Friday, January 1, 2021

December Aces; Orange Bowl Photos; College Tennis Background of Alabama Quarterback Mac Jones; Hourigan Defends New Zealand National Title

It's still pretty quiet on the tennis scene today, but I did have an impressive number of Aces in December for my monthly column for the Tennis Recruiting Network. In addition to the four doubles teams and four singles players who won Orange Bowl titles last month, ten other performances by current and former collegians and junior standouts are featured, with three 18-year-olds claiming their first ITF pro circuit singles titles. 

Bill Kallenberg, who provided me with photos from the Orange Bowl for my coverage, has a large gallery of over 100 players available for viewing now at the Tennis Recruiting Network. He is returning to South Florida to shoot the ATP Delray Beach Open next week.

Joel Drucker discovered that the family history of Heisman trophy finalist Mac Jones, the Alabama quarterback, is full of former collegiate tennis players and wrote about it for tennis.com. Gordon Jones, his father, was a national champion at Flagler, which is Division II now, but was an NAIA school then; his mother played at Division I Mercer and his older sister Sarah played at Division I College of Charleston, graduating in 2018. Jones stuck with football, but was one of those naturally gifted athletes that are able to play a sport well, even with little serious coaching or practice.

Paige Hourigan

Last month, former Georgia Tech All-American Paige Hourigan defended her National title in New Zealand, beating 15-year-old Vivian Yang 5-7, 6-4, 6-1, according to this article. The 23-year-old Hourigan, currently 434 in the WTA rankings, has played only one tournament since the restart, reaching the quarterfinals of a $15K in Egypt in November. Normally she would be preparing for the WTA tournament in Auckland that is part of the Australian Open warmup circuit, but with the cancellation of that tournament due to the pandemic, she is left without many competitive options to start 2021.

Michael Venus, the former LSU star who is one of the ATP's top doubles players, won the New Zealand National doubles title, with former Pepperdine star Finn Tearney.