Thursday, June 11, 2020

Black College Players Discuss Their Experience; Cracked Racquets Open Tournament Begins Friday; Bouzkova, Pegula Head Entries for July Event in Kentucky; Allaster Named Tournament Director at US Open

Rhiannon Potkey at the Tennis Recruiting Network spoke to five black Division I college players, four of whom have graduated, one of whom is a rising junior, about how race figured into their recruiting, their decision and their experience once they joined a team. 2017 NCAA champion Brienne Minor(Michigan), Sydney Campbell(Vanderbilt), Breaunna Addison(Texas), Terrell Whitehurst(Florida State) and Andrew Fenty are candid about the need for the conversations that are taking place throughout the country now, and how their own experiences are part of the centuries of racial inequality that need to be recognized and addressed.

Francis Tiafoe and Taylor Townsend were recently featured in a Tennis United episode on the subject of race, and this Baseline Tennis article also features the video of Coco Gauff speaking at the protest in her hometown of Delray Beach.

The Cracked Racquets Open, one of the first money tournaments to be held in the Midwest since the pandemic shut down tennis in March, begins tomorrow in Indianapolis, with a field of 64 men in singles. There is a also a doubles tournament, although the draw has not been posted as of yet. Top seed is former North Carolina All-American Ronnie Schneider, now the men's volunteer assistant at the University of Indiana, with Kentucky senior Millen Hurrion seeded No. 2 and Florida junior Lucas Grief No. 3.  Juniors Nishesh Basavareddy and Ozan Colak are also seeded, at 10 and 13. For the draws, go to the TennisLink site.

I spoke to Jamie Loeb yesterday, and she told me that in addition to her regular Grand Slam Tennis Tours Matchplay 120 competition in Florida, she is playing an event in Kentucky next month, and a few hours later I received a press release announcing that event.

Two Top 100 players are among the eight competitors at the Young Kings Scholarship tournament at the Top Seed Tennis Club in Nicholasville Kentucky July 3-5. Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic, No. 47 in the WTA rankings, was a finalist at the WTA tournament in Monterrey Mexico right before the pandemic shut down the sport. American Jessica Pegula, No. 66 in the WTA rankings, also reached a final this year at the WTA event in New Zealand. The rest of the field is Caty McNally, CiCi Bellis, Anna Kalinskaya of Russia, 17-year-old Leylah Fernandez of Canada, Loeb and Shelby Rogers.

The complete release can be found here.

The USTA announced today that Stacey Allaster, who had been the USTA's Chief Executive of Professional Tennis, is the new tournament director of the US Open. Allaster, the first woman to hold that position in the tournament's 140-year history, is taking over for David Brewer, who held that title for the previous eight years.


Guest said...

SI talked about cuts to college sports programs recently. Tennis has fared the worst.


Over time, some sports have fared better than others. Since 1990, NCAA Division I membership has grown by 58 schools, yet at least eight sports—all men’s teams—are sponsored by fewer schools today than they were 30 years ago, including wrestling (37 fewer teams), swimming (25), gymnastics (24) and tennis (22). Proportionally, no sport has taken more of a hit than men’s tennis, which is sponsored today by 71.5% of the D-I membership. In 1990, 93.2% schools had men’s tennis.

It’s not getting any better. So far this spring, tennis has been the most popular choice to cut. Of the 30 teams eliminated, eight are either men’s or women’s tennis. Coincidentally or not, tennis is also responsible for having the largest foreign participation of any sport. About 60% of tennis rosters are not native to the U.S. “There’s somewhere around 7,000 scholarships available (inclusive of D-I, D-II, NAIA, and JUCO), and there are just not enough American juniors to fill the scholarships,” says Tim Russell, the CEO of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. “There have been some schools where the coach only recruits internationally, and there have been some ADs saying, ‘Can’t have a program of all international students.’” There are other reasons tennis is targeted, Russell says. The most common are costs associated with an indoor and outdoor facility.