Saturday, October 17, 2020

First ITF Junior Circuit Event in US Since December 2019 Underway in Atlanta; Other Notes from College and Junior Tennis

The ITF Grade A Orange Bowl ended last year on December 15th, with Robin Montgomery and Thiago Tirante winning the titles, no one expected that the next US tournament with ITF points would be more than ten months later, at the Grade 4 in Atlanta. Once the Easter Bowl, Carson, the US Open Junior Championships and the Pan American Closed were canceled, any opportunity to collect major points in this country this year disappeared, with the ITF tournaments the next three weeks offering only Level 4 points, although the Orange Bowl is currently still on the schedule for December.

Qualifying for the Atlanta ITF has attracted a strong field, particularly on the girls side, probably because draws have been reduced to 32, rather than the usual 64 for these ITF junior tournaments. Main draw matches begin on Monday at the Windward Lake Club in Alpharetta Georgia.

I watched the webinar on the new USTA Junior Competition structure provided by the USTA Midwest Section, and I am beginning to grasp some of the details of how the system will work going forward. I am encouraged by the the commitment that the Midwest section has to increase playing opportunities, and I hope we'll get to a place regarding the pandemic that will allow the ambitious plans to happen. I did take a screenshot of a slide that lists the National Championships scheduled for 2021, and there are no changes to those. 

For more on these upcoming changes, including a link to the USTA webinar on these changes from a national perspective, go to this usta.com page dedicated to information on the subject.

The USTA Florida section's Bobby Curtis Junior Sectionals for 12s and 14s were played last weekend in Delray Beach. For more on the winners there, see this article from the section's website. As a bonus, there's a fantastic list of former winners included.

UTR has posted a primer on its system and particularly on how it's used by college coaches here.

Although the Fresno State news yesterday was unequivocally bad, a team a few hours north received good news a couple of weeks ago , with the Cal women's team set to receive $1.7 million dollars to fund The Edward H. and Lynn Little Scholarship. This is an estate gift, totalling $5 million dollars, with the men's and women's golf teams also sharing in the Little's generosity. 

I ran across this article earlier this week about Federico Rebecchini an Italian player who arrived in the US expecting to play for Old Dominion, but when told there was no longer a scholarship for him, ended up instead at Norfolk State. I'm not sure if universities have reduced the number of scholarships they are funding during the Covid-19 financial crunch, but if more articles like this emerge, that would be the obvious conclusion.