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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

USTA Collegiate Team Update; Liu Leads 14U Americans Heading to Bolton, Tarbes

The resumption of college tennis is just a few weeks away (my take on the experimental format changes is here), and the USTA Collegiate team had a opportunity to keep sharp during this month's off-season at a training camp in Los Angeles.

courtesy photo

USTA national collegiate coach Dustin Taylor invited any American who was a quarterfinalist at the ITA All-American and USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships to the December 12-19 camp at the UCLA Tennis Center. Although not all could participate, with some still taking finals, other top collegiate players in the area filled in any gaps. 

The above mentioned quarterfinalists participating in the camp were: Austin Smith (Georgia), Clay Thompson(UCLA), Jared Hiltzik(Illinois),  Winston Lin(Columbia), Hayley Carter(North Carolina), Lauren Herring(Georgia), Robin Anderson(UCLA), and Sabrina Santamaria(USC).  Current USTA Collegiate Team members Lauren Embree(Florida graduate) and Marcos Giron(UCLA) also participated, as did Chanelle Van Nguyen(UCLA), Dennis Mkrtchain(UCLA), Gage Brymer(UCLA), Kyle McPhillips(UCLA), Mackenzie McDonald(UCLA), Nathan Pasha(Georgia), Nikko Madregallejo(Alabama) and Zoe Scandalis(USC).

Pros Sam Querrey, Nicole Gibbs and Rajeev Ram also worked out with the group according to Taylor.

The first few days were focused on fitness, there was a UCLA vs. non-UCLA dual match, and the final four days featured match play.  Taylor was assisted in running the camp and social activities by UCLA assistant coaches Grant Chen and Laura Gordon. In addition, two USTA guest coaches spoke to the group: Craig Boynton (former coach of John Isner, current coach of Steve Johnson and Jack Sock, and a former college player at Clemson) and Tom Gullikson (former Davis Cup Captain, top 50 ATP professional and college player at Northern Illinois).

I hope to have updates throughout the next few months on the Collegiate team, which is a significant part of the USTA Player Development's commitment to college tennis.

Two coaches from USTA Player Development will focus on the 14-and-under age division next month, when they take four boys and four girls on the annual trip to England and France for the Teen Tennis and Les Petits As tournaments.

Jay Devashetty, a USTA national coach based in New York, will be accompanying Andrew Fenty and Keenan Mayo, who won their places on the trip at a tournament in November, and Roscoe Bellamy and Axel Nefve to Bolton and Tarbes. I understand from Devashetty that the team will be playing a "friendly" with Great Britain prior to the Teen Tennis tournament.

Jamea Jackson, a USTA national coach based in Boca Raton, will be coaching the girls--Claire Liu, Abigail Desiatnikov, Elysia Bolton and Grace Joyce. Liu should be one of the top seeds after her Junior Orange Bowl 14s title last week.

For a list of the Les Petits As competitors, see the Tennis Europe site. For the entrants in the Teen Tennis tournament, now sponsored by Nike, see this Tennis Europe page.