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Eight Intriguing Questions for 2013

2013 marks the eigth new year for TennisRecruiting.net - and the eighth edition of "Intriguing Questions" from columnist Colette Lewis. You can see last year's questions here.


Changes in formats and competition schedules won't match the on-court excitement of college and junior tennis in 2013, but those decisions are among the most important answers we'll receive to this year's eight intriguing questions.


1) What will the USTA's junior competition schedule look like for 2014?

A year ago, the changes proposed by the USTA's junior competition committee were rumored but still unknown. When the final proposal was released, including elimination of two gold ball tournaments, reduced draw sizes for the two remaining National Championships and entry to them determined by sectional play alone, those opposed had precious little time to act.

Passed in March, with only the Southern section voting against it, the proposal drew harsh criticism from several high profile tennis parents, including Tennis Channel Founder Steve Bellamy and Fox News personality Sean Hannity. As objections grew, the USTA agreed to pause the changes set to begin in 2013, and began a series of Town Hall listening meetings. The real question now is whether the USTA will settle for refinements to the proposal or decide to scrap it and start over.

2) What will the college tennis format be in 2014?

While the USTA junior changes had been looming on the horizon for many months, the NCAA Division I tennis committee's decision to drastically change its format hit the college tennis world like meteor last summer. Led by savvy student-athletes using social media to galvanize the community, the opposition succeeded in derailing the changes, which included a match tiebreaker in lieu of a third set in singles, and a Final Four rather than the current Sweet 16 for the May team championships.

But while the committee's proposals and methods alienated many, the sentiment behind them - college tennis needs more exposure and dual matches are too long to attract it - remains. The ITA is experimenting with doubles in the coming months, with no-ad and a tiebreaker at 7-7 rather than the current 8-8, and it is unlikely this will be the only modification to emerge in the search for new fans.

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