Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Four Americans Reach Final Round of Australian Open Qualifying; Michael Joyce Joins USTA Player Development; ITA Announces Covid Rule Modifications

The second round of Australian Open qualifying didn't go well for Americans, with US women losing six of eight matches and US men losing three of five. 

None of the four Americans remaining--Varvara Lepchenko, Whitney Osuigwe, Maxime Cressy and Michael Mmoh-- were seeded in qualifying. The three seeded Americans in the draw, Caty McNally[12], Denis Kudla[4] and Francesca Di Lorenzo[27] lost in the second and first rounds, respectively.

In Dubai, Whitney Osuigwe will face No. 22 seed Michaela Buzarnescu of Romania in a night match Wednesday, with Lepchenko taking on No. 3 seed Greet Minnen of Belgium in the first match of the day.

In Doha, Former UCLA standout Cressy will play Dustin Brown of Germany in what should be an entertaining match, and Mmoh will face former Texas A&M star Arthur Rinderknech of France.

Other former collegians in the final round of qualifying are Mayar Sherif(Pepperdine) of Egypt, Borna Gojo(Wake Forest) of Croatia, JP Smith(Tennessee) of Australia and Mikhail Torpegaard(Ohio State) of Denmark.

Second round Australian Open qualifying results for Americans:


Varvara Lepchenko d. Ellen Perez(AUS) 6-4, 2-6, 6-3

Whitney Osuigwe d. Olivia Gadecki[WC](AUS) 6-2, 6-4

Maria Osorio Serrano(COL) d. Hailey Baptiste 7-6(4), 7-6(3)

Harmony Tan(FRA) d. Caty McNally[12] 6-1, 6-4

Olga Danilovic(SRB) d. Sachia Vickery 6-4, 6-1

Mayar Sherif d. Grace Min 6-3, 2-6, 6-1

Liudmila Samsonova d. Robin Anderson 6-0, 6-7(2), 6-3

Michaela Buzarnescu[22](ROU) d. Claire Liu 7-6(6), 2-6, 6-4


Maxime Cressy d. Yannick Maden(GER) 2-6, 6-3, 6-4

Michael Mmoh d. Zhe Li(CHN) 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(10-7)

Viktor Troicki(SRB) d. Ulises Blanch 7-5, 6-3

Dane Sweeney[WC](AUS) d. Denis Kudla[4] walkover

Roman Safiullin d. Mitchell Krueger 6-1, 6-4

At the WTA 500 in Abu Dhabi, No. 4 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus will face unseeded Veronika Kudermetova of Russia for the singles title Wednesday.

Three former collegiate stars have advanced to the doubles final, with No. 5 seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara(UCLA) of Japan playing No. 8 seeds Hayley Carter(North Carolina) and Brazil's Luisa Stefani(Pepperdine).

Michael Joyce 

The USTA announced today that Michael Joyce, who has worked with many top WTA players, will join its Player Development staff as a National Coach. Joyce, who will report to Kathy Rinaldi, head of women's tennis, was recently coaching privately in the Boca Raton area, with blue chip Sarah Hamner one of the high performance juniors in his program.

Five years ago I spoke to Joyce at the Dow Tennis Classic in Midland, where he was coaching Jessica Pegula; that conversation is available at the Tennis Recruiting Network(subscription required for full access).  

Also featured in the announcement was Jenna Worswick, hired as a Strength and Conditioning Coach.

Michael Joyce and Jenna Worswick Join USTA Player Development


January 12, 2021 -- Renowned women's coach Michael Joyce, who has coached multiple Grand Slam champions, including Maria Sharapova, and strength and conditioning coach Jenna Worswick have joined USTA Player Development in full-time roles. Joyce was hired as a National Coach, Women's Tennis, and Worswick as Strength and Conditioning Coach. Both will be headquartered at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla. 


With USTA Player Development, Joyce will coach players on and transitioning onto the pro tour, reporting to Head of Women's Tennis Kathy Rinaldi. Joyce has coached a number of players at the top of the women's game over the last two decades, having coached Sharapova from 2004-11, helping her reach the world No. 1 ranking and win two Grand Slam titles. Joyce has also coached two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka and most recently doubles Grand Slam champion Timea Babos, along with Johanna Konta, Eugenie Bouchard and Americans Shelby Rogers, Jessica Pegula and Samantha Crawford. 


Worswick joins USTA Player Development full-time after first working with the USTA under Player Development's fellowship program in 2018. She has an M.A. in Kinesiology from George Mason University, holds the National Strength and Conditioning Association's Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist certification and is a Certified Personal Trainer. She will work under Head Strength & Conditioning Coach Satoshi Ochi.


In a Where Are They Now? item, I ran across this article about Leo Azevedo, the former USTA National Coach, who is now working for Tennis Scotland. Jose Higueras, who I believe is still working occasionally for the USTA on a consulting basis, went to the University of Stirling Center's GB National Tennis Academy for a week to provide his coaching insights to the young players training there.

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced Covid rule modifications for the upcoming dual match season, which addresses the likelihood that teams will be short the usual number of players required for competition due to Covid protocols. The summary and rationales is here. The details are here.