking with Challenger players and officials about the various innovations, including coaching and the serve clock. Mitchell Krueger, who played qualifying last year, said he had no problems with the serve clock.

In a couple of weeks, I'll have an article on how juniors have adapted to playing service lets, which is being tested on the ITF Junior Circuit this year.

There are no major ITF Junior Circuit tournaments on the schedule this week, with two Grade 2s the top events.  Sixteen-year-old Zane Khan, who has played in Europe and South American this year, had to qualify for the Grade 2 in Bulgaria, but he has reached the semifinals, where he'll face No. 7 seed Damien Wenger of Switzerland.

At the ITF Grade 4 in Ontario, unseeded Daniel Milavsky has advanced to the boys semifinals, with No. 6 seed Sophia Hatton and No. 4 seed Anika Yarlagadda the two American girls to reach the semifinals. Hatton and Yarlagadda have also reached the doubles final, as has Jenna DeFalco (with Canadian Katja Jules Viberg) and the boys team of Zion Heaven and Coy Simon.

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