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Wednesday, January 5, 2022

First ITA Preseason Coaches Polls Have Florida Men, Texas Women at No. 1; A Look at USTA Pro Circuit Calendar for January, February; USTA 14s Winter Nationals Recap

The first preseason coaches poll of the year was released today by the ITA, with NCAA champions Florida men and Texas women at No. 1. This is a vote by the National Ranking committee, which the ITA describes as: "made up of the 12 ITA Region Chairs, with each chair casting an individual, secret ballot."

These rankings will be replaced by computer rankings later in the season, when actual dual matches, not opinions, take priority, so this just provides a baseline of expectations. If you are interested in other opinions, please check out the Cracked Racquets podcasts, which are counting down their Top 10 for both men and women. They are up to No. 5.  Spoiler alert: they do not agree with the 12 regionals chairs.

Going forward, I will probably just note the Top 10, but given that this is the first poll, here is the full Top 25.

ITA Division I Preseason Top 25 (No. 1 votes in parentheses)

1. Florida (12)
2. Baylor
3. Texas
4. Tennessee
5. TCU
6. Ohio State
7. Virginia
8. Georgia
9. Southern Cal
10. Wake Forest
11. Central Florida
12. Kentucky
13. South Carolina
14. North Carolina
15. Arizona
16. Stanford
17. Michigan
18. Mississippi
19. Texas A&M
20. Mississippi State
21. Harvard
22. Pepperdine
23. Illinois
24. Oklahoma
25. UCLA

1. Texas (8)
2. Pepperdine (3)
3. North Carolina (1)
4. Georgia
6. Duke
7. Virginia
8. NC State
9. California
10. Ohio State
11. Baylor
T12. Central Florida
T12. Georgia Tech
14. Texas A&M
15. Florida State
16. Michigan
17. Stanford
18. Southern California
19. Oklahoma
20. Florida
21. LSU
22. Tennessee
23. Princeton
24. Miami
25. Auburn

The USTA Pro Circuit 2022 calendar for men was posted back in November, but the release date of the most recent 2022 women's calendar, was December 20th, so I think this is a good time to review what's coming up in the first couple of months of the year.

First, any hope that 2022 would mark a return to a pre-pandemic normal is dashed, with only four events in the first nine weeks for the women and six for the men (not including the new ATP 250 in Dallas the week of February 7). There are no $15Ks for women until March and the only $25K on the schedule in January or February is next week in Vero Beach. The men usually have several $15Ks in south Florida in January, at Weston, Sunrise, Plantation, but this year there are none until three consecutive events in Naples, beginning on February 7. There is a $25K in Weston for the men the week of January 24.  

While the ATP Dallas Open takes the place of the Challenger held there for many years, there are two Challengers in January in Ohio, which are the only Challengers in the United States, as of now at least, in the first quarter.  Columbus will host a Challenger 80 the week of January 24th, with another Challenger 80 the following week in Cleveland

The women have two $60Ks on the schedule, in Orlando the week of January 24th and in Rome Georgia the following week

There are also two ITF J5s for juniors in the United States in January, which is a relatively new development, with the first next week in Eau Claire Wisconsin, with another in Medford New Jersey the following week.

The Tennis Recruiting Network has begun posting its articles on the USTA Winter National Championships, with today's a review of the 14s tournament in Tucson.


Brian deVilliers said...

Absolute joke that there are so few events for the women, and US tennis continues to fall further behind

Tennis Dad Jim said...

Brian, you are so right. Our young women are at a disadvantage unless they are the very few chosen ones who get support, or have wealthy backing to travel. There just are not enough US based events to allow women to break into the pro game.

SeminoleG said...

Spend the last ~ 15 months on the road with my daughter. Tunisa, Turkey, Cancun, Porto…. Just to name a few garden spots. So I was sitting in a room (others next to us tested Positive and got the “Q”) and my wife called. Why isn’t the USTA having back to back to back events in Orlando. 15-25k with hotels VACANT and 100+ courts. BUT back home we got the ITA cheering how a UCLA post grad qualifies for an event after many years trying..”this is college tennis”.

I honestly have NO IDEA what the USTA is trying to do with our young ladies. Women’s Tennis has the highest visibility and revenue of ANY sport in the USA, hell let me run it and I’ll get events and media. This is so sad, and I feel for the US players trying to make it. We are not wealthy but doing well enough and we watch others struggle to pay travel expenses in the US from city to city. To top it off, you cant practice or stay at the sites in the USA after the event. That is how these ladies practice, bond, save money etc. A this rate in a few years USA Women’s Tennis will be where the men are! LOST

Jon King said...

In our area the USTA has pretty much given way to UTR events. Kids today almost have no idea what the USTA is but they know all about UTR. It kind of seems the USTA has become just the US Open for revenue and a few select pro players they support. They appear to be not all that interested anymore with their kids and high performance junior programs or the pathway to pro tennis. Strange thing is our local pro shop, tennis center, and others say tennis is doing well as far as participation goes.

Just a hunch, but it certainly appears that a decision has been made to focus on the Open which pays its executives, and let ITF, UTR, private coaches and academies, handle everything else. Has anyone heard from Martin Blackman, head of high performance? I see no social media posts in years. Is the department still active?