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Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays!

I'll be taking a couple of days off to travel back to Michigan and spend time with family, but here's a few links to check out if you have a moment to spare during the holiday festivities.

I've promoted my question and answer session with Magnus Norman several times on twitter, and once again would like to mention it here. For anyone with an interest in player development, it's an opportunity to hear a thoughtful take on important issues by the former Swedish great, who has now his own academy in Stockholm.

The New York Times' Karen Crouse was at the Orange Bowl in Plantation for this article on World No. 1 Junior Taylor Townsend as she takes the first steps toward a professional career.

And to give commenter Austin a Christmas present, here is a Yahoo Canada article about Jesse Levine's decision to change his tennis nationality from the United States to Canada.  For a historical perspective, the TennisSpace website has compiled a list of the Top 10 allegiance switchers.


wotten wun said...

Thanks for gifting us wifh several fine tennis links even as you depart for a richly deserved holiday, Colette. here's wishing you a very HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Austin said...

Thanks Colette.

Jesse Levine now has the #1 ranking for most ridiculous switching of nationalites I have encountered. There are have been many other guys I have roasted who have done this in the past 5-10yrs, but Levine takes the cake. His family moved here a decade ago because his brother has some sort of breathing condition that the Florida air helps. That, accordingly to articles, was his family's immigration reason.

Levine came up in the USTA system as a junior, attended college briefly, then jumped into the USTA system of young pros.

Below I have listed the wildcards he has taken at the Tour level. I am not including any WC's he received on the Futures or Challenger level, ONLY ones from the Tour level. Check out these numbers:

US Open

Australian Open
San Jose
Indian Wells
US Open

Los Angeles
US Open

Indian Wells


Australian Open
Indian Wells

He has received 17(!!!) wildcards from the USTA.

5 grand slam
7 masters series
5 regular tour level

These are wildcards he received solely based on being an American. Had he represented Canada throughout his career he would not have received ANY of the above wildcards, and I am sure in turn never achieveing an income or ranking status he has as a result of his status as an American.

I have always been a huge supporter of Levine, rooted for him since he turned pro, followed his matches online, etc. His decision is a complete disgrace. Is he Canadian-born? Yes, but to say he is a Canadian is not true since he has lived half his life in the US.

Let's also factor in the money and support he has received from the USTA. I dont know these figures, so I am not using them to support my argument. I think the wildcards are enough to show what a traitor he is. That is a harsh word to use, but sorry, that's what it is. He is not a free agent who is simply moving to another team. He is turning his back on the establishment that raised him and supported him for years.

Did the USTA do this in hopes he would thrive and make them look good? Of course! That is how it works. But to just leave and go back to a country he left in search of something better in the first place is unforgiveable, especially when you look at the mountain of wildcards he has received solely based on being an American.

At some point this has to end. The USTA needs to start making these players sign an agreement that not only forces them to pay back all monies earned under their guidance, but also some sort of transfer ineligibility period. Levine should have to sit out a year if he wants to change. Or how about this, he must sit one month for every wildcard accepted?

I am be getting a little out there with some of the rules I think they should put in place, but something needs to be done, players should not continue to be allowed to do these things, it is out of control.

Even if he agrees to pay them back the money he took, that will do nothing to change my mind, it's the principle of turning your back on the people who gave you what you needed. His career would have not even been a footnote in the record books if he wasnt flying the American flag and accepting wildcards at will.

If the wildcards are drying up and your ranking is floundering, suck it up and get better. Running off to another country who will give you money because they suck at tennis as a country is a cop out. That is not specific to Levine, that goes for everyone who has pulled this move only once they got to a point they weren't good enough to continue receiving support without a return.

With that said, I hope we can fill the hole left by Roddick and have a great year for the US. I think Fish is done, so we better get these young guys going!

Tmom said...

Whoa. Very easy solution here. The USTA A's in the United States of America , takes USA players only. They know what they are getting themselves into.

In their zeal and quest to recruit and develop the next best...which they have not done, they step on many toes, with no result.

Just blow it up. It doesn't work. Promoting volunteers and glad-handing MEN doesn't work