Explore the Junior Tennis Champions Center's high performance program by clicking on the banner above

Monday, May 5, 2014

NCAA Division I Roundtable; Division III Draws Released; Rola Enters ATP Top 100; TCU's Borelli, Utah's Robbins Resign; Tiafoe, Swan Features

As I mentioned last week, more of my thoughts on the upcoming NCAA Division I team tournament can be found at the Tennis Recruiting Network's annual Roundtable.  The panelists are sent the questions and asked to email our answers, so there's no interaction between the contributors, but it's always interesting to see who ends up focusing on the same points. Nashville is a popular choice for the Regional to Attend question, and this year Bobby Knight of CollegeTennisOnline and I had nearly the same thoughts.  In Friday's second installment, the tough questions are answered: which seeds won't make the Sweet 16, and who will win the titles.

The Division III draws were released today, with play beginning on Thursday. There's no seeding like there is in Division I, but Emory, Williams (defending champion), Amherst and Johns Hopkins, the top four teams in the women's rankings, are in different quarters. The women's release, with links to draws, is here. For the men, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, whose only loss this year is to UCLA, Washington University, Middlebury and Amherst are the top four teams, and in separate quarters.  The men's release, with links to draws, is here.

A year ago, Ohio State junior Blaz Rola was attending classes andpreparing for the NCAA championships in Champaign-Urbana. The Buckeyes lost to UCLA in the semifinals, but Rola went on to win the singles title and did not return to Columbus for his senior year, opting instead for the professional tour. Today, after reaching the semifinals of the 85,000 Euro Challenger in Ostrava, Czech Republic last week, Rola made his debut in the ATP Top 100, which should allow him direct entry into the main draw at Wimbledon.

With Rola reaching the Top 100, the past three NCAA champions are now in that elite club, with 2010 champion Bradley Klahn(66) and 2011 and 2012 champion Steve Johnson(69).  Two NCAA doubles champions, Kevin Anderson (2006) and John Isner (2005), are the highest ranked former collegians at 19 and 10.

Two Division I college coaching positions were vacated last week. Although the school has not made an official announcement, the TCU student paper has published this article saying that TCU's women's head coach Dave Borelli is retiring.

The University of Utah has announced the retirement of F.D. Robbins, the men's head coach. He will be replaced by assistant coach Roeland Brateanu, who played at Utah and has been Robbins' assistant since 2008..

Last week I ran across two features on prominent junior players. Easter Bowl ITF finalist Katie Swan was profiled by her local paper, The Wichita Eagle, and Easter Bowl champion Francis Tiafoe was interviewed by Randy Walker, for World Tennis.