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Friday, December 15, 2006

Brengle Wins Australian Open Wild Card

©Colette Lewis 2006--
Doral, FL--

My head is still spinning from all that I heard and learned at this morning's ITA Coaches Convention, but the word from the USTA's Paul Roetert that 16-year-old Madison Brengle had won the wild card tournament held this week for an Australian Open main draw berth is the most time sensitive.

I'm not even certain who all was invited to compete, but Roetert told me that Brengle was a last-minute addition, and that she didn't lose a match in the round robin format. She defeated Jessica Kirkland, the 2004 Orange Bowl champion, 6-4, 7-5, if I heard him correctly, coming back from 5-1 down in the second set.

At Eddie Herr and at the Orange Bowl, Brengle's losses were to Austria's Nikola Hofmanova, this year's Orange Bowl champion. She had a match point at the Eddie Herr and a set point in the first set in the semifinals at the Orange Bowl, but she obviously didn't suffer any crisis of confidence from losing this way, and now will have an opportunity to experience Australia in the first week, instead of just the second (junior) week.

The first speaker this morning was Nick Bollettieri, and he was introducing a DVD he and David Bailey have created about footwork. But Nick being Nick, there was much talk of many other topics and players. He spoke of David Wheaton, Jim Courier, Monica Seles and Andre Agassi, taking pains to explain how different they all were.
Seles' commitment to working on a shot until she got it right, often late into the evening cost him, he joked, "three wives." She was not a great athlete, he said, but she did work and compete and strive.

Bollettieri also said that he's turned around 100% on the question of college. He believes it's the right choice for enhancing the development of nearly every player, which segues nicely into one of the topics of Paul Roetert, the USTA Managing Director of High Performance. Roetert spoke of players turning pro who should have gone to college, adding that there were just two in 2006 who had a viable reason to forego college--Sam Querrey and Vania King. The increased cooperation between the USTA and the ITA can only enhance the view that for most, college is the best way to mature, as a tennis player and a person, before embarking on the "job" of tennis.

Roetert also spoke of the USTA's plan to take over the ITF Junior events in the U.S., perhaps adding more tournaments and having a way to earn USTA ranking points as well as ITF ranking points during the same tournament. The emphasis on doubles and the combined ranking coming in 2008 was mentioned. The points-per-round system adopted several years ago has, as I've heard often, and Roetert alluded to, given those with money to travel a big advantage over those without. He said he hopes to dampen the "point chasing" by emphasizing the sectional and regional aspect of junior tennis, and make sure that there are opportunities for high-level players who want to attend regular high school to do that. In addition, he spoke of the 36'- 60' tennis initiative to start younger children playing and competing with altered racquets, balls and court sizes; and of expanding qualifying draw sizes of ITF Men's Pro Circuit events to allow more college and junior players an opportunity to play at that level.

I'm sure I'll remember other things from the 45 minute talk, but that's a brief synopsis.

The third session I attended featured Dr. Jim Loehr, the famous sports psychologist, discussing "Storytelling and Mental Toughness." I'll save those insights for another post, but I'm already working on my own "good storytelling" which he defines as:

Reflects the Truth
Is On-Purpose (takes you where you want to go as a person)
Spawns Hope-Filled Action

There's definitely some New Year's Resolution material there.


Anonymous said...

when does the Australian Open start? (pro and juniors)

Colette Lewis said...

Pro event is Jan. 15-28. Juniors is scheduled for Jan. 21-27.

Anonymous said...

It always makes me laugh when people talk is if there are only two choices - turn pro or go to college. It's pretty obvious that if your tennis isn't "pro ready" before you are 18 it isn't likely ever going to be. In America, anyone can go to college at any time. It just means that if you turn pro early, you'll have to pay for college yourself when and if you decide to do so. If you are paid more to turn pro early than it would cost you to pay for college, why not?

Anonymous said...

I always find it odd why people talk as if there are only 2 choices - turn pro "foregoing" college OR go to college. In America, anyone can go to college at any time. In this day and age, it seems pretty apparent that if you are a girl and your game isn't "pro ready" by 18 you are not likely to make it as a professional and should really focus on academics at that point. If you turn pro early, you simply can't play college tennis and have to pay for it yourself. Realizing this isn't often the case, but if you are paid more to turn pro early than it will cost to pay for college and you really love travelling and playing, why not enjoy the unique experience for a while and then proceed to college? Just pointing out the situation is not always that black and white.

Anonymous said...

Piro from France just beat damico in Mexico
and Brennan beat piro in last round of the qualifiyng of OB.
You have to back up what you say

Anonymous said...

dear anonymous,
umm you are right piro did beat damico in mexico and brennan did beat piro...but oh ya you weren't there and in the match before on an amazing match point kellen hit a diving forehand winner passing shot and posisbly sprained his left wrist, he played piro with a one handed backhand, making it difficult to beat a player as good as prio without having a backhand...and even without his backhand he still had his chances...taking nothing away from brennans win at all, it was a great win.


Anonymous said...

you want me to back it up? ok, i sprained my wrist in the round before it, and i played with a one handed backhand and still lost 4 and 4 what do you want from me?

Anonymous said...

and from now on, you find out ALL the facts before you start talkin.

Anonymous said...

What is up with this continued talks about comparison, between Boyajian and Damico . Brennan
had a great OB results ! No one can take that away from him, but Kellen 's record still speaks for itself.
Maybe someday, this two will face each other, and by then , we'll see who is the real top dog !

Anonymous said...

damico you are the man
you are probably in the top 3 prospects of american tennis
shame that you are going to college you should go pro but there is a pro carreer also after college i hope??
keep practicing hard that you will be a very good tennis player

Anonymous said...

thanks to everyone who knows what they are talking about, and thanks for the support. Its not often I get support from the american crowd because i got the title of the usta "rebel child" but for those of you who actually follow me i appreciate it. its people like this that i love this game for and people like the others that make me want to do better.

Anonymous said...

kellen is my buddy and he is real humble compared to brennan. he talks a lot of smack that most people dont hear. brennen needs to prove himself more. one tourney doesn;t make anyone.
and on the college decision. i am going to college next fall and had i turned pro there is no chance i would be able to go to a top-rated school after tennis. guys like me have dedicated to much time to tennis to be perfect students. turning pro early does forgoe a top notch education for 99.9 percent of us american juniors

Anonymous said...

Kellen read!It is an incredible thing that a page like this can open up conversation about American Tennis, that's really cool. However, much of the posting is simply put-Jibba Jabba! Let me explain; Everyone is always making it appear as if winning at the highest level of anything is easy. Tennis is a complex game of personalities and a unique mixture of culture. That is the essense of the game, so when evaluating this player that player, the people writing here only look at results and not at many other underlying factors. So to put the Kellen Damico Analysis in its right framework there has to be some explination. For the many years I have been involved in the tennis circles I have watched literally thousands of players and matches. K.D. is one of the brightest talents i have seen yet. He has physical presenence a certain flare and passion. That passion in combination with many other things will enhance his chances greatly of fullfilling his potential. Kellen is humble, and often times perceived in a wrong way. He is plain and simple a guy who hates to lose. In evaluating potential all of you so-called experts whether coach or player or parent or whomever ask yourself this: HAVE I PEAKED YET? and if you can answer that maybe you walk away dissapointed and upset, but when Kellen asks himself that question he already knows the answer:NOT EVEN FRIGEN CLOSE- Could be scary,you never can tell in this sport or any other-lots of Factors. Good luck to everybody searching to live the dream I know I am. Kellen, with time, patience and work ethic great things are in store. Here's to Garcia, Country Music, a great journey thus far. peace homey Andrew D clay-GET ER DONE-