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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Sixteen Americans Entered in French Open Junior Championships; Tennis Channel's NCAA Division I Championships Coverage Coming This Year; Holt, Gordon Earn Pac-12 Conference Top Honors

The acceptances for the French Open Junior Championships, scheduled for June 2-8, were released today, with 16 US juniors receiving direct acceptance into the main draw.

The boys field is exceptionally strong, with 14 of the top 15 players in the current ITF World Junior rankings and an initial ranking cutoff of 49. The only top player missing is defending champion Chun Hsin Tseng of Taiwan, who played his last junior event at the Junior Masters last October and has been concentrating on his ATP ranking since. Australian Open boys champion Lorenzo Musetti of Italy has entered, as has Australian Open finalist Emilio Nava and Virginia freshman Brandon Nakashima, the Junior Masters champion. With the NCAAs scheduled to end on May 25th this year (Nakashima is not in the singles draw, but is an alternate in doubles), Nakashima has also entered the Grade 1 in Belgium beginning on May 27th.

In addition to Nava and Nakashima, American boys in the main draw are Cannon Kingsley, Martin Damm, Zane Khan, Toby Kodat, Eliot Spizzirri, Tyler Zink and UCLA freshman Govind Nanda. Nanda received entry based on his ATP ranking of 608; any player in the ATP 750 is guaranteed a place in an ITF Junior Circuit main draw. Nanda, an alternate in NCAA singles, is not entered in the Belgium Grade 1.

Will Grant, Dali Blanch and Jacob Bullard have been accepted into qualifying.

The girls field is missing half of the top 10, although Australian Open and ITF No. 1 Clara Tauson of Denmark has entered, along with AO finalist Leylah Fernandez of Canada.  Coco Gauff and Caty McNally, last year's finalists at Roland Garros, did not enter. The initial ranking cutoff for the girls was 59.

The US girls who have been accepted into the main draw are Hurricane Tyra Black, Emma Navarro, Alexa Noel, Elli Mandlik, Lea Ma, Savannah Broadus and Abigail Forbes.

Robin Montgomery, Chloe Beck and Charlotte Chavatipon received entry into the qualifying.

The USTA announced today a three-year agreement with Tennis Channel to provide coverage of the NCAA Division I Team and Individual Championships, beginning with this year's tournament in at the USTA's National Campus in Lake Nona Florida. The release states there will be 50 hours of live coverage over the 10 days, and as long as that includes the men's and women's team finals and the singles and doubles finals, I don't think anyone should complain. This is not the first time Tennis Channel has provided live coverage; I can remember when they televised the team finals, left, then returned for the individual finals, but when TC took over the French Open, their resources went there and the NCAA was left with streaming as its best alternative.

An agreement like this has been sought after for years by everyone associated with Division I college tennis, so all those who worked to make it happen should take a bow. Increased visibility is vital to sustaining college tennis's fan base and this is a huge step in achieving that goal.

Last week I mentioned that the Pac-12 was always weeks behind the other Power Five conferences in releasing their awards and all-conference teams, but they have changed that this year, with the announcements coming today, instead of after the NCAAs.  It's remarkable how the four major awards were spread around this year, with seven different schools honored. Click on the headings to go to the conference website for all the awards and videos of the major winners.

Pac-12 Women's Awards:
Player of the Year: Michaela Gordon, Stanford
Freshman/Newcomer of the Year: Elysia Bolton, UCLA
Doubles Team of the Year: Ilze Hattingh and Lauryn John-Baptiste, Arizona State
Coach of the Year: Robin Stephenson, Washington

Pac-12 Men's Awards:
Player of the Year: Brandon Holt, USC
Freshman/Newcomer of the Year: Yuta Kikuchi, Cal
Doubles Team of the Year: Maxime Cressy and Keegan Smith, UCLA
Coach of the Year: Clancy Shields, Arizona

4 comments:

fan said...

imo, depends on the 'price'. If they block streaming, no. TV viewers, especially casual fans, last year would've been nonplussed by Stanford beating Vandy. Because TV as expected mostly showed #1 singles Sharma vs Gordon, which was never in doubt; the match was actually being decided elsewhere. That's where streaming comes in. #1s will naturally benefit from TV exposure, but...well unless if one would argue that benefit of the 'Trickle effect' is paramount..and, as seen from ACC, they show ads during gutted Dual doubles lol. I'm sure TC won't repeat that 'mistake'.

Fan2 said...

Wonderful points by "Fan". If TC means you can't see all courts, it'll be a shame. There's got to be a good fix in the middle.

i agree said...

I agree that showing No. 1 singles is not ideal and really zaps all the excitement that's available. Hopefully they will treat it like the NFL Red Zone channel and jump to significant moments in all the matches as they are about to occur. College tennis lends itself perfectly to innovative and outside-the-box approaches to broadcasting and it's mind boggling that little has changed over the years in this area. It's honestly the perfect format in this short attention span age we live in. Unfortunately, this unimaginative mindset also exists in early round Grand Slam coverage. How many times do we see the entire first round match of Roger or Serena winning in straight sets when they could be bouncing around to much more compelling matches (NFL RED ZONE!!).

fan said...

To be fair, ACC semis and finals did try to show as many matches as possible, certainly an improvement from NCAA team finals last year. But still, inherently, TV is just not suitable for Dual format. Maybe best used for Individual matches like NFC singles finals last year(they showed only singles).