Sunday, March 15, 2020

Maden's Tale of Woe at Kazakhstan Challenger; ATP Features Tulane Alum Koepfer; Oliver Crawford Turns Pro; Indian Wells Simulation Underway

I have been eagerly awaiting the first article about a professional player forced to scramble when the ATP canceled its Tour and Challenger events for six weeks on Thursday, and when it came today (I haven't seen others but welcome any correction on that), I was a bit surprised to see that a former college player, Clemson's Yannick Maden, was featured in it.  Because the BNP Paribas Open had been canceled on Monday, men competing at the two Challengers last week were primarily the ones who had to make a choice about getting in and out of a country during the week, and Maden, from Germany, decided to go to Kazakhstan for that ATP Challenger 80 event. He was the No. 2 seed in the tournament, and was not scheduled to play until Wednesday, but once he was informed that he might be quarantined for two weeks in Kazakhstan, he left the tournament and returned to Germany. The details of Maden's unexpectedly short tournament are in this article from Tumaini Carayol for The Guardian.

I will have the junior version of this article on Wednesday for Tennis Recruiting Network, having spoken today to Nishesh Basavareddy, who was in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic for an ITF Grade 2 last week when the ITF canceled all its tournaments, effective immediately. His story has an added twist, that had it been in a movie, you might have scoffed at.

Before everything went crazy last week, the ATP ran a feature about former Tulane star Dominik Koepfer of Germany, who is currently 92 in the ATP rankings. Koepfer was not a highly sought-after recruit--he never had an ITF junior ranking--but after taking up tennis late, he did get an offer from Tulane, where he went on to be an All-American, winning the National Intercollegiate Indoor title in 2015. Another collegiate connection is Tennessee star Rhyne Williams, a 2011 NCAA singles finalist, who now coaches Koepfer and is featured in the video provided in conjunction with the article.

Parsa Nemati is reporting that University of Florida's Oliver Crawford is leaving the Gators after his abbreviated junior year to play full time on the Pro Circuit when it resumes.

For those missing tennis's daily match results, and I certainly count myself among them, Hidden Game of Tennis is providing a simulated version of the BNP Paribas Open, with draws, scores and orders of play. The "Corona-free Indian Wells" tournament is in its second day, with men's matches now being contested after the women began play yesterday. See @FBITennis on Twitter to follow the results, which are nearly as interesting and unpredictable as an actual tournament.