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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Junior Girls Join Fed Cup Teams; Missouri Women's Coach Resigns; New Blog for Futures and Challengers; More Video

The names of the women competing in the Fed Cup Europe/Africa Zone 1 events February 2-5 in Israel were released yesterday, and several of the 16 teams have selected high profile junior players. (For simplicity's sake, I'm not including any player who has aged out of ITF junior play). Croatia has named 17-year-olds Ajla Tomlijanovic and Silvia Njiric to their team, Denmark has 15-year-old Cecilie Melsted, Great Britain chose Laura Robson, who will be 17 by then, Greece's team includes 17-year-old Despina Papamichail. Hungary will have 17-year-old Timea Babos on its team, and Israel has invited 14-year-old Valeria Patiuk. For the complete list of team nominations, see the Fed Cup website.

The University of Missouri announced yesterday that Blake Starkey, head coach of the women's team (they do not have a men's team), is leaving after 14 years in Columbia. This article on the school's athletic website says that Starkey is leaving to become Director of Tennis at the Country Club of Little Rock, Arkansas.

If you are interested in the Futures and Challengers, I have some good news to offset the bad news we received last year, when Steve G announced that he was no longer updating his site. Although it is not the same kind of site, Challenger Tennis is a blog that focuses on, what else? Challengers, with Futures thrown in as well. I confess he's so prolific, in posts, tweets, recaps, previews, that often my head's spinning just trying to keep up, but I believe that even if he is unable to maintain his current torrid pace, there will be a new contender for tennis blog of the year in 2011 (no, zootennis.com didn't win, FortyDeuce did, but I thank all of you who took the time to vote). Added bonus--he's really funny!

And speaking of funny, I don't link to every James LaRosa "Sweet Spot," although I'm frequently tempted, but today the Tennis Channel's columnist, obviously in top form despite two weeks off, is just too good to miss. Robbing David delves into why the upset is often cast as a failure for the loser rather than a triumph for the winner.

The videos of the eight finalists at the Eddie Herr and now up at the tenniskalamazoo channel on YouTube.

Oliver Golding
Yulia Putintseva
Jaime Galleguillos
Carol Zhao
Clement Geens
Alecia Black
Michael Mmoh
Anastasia Nefedova

I hope to have the Orange Bowl finalists up this week too.