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Sunday, December 30, 2018

Orange Bowl, Junior Orange Bowl Photo Galleries; Orlando Challenger, Los Angeles $25K Kick Off ITF's World Tennis Tour in US Monday

I have not been able to find a viable and long-term slideshow app or site that can host photos from the tournaments I cover, but the Tennis Recruiting Network has been able to host several galleries from this year on their site. Although I am not able to provide anything more than the player's name, when I previously would have shown their country and their position in the draw(semifinalist, champion etc.), I do appreciate the opportunity to feature photos that I might not have room for in my daily coverage.  Today, TRN posted my Orange Bowl and Junior Orange Bowl galleries, with all the singles semifinalists featured in the former, and the top six finishers in the latter.

Although qualifying in several WTA and ATP events has begun, the first play in the new ITF World Tennis Tour begins Monday, with a $25,000 men's event (M25) in Los Angeles its first tournament in the United States. The USTA is no longer allowed to refer to its "Pro Circuit", for these events, which had also described those ATP Challengers sanctioned by the USTA, and the description of them as Futures is also gone. In the list of tournaments it has provided, the USTA now refers instead to its competitive pathway, with this the current list for men, and this the current list for women. This change has the advantage of including junior and collegiate events, which were previously not part of the Pro Circuit schedule.

In addition to the M25 tournament in Los Angeles, where the qualifying draw of 24 begins Monday, the USTA's National Campus in Lake Nona is hosting an ATP Challenger, which also features new qualifying arrangements.  Only four players are in qualifying, with two advancing to the main draw. The main draw has been expanded from 32 to 48, with the 16 seeds receiving first round byes.  The tournament in Orlando, which was initially scheduled to be held in Waco Texas, has prize money of $54,160, and, as with all ATP Challengers in 2019, hospitality is included. Ohio State junior JJ Wolf received the wild card into qualifying, with Evan Song, Sam Riffice(Florida), Jared Hiltzik(Illinois), Michael Redlicki(Arkansas) and Alex Rybakov(TCU) receiving main draw wild cards. Rybakov earned his wild card by winning the Collegiate Wild Card Challenge earlier this month in Orlando. Both qualifying and first round matches will take place on Monday, with the schedule here. Darian King of Barbados is the No. 1 seed, with Mitch Krueger seeded No. 2. 

Other Americans are playing in the two additional ATP Challengers this week, both with prize money of $81,240. (I don't think these odd amounts are how the ATP wants the tournaments referenced and if I have this right, the Orlando Challenger is an ATP 80 and the other two are ATP 90s). In Noumea New Caledonia the Americans in the main draw are Noah Rubin[3], Donald Young, Roy Smith, Thai Kwiatkowski, and Christian Harrison. In Playford Australia, Tommy Paul and Ernesto Escobedo are in the main draw.  ITF World Junior champion Chun Hsin Tseng of Taiwan qualified into the main draw, as did former Oklahoma star Andrew Harris of Australia. Tseng will face recent Illinois graduate Aleks Vukic of Australia, who received a wild card into the main draw.


Jon King said...

The competition for college scholarships just went up a ton. The pathway to even attempting to make it in the pros is pretty much been eliminated for almost all but the very top players.

tennisforlife said...

The USTA has a single mission - To grow the game of tennis - By any metric they are failing dismally. Participation is in free fall yet the head just buries itself deeper and deeper into the sand. The new World Tour is probably the final nail in the coffin. Once again tennis will be a sport for the wealthy elite, and nobody on the USTA, Grand Slam hopping, board will be held accountable. It's borderline criminal.