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Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Eddie Herr J1 Entry List Includes 18 Americans; ITF World Boys No. 1 Vallejo, Girls No. 2 Costoulas Lead Orange Bowl Acceptances

Usually the Orange Bowl acceptances are out a week before the Eddie Herr J1 entry lists are published, but this year they both came out today, and, as is customary, feature many of the same players.

The Eddie Herr J1, which runs from November 28 through December 4 at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, has just three ITF Top 20 boys: Gerard Campana Lee[7] of Korea, Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez [14] of Mexico and Yaroslav Demin[19] of Russia.

American boys who have received direct entry into the main draw are Nicholas Godsick, Cooper Williams, Aidan Kim, Alexander Frusina, Yannik Rahman, Jonah Braswell, Kaylan Bigun, Meecah Bigun and Jonathan Irwanto. 

The cutoff for boys was 114.

The girls Eddie Herr field currently has six ITF Top 20 players: Nikola Daubnerova[9] of Slovakia, Tereza Valentova[11] of Czech Republic, Luciana Moyano[12] of Argentina, Luca Udvardy[14] of Hungary, Sayaka Ishii[15] of Japan and Alina Korneeva[17] of Russia. 

By far most intriguing name in the girls field is 16-year-old Sara Bejlek of the Czech Republic, who played only one ITF junior event this year, Roland Garros, making the semifinals. Bejlek has won two $60Ks this year, qualified for the US Open women's singles, and with a WTA ranking of 189, would be the top seed in the tournament, although her junior ranking is only 105. She did not enter the Orange Bowl, so I don't actually expect to see Bejlek in the draw, but surprises do happen. Jerry Shang played doubles in the Eddie Herr J1 last year because he was doing his preseason training at IMG and thought it would be a fun way to end his junior career. 

American girls on this initial entry list are Qavia Lopez, Tatum Evans, Kaitlin Quevedo, Mia Slama, Theadora Rabman, Ava Krug, Ahmani Guichard, Iva Jovic and Valeria Ray.

The cutoff for girls was 111.

As a Grade A, the Orange Bowl usually picks up a few more top players than the Eddie Herr, especially with the Eddie Herr sandwiched in between the Merida Grade A and the Orange Bowl. It's rare that a champion defends a title at the Orange Bowl, although it is more common among the boys, and it's not often that an 18-year-old ITF Junior No. 1 plays the event. But that's the case, at least as of today, with 2021 champion Daniel Vallejo of Paraguay among the entries.

Vallejo has gotten to No. 1 without winning a slam, and none of the junior slam champions this year, boys or girls, are playing the year-ending tournaments, so he has a chance to finish as the ITF Junior champion if he can win the Orange Bowl again, although he is not entered in Merida this year and has finalist points from last year dropping off. 

All the same American boys are entered in the Orange Bowl as the Eddie Herr: Godsick, Williams, Kim, Frusina, Rahman, Braswell and Kaylan Bigun. The boys cutoff was 110, so Meecah Bigun and Irwanto are just outside the main draw right now.

The additional Top 20 girls entries for the Orange Bowl, who are not playing the Eddie Herr, are 2022 Australian Open girls finalist Sofia Costoulas of Belgium, No. 2 in the ITF junior rankings, and No. 13 Nina Vargova of Slovakia. 

Clervie Ngounoue is also a notable addition to the Orange Bowl field, with Lopez, Evans, Quevedo, Slama, Rabman, Krug, Guichard and Jovic rounding out the American entires. The cutoff for girls was 96, so Ray, the 2020 16s Orange Bowl champion, is the next in.

Speaking of the Orange Bowl 16s, the acceptance lists for this year's tournament can be found at the USTA Orange Bowl website

Some of the top Americans competing in the boys 16s are 16s Clay Court champion Stiles Brockett, Maxwell Exsted and Kalamazoo 16s finalist Calvin Baierl. The girls 16s field includes 2022 16s Clay Court champion Natasha Rajaram, Claire An and 2021 14s Clay Court champion Tianmei Wang. The 16s at the Eddie Herr are played on hard courts, but the 16s Orange Bowl is on Har-Tru at the Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation.

The acceptances for the Eddie Herr 12s, 14s, and 16s came out last month. Those can be found at the tournament's site on PlayTennis.

It's interesting to note the World Tennis Numbers on the two ITF acceptance lists, which are all over the place compared to the ITF junior rankings. Patrick Brady of Great Britain is the second lowest (in a reversal of UTR, the lower the better) WTN in the Orange Bowl field at 4.08, but he's in qualifying, while players with 13s are in the main draw. The system obviously isn't ready to be used for entries or seeding yet, when you can see these wide disparities, but kudos to the ITF for the transparency.


You cannot be serious said...

Why would Diana Shnaider play College Tennis in the Spring? JTweetsTennis raised the issue yesterday on Twitter.

I understand when she was 250 or 350 in the World this Summer. But now going to be at least inside 160.

Congratulations to the college coaches for signing her and convincing her to enter their college. But now, this looks worse on the college coaches holding her back or pressuring her to stay. if she does return. She has more than proved herself on Tour.

If she wants to be in school, or money is an issue, then why is she playing a full Tour schedule the entire Fall?

Do the right thing, Turn Pro.

An Educational Thought said...

"Why would Diana Shnaider play College Tennis in the Spring?
An Education Comes to Mind....160 WTA...Wup
Get an Education!

Educated Opinion.... said...

Is she planning on staying longer than a year? If she is then an education is a good option.

Is she in all-online classes?

It's not like she is going to UVA, Duke, Boston College, UCLA, Stanford, or an Ivy League, etc. So not sure the level of that "education" she is getting. She is not even going to class - she is traveling all around the world this Fall - so NO she is not getting the college experience or true college education.

She is 48-14 on the Pro Tour. She is 161 on the WTA live rankings at 18 years old. She is healthy and on a upwards trend.

No rational tennis developmental coach would agree that college is in her best interest. The only ones who benefit are her college coaches but on the outside, having her stay, looks really bad on them.

Need an Agent said...

The Bigger Question is the Direction of College Tennis

Diana Shnaider comes to play college tennis - doesn't have to go to 1 class. Can travel the entire Fall - this is her 6th week-long tournament of the Fall.

Is she getting an NIL deal to pay for her expenses?

Is a Volunteer coach going with her to pay for all expenses?

Education is NOT the issue here as she can't go to class with that tournament schedule. What about Team Building? The coaches cannot be coaching her as she is traveling all the time.

So - A college coach can promise: 1) Lifetime scholarship to play one year; 2) Do not have to attend any classes; 3) They will pay for expenses to as many pro tournaments to you can play?; 4) NIL deal to load your pocket of money; 5) Free plane flights home for internationals, and so much more.

The system will soon be broken.

What happened to College Tennis on TV?
All Students playing under same guidelines and rules?

Please someone save us from this madness