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Friday, January 28, 2005

News From Over There

US Dominate Teen Tennis - LTA Tennis Nation
England's Lawn Tennis Associaton is providing the only coverage of this major 14 and under tournament, but there's actually a lot of news to chew on.

I ran into USTA High Performance coach Martin Van Daalen at the Tampa airport a couple of weeks ago, and learned from him that Lazare Kukhalashvili would be making his debut respresenting the United States at this tournament. Van Daalen, who has recently taken over the junior boys born in 1991, told me that Kukhalashvili is training at Saddlebrook and was eager to be on the US team, though he played as a Georgian as recently as the 2004 Jr. Orange Bowl and Eddie Herr.

Ryan Harrison, who lost in the final to Kukhalashvili, is only 12, but has been touted as a rising star for some time. He has been playing the 14s with mixed results (lost in the first round at the Jr. Orange Bowl and in the quarters at the Winter Nationals), but his win in the semis over Chase Buchanan, who has been the gold standard of his age group for years, shows he is learning from his losses. And four Americans in the boys semifinals might have been more impressive than four American boys in the 2004 Orange Bowl semifinals, because all four who made the trip made the semis. And they played each other in the doubles final!

Even the US girls are starting to get into the act, as Gail Brodsky succeeded Delaware's Madison Brengle, who won in 2004.


tennis1234 said...

sure harrison is good but give me a break the kid has played 6 hours a day year round since he was 3. How about school? With that amount of tennis you get results.u There are a lot of other very good 13 year olds who have played a lot less. The jury is still out on all these kids.

Anonymous said...

Whoever is posting comments should get their facts straight. Ryan Harrison is currently being homeschooled by his mother, who has a degree in secondary education. When he was attending regular school, he was in the gifted program and was a honor student. And no, Ryan has not played 6 hours a day since he was 3. Ryan also played baseball, soccer, football, and basketball. There are many talented children out there. And, nobody knows what the future holds for any of them. Even if a player does train 6 hours a day, you would think that kind of dedication would be admired and not ridiculed out of jealousy.