Saturday, December 27, 2014

Looking Ahead to 2015; Tennis Channel's 10 to Watch; Universal Tennis Ratings Look at Winter Nationals

Sports Illustrated's Courtney Nguyen annualy asks tennis writers around the world what they are most looking forward to in the upcoming year, and I had no difficulty coming up with the one most important to me--the replacement for Patrick McEnroe as general manager of player development. While I was in Florida talking to players, parents, coaches and administrators, that question was topic 1 and 1a and many people already believe the that James Blake will get the job. Earlier this month in a news conference on the PowerShares series they are participating in, Andy Roddick endorsed James Blake for the position, and although not everyone is as enthusiastic as Roddick about Blake's candidacy, he is certainly on the short list.

In the SI.com piece, I don't really predict anything, and ask more questions than provide answers, but I do hope the decision is made relatively soon so the adjustment period can begin for all involved.

Tennis Channel has come up with its 10 to Watch in 2015, and the brief bios are available on video at the website.  At this year's US Open, I was invited to participate in talking about the 10 players (only one American, Taylor Townsend, among them), but unfortunately all my comments ended up on the cutting room floor. But many other knowledgeable members of the tennis community provided insights, so check out each one (if you can stand watching the Ally Bank advertisement 10 times).

The Universal Tennis Rating has been providing its look at the fields of the Eddie Herr, Orange Bowl and now, the 16 & 18s Winter Nationals, ranking the competitors by their UTR.  After the tournament is over, they provide analysis and identify the "rare" upset, which happens when a player with a UTR ranking more than 1.00 point lower than his or her opponent wins. The big upset at the Orange Bowl was Sonya Kenin's win over CiCi Bellis. According the UTR, the top two players in the 18s Winter Nationals this year are Zeke Clark(seeded No. 11) and Sara Daavettila (seeded No. 5).