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Monday, September 12, 2011

Travel Day Odds and Ends

Although I didn't have nearly as physically demanding a week as the juniors, who were required to play so many matches in so few days due to the rain, I'm tired from the late nights of writing, so I'll keep this post short, with just a few links.

I had heard some time ago that Tim Mayotte had left USTA Player Development after less than two years with the organization, but for a variety of reasons, there is a lot of turnover among the national coaches, and I wasn't able to find out exactly what led to his departure. This article from the New York Times, which had one of the blandest headlines in newspaper history ("Some See Decline in US Tennis") until it was changed this morning to something a bit snappier, provides a pretty good hint.

“American tennis is in the sorriest state it has ever been,” said Tim Mayotte, a former top-10 player.

Mayotte resigned as the head of a program in Flushing over what he called “very openly spoken reservations” about the U.S.T.A.’s approach. In a recent interview, he criticized “antiquated coaching methods” that emphasize long hours swatting balls rather than learning technique and movement.

Mayotte also said the U.S.T.A. was too insular, opportunistically luring talented players and putting them under the tutelage of inexperienced staff. He favors the approach of the French tennis federation, which identifies and supports independent coaches who do good work.

I thought the USTA (I hate those New York Times periods) was doing that through the Regional Training Centers, but since I'm not living that life, I can't say for sure. But this is likely to be the only Player Development article from the US Open, because there was no press conference by Jose Higueras and Patrick McEnroe this year, despite two days of rain. This year seemed like a great time for a press conference, with the performance of some of the young American players giving optimism to journalists who normally have little use for it, but perhaps it isn't necessary then.

Jon Wertheim of si.com had his brief observations on this and many other US Open-related issues here. I thank him for including my article in the junior mention.

I had the pleasure of sitting with Greg Couch for the second set of the mixed doubles final (by the way, he loves tennis) and this is his article about Melanie Oudin and Jack Sock's victory.

And the new junior rankings are out today, with US Open girls champion Grace Min taking the No. 4 position and Irina Khromacheva of Russia moving back up to No. 1. Daria Gavrilova, the ITF's 2010 World Junior Champion, has dropped all the way down to No. 82, and it's not because she hasn't been playing junior events.

US Open boys champion Oliver Golding of Great Britain is up to the No. 3 spot, bumping Roland Garros boys winner Bjorn Fratangelo down to 4. Jiri Vesely retains his top spot. George Morgan(8) and Liam Broady(10) give Great Britain three top 10 players.

Rankings and the ITF's coverage of the US Open junior championships can be found on their website.


coach said...

just keep offering free training to the highest ranked juniors.

thats the usta formula. Keep doing it and one day the results will change. right?

This blog has been deleted said...

Oh man, yeah I saw that New York Times article about junior tennis, and the New York Times didn't even say anything about Grace Min. People want to know! Why couldn't the New York Times have a little feature about our best juniors, with a headshot and profile? I had to go scrounging around the ITF Web site to find the records for all the juniors and that is not how I want to spend two hours. I would have rather been watching them (which I did, of course, for free at Sound Shore in Port Chester! That is the U.S. Open's best kept secret-- the general public can watch our future champions for free, (when there are too may rain delays) in Port Chester. That brings me to another issue-- the U.S. Open probably didn't want to publicize that fact because they didn't want hundreds of people swarming into Sound Shore, since the club doesn't have much space for spectators to watch the matches. Anyway, thanks to Colette Lewis and her Tweets on Twitter, I could keep up with the latest scores.