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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Yu Sisters Combine to Help Wesleyan Win NCAA Title; Embree Returns to Florida as Assistant Coach; Four US Events This Week on Pro Circuit

Last month at the NCAA Division III Championships here in Kalamazoo I had an opportunity to talk with sisters Victoria and Kristina Yu about the pros and cons of playing doubles together in their one year together at Wesleyan. With Wesleyan winning their first NCAA team title with wins over the top two seeds, the pros obviously outnumbered the cons for Victoria, a senior, and Kristina, a freshman. They discussed with me how they made their individual decisions to play Division III tennis, why they selected Wesleyan and how the family dynamic can serve as both an asset and a liability. With little experience playing doubles together due to their age difference in juniors, they spent the season learning how to play as a team, and it paid off with two crucial wins at No. 1 doubles in Wesleyan's 5-4 semifinal and final victories. 

The University of Florida announced today that Gator great Lauren Embree would be returning to Gainesville as the women's assistant coach after two years as the assistant at Pepperdine. Embree, a five-time All-American and two-time Most Outstanding Player at the NCAA Team Championships, replaces Dave Balogh, who was recently let go after 19 years.  Back in 2015, I spoke to Embree at the Dow Tennis Classic in Midland about many topics, including what she might want to do after she finished playing professionally.
Q: Do you have any ideas about what you might do with your degree after your tennis career?

A: I've been thinking about it a little bit, but I don't know what I'll do with that degree necessarily. I've never said I'd want to coach, but if I were to coach, it would be college, so maybe try to get a college coaching position when I'm done playing. But I haven't really thought about too much as far as the degree. I just did it because I wanted to stay in sports and it was what was best for me at the time.
You can read my complete interview with Embree here, with a Tennis Recruiting Network subscription.

The ITF World Tennis Tour in the United States this week consists of four events in three locations. The men and women each have $15,000 tournaments at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona, and the two $25,000 tournaments have the men in Tulsa and the women in Denver.

In Florida, Americans make up the vast majority of qualifiers, with all eight men and six women from the United States.

The men qualifying include juniors JanMagnus Johnson(Central Florida recruit), Marcus McDaniel(Georgia Tech recruit), Cash Hanzlik, Logan Zapp and Zachary Svajda, current UCF player Trey Hilderbrand, Alexander Knight(Michigan) and Mwendwa Mbithi. The top seed in the main draw is Keenan Mayo(Illinois), with the No. 2 seed Ricardo Rodriguez of Venezuela. Wild cards were given to Hunter Heck, Ishaan Ravichander, Alexandre Rotsaert(Stanford) and Alexander Bernard.

The six US women qualifiers include four juniors: Karina Miller, Gianna Pielet, Victoria Hu and Eleana Yu, as well as Madeleine Kobelt(Syracuse) and Alana Smith(NC State). The top seed is Grace Min, who hasn't played since February, with the No. 2 seed Tori Kinard. Wild cards went to Jaleesa Leslie, Anna Rogers(NC State), Emma Davis(Wake Forest) and Ellie Coleman.

Five of the qualifiers in Tulsa are Americans: Andrew Fenty(Michigan), Nevin Arimilli(Texas), Colin Markes(Texas), George Goldhoff(Texas) and Emmett Ward. The top seed is Maxime Cressy(UCLA), with Michael Redlicki(Arkansas) the No. 2 seed. Wild cards were given to Alexander Brown(Illinois), Nathan Ponwith(Arizona State), Alexander Lebedev(Notre Dame) and Zeke Clark(Illinois).

In Denver, the US qualifiers are Alycia Parks, Rhiann Newborn(Baylor), Ellie Douglas(TCU) and Jada Robinson. The top seed is Usue Arconada, with Ashley Kratzer the No. 2 seed. Wild cards went to Kelly Chen(Duke), Sophie Whittle(Gonzaga), Haley Giavara(Cal) and Alexa Glatch.

There are no ATP Challengers in the US for the next three weeks.


The "Greatest"? said...

Why does Roland claim Lauren Embree is the "Greatest" coming back?

Dave Balough is a much better coach but if he is talking about player results, has he heard of Lisa Raymond, Shaun Stafford, Jill Craybus, Nicole Arendt? And I am sure there are many more.

Lisa Raymond, #15 in Singles, # 1 in Doubles, 11 Grand Slam titles, 10 Million prize money.
Shaun Stafford, #48 in Singles, #33 in doubles, $786,000 in prize money.
Jill Craybus, #39 in singles, #41 in doubles. 2.5 Million in Career Prize money.
Nicole Arendt, #49 in singles, #3 in doubles. 1.6 Million in Career Prize Money.

Lauren Embree #232 in singles, #440 in doubles and $93,000 in career prize money.

Ohio said...

Was there a press release on Dave Balogh's departure? I didn't see one. After 19 years, definitely would be respectful. Florida State had a social media post for Ryler DeHeart.

Did Roland and Dave leave on bad terms?