Eight Intriguing Questions for 2017
Covering junior tennis tournaments and reporting on individual matches
is the bread and butter of what I do at ZooTennis.com. But every
January, the Tennis Recruiting Network encourages me to step back and
contemplate some of the structural and procedural changes that
surround the always evolving sport of tennis. Here are the eight
questions that I look forward to seeing answered in 2017 ...
Welcome to the USTA National Campus
While in Florida last month for the big junior tennis tournaments,
I took a few hours to tour the USTA's vast new 64-acre National
Campus in Lake Nona. The scale of the project is difficult to grasp
even when visiting in person, but here are 18 photos to provide a
glimpse into what is available at the public facility.
Junior Tennis Stars Highlight December Aces
December may contain little in the way of college and professional
tennis, but junior tennis fills that gap with the Eddie Herr,
Metropolia Orange Bowl and Junior Orange Bowl events. The 14 different
champions crowned in those prestigious events are below, as well as
two teens who are excelling on the ITF Pro Circuit.
Americans Lilov, Gauff Sweep Junior Orange Bowl 12s Titles, Noel Wins 14s Championship
After a sweep of the 16s singles titles earlier this month at the
Metropolia Orange Bowl, Americans continued their success this week at
the Junior Orange Bowl, with Victor Lilov, Cori Gauff and Alexa Noel
claiming the biggest silver bowls of oranges on offer at 12s and 14s
event in Coral Gables, Florida.
Unseeded Volynets and Sun Capture Metropolia Orange Bowl 16s Titles
A rainy day didn't keep Katie Volynets from making history at the
Metropolia Orange Bowl last Saturday, while Steven Sun won a dramatic
final to take the boys title, giving the United States a sweep of the
16s singles championships at the Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation
Kecmanovic Defends Title, Juvan Claims Girls Championship at Metropolia Orange Bowl
Serbia's Miomir Kecmanovic completed two of the toughest tasks in
tennis last weekend, adding a second straight Metropolia Orange Bowl
title to his International Tennis Federation Grade 1 Eddie Herr
championship the previous week. Kaja Juvan of Slovenia ousted
top-ranked junior Anastasia Potapova of Russia to capture girls title
at the ITF Grade A tournament, held on the Har-Tru courts of the
Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation, Florida.
Kecmanovic, Carle Claim Eddie Herr ITF Titles
After a week of excellent weather and hundreds of matches played
across the sprawling IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, the Eddie Herr
International Championships concluded Sunday with the crowning of
eight singles champions in four age divisions.
November Aces Shine Abroad and at Home
New York, London and Mexico City were the locales for several
memorable performances last month, but Knoxville, Columbus and
Birmingham also enjoyed time in the spotlight in November as teenagers
showcased their games and moved up the professional rankings to enter
the brief off-season on a positive note.
World Junior No. 1 Kecmanovic Leads Eddie Herr ITF Boys Field; China's Wang Heads Girls Draw
When Miomir Kecmanovic returns to Bradenton's IMG Academy for next
week's ITF Grade 1 Eddie Herr, he'll do so as the No. 1 junior in the
world. The only Top 10 player in the girls draw is China's Xiyu Wang,
who has a recent win over current ITF No. 1 and Wimbledon girls
champion Anastasia Potapova of Russia. Kecmanovic and Wang are
favorites at the Eddie Herr, but there are a number of other
Quick Restart: Bradley Klahn Returns to ATP Tour
During his 21 months away from the game because of injury, 2010 NCAA
singles champion Bradley Klahn was forced to consider a career that
did not include tennis. But the thought of walking away proved more
painful than undertaking a long rehabilitation - and this week Klahn
saw that determination rewarded at an ATP Challenger. Colette Lewis of
ZooTennis.com spoke with the Californian about his return to
competition, his mindset, and a myriad of other topics.
Fall Signing Week '16: Well-Traveled Gordon Returns Home
Seventeen-year-old Michaela Gordon has traveled the world for tennis
competition, playing all four junior slams as well as major events in
Europe, Asia and Central America. Yet when it came time to select a
college for the next step in her development, the blue chip from Los
Altos Hills California found what she needed in her backyard, at
October Aces Highlight Fall
October may bring changes in foliage, temperature and length of day,
but there's no sign of the off-season in the college and junior tennis
world. Collegiate major champions were crowned, and many juniors and
former collegians earned memorable titles during the month.
Countdown: Q&A with WFU Coach Tony Bresky
Tony Bresky wasn't anticipating a career in tennis, but that's how
things have worked out for the Wake Forest head coach, now in his
sixth year. After assistant and associate head coaching stints at
Indiana State and Virginia, Bresky has brought the Demon Deacons to
new heights in men's tennis. Colette Lewis of ZooTennis.com caught up
with Bresky in Tulsa at the ITA All-American Championships - where the
two discussed many tennis topics.
Countdown: Bruins Beckon Bolton
Elysia Bolton has nearly two years of junior tennis remaining, but the
16-year-old blue chip already knows the location of the next stage of
her career: the UCLA campus in Westwood.
Day Repeats, Brown Ascends at ITF Grade B1 Pan American Closed
The champions at last week's International Tennis Federation Grade B1
Pan American Closed in Tulsa, Oklahoma, were on opposite ends of the
world junior rankings spectrum. World No. 1 Kayla Day defended her
title with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Ellie Douglas in the girls final,
while No. 732 Alex Brown edged wild card Lukas Greif 6-4, 7-6(4) to
win his first ITF junior title.
September Aces Feature Memorable Wins
From junior slams titles for North Americans, to Challenger wins for
Europeans to a Davis Cup clinch for a South American, September
featured memorable wins by teenagers and current collegians. Former
collegians, including the reigning NCAA champions, also grabbed the
spotlight last month as summer turned to fall.
What an Agent Does: Interview with Topnotch Management's Sam Duvall
Sam Duvall played high-level tennis as a junior outside of Louisville,
Ky., and he played college tennis at Bates College. As a senior,
Duvall had an internship at Octagon, a sports management firm. After
several years at SFX, Duvall started his own firm,
Topnotch Management. Colette Lewis of ZooTennis.com spoke with Duvall
about many issues around sports management - and what advice he would
give top juniors and their families.
Virginia's Collins and Kwiatkowski Earn Titles at American Collegiate Invitational
The University of Virginia picked up where UCLA left off last year at
the third annual American Collegiate Invitational, played at the end
of the second week of the US Open. After Bruins Mackenzie McDonald and
Robin Anderson had swept the titles in 2015, the Cavaliers dominated
the proceedings this year, with recent graduate Danielle Collins
taking the women's title and senior Thai Kwiatkowski capturing the
Day, Auger-Aliassime Win US Open Singles Titles; Shibahara and Hart Capture Doubles
After American boys dominated the 2015 US Open Junior Championships,
US girls were the story of the 2016 tournament, with two championship
performances providing a fitting ending. Kayla Day defeated Viktoria
Kuzmova of Slovakia 6-3, 6-2 in the singles final, and wild cards Ena
Shibahara and Jada Hart won the girls doubles championship, beating
Day and Caroline Dolehide in a dramatic all-American final.
Hot Aces in Packed August
August is the month of the USTA National Championships, but due to
extensive coverage of the finals during Championship Week, just one of
those eight gold ball winners is featured below. While most of those
highlighted are young pros, including a quartet of Russian girls,
current and former collegians also had tournaments to remember last
Liu Sweeps Girls Titles at ITF International Hard Courts, Kecmanovic Wins Boys Singles
The ITF Grade 1 International Hard Court Tournament last week at the
Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Maryland was left
without a boys final when Oliver Crawford, who injured his ankle in
the doubles semifinals the day before, was unable to take the court
against Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic. But the girls final nearly filled
the void, with Claire Liu defeating Xiyu Wang of China 6-3, 4-6, 6-3
in a match that took just under three hours to complete.
Mmoh Masters Kalamazoo 18s
With his professional experience and an ATP ranking inside the Top
400, Michael Mmoh was a heavy favorite this year at Kalamazoo's USTA
Boys 18 National Championships. Despite the considerable pressure
that comes with a No. 1 seeding, Mmoh delivered, winning the title
and a US Open main draw wild card with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 victory over
No. 7 seed Vasil Kirkov.
Greif Gains Gold Again
The summer of 2016 will be remembered as a golden one for US Olympians
like Michael Phelps and Simone Biles. Although Kalamazoo is not Rio,
Lukas Greif will share in their fond memories of the past few weeks,
after defeating Jenson Brooksby 6-0, 6-3 to win the USTA Boys 16s
National Championships, adding a second gold ball after claiming the
16s Clay Courts title three weeks earlier.
Mmoh Heads 18s Field, Greif Tops 16s Draw at Kalamazoo
The USTA Boys 16 and 18 Nationals have always drawn the cream of the
US junior crop, with the 18s champions offered wild cards into the US
Open main draws and the 16s champions receiving wild cards into the US
Open Juniors. New this year are an array of new enticements: wild
cards into USTA Pro Circuit events - as well as additional US Open
Junior wild cards - are being offered tor those who finish in the Top
5 in each division. Colette Lewis of ZooTennis.com takes a look at the
Wimbledon's Junior Champions Lead Aces
Wimbledon's junior champions lead last month's list of top
performances, with eight current and former college players among
those posting impressive results in the USTA Pro Circuit and beyond.
Due to the extensive Clay Week coverage here at the Tennis Recruiting
Network, the USTA Clay Court winners are not included, but here's
another round of congratulations to those who collected gold balls
Li Captures Girls 18s Clay Title in Steamy Memphis
Memphis in July is no place for the faint of heart. Temperatures in
the high 90s and a heat index often in the 110s, compounded by five
rain or lightning delays, presented one physical and mental challenge
after another as the USTA Girls 18s Clay Court Championships wore on.
For Ann Li, no obstacle proved insurmountable, as she earned her first
singles gold ball with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory over Amanda Meyer.
Top-Ranked Blumberg Chooses Carolina Blue
As he considered his options for college, Blue Chip William Blumberg
encountered a problem - every school he visited went to the top of his
list. Blumberg considered Duke, USC, Wake Forest, Stanford, Virginia
and North Carolina before finally paring his choice down to the
Cavaliers and Tar Heels. In the end, the nation's top-ranked senior
liked what he saw to UNC, and he plans to graduate early and join the
Tar Heels in January for the 2017 spring season.
Shapovalov, Potapova Claim Wimbledon Junior Titles; Liu and Arconada Win Girls Doubles
The brief junior grass season ended perfectly for Anastasia Potapova
of Russia and Denis Shapovalov of Canada, with the pair celebrating
Wimbledon Junior Championships in front of large, enthusiastic crowds.
Potapova defeated Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine 6-4, 6-3 in Saturday's
girls final, while Shapovalov overcame Alex De Minaur of Australia
4-6, 6-1, 6-3 in Sunday's boys championship match.
Junior and Collegian Aces Shine Brightly in June
From clay to grass and spring to summer, June's transitions produced
aces from a variety of circumstances. The French Open gave us two
unexpected junior champions, while the Pro Circuit was fertile ground
for other teens and NCAA stars both in the United States and in many
other countries across the globe.
Zhu Heads to UCLA
A program with the history and reputation of UCLA doesn't need a sales
force, yet Evan Zhu, who will join the Bruins this fall, found himself
surrounded by advocates for the school while in Southern California.
A trio of former UCLA stars - Nick Meister, Dan Kosakowski and Haythem
Abid - had practiced with, coached or competed against the
17-year-old, five-star recruit and were eager to see him in True Blue
Joyce, Daavettila Repeat as Champions at US Open Midwest Playoffs
The location had changed, but the results were the same as teenagers
Martin Joyce and Sara Daavettila defended their titles at the US Open
Midwest Playoffs at the University of Notre Dame Monday.
Talking with Division III Men's Singles Champion Skyler Butts
Skyler Butts of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps ended his career on a high note
last month in Kalamazoo, claiming the Division III men's singles title
after reaching the final in 2015, the same year the Stags claimed
their first team championship since 1981. Colette Lewis of
ZooTennis.com talked with the 22-year-old Californian about his tennis
background, postgraduate plans, one-handed backhand, hobbies and why
Division III was the right choice for him.
May Aces Spotlight College Tennis
College tennis takes the spotlight in May with the NCAA championships,
while junior tennis features the Grade A Italian Open in Milan as its
showcase event. Former college players, particularly those from the
PAC-12, had a slew of notable results, and several juniors earned
titles on the ITF Pro Circuit.
Eudice Chong, Skyler Butts Claim Division III Singles Titles in Kalamazoo
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps senior Skyler Butts had to deal with hundreds
of his opponent's fans roaring on every point. Wesleyan sophomore
Eudice Chong had to face the only player who had beaten her in
Division III competition. But both took advantage of their experience
in the big moment to claim the 2016 NCAA Division III singles titles
last Saturday at Kalamazoo College's Stowe Stadium.
Bowdoin Men and Emory Women Claim NCAA Team Titles
The NCAA Division III team championships at Kalamazoo College
displayed two sides of college tennis, producing an improbable
champion in the Bowdoin men and a favored champion in the Emory women.
Asics Easter Bowl ITF Tournament Pioneers Travel Grants
In its nearly fifty years on the United States junior tennis scene,
the Easter Bowl has developed a reputation for innovation. This year
saw a new initiative emerge for those participating in the
International Tennis Federation's Grade B1 event at the Indian Wells
Tennis Garden: travel vouchers for boys and girls who reached the
round of 16 in their respective 64-player draws.
McNally's Path Leads Straight to Columbus
Born and raised an Ohio State football fan, John McNally always
expected to join the Buckeyes once it became clear his level of play
would allow him to compete for one of the nation's top programs.
Dismissing a brief temptation to look elsewhere, the 17-year-old blue
chip from Cincinnati has announced his commitment to Ohio State for
the fall of 2017.
Busy Month Leads to 18 April Aces
April is always a busy month with the two big ITF tournaments in
California boosting the summer slam chances of US juniors. Although
it's a couple of days before month's end, it's already time to look
back at all the junior and Pro Circuit champions as well as the two
former collegians who made the first full month of spring a memorable
Ross, Sanford Earn Asics Easter Bowl ITF Titles
Both Gianni Ross and Alexandra Sanford made their first appearances in
International Tennis Federation Grade 1 finals at the Asics Easter
Bowl earlier this month. They succeeded in making that new experience
to a winning one, coming away with the trophies at the ITF Grade B1
event. The unseeded Ross defeated No. 4 seed John McNally 6-4, 7-6(3)
in the boys championship match, with No. 8 seed Sanford overcoming No.
13 seed Ellie Douglas 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 in the girls final.
Asics Easter Bowl Champions Crowned in 12s, 14s and 16s Divisions
Staggered completion dates for the Asics Easter Bowl meant the 12s and
14s finals were played on the hottest day of the nine-day tournament,
while the 16s were required to deal with an unusual threat of rain in
the desert. Players from across the country had converged on the
Indian Wells Tennis Garden for the prestigious tournament, with the
champions coming from Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Georgia and
Spring Signing Week '16: Battaglia Joins the Bulldogs
After a stellar summer in 2015, Madison Battaglia's college recruiting
search got more complicated. Always interested in the academic
advantages of the Ivies, the 18-year-old from Cold Spring Harbor, New
York, considered the other offers she received, but when the time came
to make a decision, the blue chip relied on the experiences from her
official visit to New Haven to select Yale.
Caruana and Day Claim Titles
The week started seasonably windy and unseasonably cold for the ITF
Grade 1 International Spring Championships last week in Carson,
California, but when it was over, No. 11 seed Liam Caruana and No. 2
seed Kayla Day were basking in warm sunshine as they held their
crystal championship trophies.
Juniors, Collegians Winning Futures Titles Highlight March Aces
No April fools today, but rather a look back on the lions of March,
including juniors succeeding on both the ITF Pro Circuit and Junior
Circuit, and two former collegiate stars earning Futures titles
outside the United States.
Countdown: Ambrozy Joins Lions' Lair
Adam Ambrozy took his fifth official recruiting visit last fall to
ensure he had left no stone unturned. Both Columbia and the blue chip
recruit benefitted from that decision, when, just days after his trip
to the New York City campus, Ambrozy committed to the Lions.
Stingrays, Rams Claim USTA National Spring Team Championships
The USTA National Spring Team Championships at the Mobile Tennis
Center had been plagued by rain in the first two years of its
existence, but last week, with an adjustment to the schedule, every
match in the 32-team tournament was played to completion, with the
Stingrays capturing the girls title and the Rams collecting the boys
Ten Questions with Les Petits As Champion Stefan Leustian
Fourteen-year-old Stefan Leustian reached the third round of the
Junior Orange Bowl in December, one of the few times he had competed
against international players. In the six weeks that followed, the
Northern California resident began to post increasingly impressive
results, both in the United States and in Europe. Colette Lewis caught
up with Leustian at the USTA National Spring Team Championships - talking
with him about his recent performance, his titles, and more ...
Three of the four ITA Team Indoor Champions were first-time winners,
but they were not the only new faces among those excelling last month.
Two juniors claimed their first titles on the Pro Circuit, while two
NCAA champions, in their first full year as professionals, added to
their trophy collections.
Reviewing His First Months Leading USTA Player Development with Martin Blackman
Since last April, when the USTA announced his hiring as the new
General Manager of Player Development, Martin Blackman has been a busy
man. We recently discussed the reorganization of USTA Player
Development, changes to junior competition, a new player council, his
social media presence, and many other player development
Surrounded by Tennis, Jones Blossoms
Tennis takes hold early in Midland, the longtime home of February's
Dow Corning Tennis Classic. Known for its community outreach and the
local schoolchildren who arrive by the busload for early round
matches, the tournament has been an integral part of the small
Michigan city's sports scene for nearly three decades. Colette Lewis
of ZooTennis.com talks with fifteen-year-old Alyvia Jones, a blue chip
recruit who lives in Midland, about her game as well as her experiences
growing up in a tennis town.
A Conversation with Raveena Kingsley
Seventeen-year-old Raveena Kingsley made several important decisions
last fall. The No. 1 recruit in the Tennis Recruiting Network's Class
of 2016 decided to stop playing junior tennis after the US Open, and
selected LSU for her collegiate career. Colette Lewis of ZooTennis.com
talked with Kingsley about her recent results, her college decision,
her introduction to the game, her preparation when facing a new
opponent and the pro players she admires.
Fifteen Champions Emerge as January Aces
Whether tournaments were won in South America or Central America,
Australia or Europe, or the East or West Coast of the United States,
the location was less significant for the fifteen young players below
than the fact they’ve kicked off 2016 in the best way possible: as
Andy Brandi on Junior Tennis
When Andy Brandi joined the United States Tennis Association's Player
Development staff as a National Coach five years ago, he brought with
him nearly every conceivable tennis experience: college tennis player,
college coach, WTA touring coach, and tennis academy coach. Colette
Lewis of ZooTennis.com got the chance to talk with him last month at
the Junior Orange Bowl in Coral Gables, Fla.
Defending Champion, World No. 1 Target Australian Open Junior Titles
After winning the Australian Open girls title last year unseeded,
Tereza Mihalikova returns to Melbourne to defend her title, a rare
occurrence in junior tennis. The 17-year-old Slovakian, the only
junior slam champion in either of this year's boys and girls fields,
has had mixed results since her title last year, winning only four
matches in the three junior slams since.
Eight Intriguing Questions for 2016
Another year... and another edition of "Intriguing Questions" from
columnist Colette Lewis. Today, Colette poses eight queries about
junior and college tennis for 2016.
Learning from Lendl
During his Hall of Fame career, eight-time slam champion Ivan Lendl
was known for his lethal forehand, his fitness, his preparation, and
his single-minded pursuit of tennis excellence. With a stern and often
forbidding presence on the court, Lendl, now 55, has made a markedly
different impression on the seven junior boys he is working with as a
USTA coaching consultant.
Florida Champions Dominate Final Aces of 2015
The final month of the year may be short on professional tennis, but
it's long on the junior variety, with three major events in Florida
for 12s, 14s, 16s and 18s age divisions. With one exception, all of
last month's aces are the champions of the Eddie Herr International,
the Metropolia Orange Bowl and the Junior Orange Bowl.
Ukrainian Girls Sweep Junior Orange Bowl Titles; Tirante, Wang Win Boys Championships
The 2015 junior tennis season wrapped up last week at the 54th annual
Junior Orange Bowl in Miami, with historic firsts for three of the
four champions. When Marta Kostyuk won the Girls 14s title and Dasha
Lopatetska won the Girls 12s title, they entered the tournament's
record books as the first champions from Ukraine, while Boys 12s
champion Xiaofei Wang is the first champion from China at the
prestigious international event.
Second Orange Bowl Title for Andreescu, Kecmanovic Claims Boys Championship
Rain early in the tournament and on the final day made the 2015
Metropolia Orange Bowl tough on players and officials alike, but when
the final point was played after dark last Sunday, No. 9 seeds Bianca
Andreescu of Canada and Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia had claimed their
first Grade A titles.
McKenzie, Auger-Aliassime Make Dramatic Runs to Eddie Herr ITF Titles
Both Kylie McKenzie and Felix Auger Aliassime were a point from being
eliminated from the Eddie Herr Grade 1 ITF tournament in the third
round, but when the warm and sunny week at the IMG Academy came to a
close, the winners' trophies belonged to them.
Former College Stars Make Noise
Former college stars made some noise on the professional circuit in
November, with one winning an Australian Open main draw wild card,
while US girls swept titles at the big ITF junior events in Mexico.
With the final major of the ITA fall season, along with professional
success for juniors, a total of 14 players added to their career
highlights last month.
Defending champion Galfi, Ruud Lead Eddie Herr ITF Fields
Since winning last year's Eddie Herr title as a 16-year-old, Dalma
Galfi of Hungary has reached the semifinals of the Australian Open
Junior Championships, won the Wimbledon girls doubles title, the US
Open girls championship and two ITF Women's Circuit titles in
Australia. All that success has given her a shot at ending 2015 as the
ITF Junior World Champion, so she will return to defend her title next
week in Bradenton, Florida.
There's been nothing meteoric about Austin Krajicek's climb into the
ATP Top 100. The 25-year-old Floridian has methodically advanced in
the rankings since 2011, when he embarked on a pro career after his
final season of eligibility at Texas A&M, reaching the elite level
of professional tennis for the first time last month. Colette Lewis
of ZooTennis.com caught up with Krajicek last week in Illinois.
Matching Up: A New Way to Think About College Tennis Lineups
I have been a sports fan ever since I can remember, and a tennis fan
since my teens, but my interest in college tennis is much more recent.
With that in mind, I have never shared the outrage directed at coaches
who "stack" their lineups. Since time devoted to lineup
challenges and protest hearings is better spent elsewhere, here is my
proposal for a radical change in how lineups are set in college
US Boys Dominate October Aces
American boys have been the talk of tennis over the summer, with
three of the 17-year-olds capturing titles last month on the ATP
Challenger and ITF Men's Pro Circuit. Adding in the ITA All-American
winners, as well as other juniors taking pro titles, puts the number
of top performers in October at 14.
Countdown: Fighting Illini Claim Clark
Zeke Clark's competitive fire made the Oklahoma resident one of the
nation's top recruits. Although several Big 12 schools closer to home
were in the picture, the Big Ten's University of Illinois won the
battle for the 17-year-old from Tulsa, who will join the Fighting
Illini in the fall of 2016.
Wild Card Holt Sweeps Boys Titles, Day Wins Girls Singles Championship at ITF Pan American Closed
Southern Californians Brandon Holt and Kayla Day undoubtedly felt at
home with the weather for the ITF Grade B1 Pan American last week in
Tulsa. With cloudless skies and warm temperatures providing an ideal
backdrop, Holt and Day rolled into the final weekend. The weather
cooled, but the pair stayed hot, with Holt defeating unseeded JJ Wolf
6-1, 6-7(5), 6-0 and No. 2 seed Day downing No. 9 seed Kelly Chen 6-4,
6-1, securing the first ITF Grade 1 titles for both.
USTA Adds Brad Stine to National Collegiate Coaching Staff
Brad Stine has coached tennis for 30 years, and he was recently
appointed as the newest member of the USTA Player
Development's collegiate division. Colette Lewis of ZooTennis.com
recently talked with Stine about many topics - including the reasons
he decided to pursue coaching, the five requirements for success as a
pro, the value of the college pathway and the ITF's push for more
prize money at the lower levels.
September Aces Feature in US Open and Other Pro Tournaments
School is back in session and several of last month's aces returned to
college with hardware to add to their trophy cases. Juniors also
excelled, both at the US Open and in smaller professional events
around the world.
UCLA Sweeps Titles at American Collegiate Invitational
The second annual American Collegiate Invitational, held in the final
days of the US Open Championships, had more than its share of weather
issues and UCLA Bruins. The women's final, with Robin Anderson
defeating Chanelle Van Nguyen 6-4, 6-4, was an all-UCLA contest
finished indoors, while Mackenzie McDonald managed a 6-2, 7-5 victory
in the final over Vanderbilt's Gonzales Austin, the only non-Bruin to
reach either final.
Fritz Tops Paul to Earn US Open Boys Title
Top seed Taylor Fritz came through in his last opportunity to win a
junior slam in yet another boys major dominated by Americans, while
No. 2 seed Dalma Galfi of Hungary became the first from her country to
take home the winner's trophy at the US Open Junior Championships last
week at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
Former College Players Headline August Aces
With one exception, the dozen aces below don't include the USTA
National Champions, who had articles devoted to their titles during
Championship Week here at the Tennis Recruiting Network. Let's
take a look at the achievements of other junior and college players
from the last month.
Kalinskaya Sweeps International Hard Courts Titles Again; Auger Aliassime Takes Boys Championship
A veteran and a newcomer were the stars of last week's ITF Grade 1
International Hard Court Championships, with top seed Anna Kalinskaya
of Russia defending her title with a 6-4, 7-6(3) win over No. 2 seed
Tereza Mihalikova of Slovakia, and No. 7 seed Felix Auger Aliassime
defeating No. 15 seed Denis Shapovalov 6-2, 7-6(6) in an all-Canadian
final at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Maryland.
Alex Rybakov Chooses TCU
Blue chip Alex Rybakov, the No. 1 recruit in the class of 2015, had
expected to bypass college and jump directly to the pro tour. But this
summer, the 18-year-old Floridian decided to investigate the college
route, which led to his selection of TCU as the program best suited to
help him prepare for a professional career.
Bobby Reynolds Starts New Chapter at Oklahoma
A stellar playing career at Vanderbilt prepared Bobby Reynolds for a
successful decade on the ATP tour. Now he is returning to college
tennis - this time as a coach. Reynolds is joining men's head coach
John Roddick as his assistant at the University of Oklahoma.
Tiafoe Outlasts Kozlov to Claim 18s Title
Upsets were as rare as rain drops during the ten days of the USTA Boys
18s Nationals at Kalamazoo College's Stowe Stadium, with seven of the
top eight seeds reaching the quarterfinals. After nine days of mostly
expected results, the final delivered more than four hours of
excitement and drama with top seed Frances Tiafoe defeating No. 3 seed
Stefan Kozlov 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 4-6, 6-4 to claim the championship and
the US Open main draw wild card that accompanies it.
Kypson Rebounds from Surgery to Claim 16s Title
A ruptured appendix just two months ago isn't exactly ideal
preparation for the major national summer tournaments, but Patrick
Kypson's rapid recovery was in evidence when he sailed through the
draw without dropping a set to capture the USTA Boys 16 National
Championship at Kalamazoo College's Stowe Stadium. The 15-year-old
from Greenville, North Carolina, seeded third, defeated No. 4 seed
Alexandre Rotsaert 6-3, 6-3 in the championship match.
July Aces Take Center Stage at Wimbledon, Davis Cup
From Wimbledon and Davis Cup to Evansville, Indiana and Godfrey,
Illinois, the hard work of winning takes place on tennis stages big
and small, as these 14 competitors demonstrated last month.
Junior Slam Champions, World No. 1 Junior Headline Kalamazoo Field
French Open boys champion Tommy Paul, Wimbledon boys champion Reilly
Opelka and Taylor Fritz, the International Tennis Federation's No. 1
junior, are competing this year in the 73rd edition of the USTA Boys
Nationals in Kalamazoo, but the strength of the field is such that
none of the three will be the top seed in the 18s division.
Ten Questions with World Junior No. 1 Taylor Fritz
Just over two years ago, Taylor Fritz played his first International
Tennis Federation junior tournament, the Claremont Grade 4, which is
within driving distance of his San Diego area home. Last month, after
reaching the French Open boys final, where he lost to Tommy Paul in
the first all-American final in that tournament's history, Fritz took
over the No. 1 spot in the ITF junior rankings. Colette Lewis of
ZooTennis.com caught up with Fritz at Wimbledon.
Opelka Captures Wimbledon Boys Final, Zhuk Takes Girls Championship
Reilly Opelka of the United States and Sofya Zhuk of Russia were
unseeded novices at the 2015 Wimbledon Junior Championships, yet their
lack of experience on one of tennis's grandest stages proved no
impediment, with both leaving London with Wimbledon titles.
June Aces Shine in Paris and on Pro Circuit
School's out for summer and college stars, both current and former,
took advantage of their opportunities in Pro Circuit tournaments last
month. In addition, two teens added their names to the list of junior
slam champions in Paris, while others made their mark on hard courts
across the globe.
An Interview with Martin Blackman, General Manager USTA Player Development
If there are hats Martin Blackman hasn't worn in his decades
associated with the sport of tennis, they'd be difficult to spot.
Named General Manager of USTA Player Development in April, Blackman
has a resume that includes experience as player, coach and
administrator. Colette Lewis of ZooTennis.com talks with Blackman
about a host of topics related to junior and college tennis.
Talking with ITA Rookie of the Year Noah Rubin
Wake Forest freshman Noah Rubin was determined to experience college
tennis, even after capturing the Wimbledon boys title and 18s National
title in Kalamazoo prior to starting classes last fall. After a stellar
season that saw him named ITA Rookie of the Year, Rubin has announced
that he will be leaving Wake to focus on a professional career. Colette
Lewis got the chance to talk with Rubin at the NCAA Tournament and then
again briefly after his announcement.
An Interview with ITA Rookie of the Year Brooke Austin
Freshmen, even those who are ranked No. 1 in their senior year by the
Tennis Recruiting Network, often need a semester to adjust to life in
a top Division I program. Not the University of Florida's Brooke
Austin. Proving a quick study, the 19-year-old Indianapolis resident
excelled throughout her freshman year, ending it as the
Intercollegiate Tennis Association's Rookie of the Year.
May Aces Come from College and Junior Stars
From the clay courts of the United States and Italy, to the hard
courts of Texas, Nigeria, Korea and Portugal, these 15
players - juniors, collegians and former college stars - produced
outstanding performances last month, generating buzz throughout the
Ryan Shane and Jamie Loeb Claim NCAA Singles Titles
A tournament plagued by rain ended with a tornado warning and two ACC
champions: North Carolina's Jamie Loeb and Virginia's Ryan Shane. In
championship matches started outdoors Monday at the Hurd Tennis Center
on the Baylor University campus and completed indoors, Loeb defeated
Carol Zhao of Stanford 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, while Shane downed Noah Rubin of
Wake Forest 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-1.
Vanderbilt Women and Virginia Men Claim NCAA Team Titles
The Vanderbilt women had reached the NCAA Division I Team
Championships only once before in the program's history, while the
Virginia men had been to the championship match four of the previous
five years. Yet the disparity in experience made no difference in the
outcomes, with No. 4 seed Vanderbilt defeating defending champion UCLA
4-2 and No. 3 seed Virginia taking down top seed Oklahoma 4-1 at the
Hurd Tennis Center at Baylor University.
Jake DeVine was playing the best tennis of his life when he first felt
a twinge in his back in November 2013. That twinge led to a 14-month
layoff for the 17-year-old Californian, but now healthy and competing
again, he will join the Southern Californian Trojans this fall.
USA Qualifies for Finals of ITF Junior Team Championships
Representing your country at the International Tennis Federation's two
world team championships is a highlight of any junior career. The
cheers, the uniforms, the face painting and the pressure of team
competition all were on display last weekend in Boca Raton, Florida,
where the four teams from the US secured places in the 16-team world
finals this summer and fall.
April Aces Show Eye-Opening Results
Former collegians and teenagers from around the world put up some
eye-opening results last month, laying the ground work for even
greater opportunities this spring and summer as Roland Garros and
Gators Suit Neel
Sixteen-year-old Ingrid Neel moved from Minnesota to Florida three
years ago to train at the IMG Tennis Academy in Bradenton. Ranked No.
2 in the class of 2016, Neel now considers herself a Floridian, a
mindset that led her to verbally commit to the University of Florida
Fritz, Liu Win ITF Championships at Easter Bowl
Fantastic weather and unlikely comebacks made the 2015 Asics Easter
Bowl a tournament to remember last week, with the famous Indian Wells
Tennis Garden hosting both the ITF Grade B1 competition and the later
stages of the USTA 12s, 14s, and 16s championships.
Blumberg, Kenin Take ISC Grade 1 Titles; Crawford, Subhash Claim 16s Championships
A week of beautiful Southern California weather ended on a high note
for four US players, who left the Stubhub Center in Carson with
International Spring Championship titles. Top seed William Blumberg
and No. 2 seed Sonya Kenin earned their first ITF Grade 1 titles with
victories over international opponents, while Oliver Crawford and
Natasha Subhash took the 16s singles championships in all-American
March Aces Feature Junior Champions
Although the college dual match season is in full swing, most of the
March highlights come courtesy of the juniors. Two 14-year-olds
dazzled with their performances, while those just a few years older
also found success on among their peers and their elders.
ITF International Spring Championships Mark Decade of Excellence
Many a top professional player has found success on the hard courts of
the International Tennis Federation Grade 1 International Spring
Championships, which begin next week at the StubHub Center in Carson,
California. Colette Lewis talks with tournament director John
Lansville and others about the past decade since the event has been
held in California.
Countdown: Rutledge Goes East to Join Demon Deacons
Texan Eric Rutledge's two major choices - which sport and which
college - came several years apart, with his decision to sign with
Wake Forest the easier of the two.
Angels and Patriots Win Titles at Wet USTA Spring Team Championships
Declaring Mother Nature the winner at the second annual USTA Spring
Team Championships in Mobile, Alabama would be appropriate, as rain
disrupted play on all four days of competition, requiring shortened
formats throughout. But when a steady rain ended play on the final
day, two teams - the Angels and the Patriots - did claim their gold balls.
Indoor Champions Headline February Aces
With four college team indoor championships on the February schedule,
there was no shortage of notable performances at the collegiate level.
But another group of much younger players also stepped into the
spotlight in venues across five continents.
Talking with Michael Joyce - Part 2
Colette Lewis of ZooTennis.com got the chance to talk with former
tennis player and now coach Michael Joyce earlier this month in
Midland, Michigan at the $100,000 Dow Corning Tennis Classic. This
is Part 2 of their conversation.
Talking with Michael Joyce - Part 1
Michael Joyce is best known to tennis fans now as the former coach of
five-time slam champion Maria Sharapova. Prior to his coaching stint
with Sharapova however, the 42-year-old Southern Californian had his
own distinguished career, winning the USTA Boys 18s Nationals in 1991
and reaching an ATP career-high ranking of 64 five years later.
Colette Lewis of ZooTennis.com got the chance to talk with Joyce about
about his years with Sharapova, his coaching philosophy, his current
work at a tennis academy, and much more...
A Conversation with Caroline Dolehide
Sixteen-year-old Caroline Dolehide is hardly unknown to junior tennis
fans in the United States. The Hinsdale, Illinois, resident has been
in the top six of the Tennis Recruiting Network's 2017 class since
entering the rankings as a 6th-grader. But her stock went up on the
international scene after reaching the semifinals of the US Open
Juniors. Colette Lewis caught up with Dolehide after her wildcard
appearance in Midland.
Daavettila Chooses Carolina Blue
Her homework complete, blue chip Sara Daavettila embarked on a road
trip to explore several schools she was interested in attending. The
journey proved worthwhile when the Williamston, Michigan, high school
junior stepped onto North Carolina's Chapel Hill campus, sensing
immediately it was the place for her.
Catching Up with Gator Great Lauren Embree
Lauren Embree had one of the most successful collegiate careers in
Florida history, leading the Gators to back-to-back NCAA titles in
2011 and 2012. Now living in Santa Monica, Embree has begun the year
on the USTA Pro Circuit, where she has competed in four tournaments in
the past month. At the $100,000 Dow Corning Tennis Classic in Midland, Mich.,
last week, I spoke with her about her return from injury, what she
misses about college tennis, and her goals for 2015 and beyond.
January Aces Features Teens Winning Titles
The year's first major always grabs the headlines, with two juniors
adding their names to the lists of grand slam champions. But while
most eyes were focused on Melbourne, a dozen teenagers captured
important titles in Florida, Hawaii, Great Britain, France and Central
and South America.
Xu, Safiullin Target Australian Junior Titles
Eight different players from five countries claimed junior slam titles
last year, with a similar pattern expected in 2015 as the Australian
Open junior championships kick off this weekend in Melbourne.
Eight Intriguing Questions for 2015
It's January... so it must be time for another edition of
"Intriguing Questions" from columnist Colette Lewis.
Today, in the tenth article in as many years, Colette poses eight
questions about junior and college tennis that should be answered
over the coming months.
An interview with Nick Saviano
Nick Saviano began his storied coaching career at age 28 after winning
two NCAA titles at Stanford and playing the ATP circuit for several
years. After 15 years with the USTA, Saviano started his own tennis
academy, where he can still be found feeding balls to eight-year-olds
with grand slam dreams. Colette Lewis got the chance to talk with
Saviano about many topics around tennis coaching and the game in
Florida ITF Tournaments Lead to December Aces
While most of professional tennis is on holiday, three prestigious
junior tournaments in Florida fill the gap to provide most of
December's top performers. The lists of former winners at the Eddie
Herr, Orange Bowl and Junior Orange Bowl contain many grand slam
champions, so file these names away for future reference.
Osuigwe Stands Tall at Junior Orange Bowl
Whitney Osuigwe began the Junior Orange Bowl 12s tournament unseeded,
but that didn’t keep the 12-year-old from ending it as a champion last
week in sunny Miami, Florida. Osuigwe, who trains at the IMG Academy
in Bradenton, avenged a recent loss to Japan’s Himari Sato, one of
eight No. 1 seeds in the Junior Orange Bowl 12s, by posting a 6-4, 6-4
win in the championship match at the University of Miami’s Neil Schiff
American Juniors Shine at Metropolia Orange Bowl
Stefan Kozlov, Sonya Kenin and Sam Riffice made the 2014 Metropolia
Orange Bowl in Plantation, Florida a tournament to remember for US
juniors, with Kozlov and Kenin claiming their first Grade A titles and
Riffice joining exclusive company in adding the 16s championship to
his Eddie Herr title.
Opelka and Galfi Claim Eddie Herr ITF Titles
For the first time in the history of the Eddie Herr International ITF
tournament, two American boys met in the final, with unseeded Reilly
Opelka taking home the title with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over No. 2 seed
Michael Mmoh at the IMG Academy in Bradenton Florida. The girls final,
played earlier in the day, saw No. 7 seed Dalma Galfi of Hungary
defeat No. 5 seed Gabby Ruse of Romania 6-4, 7-5 to earn her second
major junior title in three weeks.
Doubles Features Prominently in the November Aces
Doubles isn't often highlighted in my monthly review of top
performances, but last month two teams showed just how good the
collegiate product is, with two current student-athletes winning ATP
Challenger titles. A college major, a return to the game and an ITF
Grade A made it another busy month in the world of college and junior
Bellis, Mmoh Highlight 2014 Eddie Herr ITF Tournament
The 2014 edition of the Eddie Herr ITF features two top American
prospects, with USTA 18s champion CiCi Bellis and recent ITF Grade A
Abierto Juvenil Mexicano champion Michael Mmoh among the contenders at
the prestigious event held annually at the IMG Academy in Bradenton,
Eddie Herr Preview 12s, 14s, 16s
As professional tennis winds down, junior competition heats up in
Florida, with the Eddie Herr International kicking off a busy month of
December for junior tennis players. As hundreds of competitors head to
the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, here's a look at who might
shine next week in one of the world's biggest junior tennis events.
An Interview with 2013 NCAA Champion and Rising ATP Star Blaz Rola
Football may reign over the sports kingdom at Ohio State, but 2013
NCAA champion Blaz Rola has done his part to raise tennis's visibility
in Columbus. Colette Lewis of ZooTennis talked with Rola at the Champaign,
Illinois Challenger last week covered many topics, including his first
year on tour, his decision to play college tennis, his plans for
off-season training and his schedule for early next year.
Countdown: Golovin Geauxs to Tigers
Blue chip recruit Jessica Golovin didn't give much thought to college
tennis until this summer. The top recruit from New York was thinking
only of pro tennis until a discussion with her coach and an official
visit to LSU convinced her she would be wise to spend the next stage
of her tennis career in Baton Rouge.
Eleven Teens Highlight October Aces
October was full of treats especially for the teenagers competing
around the world. Although ITA Division I major champions were crowned
and Australia proved lucrative for one former college player, 11 teens
provided a glimpse of the tennis’s future last month.
Countdown: California Girl Gabby Andrews Chooses UCLA
Blue chip senior Gabby Andrews seriously considered another top
program thousands of miles away, but late last year the two-time
junior slam champion chose to complete the next phase of her tennis
career closer to her Pomona, California home when she verbally
committed to UCLA.
Kingsley, Mmoh Claim ITF Pan American Closed Titles
Raveena Kingsley and Michael Mmoh took entirely different routes, yet
both emerged as champions at last week's ITF Grade B1 Pan American
Closed in Tulsa, Oklahoma. No. 3 seed Kingsley, who defeated unseeded
Claire Liu 6-1, 6-4 in the final, lost only one set in her six
victories, while top seed Mmoh saved match points in the quarterfinals
before taking the title with a 7-5, 6-3 win over No. 9 seed William
Interview with USTA National Collegiate Coach Stephen Amritraj
Stephen Amritraj joined the USTA as a National Coach in January of
this year and was recently named its National Collegiate coach.
Amritraj played at Duke from 2002-2006, and after a brief stint on the
tour, began coaching ATP professionals in Southern California, where
he grew up. Colette Lewis of ZooTennis.com talked with Amritraj about
the USTA Collegiate Team program which assists American college
players as they transition to professional careers.
US Open Juniors and Team Competition Highlight September Aces
Starting with the US Open Junior Championships and ending with the
International Tennis Federation's Junior Davis and Junior Fed Cup
competitions, September was bookended by major international
tournaments in North America. Yet for all the accomplishments of
teenagers from the United States and other countries, current and
former college players also claimed their share of titles on the
professional tours last month.
NCAA Champion Nicole Gibbs Moves Up
Nicole Gibbs won her first ITF Women's Circuit title at the age of 14,
finished high school a year early and joined the Stanford Cardinal in
the fall of 2010. After an illustrious career at Stanford where she
won the NCAA team, singles, and doubles titles, Gibbs elected to
forego her senior year and begin her professional career. Fresh off
two main-draw wins at the US Open, Gibbs is now ranked in the Top 100.
Colette Lewis of ZooTennis chatted with Gibbs at the Open.
First American Collegiate Invitational Popular Addition to US Open
Any tournament with a prize that could include a US Open main draw
wild card will draw the top college players regardless of its venue.
Put that event at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
during the second week of the US Open and interest surges, as it did
for the inaugural American Collegiate Invitational earlier this month.
Unseeded Jasika, Bouzkova Capture US Open Junior Titles
Marin Cilic was undoubtedly a surprise winner of the US Open men's
title, but he was seeded. Australia's Omar Jasika of Australia, who
defeated No. 5 seed Quentin Halys of France 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 in the boys
final, and the Czech Republic's Marie Bouzkova, who downed No. 9 seed
Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine 6-4, 7-6(5) for the girls championship,
both won US Open junior titles last week despite being unseeded and
ranked outside the Top 30.
With one exception, the USTA National champions, all of whom received
an article devoted to their victories last month on Tennis Recruiting
Network, aren't included in this August Aces colum. But another round
of congratulations are in order for Noah Rubin, John McNally, Kylie
McKenzie, William Woodall, Caty McNally, Zane Khan and Katie Volynets
for their championship runs as we look back on the other outstanding
performances in August.
Americans Poised to Shine in US Open Junior Championships
While the US men and women haven't had a Grand Slam finalist in 2014,
the country's younger players have had more success in the top level
of international competition, with Noah Rubin winning the Wimbledon
boys title and Stefan Kozlov reaching the final there and at the
Australian Open. With both the top seed and the 2013 finalist in the
girls draw and six of the 16 seeds in the boys draw, the US juniors
are poised for another outstanding showing at the US Open.
Opelka, Kalinskaya Claim ITF International Hard Court Titles
Top seed Anna Kalinskaya of Russia and unseeded Reilly Opelka picked
up their first ITF Grade 1 titles Saturday at the International Hard
Court Championships in College Park, Maryland. Kalinskaya won when No.
2 seed Gabby Ruse of Romania retired trailing 6-2, 2-1, while Opelka
overcame No. 2 seed Tim Van Rijthoven of the Netherlands 4-6, 6-4,
Rubin Collects Two Titles, Two Wild Cards
Noah Rubin's summer went from great to extraordinary in the just over
a month. In July, the 18-year-old New Yorker won the Wimbledon boys
title as an unseeded qualifier. Last week he trumped that with two
titles at Kalamazoo, defeating defending champion Collin Altamirano
6-4, 6-4, 6-3 in the singles final, after joining with Stefan Kozlov
to take the doubles championships, and in the process earning two US
Open main draw wild cards.
McNally Sweeps 16s Kalamazoo Titles
John McNally definitely had a target on his back entering the 16s USTA
National Championships. The Easter Bowl and Clay Courts champion was
57-1 this year entering the tournament. At the end of the week,
McNally had extended his singles record to 64-1 and earned two more USTA
The July aces do not include the Clay Court champions, all of whom
received extensive coverage last month during Tennis Recruiting
Network's Clay Championship Week. But that doesn't mean there's any
shortage of top performances, with a hefty 16 in this month's review.
Altamirano, Donaldson and Rubin Head Stellar Field at Kalamazoo
Collin Altamirano returns to Kalamazoo to defend his 2013 18s title,
but the fact that the 18-year-old Californian is not an overwhelming
favorite, and the fifth seed, speaks to the tremendous field gathered
for the tournament's 72nd year.
Stewart's Streak Continues in Girls 18s Clays
When Katerina Stewart lost in the quarterfinals of a pro tournament
back in March, she couldn't have known she would go the next four
months without losing a match, and only one set. When Stewart defeated
Kennedy Shaffer 6-1, 6-3 in the final of the Girls 18s Clay Courts,
she not only collected a first singles gold ball on her favorite
surface, but also extended her winning streak to 34 matches in
professional and junior competition.
Rubin Wins Wimbledon Title as US Boys Shine
Competitors from the United States didn't perform well in men's and
women's singles at Wimbledon, with none in the fourth round for the
first time since 1911. But American juniors picked up the slack,
claiming seven of the 16 quarterfinal berths and both finalists in the
boys championship match, won by qualifier Noah Rubin 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
over No. 6 seed Stefan Kozlov.
June starts with clay and ends on grass, at least for the top
professionals and world-class juniors. But hard courts hosted their
fair share of the month's top performances too with former college
players and US teens building impressive winning streaks on both hard
courts and the Har-Tru clay.
American Collegiate Invitational to Debut at US Open
When sixteen American collegians take the courts late in the second
week of this year's American Collegiate Invitational at the US Open,
they will enjoy the same perks and surroundings as professionals
Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal. The college players will not share
in the millions of dollars of prize money, but they can collect
something the pros cannot - a guarantee of entry for the following year.
The Role of College Tennis in Isner, Johnson and Burdette's Pro Success
College tennis is a team game, a prime reason for its popularity,
particularly among US-born juniors. After years of focusing on
individual results in junior tournaments, collegians have an
opportunity to perform for the benefit of their teammates, most of
whom become lifelong friends. Yet many of the top college players
also have their sights set on professional careers, using their years
in college to mature and develop while competing and studying.
Meet ITA Rookie of the Year Brayden Schnur
Eighteen-year-old Canadian Brayden Schnur didn't begin his freshman
year at the University of North Carolina until January, but he had an
enormous impact on the Tar Heels in his first five months in Chapel
May produced a whopping 18 aces, with current and former college
players highlighting last month's performances. Europe's red clay also
hosted some notable achievements, as did the hard courts of Korea,
Mexico and Tunisia.
Virginia's Danielle Collins, UCLA's Marcos Giron Claim NCAA Singles Titles
It was NCAA singles title No. 1 for Virginia and No. 11 for UCLA, as
Cavalier Danielle Collins and Bruin Marcos Giron stood alone at the
end of six hot and humid days of NCAA Division I singles competition
at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex on the campus of the University of
USC Men, UCLA Women Reign in Division I Team Championships
The 2014 NCAA Division I Team Championships in Athens, Georgia
featured plenty of rain and two new faces in the final, but when
Tuesday came to close, the Pac-12 had secured both titles. Top seed
University of Southern California defeated No. 2 seed Oklahoma 4-2 to
claim its fifth men's title in the past six years, while No. 5 seed
UCLA won its second women's championship with a scintillating 4-3
victory over No. 7 seed North Carolina.
A Conversation with Steve Johnson
For college tennis fans, Steve Johnson needs no introduction. At USC,
Johnson won an unprecedented four NCAA team titles and two NCAA
singles titles, ending his collegiate career on a 72-match winning
streak. With just one full year behind him on the ATP tour, he now
stands as the third-ranked American at No. 69. Colette Lewis caught
up with Johnson to talk about all things tennis...
Ranging from age 14 to 25, the April aces have accomplishments on all
levels of the game - from a WTA title in Malaysia to ITF Grade 4 junior
events in the Caribbean and virtually every level in between.
Ohio State Downs Illinois 4-2 to Claim Big Ten Tournament Championship
With nine consecutive Big Ten regular season conference championships
and eight of the last nine conference tournament championships, the
Ohio State Buckeyes could be forgiven for taking such accomplishments
lightly. There was no complacency in Sunday's tournament final against
the University of Illinois however, with the Buckeyes exacting some
revenge in their 4-2 victory at the Michigan State Outdoor Tennis
Talking with USTA's Tom Gullikson
If you've been to a major junior tournament in the United States this
year, you've probably seen USTA Lead National Coach Tom Gullikson
there - watching matches and talking with players, parents and coaches,
both formally and one-on-one. Colette Lewis spoke with Gullikson
during the USTA Spring Team Championships, where he gave his insights
on a number of tennis issues.
Tiafoe, Bellis Capture Easter Bowl ITF Titles
Francis Tiafoe and CiCi Bellis have similar international junior
accomplishments, and they both had great experiences at the Easter
Bowl earlier this month. Both the 16-year-old Tiafoe and 15-year-old
Bellis left the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the tournament's new
site, with Easter Bowl ITF singles titles.
Nakagawa, Bellis Claim ITF Grade 1 International Spring Championship Titles
Naoki Nakagawa of Japan and CiCi Bellis of the United States took
alternate routes to the final, yet both finished with titles last week
at the ITF Grade 1 International Spring Championships at the StubHub
Center in Carson, California.
From Kazakhstan to Columbus, last month's achievements knew no
boundaries, with teenagers capturing titles, and current and former
college players moving up in the ATP rankings. A new NCAA record also
made March a month to remember.
Two-Sport Star Aney Chooses Tennis and Tar Heels
Leading Minnesota's high school hockey league in scoring is no small
achievement, but 2014 scoring champion Jessie Aney will be hanging up
her skates in 2015 and heading south to join the North Carolina Tar
Heels tennis program.
First USTA Team Champions Crowned in Mobile
128 boys and 128 girls arrived for competition last week in Mobile,
Alabama, and each left with seven new friends - their teammates - when
the USTA's first Spring Team Championships were complete. Two 12s, two
14s, two 16s and two 18s division players were placed on each of the
32 teams. The teams had fun but competed fiercely - since a USTA gold
ball served as the ultimate prize.
February may be short, but it had more than enough days for a
baker's dozen of outstanding performances in junior, college and
professional tournaments from Delray Beach, Florida to Casablanca,
Morocco to Happy Valley, Australia and beyond.
Notre Dame Dominates Ball State in College Match Day Contest
Only hours after a grueling and emotional home loss to top-ranked Ohio
State Saturday afternoon, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish returned to
the Eck Tennis Pavilion courts to sweep Ball State in a nationally
streamed USTA College Match Day contest Saturday evening, rebounding
quickly from the disappointing loss to the Buckeyes.
ITA Format Experiment Comments: Part Two
In part one of my discussion with college coaches, there was little
support for continuing the women's experiment, which featured a match
tiebreaker in lieu of a full third set. In part two below, five more
coaches provide their perspective on the ITA's format experiment, as
does Dustin Taylor, the USTA's National Coach for Collegiate Tennis,
and Mitchell Frank, the University of Virginia's No. 1 player, who is
leading the student-athlete opposition to any change of format.
Match Tiebreaker for Third Set Not Popular with Top Division I Coaches in Charlottesville
The experimental phase for ITA Division I formats is over, concluding
with the men's and women's ITA Team Indoor Championships. The men's
experimental format, which employed no-ad, and the women's
experimental format, which used a match tiebreaker in lieu of a third
set, will now be evaluated for their effectiveness in providing an
improved fan experience and shortening match times.
Duke Erases UCLA's 3-0 Lead to Earn Second ITA Women's Team Indoor Title
When the seeds were announced last week for the ITA Women's Team
Indoor Championships, Duke was a controversial No. 7, despite their
preseason ranking of 10. When the Blue Devils defeated No. 4 seed UCLA
4-3 Monday in the final, roaring back from 3-0 down, they had proven
they belong at the very top.
For fourteen junior and college tennis players, 2014 is off to an
outstanding start. Six of the seven continents - the lone exception
being Antarctica - served as hosts for the notable achievements of
Michigan Women Defeat Yale to Return to Team Indoor in Charlottesville
A new format and a key player's injury didn't keep the University of
Michigan women from their customary trip to Charlottesville, Virginia
in February. On Sunday, the Wolverines defeated Yale 4-0, advancing to
the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Team Indoor
Championships for the fifth consecutive year.
Eight Intriguing Questions for 2014
Tennis Recruiting enters its ninth year in 2014, and this January we
feature the ninth straight edition of "Intriguing Questions" from
columnist Colette Lewis. Lewis asks eight questions about junior
and college tennis that should reveal their answers over the next
Flink, Zverev Seek First Junior Slam Titles in Melbourne
Last year's Australian Open junior champions Ana Konjuh and Nick
Kyrgios graduated to the women's and men's main draw this year,
leaving all 128 players in the junior championships dreaming of
following their path from first junior slam title to professional
success in the space of just 12 months.
Although the focus of the tennis world has now moved to Australia for
2014, it's time to wrap up December with a look back at the junior
champions from the Florida majors, as well as two Americans who earned
main draw wild cards into the Australian Open.
Liu Takes Second Junior Orange Bowl Title, Black Wins Girls 12s; Argentina Sweeps Boys Championships
Claire Liu knew what to expect. Hurricane Tyra Black, playing in her
first Junior Orange Bowl, did not. But both Americans, seeded second,
triumphed over the top seeds to claim the girls championships last
Monday at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center at the University of Miami,
while two competitors from Argentina captured the boys titles.
Tiafoe Makes History as Youngest Orange Bowl Boys Champion; Flink Claims Girls Title
Crowds packed the Frank Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation, Florida
for the boys Metropolia Orange Bowl final Sunday, knowing they would
see history made. When Francis Tiafoe fired an ace to defeat fellow
15-year-old American Stefan Kozlov 7-6(3), 0-6, 6-3, he became the
youngest winner in the history of the boys 18s competition. In the
girls final, top seed Varvara Flink of Russia defeated No. 2 seed
Ivana Jorovic of Serbia 6-1, 2-6, 6-4.
Majchrzak, Ostapenko Take Eddie Herr ITF Titles; Four Americans Win Championships
Top seeds and surprise winners collected trophies last week at the
Eddie Herr International Championships, with four Americans claiming
titles at the prestigious event held at the IMG Bollettieri Academy in
The month of November features a collegiate major as well as the last
chance for those outside the top 100 to make a push for direct entry
into the Australian Open. It also ushers in the brief offseason for
the professional tours, allowing youngsters to collect valuable
ranking points at Futures and Challenger events around the world, an
opportunity many of those cited below did not waste.
Black, Kozlov Among Favorites at Eddie Herr International ITF
Since 2012, when the tournament moved to the Har-Tru courts at the IMG
Bollettieri Academy, an American has yet to reach the finals of the
Eddie Herr International. Fifteen-year-olds Stefan Kozlov and Tornado
Alicia Black, both former Eddie Herr champions, lead the US field
attempting to end that streak this year.
Loeb and Thompson Claim USTA/ITA Indoor Titles
The freshman's title was no surprise, while the senior's run to the
championship caught everyone off guard at the USTA/ITA Indoor
Intercollegiate Championships earlier this month. Eighteen-year-old
All-American champion Jamie Loeb of North Carolina dethroned defending
champion Robin Anderson of UCLA 6-3 6-2 in the final, but the Bruins
got their title when Clay Thompson defeated Jared Hiltzik of Illinois
6-4, 7-5 in the men's championship match.
Fall Signing Week '13: Catanzariti Heads South to College Station
Blue Chip A.J. Catanzariti made his official visit to Texas A&M
during one of the biggest football games of the year - with the Aggies
and 2012 Heisman winner Johnny Manziel hosting the national champion
Alabama Crimson Tide. But by that time, the 18-year-old from
Pittsburgh had already decided Texas A&M was the right choice for
his path to professional tennis.
Fall Signing Week '13: Wahoos Welcome Wiersholm
On his official visit to the University of Virginia last month, Henrik
Wiersholm met not only the dean of the McIntire School of Commerce but
head basketball coach Tony Bennett and star guard Joe Harris. That
combination typifies what the 16-year-old from Kirkland, Wash. is
looking for in the college experience, as he has committed to play for
the Cavaliers while preparing for a professional tennis career.
Both college and junior tennis feature important tournaments during
the month, while the many post-US Open tournaments present aspiring
professionals with an opportunity to boost their ATP and WTA rankings.
Throw in a memorable Davis Cup debut and the result is a multitude of
October aces, 17 in all.
Countdown: Hannah King Returns to Athens
Hannah King was born in Athens, Georgia, yet playing tennis for the
Bulldogs was by no means a certainty for the Alpharetta, Ga. resident.
Two major shoulder surgeries kept her from competing most of the past
two years, with continual pain testing her resolve. Only her
unwavering determination to pursue the sport despite the many setbacks
has led the 17-year-old high school senior back to Athens. She committed
to Coach Jeff Wallace and the Georgia program just a few days ago.
Black and Tiafoe Claim ITF Pan American Titles in Tulsa
The field for the International Tennis Federation's Grade B1 Pan
American Closed can draw competitors from as far north as Canada and
as far south as Argentina. But this year, all four titles belonged to
Americans, with Tornado Alicia Black beating compatriot Kaitlyn
McCarthy 6-0, 6-0 for the girls singles championship, and Francis
Tiafoe downing Californian Taylor Fritz 6-3, 6-0 to capture one of his
two titles last weekend at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center at the
University of Tulsa.
Virginia's Frank Takes Second All-American Championship in Tulsa
For all the upsets and unexpected results at the St Francis Health
System ITA Men's All American Championships in Tulsa last week, the
winner was hardly a surprise. Mitchell Frank of the University of
Virginia collected his second ITA All-American singles championship,
running his winning streak at the event to 12, after recording a 6-3,
6-0 victory over Oklahoma's Guillermo Alcorta.
The month began with the last junior slam of the season and ended with
several teens claiming their first professional titles, while current
and former college stars continued to climb the ATP rankings in both
singles and doubles.
Media Tips for Young Tennis Players
Many junior tennis players pattern their games and on-court attitudes
after professional players, but juniors rarely see their favorite
players interact with the media. Although it may not have the same
importance as developing a reliable kick serve or a slice backhand,
learning to handle media requests and inquiries is part of the
education of a developing player. The USTA recognizes that, annually
conducting media training sessions.
Martin Redlicki to Join Brother Michael at Duke
Despite heights suitable for basketball, tennis is the sport of choice
for 6-foot-8 Michael Redlicki and his younger brother Martin, who is
6-foot-5. But basketball terminology probably best describes Martin's
decision to join Michael, currently a sophomore at Duke, in the fall
of 2014, with the choice resembling a layup rather than a slam dunk.
Former Cavaliers Huey and Inglot Reach ATP Doubles Heights
While teammates at the University of Virginia, Dom Inglot and Treat
Huey never played doubles together. But several years later, their
friendship led them to join forces on the ATP tour, where they are
currently ranked 14th in world.
Croatia's Coric and Konjuh Sweep US Open Junior Singles Titles
Competitors from 37 countries began a quest for the US Open boys and
girls singles titles, yet when the final point of the tournament was
played last Sunday, one country, Croatia, had captured them both.
No. 2 seed Ana Konjuh and No. 4 seed Borna Coric both staged comebacks
to defeat unseeded opponents in the finals, with Konjuh squeezing past
wild card Tornado Alicia Black of the United States 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(6)
and Coric downing Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Even without highlighting most of the eight USTA National Champions,
who were covered thoroughly last month by the Tennis Recruiting
Network, there is barely room for the large number of outstanding
performances by college and junior players. The bar was so high
winning one ITF Pro Circuit event in August wasn't sufficient to earn
a mention, as the stars of tomorrow begin to raise their rankings and
Bencic, Zverev Lead US Open Junior Fields
The summer of 2013 has belonged to Switzerland's Belinda Bencic, who
aims for her third consecutive junior slam title at the US Open Junior
Championships next week. Bencic will be tested by a deep and
accomplished field that features every member of the ITF junior Top
10. On the boys' side, the draw is missing four of the current ITF Top
10, including No. 1 Nick Kyrgios of Australia.
Altamirano Makes History in Kalamazoo 18s
When seventeen-year-old Collin Altamirano returns to defend the USTA
Boys 18s Nationals he won Sunday afternoon at Kalamazoo College's Stowe
Stadium, he won't be an underdog. After defeating No. 14 seed Jared
Donaldson 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in a best-of-five match, Altamirano is now in
the record books as the only unseeded player ever to win a singles
title in the 71-year history of the Kalamazoo National Championships.
Tommy Paul Takes Second National 16s Title
Tommy Paul arrived in Kalamazoo as the 16s Clay Court champion in
singles and doubles, and when the wet week was over, Paul left the
USTA National Championships with a third gold ball, winning the 16s
singles championship with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over his friend and
roommate Jake DeVine.
Aces from April, May and June continued to shine in July, whether on
European clay, Wimbledon grass or US hard courts. Several current and former
college players used the summer to earn ATP or WTA points, while the
World University Games provided lifelong memories for members of the
University of Southern California's men's and women's teams.
Top Seeds Brymer, Kumar Take Aim at Kalamazoo Championships
Gage Brymer and Sameer Kumar are looking to add Kalamazoo
championships to the Asics Easter Bowl titles they won this spring as
the USTA Boys 16 and 18 Nationals begin this weekend in Kalamazoo.
Ouellet-Pizer Claims First Gold Ball at Clays
The July weather in Memphis is predictable - hot and humid - but the
results of the Girls 18s Clay Courts last week at the Racquet Club of
Memphis definitely were not. A week of upsets ended with 15-year-old
Chloe Ouellet-Pizer defeating unseeded Terri Fleming 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-1
to claim her first gold ball in USTA competition.
What Coaches Look For at a Tournament
Now that the July 1 contact date for rising seniors is past, the
college recruiting season is peaking. While attending the USTA Girls
18s Clay Courts this week in Memphis, Tennessee, I spoke to several
college coaches to find out what they are looking for when they attend
a major National tournament, particularly on a surface that very few
collegians compete on as student-athletes.
Day, McNally Take 16s National Open Titles; Shaffer Claims 18s Championship
Thirteen-year-old Kayla Day came a long way from her Santa Barbara
California home last week to compete in the 16s National Open in
Kalamazoo, but her first trip to Michigan proved a successful one as
she claimed the title in her first national tournament in that
division. John McNally and Kennedy Shaffer took the boys 16s and girls
18s titles, respectively, on a warm and sunny day at the legendary
Stowe Stadium courts at Kalamazoo College.
The month began with two new junior slam winners, while some of their
young competition in Paris raised winners' trophies at professional
events around the world. Not to be outdone, both NCAA men's singles
finalists and three other college stars won Futures titles to start
the summer on a positive note.
Top-Ranked Juniors Kyrgios and Bencic Aim to Conquer Wimbledon Junior Championships
Last year the Wimbledon Junior Championships belonged to Canada, with
Eugenie Bouchard and Filip Peliwo claiming the country's first two
junior slam singles titles. Bouchard and Peliwo have now moved on to
professional careers, but another 128 competitors are eager to raise
their profiles in the tennis world with similar performances at the
All England Club.
Ohio State's Home Winning Streak at Ten Years and Counting
Few would argue that a streak of any significance owes something to
luck. But as the Ohio State men's tennis team looks to extend their
stretch of home victories past the current number of 172, what stands
out is how few close calls the Buckeyes have had in that 10-year span.
An Interview with USTA's Collegiate Team National Coach Dustin Taylor
The United States Tennis Association's Collegiate Team has been a part
of the USTA's commitment to college tennis since 1996, but beginning
this spring, it's taking a new direction. USTA Player Development
National Coach Dustin Taylor was selected to take over responsibility
for the program, and he began formulating his strategies for assisting
college players in February. Colette Lewis of ZooTennis.com talked with
Taylor about his new position and his goals.
May usually has its share of college aces, with the NCAAs always
producing impressive performances. But the month's accomplishments
extend to former collegians as well, with so many success stories I
had to confine the list to those who had won at least two pro titles
Gibbs Defends NCAA Singles Title, Rola Thwarts Jenkins' Bid for Triple Crown
NCAA titles in 2012 didn't satisfy Stanford's Nicole Gibbs and Ohio
State's Blaz Rola, who returned to the Division I Individual
Championships at the University of Illinois hungry for more. Gibbs
defeated Nebraska's Mary Weatherholt to earn a second straight singles
title to go with her 2012 doubles championship and the 2013 team
title, while Rola downed Virginia's Jarmere Jenkins to add a singles
title to the doubles championship he won last year.
Virginia Men Claim First, Stanford Women Collect Seventeenth NCAA Team Championship
For the Virginia men, it was a long delayed first title; for the
Stanford women, it was title 17, but the only numbers that mattered
Tuesday in the finals of NCAA Division I Team Championships at the
Khan Outdoor Tennis Center at the University of Illinois was 4-3, the
score of Virginia's win over UCLA and Stanford's win over Texas A&M.
Sanford, Oosterbaan Capture National Open Titles
Unseasonably cold temperatures didn't stop Midwesterners Anna Sanford
and Paul Oosterbaan from capturing the singles titles at the USTA 18s
National Open at the Canepa Tennis Center in East Grand Rapids,
Michigan. Sanford defeated Alexis Nelson 1-6, 6-1, 6-2, while
Oosterbaan edged Tom Fawcett 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(4).
Ramp It Up - New Academy Opens in Southern California
The Home Depot Center in Carson, California, site of the USTA Training
Center-West, has a new source of activity this spring with the
opening of the RAMP Tennis Academy.
April's aces are centered on the two major Southern California junior
events, with the ITF Grade 1 International Spring Championships and
the Easter Bowl responsible for nine of the juniors featured here. Yet
juniors from around the world also made their mark on the ITF
professional circuit, with four of them picking up their first titles
at that level.
Hance and Daniel Take 14s Easter Bowl Titles; Bellis and Kumar Earn 16s Championships
Connor Hance and Jaeda Daniel both came from behind to collect USTA
Spring Nationals Easter Bowl 14s gold balls, while 16s champions CiCi
Bellis and Sameer Kumar posted straightforward wins in the finals, as
the historic tournament's 46th year came to a close earlier this month
in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Brymer and Hibi Earn Impressive Doubles at Easter Bowl ITF
Irvine, California can call itself the city of Easter Bowl champions
after residents Mayo Hibi and Gage Brymer claimed titles at the
International Tennis Federation Grade B1 tournament at the Sunrise
Country Club in Rancho Mirage.
Hibi, Kozlov Claim ITF Grade 1 Titles at International Spring Championships
Mayo Hibi and Stefan Kozlov survived tough opening round matches at
the ITF Grade 1 International Spring Championships in Carson, Calif.
last week, using those wins as springboards for their first Grade 1
The first month of spring was packed with head-turning performances,
from the clay courts of South America to the hard courts of Mobile,
Miami and beyond.
Countdown: Oosterbaan Heads South to Georgia
Looking up isn't something 6-foot-8 blue chip Paul Oosterbaan does
often, at least literally. But when the 17-year-old verbally committed
to the University of Georgia, he had two even taller national
champions serving as inspirations: 6-foot-9 John Isner, who led
Georgia to the NCAA team title in 2007, and his 6-foot-10 father J.P.,
a member of the University of Michigan's 1989 NCAA National
Championship basketball team.
McCarthy Sweeps Titles, Orkin Claims First Gold Ball at USTA 18s National Spring Championships
A year after the Midwest section swept the boys and girls 18s National
Spring Championships' singles titles, the Southern section did the
same, with Elliott Orkin of Marietta, Georgia and Kaitlyn McCarthy of
Cary, North Carolina taking home what is likely the last gold balls
awarded by the tournament, in its ninth year at the Mobile Tennis
Liang Wins Talbert Award, Looks Ahead to Harvard
Spencer Liang was recently named one of the four national winners of
the 2012 USTA Bill Talbert Junior Sportsmanship Award, an honor that
signifies how she's matured during her junior career. Next year, the
blue chip senior will take her talents to Cambridge, Mass., and
compete for the Harvard Crimson.
Mobile Ready for Ninth USTA 18s National Spring Championships
When the Easter Bowl 18s went from a USTA tournament to an
International Tennis Federation Grade 1 back in 2005, a new event was
necessary to provide a fourth gold ball opportunity for that age
group. The Mobile Tennis Center filled that gap, and has been hosting
the 128-draw National Spring Championships for boys and girls ever
since, with the ninth edition scheduled to begin Sunday and run
through Saturday March 16th.
February may be a short month, but it was long on excitement, with
blockbuster finishes to the three ITA National Team Indoor
Championships. In addition to the college stars stepping up, young
players from the United States, Europe and South America had an impact
on the professional scene, including the ATP and WTA tours.
Weatherholt Leads Nebraska to New Heights
Kansas City's Mary Weatherholt was not quite five years old when
Lindsay Davenport's Olympic gold medal in Atlanta inspired her to take
up the sport. Despite setbacks along the way, the Nebraska Cornhusker
senior has nurtured that initial love of the game, leading her team to
new heights while establishing herself as one of the nation's top
North Carolina Claims First National Team Title at ITA Women's Indoor Championships
The University of North Carolina Tar Heels arrived in Charlottesville,
Virginia last week for the ITA Women's Team Indoor ranked eighth in
the country. They left the Boar's Head Sports Club with wins over No.
4 Southern California, No. 3 Duke, and No. 2 UCLA in successive
matches, claiming the program's first national team championship and
the No. 1 ranking with a heart-pounding 4-3 victory over the defending
From the USTA Winter National champions to the outstanding
performances of young women like Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens at
the Australian Open, January provided many new players to watch in
2013. The thirteen aces below may not have been quite as visible, yet
their accomplishments are worth acknowledging too.
Top Seeds Langmo, Kirkov, Mateas Take Tennis Plaza Cup Titles
The weather was outstanding and so were the top seeds at the USTA
Regional Level 3 tournament in Coral Gables, Florida, with six of the
eight No. 1 seeds winning titles in the three-day, 32-draw events held
at five sites in the Miami area.
Miami Women Earn Trip to ITA Team Indoor
University of Miami's head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews knows her team
landed on the right side of a thin line Saturday, winning a tense and
unpredictable dual match with Arizona State 4-3 to earn a trip to the
ITA Team Indoor in Charlottesville, Virginia next month.
Eight Intriguing Questions for 2013
Another year... and another edition of "Intriguing Questions" from
columnist Colette Lewis. Today, Colette poses eight questions about
junior and college tennis.
Doyle Commits to Cardinal
Sixteen-year-old Caroline Doyle was born and raised in San Francisco,
so it's no surprise Stanford University was at the top of her list
when she began considering college tennis programs. She had visited
the Palo Alto campus many times while attending her cousin's
volleyball games, struck each time by its pastoral beauty.
The end of the 2012 junior tennis season and the beginning of 2013's
mean a crowded December calendar when the rest of the tennis world is
mostly dormant. Last month began with the ITF Grade 1 Eddie Herr
championships in Florida and ended in Mexico City, where the first
Grade A champions of 2013 got an early start to the year.
Americans Mmoh and Desiatnikov Capture Junior Orange Bowl Titles; Lumsden, Oliel Post Historic Wins
Seven days of beautiful South Florida weather at the 51st Junior
Orange Bowl provided a perfect backdrop for three new champions and
one champion collecting a second title. Michael Mmoh of the United
States, the 2010 12s champion, added the 14s title to his resume,
while Abigail Desiatnikov of the US, Maia Lumsden of Great Britain and
Yshai Oliel of Israel received their first winner's bowl of oranges
last Sunday in Coral Gables, Florida.
Magnus Norman Seeks to Boost Swedish Tennis at Good to Great Academy
When Magnus Norman retired from the ATP tour in 2004, he didn't pick
up a tennis racquet for three years. When he began to miss tennis,
Norman began coaching Sweden's Robin Soderling, who went from 37 to 5
in the ATP rankings while working with Norman. With his girl friend
expecting twins, Norman wanted to travel less, so he decided to
concentrate on developing a private high performance academy.
Konjuh, Djere Cap Two Tough Weeks with Orange Bowl Titles; Rublev, Liang Take 16s
Croatia's Ana Konjuh and Serbia's Laslo Djere finished the ITF 2012
Junior Circuit with two weeks worth of outstanding tennis, following
their success at the Eddie Herr International with Grade A Orange Bowl
titles last week on the Har-Tru courts of the Frank Veltri Tennis
Center in Plantation, Florida.
Konjuh, Garin Win ITF Eddie Herr Titles; Douglas, Norris Give US Girls Championships in 12s and 16s
At the end of a week of flawless tennis weather at the Eddie Herr
International Tennis Championships at the IMG Bollettieri Academy in
Bradenton, Fla., eight players from seven countries took home not just
the winners' trophies, but the knowledge that they can compete with and
beat the world's best.
The WTA and ATP may be in the midst of their brief off-seasons, but
November still provided performances worth noting on the junior,
collegiate and pro circuits, including the 14 young players below.
Smaller Fields for 12s and 14s at 2012 Eddie Herr
For those starting out in international junior tennis, Florida's Eddie
Herr tournament is often their first look at the United States. This
year, with IMG taking over management of the tournament, the 12s and
14s main draws are smaller, going from 128 in the 12s and 112 in the
14s to 64, with the qualifying draws also limited to 64 players.
Townsend, Rubin Aim for Eddie Herr ITF Titles
As in 2011, when the surface used for the 18s ITF Grade 1
tournament went from hard courts to clay courts, the 2012 version of
the Eddie Herr International at the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy has
some changes in store.
Jenkins and Anderson Impress with USTA/ITA Indoor Titles
Jarmere Jenkins of Virginia and Robin Anderson of UCLA were hardly
prohibitive favorites at the start of the USTA/ITA Indoor
Intercollegiate Championships, held earlier this month at the USTA
Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, NY. But both
competitors brought their "A" games to New York - both won titles
without losing a set.
Juniors Shine at First USTA Collegiate Invitational for Women
Last year, the Napa Valley Classic featured eight USTA junior boys and
players from six men's college teams competing in a round robin
competition. Grant Chen, then Director of Tennis at UCLA, loved the
idea, and he wanted to organize a similar event for women. His efforts
came to fruition last weekend in Oregon, where college and junior players
participated in the USTA Collegiate Invitational, presented by Adidas.
The winners of last month's first collegiate majors and an important
ITF Junior event always appear on the list of October's top
performances, but teenage success on the many Pro Circuit events
across the globe also grabs the spotlight, as the fight for year-end
rankings adds urgency to every tournament result.
Countdown: King, van Overbeek Mobilize Community
Michigan's Evan King and Florida's Bob van Overbeek thought that
proposed format changes to NCAA Division I tennis - including
super-tiebreaks in singles competition - were jokes. Once they
confirmed the proposed changes were real, the two started a Facebook
group. That group mobilized the community and led to a Twitter event,
online petition, and mainstream media coverage. The NCAA has since
rescinded the changes.
Pan American Championships Go To Rubin, Abanda
Canadian success has been one of the top stories in junior tennis this
year, with that theme continuing last week at the ITF B1 Pan American
Closed in Tulsa, where three of the four singles finalists were from
the Land of the Maple Leaf. Francoise Abanda defeated compatriot Carol
Zhao in a marathon girls final 76(5), 4-6, 7-5, while 2011 Pan
American finalist Noah Rubin of the US prevented a Canadian sweep by
downing Hugo Di Feo 6-2, 2-6, 6-2.
Virginia's Domijan Collects Second ITA All-American Title
After winning the 2010 IT All-American championship as a freshman,
the University of Virginia's Alex Domijan was unable to defend his
title last year due to injury. Teammate Mitchell Frank kept the trophy
in Charlottesville with his title last year, and there it will stay,
after Domijan defeated unseeded Ohio State Buckeye Peter Kobelt 7-5,
6-1 in the championship match.
September was a busy month, with considerable success dotting the
calendar for US junior girls. It began with two US Open junior
championships and ended with the United States capturing the Junior
Fed Cup in Barcelona. In addition, no fewer than six girls aged
18-and-under from around the world captured titles on the ITF Women's
Circuit, while former college stars also picked up championship
Host Illinois Provides Unique Atmosphere at Olympia Fields Invitational
Golf has always been king at the Olympia Fields Country Club in the
southern suburbs of Chicago, the home of the 2003 US Open. But with
the introduction of the Olympia Fields Invitational six years ago,
college tennis is now a new member of the royal box.
Crawford, Peliwo Win US Open Junior Titles
Canada's Filip Peliwo had played in more junior slam finals than
American Samantha Crawford had entered, yet when a challenging weather
week in New York drew to a close, both had claimed US Open Junior
Burdette Begins Pro Career After Stellar Summer
All-American Mallory Burdette wasn't convinced she wanted the life of
a professional tennis player until this summer, when the 21-year-old
from Jackson, Georgia played four professional tournaments in a period
of four weeks in July and August. Shortly after her third-round loss
in the U.S. Open to Maria Sharapova, Burdette decided to forego her senior
season at Stanford and turn pro.
With one exception, the USTA National champions, all of whom received
an article devoted to their victories last month on Tennis Recruiting
Network, aren't included in this month's Aces. But here's one last hat
tip to Vicky Duval, Kimberly Yee, Henrik Wiersholm, Sofia Kenin,
Taylor Fritz, Abigail Desiatnikov, and Roscoe Bellamy for their
championship runs as we look back on the other outstanding
performances in August.
Four Juniors Seek Second Slam Title at US Open
When the US Open Junior Championships kick off Sunday, two boys and
two girls will be seeking their second junior slam singles title and
with it, a boost toward the coveted year-end title of ITF World Junior
The Case for a Junior Davis Cup Team
Tennis has undergone many changes in the years since Michael Chang,
Andre Agassi, Jim Courier and Pete Sampras were playing junior tennis
in the mid-80s. Few will shed a nostalgic tear for the short shorts
and mullets in fashion back then, but one institution of that era is
still spoken of in revered tones - the USTA Junior Davis Cup team.
Novikov Earns First Gold Balls, Wild Cards in 18s
Dennis Novikov has been a top junior since the 14s age group, but a
USTA gold ball had proved elusive until last weekend's USTA Boys 18
National Championship in Kalamazoo, when he collected two. Those two
had added luster, courtesy of the main draw US Open wild cards he
received for claiming the singles title over Alexios Halebian 7-6(3),
2-6, 6-3, 6-4, as well the doubles title a day earlier.
Wiersholm Sweeps 16s Titles in Kalamazoo Debut
When a tournament has 70 years of history, chances are any
accomplishment has a precedent. But to find a player younger than
15-year-old Henrik Wiersholm who swept both singles and doubles titles
at the USTA Boys 16 Nationals at Kalamazoo, you would have to go back
to 1971, when 14-year-old Billy Martin, the current men's head coach
at UCLA, won both championships.
Krueger, Stewart Headline Kalamazoo's 70th Year
Seventy years of competition produces a long list of champions, with
Kalamazoo's honor roll including such grand slam winners as Rod Laver,
Stan Smith, Jimmy Connors and Michael Chang. Two Mitches hope to join
them this year, with 18s top seed Krueger and 16s top seed Stewart
heading their divisions when the 70th edition of the USTA National
Boys 18 and 16 Championships begins today at Kalamazoo College and
Western Michigan University.
July saw the crowning of the eight National Clay Court champions, but
they don't appear among last month's 14 aces due to the extensive
coverage of the Clays last week on the Tennis Recruiting Network.
Instead, the focus is on Canadian and European juniors, as well as
current and former college players having great results last month.
Collins Claims Girls 18s Clay Court Championship
With her focus on senior activities and graduating with her class at
Northeast High in St. Petersburg, Fla. in June, Danielle Collins
didn't play a tournament for five months. When Collins did return to
the Girls' 18 Clays, she showed few signs of rust, claiming her third
singles gold ball in the 18s division with a 6-1, 6-4 win over
fourth-seeded Jamie Loeb in the final.
Brian Baker's Comeback Captivates US Juniors
Ten years ago, Brian Baker was playing the Wimbledon Juniors with
hopes and dreams for a professional tennis career. But a series of
health issues dashed those dreams. Just over a year ago, at age 26,
Baker finally felt ready to take another shot at professional tennis.
After some early successes, Baker went through qualifying at Wimbledon
without dropping a set, then won three more matches to bring his ATP
ranking to 76.
Bouchard and Peliwo Claim Canada's First Junior Slam Championships at Wimbledon
When the Wimbledon Junior Championships began, Canada was still
seeking its first singles title in junior grand slam history. When the
cool and damp week of continual rain delays was over, Canada had two,
with Eugenie Bouchard defeating Elina Svitolina for the girls title,
and Filip Peliwo downing defending champion Luke Saville to claim the
boys title at the All England Club.
The transition from clay to grass marks the beginning of summer in the
tennis world, with many of the May aces handling that change without
losing their momentum. Led by the tennis story of the year, June gave
us accomplishments from recent and former collegians, as well as
teenagers who are climbing up the professional and junior rankings.
Wimbledon Juniors: Saville Aims for Second Wimbledon Boys Title, Townsend Top Seed in Girls Draw
The world's top two juniors have contrasting histories as they
approach the Wimbledon Junior Championships, which begin Saturday at
the All England Club. Eighteen-year-old Australian Luke Saville is the
defending champion, winning the first of his two junior slams there
last year, while 16-year-old American Taylor Townsend has never played
a match on the world's most famous grass courts.
An Interview with Lisa Stone, The Tennis Mom Behind the Parenting Aces Blog
A banker, a stockbroker, a fitness instructor and tech-savvy
entrepreneur, Lisa Stone has had a variety of experiences in her
working life. Yet tennis has been a constant companion since her
childhood in Louisiana, with her latest venture, the blog Parenting
Aces, created in response to the challenges she and her husband faced
in navigating the junior tennis world with their son Morgan.
The Target is Always the Top: An Interview with Florida Women's Coach Roland Thornqvist
Colette Lewis had an opportunity to talk with Florida Head Coach
Roland Thornqvist in Athens, Ga. last month, just a few days after his
team's 4-0 victory over UCLA in the final. In this question and answer
segment, he reveals what he looks for in a recruit, how a bad year by
Florida standards led to two NCAA team titles, and the one thing that
college tennis needs.
May revolves around college tennis for me, and five of last month's 14
aces emerged from Athens, Ga., the site of the NCAA Division I
championships. But from Thailand to Hilton Head, from Brazil to
Sweden, there were juniors making waves in the minor leagues of
professional tennis, taking on challenges and succeeding despite their
relative lack of experience.
Johnson, Gibbs Claim NCAA Titles at Historic NCAA Division I Championships
After the drama of the team tournament, the individual portion of the
2012 NCAA Division I championships wasn't expected to approach those
impressive heights. But the singles and doubles tournaments somehow
found a way to equal it with one unprecedented accomplishment after
another in the steamy, midsummer-like conditions at the Dan Magill
Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.
USC Men Claim Fourth Straight NCAA Team Title, while Florida Women Go Back-to-Back
Winning one NCAA team title is difficult. Only 21 programs have
managed to do it in over six decades of competition in Division I
collegiate tennis. But the USC men and Florida women are making a
habit of it, with Trojans collecting their fourth in row with a 4-2
win over Virginia and the Gators going back-to-back with a 4-0 victory
over UCLA Tuesday in Athens, Ga.
Bolender Leads Michigan over Texas A&M for Sweet 16 Berth
On a cloudy afternoon in Ann Arbor, sophomore Brooke Bolender put the
15th-seeded Michigan Wolverines in the Sweet 16 for the third
consecutive year. The home crowd erupted on every point in the final
set, as Bolender defeated Nazari Urbina of Texas A&M 2-6, 6-4, 6-2
at No. 2 singles for a 4-3 victory.
Todd Martin Embraces Teaching Role
Two-time Grand Slam finalist Todd Martin retired from the ATP tour in
2004, but he never left the game. Among other things, Martin has
served as a coach to both Mardy Fish and Novak Djokovic, and he has
competed on the two major senior tours. In the coming months, Martin
plans to organize his own junior academy at a club in Florida. Colette
Lewis recently had the chance to chat with Martin.
The epicenter of April's aces is always Southern California, where the
two major ITF and USTA junior events produce ten champions. But a pair
of 12-year-olds picked up Spring National championships in Florida, a
17-year-old won two Pro Circuit events in Turkey, and a remarkable
comeback story unfolded in Savannah, Ga., one that will lead directly
to Roland Garros later this month.
Higuchi and Blumberg Claim Easter Bowl 14s Titles; Broda and DiGiulio are 16s Champions
The 45th Easter Bowl USTA National Spring Championships had its share
of surprises. Only one No. 1 seed, Emma Higuchi in girls 14s, making
it through to the finals. Champions Higuchi, William Blumberg, Joe
DiGiulio and Brooke Broda overcame all the week's obstacles, leaving
Rancho Mirage with six gold balls in tow.
ITF Easter Bowl Titles are Early Birthday Gifts for McDonald and Townsend
Mackenzie McDonald and Taylor Townsend were both born on April 16th,
one year apart. Last weekend, one day apart, they claimed ITF Easter
Bowl titles at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort in Rancho Mirage,