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Monday, May 18, 2020

ITA Division I Regional Award Winners Announced; Courier Featured on USTA Learning Webinar; Querrey Wins Home-Court Advantage Event Over Holt

Even without most of the conference season completed due to the Covid-19 crisis, the ITA has proceeded with its annual awards, with today's announcement revealing its Division I Regional winners. The ITA National Awards are scheduled for next Monday, Memorial Day, at 8 a.m. Pacific, in a virtual ceremony via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Below are the regional winners; if a category does not have a winner, there was not a nomination for that award in the region.

ITA Division I Women’s Regional Awards

Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship
Atlantic: Holly Hutchinson, Old Dominion
Carolina: Meible Chi, Duke
Midwest:  Mary Lewis, Michigan State
Mountain: TJ Fumagalli, US Air Force Academy
Northeast: Natasha Gonzalez, Harvard
Northwest: Melisa Ates, Washington State
Ohio Valley: Tenika McGiffin, Tennessee
Southeast: Estela Perez-Somarriba, Miami
Southern: Alexa Borles, Mississippi
Southwest: Ashley Lahey, Pepperdine
Texas: Stevie Kennedy, TCU

ITA Cissie Leary Sportsmanship
Atlantic: Rosie Johanson, Virginia
Carolina:Jordan Strickland, Western Carolina
Central: Lara Tupper, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville
Midwest: Christina Zordani, Wisconsin
Mountain: Ana Royo Marco, Wyoming
Northeast: Catherine Cable, Dartmouth
Northwest: Emma Higuchi, Stanford
Ohio Valley: Zala Dovnik, Purdue
Southeast: Marta Gonzalez, Georgia
Southern: Jana Hecking, Alabama-Birmingham
Southwest: Rebecca Weissman, Southern California
Texas: Maria Norris, TCU

ITA Rookie of the Year
Atlantic: Natasha Subhash, Virginia
Carolina: Emma Shelton, South Carolina
Central: Ayumi Miyamoto, Oklahoma State
Midwest: Page Freeman, Notre Dame
Mountain: Britt Purcell, Denver
Northeast: Daria Frayman, Princeton
Northwest: Haley Giavara, Cal-Berkeley
Ohio Valley: Carly Briggs, Tennessee
Southeast: Lea Ma, Georgia
Southern: Selin Ovunc, Auburn
Southwest: Abbey Forbes, UCLA
Texas: Jacqueline Nylander, SMU

ITA Player to Watch
Atlantic: Paola Diaz-Delgado, Virginia Commonwealth
Carolina: Cameron Morra, North Carolina
Central: Martina Capurro, Oklahoma
Midwest: Cameron Corse, Notre Dame
Mountain: Taylor Melville, Denver
Northeast: Iuliia Bryzgalova, Penn
Northwest: Mariia Kozyeva, St. Mary’s
Ohio Valley: Rebeka Mertena, Tennessee
Southeast: Victoria Flores, Georgia Tech
Southern: Emma Antonaki, Mississippi State
Southwest: Elysia Bolton, UCLA
Texas: Tatiana Makarova, Texas A&M

ITA Most Improved Senior
Atlantic:Kaylah Hodge, US Naval Academy
Carolina:Katarina Kozarov, Furman
Central: Elise Van Heuvelen Treadwell, Iowa
Midwest: Danielle Wolf, Ohio State
Mountain: Whitney Hekking, Utah
Northeast: Sibel Can, Lehigh
Northwest: Emily Arbuthnott, Stanford
Ohio Valley: Johanna Silva, Tennessee
Southeast: Nandini Das, Florida State
Southern: Paris Corley, LSU
Southwest: Angela Kulikov, Southern California
Texas: Anna Turati, Texas

ITA Senior Player of the Year
Atlantic: Kalani Soli, Liberty
Carolina: Sara Daavettila, North Carolina
Central: Savinoz Saidhujaeva, Wichita State
Mountain: Chiara Tomasetti, Northern Arizona
Northeast: Kylie Wilcox, Boston College
Northwest: Marta Heinen Eastern Washington
Ohio Valley: Christina Rosca, Vanderbilt
Southeast: Estela Perez-Somarriba, Miami
Southern: Taylor Russo, Auburn
Southwest: Ashley Lahey, Pepperdine
Texas: Anna Turati and Bianca Turati, Texas

ITA Community Service
Atlantic: Liberty
Carolina: Appalachian State
Central: Arkansas
Midwest: Michigan State
Mountain: Boise State
Northeast: Hofstra
Northwest: Washington State
Ohio Valley: Tennessee
Southeast: North Georgia
Southern: Alabama-Birmingham
Texas: TCU

ITA Division I Men’s Regional Awards

Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship
Atlantic: Luis Marcona, Delaware
Carolina: Paul Jubb, South Carolina
Central: Jason Kerst, Iowa
Midwest: Guillermo Cabrera, Notre Dame
Mountain: Ryland McDermott, Boise State
Northeast: Vilhelm Fridell, Buffalo
Northwest: Jack Davis, Washington
Ohio Valley: Tom Moonen, Middle Tennessee State
Southeast: Marcelo Tebet, Florida Gulf Coast
Southern: Zhe Zhou, Alabama
Southwest: Gui Osorio, San Diego
Texas: Alastair Gray, TCU

ITA Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship
Atlantic: Luis Marcano, Delaware
Central: Jason Kerst, Iowa
Midwest: Guillermo Cabrera, Notre Dame
Mountain: Ryland McDermott, Boise State
Northeast: Vilhelm Fridell, Buffalo
Northwest: Jack Davis, Washington
Ohio Valley: Tom Moonen, Middle Tennessee State
Southeast: Marcelo Tebet, Florida Gulf Coast
Southern: Zhe Zhou, Alabama
Texas: Alastair Gray, TCU

ITA Rookie of the Year 
Atlantic: Demi Taramonlis, Radford
Carolina: Rinky Hijikata, North Carolina
Central: Mark Manlik, Oklahoma
Midwest: Cannon Kingsley, Ohio State
Mountain: Franco Capalbo, Utah
Northeast: Alex Kotzen, Columbia
Northwest: Neel Rajesh, Stanford
Ohio Valley: Tomasz Dudek, Purdue
Southeast: Tyler Zink, Georgia
Southern: Nikola Slavic, Mississippi
Southwest: Daniel DeJonge, Pepperdine
Texas: Siem Woldeab, Texas

ITA Player to Watch 
Atlantic: Ryan Goetz, Virginia
Carolina: Benjamin Sigouin, North Carolina
Central: Mason Beiler, Oklahoma
Midwest: Richard Ciamarra, Notre Dame
Mountain: Matt Summers, Denver
Northeast: Karl Poling, Princeton
Northwest: Alexandre Rotsaert, Stanford
Ohio Valley: George Harwell, Vanderbilt
Southeast: Sam Riffice, Florida
Southern: Hamish Stewart, Tulane
Southwest: Govind Nanda, UCLA
Texas: Sven Lah, Baylor

ITA Most Improved Senior
Carolina: Paul Jubb, South Carolina
Central: Kareem Allaf, Iowa
Midwest: Nico Mostardi, Cleveland State
Mountain: Nicolas Buitrago, New Mexico State
Northeast: Jacki Tang, Columbia
Northwest: Zdenek Derkas, Fresno State
Ohio Valley: Athell Bennett, Purdue
Southeast: Jakub Wojcik, South Florida
Southern: Edson Oritz, Alabama
Southwest: Joseph Guillin, UC-Santa Barbara
Texas: Constantin Frantzen, Baylor

ITA Senior Player of the Year
Carolina: William Blumberg, North Carolina
Central: Kareema Allaf, Iowa
Midwest: Aleks Kovacevic, Illinois
Mountain: Sean Hill, Brigham Young
Northeast: Charlie Broom, Dartmouth
Northwest: Damon Kesaris, St. Mary’s
Ohio Valley: Athell Bennett, Purdue
Southeast: Alex Knaff, Florida State
Southern: Ewan Moore, Tulane
Southwest: Brandon Holt, Southern California
Texas, Yuya Ito, Texas

ITA Community Service
Atlantic: Bucknell
Carolina: North Carolina Central
Midwest: DePaul
Mountain: Utah
Northeast: Binghamton
Northwest: Gonzaga
Ohio Valley: Purdue
Southeast: North Georgia
Southern: Tulane

Today's USTA Player Development Learning Series Webinar entitled "Maintaining Strong Player and Coach Relationships"m featured Jose Higueras and Jim Courier in a conversation about their partnership, which resulted in Courier winning four slam titles and reach No. 1 in the ATP rankings. Obviously, the results speak for themselves, and it appears they were perfectly suited to each other; unfortunately that doesn't provide a great deal of insight into a coaching relationship that might not be quite so successful. 

Courier has always been famous for his work ethic, but he said the reputation he built around his physical fitness was not intentional.

"I was never afraid of the work, but getting everything streamlined and as professional as possible was really important, because what the professional demand is, best of five, is extremely high," Courier said. "I had to make sure every base was covered, that was my goal, basically because of frustration, because of the plateaued ranking and lost opportunities by not being physically up to snuff. Not from a lack of effort, but probably a lack of organization, as much as anything....I wasn't trying to intimidate people, that may have become a byproduct of it, because they thought that going for a jog after it was me rubbing it in their nose, which was not the case. Back in those times, we didn't have fitness centers, bikes and treadmills, on site. If you wanted to go for a cool-down, you had to go for a cool-down someplace and we would go for a run. That was misconstrued, which turned out to be a good thing, because people did get intimidated about that, I guess, and you could maybe be up a break before a match started."

The webinar also featured Leah Friedman, Dr. Bob Neff and Dave Ramos, who spoke about different facets of coaching, with Friedman speaking about retaining beginners, Neff about mental charting, and Ramos about using video for technical and tactical training. Links to all these references are available at the Learning Series website.

Neff's mental charting was not a concept I was familiar with. Although I believe in the power and importance of positive self-talk and body language during competition, I admit to some skepticism about his contention that 95% of close sets are won by the more positive player. With margins so small in that kind of match, I just don't see how one variable could make that much of a difference, but if I were the parent of a junior, I'd certainly test that theory by doing my own charting. The graphic above. I guess maybe "six boxes" better, which is not a counting method I'm familiar with, might be the key to understanding this 95% rate.  I do agree with the second point above, having just listened to a podcast (https://freakonomics.com/podcast/reasons-to-be-cheerful/) that covered the social science evidence for that.

Due to Memorial Day next Monday, there will be no Learning Series webinar next week.

Heavy favorite Sam Querrey won the Home-Court Advantage event on a private court in Rolling Hills California yesterday, beating USC graduate Brandon Holt 3-4(5), 4-1, 10-8 in the final. Holt was filling in for Bradley Klahn, who pulled out of the semifinals with a back injury, and Holt defeated Marcos Giron to reach the final. Although it's impossible to draw any real conclusions in this drastically abbreviated format, Holt did pick up wins over Escobedo and Giron and obviously challenged Querrey.

For more on Sunday's competition, see this tennis.com article by Cale Hammond.


Jon King said...

I agree, the 95% of sets won by the more positive player is dubious at best. And of course when you are a mental training coach, its like the old saying, when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. So a mental training coach thinks everything is mental. Never met a mental training coach yet that did not take credit for every success and never tell about the 1000s of kids they failed with.

Almost every serious tennis kid is taught positive self talk from an early age. Every 9 year old, every 15 year old, is constantly saying "come on, lets go" and walking with shoulders back like they own the tournament site. Its comical because almost every kid does it.

After watching 10s of thousands of sets over the years, the close ones are won by many factors. Many times its fitness. A crazy fit kid draws confidence knowing their legs will last and the less fit kid fades when the sets get close. Sometimes its cheating, the closer the set, the more balls near the line become out. Sometimes its consistency. Sometimes its a weapon that they can rely on like a great 2nd serve that gives them confidence. Sometimes its a nervous parent pacing the sidelines that takes confidence away.

I have seen kids win many close sets staring at their squirming parents and saying out loud how they stink, etc. Impossible to 'chart' what is positive, what is not. It varies person to person. McEnroe won while drawing off chaos. I have coached many kids that won all the way to a college scholarship, berating themselves all the way.

Fitness coaches will tell you 95% of close sets are won by the more physically fit player, mental coaches say its almost 100% mental, nutritional counselors will say most close matches are won by the player who ate the right food pre-match, the serve expert at the academy will tell you its the best 2nd serve that wins almost all close match ups, and on and on. Every specialist wants to think its their field of expertise that is almost totally responsible for success.

Max Ho said...

For me a strong mental game comes down to 3 three things:
Can you quickly get over a negative event (blown shot on big point, loss of set, loss of break, bad call...)
Can you be aggressive and play your game on big points/games
Can you close out matches.

You see many juniors hit out when behind, but when they are in crunch time they revert to pushing, or they cheat. As the level goes up you cannot just defend and win matches, and you can't cheat in futures/challengers/tour.

You can be mentally not at your peak, but opponent can blow it before you get a chance to. You cannot run out the clock in tennis which is why its such a hard game mentally.