Monday, June 1, 2020

Texas Tops Women's 2020 Recruiting Class Rankings; Bryan Brothers on Their Junior, College Development; Holt Wins Money Tournament in Southern California

The Tennis Recruiting Network's rankings for the 2020 women's classes were revealed today, with the University of Texas landing in the No. 1 spot for the first time as the Longhorns welcome blue chips Charlotte Chavatipon, Peyton Stearns and Malaika Rapolu this fall. The only previous Top 10 ranking for Texas was back in 2010, and they have not had a ranked recruiting class since 2012.

Georgia Tech is No. 2 in the rankings, followed by Cal, Virginia and North Carolina. Michigan, Stanford, Harvard, USC and Georgia round out the Top 10.

The full list, which extends to 25, can be found here. I am one of 19 contributors who voted on this year's classes. The men's rankings, which came out last Monday, are here.

Today's USTA Player Development Learning Series webinar featured the Bryan brothers, who talked at length with host Johnny Parkes about how they navigated the long journey to the top of professional tennis.

Wayne and Kathy Bryan are famous for their tennis parenting, and Mike spoke about how they set the tone for the twins' development.

"They knew they had to build us up as people first," Mike Bryan said. "They did a great job of making it fun for us, so we developed that passion for the game. They didn't have to drag us out to the courts; we were pushing them to drive us over there, because we loved the game so much. They knew how to make it fun, they put us in these games and it was very stimulating. It's wasn't just a ball machine, doing hand feeds for three, four hours. It was just a fun environment."

"They did a great job," Bob said. "They made us write thank-you letters; they just wanted us to be good people. And it wasn't just about tennis. It was about the academics, the music, so there was a good balance there."

Parkes asked them who their role models were growing up, and it was Andre Agassi that made the biggest impression on them as juniors.

"Agassi was our god, our room was posterized," Bob said. "He had that flair, he was an entertainer, it was fun to watch, he had the long hair. We were members of his fan club. But he had some tough times, when he dropped to almost 200 in the world. We loved the way he dealt with the adversity, bounced back. He changed his whole tune, became an amazing professional, the way he gave back, the way he dealt with those road blocks. Because that's what is going to make you a champion, the way you deal times when you're going through a tough patch."

"We had doubles idols actually growing up," Mike said. "We went to our first Davis Cup match, in Lacosta in 1988?, and saw Ricky Leach, and going down to the court, he actually said a few words to us...and we thought wow, we can be like him maybe, be great doubles players too. The Jensens had so much passion and enthusiasm...we got the chest bump from them. They would stay an hour after every match to sign every autograph. And we took stuff from the Woodys--they were so professional, used strategy, all the tactics.

"We picked up things from a lot of people and had a lot of mentors. Dick Gould was a great mentor, our coach at Stanford. We grew up so much in college because we came in there kind of punks. We really had to develop socially, mentally. If we would have turned pro at 18, we would have gotten chewed up and spit out. We needed those two years to just evolve as people and he really moved us along there. Taught us to be respectful to opponents....Jay Berger, we traveled with him to all the junior grand slams, and his work ethic was just insane....He'd take us out there and beat us with his own racquet."

After the conversation with the Bryans, the focus of the webinar turned to returning safely to the courts, with presentations from Mental Skills specialist Dr. Larry Lauer, Performance Director Brent Salazar and National Coaches Maureen Diaz and Jamea Jackson. The webinar should be available on demand by Tuesday at the Learning Series web page.

With tennis competition returning to some parts of the country, the Learning Series will now go from weekly to monthly, with the next one scheduled for Monday, July 13th. There is an open Tennis Industry United webinar on Wednesday however, with Dr. Alexis Colvin discussing the safe return of tennis. Registration for the 1 p.m. webinar Wednesday is here.

Money tournaments have been popping up across the country in the past several weeks (here's one in Indianapolis starting June 12), and one in Southern California, which concluded yesterday, had an impressive field.  Brandon Holt, the recent USC graduate (who is not returning for a fifth year), won the event, which included Brandon Nakashima, Marcos Giron and Sam Querrey, among others. Below is the report from Steve Pratt.

Holt Avenges Loss To Querrey; Captures Latest “Backyard Barnstorming Tour” Event 

Just days after announcing he had turned professional, recently graduated USC All-American Brandon Holt captured a non-sanctioned “Backyard Barnstorming Tour” tournament with three impressive wins over the weekend.

The 22-year-old Holt, who is ranked just inside the top 500 on the ATP World Tour, opened the money event at the Knollwood Tennis Club in Montecito, Calif., beating top American ATP pro Sam Querrey in Group 1, which also included Jason Jung and Masa Perera, whose father Laxman Perera sponsored the event.

Group 2 included Southern California pros Brandon Nakashima, Marcos Giron, Emilio Nava and UCLA player Govind Nanda.

Holt avenged a finals loss to Querrey from two weeks ago at the Home Court Advantage exhibition in Rolling Hills, Calif., and finished second to Jung in his group on Saturday to advance to the semifinals Sunday.

Sunday’s format was a first-to-four games, no-ad 10-point tiebreaker to decide the third set. Nanda defeated Jason Jung, 4-0, 4-3, in one semifinal on Sunday with Holt getting past Nakashima in the other semifinal, 10-5 in the tiebreaker.

In the final, Holt beat Nanda, 4-3, 4-1, to take home the $4,000 top prize with Nanda earning $2,500.


Karen Willams said...

Reading the Isner tweets and reading the Bryan brother's idyllic life experiences, it just shows why most of us should just stay quiet about the protests, except to focus on the police abuse of power aspect. Tennis is a very bubble childhood. How on earth could Isner or the Bryan brothers relate to the protestors? Their life experiences from birth until age 30-35 is night and day different. Let Serena and Venus, the Gauff family, speak on the matter. They either lived it when young or have family or friends who lived it. Guys like Isner should just offer support and not try to get further involved. Do you think Isner ever in his life had a cop look him over for just walking or driving or had people lock their car doors when he walked by? The Bryan brothers not only had the tennis bubble childhood, but on top of that, their parents went out of the way to make it "fun". The vast majority of inner city kids could not relate to anything about the Bryan brothers or Isner's amazing childhoods.