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Thursday, December 29, 2011

USTA's Year in Review for Junior and College Tennis; Witten Teaching, Undecided About Return to ATP Tour; Brisbane Qualifying Begins

The USTA has published its annual "year in review" summaries at usta.com, with the junior version coming out last week and the college version this week.

They are in the form of photo slideshows, a format change that I like, as readers of this blog would probably guess. I will be posting my Junior Orange Bowl slideshow and videos on Friday.

The only problem I have with the slideshow for the juniors (other than what I think are incorrect ages and home towns for a couple of players) is that it appears to have been put together prior to this month's tournaments, although Madison Keys' win at the Australian Open wild card tournament was mentioned. Katerina Stewart's and Mariya Shishkina's recent titles weren't mentioned and Tornado Ali Black didn't get any recognition for her Eddie Herr title. The 12s are basically ignored; whether that was due to lack of photos, I couldn't say. Certainly Catherine Bellis deserved mention for her Clay Court and Hard Court titles and Alex del Corral for his two gold balls in singles at the Spring Nationals and Hard Courts.

I was also disappointed that ITA All-American champions Mitchell Frank and Allie Will weren't given recognition for capturing those majors, and that there was no mention of college tennis teams or players outside of Division I. I know however that I am guilty of that bias too, so I understand the difficulties in trying to included everything.

I haven't yet had an opportunity to go back and catch up on what I missed in the tennis world while I was covering the Eddie Herr, Orange Bowl and Junior Orange Bowl, but I did stumble upon this article about Jesse Witten's current situation. Although the Naples News is reporting that the former University of Kentucky All-American has not yet decided whether he is going to retire, he doesn't appear to be training, and is teaching at the Tough Tennis Academy in Naples.

And the ever-so-brief off-season in tennis is coming to a close, with the women's qualifying for Brisbane beginning on Friday. Fifteen-year-old Ashleigh Barty of Australia received a wild card into qualifying and will play Vania King of the US, the top seed, in the first round. Former University of California standout Bojana Bobusic also received a wild card into the qualifying. Sloane Stephens and Chichi Scholl join King as the only Americans in the qualifying draw.