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Friday, December 28, 2012

Junior Orange Bowl Recap; USTA Junior Competition Listening Meetings Update; Shishkina Representing Kazakhstan

My recap of last week's Junior Orange Bowl is now available at the Tennis Recruiting Network.  With my travel and the holiday, I haven't had the time to put together the slideshow or the videos from that tournament, but I hope to have time to devote to those tasks this weekend.

The USTA just had two Town Hall "Listening" meetings regarding the junior competition changes passed in March at the Winter Nationals in Arizona, and Lisa Stone at Parenting Aces posted a recap of Wednesday and Thursday's meetings. Unlike the meeting I attended at the ITA Coaches Convention in Naples, where many of the participants seemed unaware of most of the changes and had little to say about the possible implications, Lisa reports much more direct confrontation. Steve Bellamy and Antonio Mora have made no secret of their opposition, and they both spoke against the changes.

I believe Kevin Kempin, CEO of Head, spoke for many of us when he said:  “I have yet to hear a single compelling argument for any of these changes and I have been listening for a long time.”

The next scheduled meeting is in Atlanta, at the USTA Southern section's annual meeting January 13th. Southern is the only section to vote against the changes at the USTA's semi-annual meeting in March. If you are unable to attend the meeting, or the others scheduled in the Texas, Midwest or Southern California sections, you can still voice your opinion by sending an email to: LetUsKnow@usta.com.

It's the season for switching country allegiance, I guess, and it's not just Nicolas Jarry (USA to Chile) and Jesse Levine (USA to Canada). An anonymous commenter pointed out that fourteen-year-old Maria Shishkina, who previously played under the USA flag, but never represented the US in any ITF junior team competitions, is now representing Kazakhstan. Unlike many players now representing that oil-rich country, Shishkina is actually from there.