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Thursday, January 5, 2023

Eddie Herr Videos of 12s, 14s, 16s Finals; Intercollegiate Tennis Association Announces Adoption of ITF's World Tennis Number; TRN's Recap of 18s USTA Winter Nationals

My short videos of Eddie Herr 12s, 14s and 16s finals have been uploaded to my YouTube channel the past several days, with those of the champions shown below; videos of the finalists are available by clicking on the links.  The exception is the Girls 14s video, which is of both players at once. These are shorter than I would like, but that is due to all six finals being played at the same time. The videos of the Eddie Herr ITF finals should be more substantial, as those finals were played back-to-back rather than concurrently. I hope to have those up this weekend.

G12s finalist Yui Komada Link: https://youtu.be/2Nvoj3YRphw

B12s finalist Tabb Tuck Link: https://youtu.be/K55Z51ojMvU

G14s finalist Emerson Jones Link: https://youtu.be/okVFYslIDj4

B14s finalist Keaton Hance Link: https://youtu.be/BMxedI5xRLU

B16s finalist Calvin Baierl Link: https://youtu.be/WFbdgj5jYwQ

The ITA announced today that it will be adopting the ITF's World Tennis Number this year. This is not a surprise; the ITA's partnership with the USTA, announced nearly two years ago,  made this step away from Universal Tennis and its rating system feel inevitable. Although UTR is still the gold standard in junior and collegiate rankings, the ITF made it clear several years ago that they would be getting into that market for global rankings, and there are no signs they are retreating from that initiative.

There's no question that Universal Tennis has been the much bigger influence in college tennis the past decade; I've always been dismayed by the ITF's lack of interest in, institutionally and financially, collegiate tennis, when the US model continues to provide a development pathway for players around the globe.

Hopefully this announcement is just the beginning of the ITA's collaboration with the ITF; it would certainly help college tennis if performance at the collegiate level could translate into spots in the ITF-sanctioned tournaments, much like the successful junior entry program the ITF introduced for $15,000 tournaments a few years ago.

The downside is that the World Tennis Number is not yet a reliable indication of a player's relative proficiency. One need only look at the entries to the Australian Open Junior Championships acceptance list to see that the ratings of juniors receiving entries range from 4 to 15 for the boys and 4 to 17 for the girls. US Open girls champion Alexandra Eala has a better World Tennis Number than all but three junior boys entered in the Australian Open Junior Championships. Until the WTN improves, it will not be taken seriously by college coaches, who ultimately have the final say in rating systems, given what's at stake for them.

The Tennis Recruiting Network has a recap of the USTA 18s Winter Nationals up today, with comments from singles champions James Lian and Tianmei Wang and Alanis Hamilton, who won the doubles title and finished runner-up in singles. Wang's role model is not one you hear often from juniors, but it's great to see a 15-year-old looking up to and aspiring to the demeanor of a collegiate superstar.