#theSol Baltimore

#theSolIt has taken me a few days to write this article because, honestly, I just haven’t been able to find the words to describe this past weekend in Baltimore at the 2017 #theSol.

I won’t go into my history with Sol Schwartz – you can read this article if you’re curious – but this tournament is about so much more than junior tennis or college tennis or anything having to do with hitting a yellow ball over a net. It is about honoring the legacy of a man who truly loved the game . . . LOVED the game . . . and devoted his adult life to fighting for its survival and the survival of its traditions.

That’s why #theSol participants play 2 out of 3 full sets. That’s why they play regular scoring (none of that no-ad stuff that makes me crazy). That’s why we empower the players with their own matches, trusting them to play by the rules and to exhibit impeccable sportsmanship without interference from officials. That’s why we encourage on-court coaching at side changes, helping players learn from each game and each match. That’s why we solicit quality sponsors and use the money (instead of charging high entry fees) to create the highest-quality tournament experience we can, providing goody bags filled with fun and useful items, creating a full-color Player Book (thank you to Sol’s niece, Ali, for the beautiful design!), serving lunch and drinks to players and parents, using the net proceeds to #SaveCollegeTennis through grants.

While last year’s Baltimore event found all of us who were close to Sol still feeling pretty raw – he had just passed away 5 months earlier – this year’s event felt more like a true celebration of his life. Sol’s wife, Ilene, did a great job of encouraging Sol’s friends and family to come out to watch the juniors and college kids compete, and, I swear, we had more fans in attendance than at many pro tournaments! I met people who had known Sol since childhood or who had played against him in the juniors or who had been coached by him or who had done business with him at Holabird Sports. The man knew everyone even remotely related to tennis in the mid-Atlantic section!

Now the details . . .

theSolWe wound up with 50 players ranging in age from 9 to 22 and ranging in UTR level from 1.0 (first tournament ever) to 9.85. Players came from Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. Tournament Director Scott Thornton divided them into 7 flights, some playing a round-robin format and others playing a compass draw, ensuring that everyone played 3 matches. Prizes were awarded based on the percentage of games won so that everyone had a chance at the awesome Wilson Prize Package and the 2-month Tennis Trunk subscription as well as other prizes donated by Solinco and the Bryan Brothers.

As I mentioned, the tournament provided lunch for the players and their families theSoleach day. During lunch on Day 1, NextGen star Noah Rubin joined us via FaceTime to chat with the players and answer their questions. He was prepping for his week at the Vancouver Challenger in Canada, so it was especially sweet of him to take some time to interact with us!

theSol
Richard Herskovitz & Ilene Schwartz

During lunch on Day 2, I got the opportunity to hit a little with Standing Adaptive player Richard Herskovitz, a long-time friend of Sol’s who came out to support our tournament. He definitely put me through my paces on the Har-Tru courts! When we found out that one of our final-round players needed to withdraw, Richard graciously stepped in and played against one of our juniors, ensuring that she got her 3rd match for the tournament.

Thanks to their generosity and connection to Sol and his family, we had two photographers on site documenting the weekend. If you’d like to see and/or order any of the photos, click here. The net proceeds will go into our grant fund. There are more photos available to purchase here.

But, enough from me! I want you to hear from the players and parents themselves!

Allen Au, whose 3 sons all played in this year’s tournament, posted on our Facebook page at the end of Day 1. “Awesome First day…. Best junior event I have been to ever.. Everyone was nice and played tennis in the spirit of competition.” What a wonderful testament to the heart of this tournament!

Juan Borga’s 17-year-old daughter, Ana, also played in the tournament. Her older brother, Juan, was supposed to play as well, but unfortunately he injured himself on the practice court a few days beforehand. Here’s Juan Sr’s take on #theSol:

For Tiffany Livingstone’s daughter, Alexa, playing in a tennis tournament was something she had wanted to try but really didn’t know how to go about getting started. Because of their personal connection to Sol’s wife, Ilene, Tiffany signed Alexa up for #theSol this year, and she had a wonderful first tournament experience:

And now hear from two of our players, Anya and Julianne, about their experience:

Of course, none of this would have been possible without the incredible support theSolof our Presenting Sponsor 10sBalls.com; Title Sponsor Holabird Sports; Division I Sponsor Wilson Tennis; Division II Sponsors Kassimir Physical Therapy, Judie Schwartz, and Steven J. Schwartz, MD; Division III Sponsors Maller Wealth Advisors, Match!Tennis App, ParentingAces, Universal Tennis Academy, and UTR; Lunch Sponsors Michael Sellman and the Schwartz Family; Ball Sponsor Jewish Community Center of Baltimore; and In-Kind Sponsors The Bryan Brothers, Crown Trophy, David Brooks, Dunlop, Melanie Rubin, PNC Bank, Solinco, The Suburban Club, Marc Summerfield, Summit Group, Tennis Trunk, TournaGrip, Utz Chips, and Voss Water.

If you would like to get involved in either the Atlanta or Baltimore #theSol tournaments in 2018, please reach out to me via email (lisa@parentingaces.com) or in the Comments below. If you would like to make a donation to our grant fund to #SaveCollegeTennis, you can do so via Venmo or by mailing a check payable to The Sol – just email me for details. Your donation may be tax deductible.

Thank you to everyone who played, donated, volunteered, or came out to support the event! I look forward to seeing y’all again next year!

Advice to Parents of Young Players

advice

Here is another article written by Andy Brandi for the USTA Player Development website and reprinted here with his permission. Coach Brandi served as a partner of the Harold Solomon Tennis Institute since 2007 before joining the USTA staff in August 2010. From 2001-06, Brandi was Director of Tennis for IMG at the Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton, and from 1984-2001, he was the head coach of the University of Florida women’s team. During his career, Brandi has worked with top professionals, including Elena Dementieva, Shahar Peer, Maria Kirilenko, Lisa Raymond, Ryan Sweeting and Jesse Levine. While at the University of Florida, he led the Gators to three NCAA Division I Team titles, coached four NCAA women’s singles champions and four NCAA doubles champions. Brandi will be returning to college tennis as the Head Coach of the LSU men’s team this Fall.

Consistency in coaching is essential. Avoiding going from one coach to another keeps the process and development going. There has to be trust amongst the team – player, coach and parent all have to be on the same page. Changing coaches is like restarting the process. Coaches have different styles, systems and philosophies. Your job is to find one that best fits your child.

Try any program for about a week before you commit to that program. Do research! Be sure there is a plan when you start. A developmental plan, two areas of focus and a tournament schedule is essential in the planning. The two areas of focus are to be evaluated every two months and then replaced if they have been achieved.

Be supportive and patient with the coach. If you have issues with him or her, discuss them without the child present. Understand where the coach is coming from and why he is doing things a certain way. Give the coach a chance.

Parents who are the coaches need to be patient and should not get so consumed that the child only lives, sleeps and eats tennis. Seek help in areas where you might feel you are weak in your knowledge or expertise. I coached my son until he was 15. At 15, I wanted to be his father and not his coach. My role was to give him advice and support when he was training under a new coach. His job was to learn to make decisions and be responsible and accountable for his tennis. Good tennis players are independent thinkers. He now asks, “Why did you not make me do this or that?” My answer is, “I gave you choices; you made the decisions.”

Tennis has to be left at the club or courts, not brought home every day. At home, let them have a normal life. They need friends. They need to develop their social skills. They need to build good character. They need to be good students in school. Provide a balance of tennis, a social life and academics. Remember, 99 percent of all players go to COLLEGE!!!! In the process, be sure you do not try to skip steps or cut corners. There are no shortcuts!!!! It takes time! It takes a lot of hard work, sacrifice and dedication by you and them. Set goals and keep the training fresh to keep them engaged and to prevent burnout.

A few things to keep in mind:

Kids do not always need to practice with someone better. They do not always need to play up in age groups. The ratio of practice should be 25-50-25, meaning 25 percent with weaker players, 50 percent with players of their own ability and 25 percent with players better than them. Does Roger Federer practice with someone better than him all the time? No! He practices with young pros, juniors or college players!!!!!! And 50 percent of the time, they need to experience the pressure of playing with and against their own peers.

When choosing to play up, they need to have a 65 percent winning record or better in their age group to justify it. Keeping track of match counts is very important. We do not want them playing 130 matches a year at 12, 13 or 14! It is not the number of tournaments but the match count that matters! Burnout and injuries will occur if you overplay them.

One area that we tend to neglect in their training is off-season breaks. Pros take 4-6 weeks at the end of each year to set a fitness base and improve on specific areas. They will follow up with a couple of weeks off before the clay season and a couple of weeks off after Wimbledon. They build in regeneration, fitness, cleaning their games out to be sharp, fit and healthy. In the junior schedule, we could build this in after Winter Nationals, after Easter Bowl and finally after Hard Courts.

The pros in the off season at the end of the year do not touch their racquets for a couple of weeks. They focus on physical fitness and mental conditioning. Then comes the tennis. Our ‘99s recently did a six-week-off season where they did not play tennis for two weeks. Jez Green, who was Andy Murray’s fitness coach, supervised the six weeks. His comment was that our juniors are 16-18 months behind in fitness than the Europeans. Why? Because we do not do this! We have to play, play, play! We are very short-minded and short-sighted!

Give them responsibility and accountability in their game and preparation. Let them get their tennis bag organized. Let them get their own water, bars and snacks. Let them carry their own tennis bag! We want to facilitate, not incapacitate. Remember, they have to be able to be independent thinkers. They have to be able to take care of themselves out there. They have to learn to survive in the heat of battle. They have to learn to compete and love it. Doing minor tasks builds their confidence and self-esteem.

Lastly, be supportive. We tend to forget that they are the ones competing. We forget what it is like to compete. It is the team that gets them prepared, and they are the ones who are playing and competing. We are not playing! We are part of their support group.

When they play, we tend to get too emotionally involved. Stay calm and control your emotions. I got too nervous watching my son. My wife was the one who went to tournaments with him. As I used to tell my wife, figure it out. I can sit through a Grand Slam final and not get nervous but cannot stay calm watching him! They will react to you and how you react! They will feel your emotions and nervousness. Stay level-headed and even keel! Show them support, winning or losing.

It is easy to criticize from outside. Things are crystal clear when you are outside the ropes. Being in the heat of battle clouds your reasoning and how you perceive things. After matches, give them time to settle down, and yourself, too, before you start discussing the match. Ask questions. Point out things that they did well and things that they need to work on in future matches. Do not be just negative! Give them positive feedback! Let them give you their perspective of what happened out there. They have to be aware of what happened and how they can control that the next time. Win or lose, love them for who they are – your child!

Like building a house, we need a good foundation. You build the outside of the house, followed by the inside. It takes time to build a house. It takes a long time to develop a tennis player. Good luck with the journey!

Advice on Picking a College

Andy Brandi college

The following was written by Coach Andy Brandi and originally posted on the USTA’s Player Development website here and here. Coach Brandi served as a partner of the Harold Solomon Tennis Institute since 2007 before joining the USTA staff in August 2010. From 2001-06, Brandi was Director of Tennis for IMG at the Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton, and from 1984-2001, he was the head coach of the University of Florida women’s team. During his career, Brandi has worked with top professionals, including Elena Dementieva, Shahar Peer, Maria Kirilenko, Lisa Raymond, Ryan Sweeting and Jesse Levine. While at the University of Florida, he led the Gators to three NCAA Division I Team titles and coached four NCAA women’s singles champions and four NCAA doubles champions. Brandi is writing a blog for PlayerDevelopment.USTA.com for the next several weeks. In his latest entry, he offers insight and advice to young players as they decide what college to attend.

PART 1

As a former collegiate coach, I would like to give you some insight into making the decision as to which university you will attend. I was at the University of Florida as the women’s coach for 17 years. My pathway there came after traveling as a coach on the pro tour for many years. The thoughts and facts I am passing on to you are what I have learned over those 17 years.

Although most junior players dream of becoming professionals, 99 percent of them will go to college. Even the one percent should have a school in place in case they fall short of the benchmarks that are required to make the decision to turn pro. Such was the case for Reilly Opelka and Tommy Paul, who had chosen schools but decided to turn pro after they won Grand Slam junior titles. Shaun Stafford, who came to Florida, won the US Open juniors while in school and stayed for the year. She also won the NCAA singles title as a freshman. She turned pro that summer and became a Top 30 WTA player.

Here are some general guidelines:

During your freshman year in high school, you should make a list of 15 schools that you feel interest you. They can be from dream schools to schools that you would consider as backups. You can receive brochures for camps and questionnaires. Start following the results and rankings of the schools that you have chosen.

Sophomore year, you should go down to 10-12 schools. At this point, you can receive brochures for camps and questionnaires from the schools you are interested in. You can call the coach at your own expense, but they cannot call you. You are able to visit the campus at your own expense as many times as you like. Continue to follow the schools’ results and rankings and compare to the year before.

Junior year, things begin to change. You need to go down to 5-7 schools. You can begin to receive recruiting material and information from the coach as of Sept. 1. You can call the coach at your own expense, and as of July 1, you can receive one call from the coach a week. Texts and emails are allowed from the school as of Sept. 1. You are able to visit the campus at your own expense as many times as you like, and as of July 1, after the completion of your junior year, off-campus contact with the coach is allowed. Continue to follow the schools’ results and rankings and compare to the previous two years.

Senior year, the list goes down to five schools. You can continue to receive materials and information from the school. Calls are still as they were your junior year. Texts and emails are the same, and off-campus contacts are capped at three. Contacts at tournaments are allowed before it starts or after the player completes the tournament. Unofficial visits are unlimited, and now you can take five official visits for D1 and unlimited to D2 and D3 schools. The on-campus visit is for 48 hours and begins when you arrive on campus.

PART 2

Some of the things you need to consider in making your decision are: the coach, the school, location in relation to your home, weather, facilities, the town the school is located in, academic support, the conference it is in, the overall athletic program, how good is the school in your intended major, the team, scholarships, tournament and dual-match schedules and transfer rules.

This is the first important decision that this young person is going to make as they begin their pathway into adulthood. They have to make the decision! They are going to spend 4-5 years of their life there. Parents should provide guidance but should not make the decision. Parents cannot be selfish! They have to go where they feel comfortable, like the school, like the coach and have a connection with the players on the team. You can make the commitment in either November or April and sign the letter of intent on either date.

So let’s begin with some questions about the details that need to be answered in the process:

Coach – What is his background in tennis as a coach and player? How long has he been at the school? What’s his record? NCAA appearances? Individual NCAA tournament appearances? What’s his coaching style? His staff? Tennis knowledge? Developmental skills? Work ethic? What are practices like? Do the players get private lessons? Do underclassmen get the same playing chances as others? Have they participated in the National Team Indoor? Does the team play pro events? How are the lineups determined?

School – What is the reputation of the school? What is its ranking in your area of studies? What kind of academic support do they give athletes? Do they accommodate athletes in advance registration? What are the admissions standards? Do they have online courses, in case you want to take a semester away and travel? How are the academic advisers? Campus security?

Location – Is it far from home? What are winters like? What’s the year-round weather? What is the town like where the university is located? How much local support towards athletics is there? Are there booster groups for tennis? Is it in a small town? Big town? College town? Is there an airport there or nearby?

Athletic program – What is the overall athletic program like? Success in other sports? Facilities in tennis and other sports? Support staff for tennis? How is the conference strength in tennis? Travel budget for tennis? Scholarships for tennis (men 4.5-women 8)? Athletics dorms? Cafeteria for athletes? How do they accommodate athletes who want to transfer? Do they release you? Do they allow 5 years to graduate? Will they guarantee a scholarship if I leave early? Do they cover summer school? Academic counselors and center? Mandatory study hall for freshman?

Team – How do you see yourself getting along with the team and fitting in? Do you see yourself in the lineup? Where? Do they allow you to play pro tournaments in the fall? How many players travel? How many players are on the team? What is the schedule of fall tournaments and dual matches? Away? Home? Equipment allowances? Stringing included? How do they determine the lineup? Are the players I like and connect with seniors? Do they have the same goals? Do they have the same commitment?

Recruiting visit – Tour of the campus? Dorm? Of the town? Who will be my host? Will I meet people in the athletic department? Athletic directors? Medical and training staff? Strength and conditioning? Will I watch a practice? Will I stay in the dorm or hotel? Will I spend time with the team more than the coaches? Will I attend any athletic events? Tennis match? Will I attend any classes? Meet with some faculty from my intended major? Will I eat at the athlete cafeteria? Will I meet with the academic adviser? Will the coach follow up with a home visit?

These are some of the issues that need to be clarified before making the decision. Leave no stone unturned. The decision has to be crystal clear. You have to be thorough. While I was the women’s coach at the University of Florida, I had a student during a recruiting trip ask me how many books there were in the library! I can tell you that I did find out! Why? Because it was important to her! She came to Florida!

Once you have sorted all this out, make your verbal commitment. Be sure you call the other coaches to let them know of your decision and to thank them for the opportunity to visit the school and for their consideration. You want to leave all options open in case you change your mind or the coach leaves before you sign the letter of intent. Do not burn any bridges. Be sure you are 100 percent sure of the decision.

Good luck!

Note from Lisa: Thank you to USTA PD for giving me permission to reprint Coach Brandi’s articles for y’all. I’m happy to see USTA supporting college tennis and supporting Tennis Parents with this series of articles. Please take a look at the Player Development site for more useful articles.

Only 2 More Days at the BB&T Atlanta Open

Atlanta OpenFriday was another great day of tennis at the BB&T Atlanta Open – Quarterfinal Day did not disappoint, even though we had a short rain delay in the first set of the first singles match of the day.

Tommy Paul came out swinging in his match versus tour veteran and Rafa-Slayer Gilles Muller, holding his own through the first few games. But, then the Weather Gods decided we all needed a little break to grab a bite to eat and do a little shopping around Atlantic Station, and when the match resumed, Tommy didn’t have quite the same firepower.

Muller went on a rampage, showing why he’s had so much success this summer. To Tommy’s credit, he kept a very positive attitude out there and battled through to the bitter end. USTA coaches Diego Moyano and Brian Boland remained

Diego Moyano & Brian Boland

positive as well, encouraging Tommy to keep going for his shots. They both seemed pleased with their young charge’s performance against the veteran Muller, pow-wowing throughout the match about what to work on moving forward.

Next up was former Georgia Bulldog and 3-time Atlanta Champion John Isner who always has tons of support at this event. As he came on court, you could hear the fans Woof-ing at the Big Dawg, which John acknowledged with a big smile and waves to the crowd.

Even though there was only one break of serve by Isner in each set, he never seem too bothered by Lacko and went about his business in less time than it takes to drive from Atlanta to Athens. Isner did face a break point in the first set. “Yea dangit that was a horrible service performance today [laughing]. No I served well. He was for a good portion of the match on me a little bit. He returned well. He takes the return early, and he hit quite a few good returns quick and right at my feet. I stayed calm at that breakpoint; hit a great serve, hit three great serves. Got out of dodge there and then was able to play a great game at 5 all to win the first set.”

The third quarterfinal of the day was perhaps the most anticipated: 25-year-old Louisiana native Ryan Harrison versus 21-year-old Atlanta native (and rising Georgia Tech senior) Chris Eubanks. Chris has had a dream run this week, using his Wildcard to its full advantage while taking out fellow NextGen players Taylor Fritz and Jared Donaldson in the first two rounds. Ryan Harrison proved too tough for the Yellowjacket, cruising to an early 5-0 lead in the first set before Chris finally held serve to get on the scoreboard. Harrison held to close out the first set 6-1 then kept his foot on the gas throughout the second set to win it 6-2.

At the end of the match, the announcer handed Chris the mic so he could talk to the very supportive crowd. He was very gracious, thanking everyone for their support, acknowledging that this was a great experience for him and gave him a chance to see what he needs to work on as he finishes up at GA Tech and prepares for life on the pro tour.

Ryan was complimentary of Chris’s play. “Chris was pretty aggressive early, and he was making a few errors,” explained Harrison. “So I was trying to focus on keeping my first serve percentage up. I know he’s got big weapons, especially with that forehand. I thought if I made first serves it would be difficult for him to control the point with it. I was really emphasizing on trying to make those. Then just you know I usually do a good job of making a lot of balls back and kind of putting that extra ball back in the court.”

The last Quarterfinal match pitted top-seeded Jack Sock against UK standout Kyle Edmund. Edmund, the twenty-two-year-old British star and Davis Cup player, seemed ready for aggressive play from Sock. He remained steady with his serve and returned the firepower with fire of his own, to come out on top. After winning the first set 6-4, Edmund took advantage of a weakened Sock – who requested a medical timeout but never seemed to recover fully despite massive crowd support – and dominated the second set, which ended quickly at 6-1.

RESULTS – JULY 28, 2017

Men’s Singles – Quarterfinals

[3] G. Muller (LUX) d [Q] T. Paul (USA) 6-3 6-1
[2] J. Isner (USA) d L. Lacko (SVK) 7-5 6-4
[4] R. Harrison (USA) d [WC] C. Eubanks (USA) 6-1 6-2
[5] K. Edmund (GBR) d [1] J. Sock (USA) 6-4 6-1

Men’s Doubles – Quarterfinals

[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d H. Chung (KOR) / J. Nedunchezhiyan (IND) 6-1 6-2

ORDER OF PLAY – SATURDAY, JULY 29, 2017

STADIUM COURT start 12:00 noon

[4] P. Raja (IND) / D. Sharan (IND) vs W. Koolhof (NED) / A. Sitak (NZL)

Not Before 3:00 pm

[3] G. Muller (LUX) vs [2] J. Isner (USA)

Not Before 7:00 pm

[5] K. Edmund (GBR) vs [4] R. Harrison (USA)
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) vs [PR] J. Millman (AUS) / Sa. Ratiwatana (THA)

AJC GRANDSTAND start 12:00 noon

ALTA AA-3 CITY FINALS MIXED DOUBLES

Tickets available at www.bbtatlantaopen.com

Quarterfinal Day at the BB&T Atlanta Open

Chris Eubanks

Georgia Tech rising senior Chris Eubanks looked cool, calm, and collected in the photo above, taken during his Player Chat with Wayne Bryan on Wednesday afternoon. I’m guessing he was feeling a little less cool during last night’s Round of 16 match versus fellow NextGen’er Jared  Donaldson!

Click here for my recent podcast interview with Chris

The 21-year-old Atlanta native stayed calm enough to fight through a one-hour and 46-minute battle with his 20-year-old opponent, winning 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 to move into today’s Quarterfinal round where he will face his 3rd American opponent this week, Ryan Harrison, the oldest of the bunch at the ripe ol’ age of 25. So far, Eubanks has defeated two of his young compatriots and hopes to make it three later today. “I really don’t know if I could do this in any place but Atlanta,” Eubanks exclaimed after last night’s victory. With his Georgia Tech coach, Kenny Thorne, in the stands, Chris represented his college and his hometown with grit and grace. We can certainly expect to see more of the same this afternoon.

Chris Eubanks

Chris Eubanks isn’t the only young player in today’s Quarterfinal round. Twenty-year-old Tommy Paul, who won the French Open Juniors in 2015 then turned pro shortly afterward, will face ATP veteran and Wimbledon Quarterfinalist, Gilles Muller of Luxembourg, to kick off the day at Atlantic Station.

Tommy spent some time chatting with Wayne Bryan yesterday (click on the Full Screen option below to enable sound):

I haven’t seen today’s schedule of Player Chats, but I will plan to do another Facebook Live session if possible, so be sure you’re following the ParentingAces page here to get notifications.

In addition to all the tennis happening on the grounds, there are also some fun activities OFF the courts. In Atlantic Station’s Central Park, USTA Atlanta and Wilson Tennis have set up the Family Zone where they are holding clinics and opportunities to try the game for young players as part of the NetGeneration initiative. In addition to the official tournament store, several sponsors and vendors have booths inside the tournament venue with samples and prizes for visitors. There is also an Interactive Zone where fans can shoot hoops or track their serve speed.  And, of course, there’s the Music Stage where Wayne Bryan is conducting daily Q&As with the pros and where fans can meet them and get autographs. There’s something for everyone at this year’s event.

RESULTS – JULY 27, 2017

Men’s Singles – Second Round

[1] J. Sock (USA) d D. Sela (ISR) 6-4 6-3
[4] R. Harrison (USA) d [PR] J. Millman (AUS) 6-7(2) 7-6(4) 7-5
[5] K. Edmund (GBR) d P. Gojowczyk (GER) 2-6 6-4 7-5
[WC] C. Eubanks (USA) d [8] J. Donaldson (USA) 6-4 4-6 6-2

Men’s Doubles – Quarterfinals

[PR] J. Millman (AUS) / Sa. Ratiwatana (THA) d A. Qureshi (PAK) / So. Ratiwatana (THA) 6-2 6-4
W. Koolhof (NED) / A. Sitak (NZL) d A. Molteni (ARG) / A. Shamasdin (CAN) 6-7(7) 7-6(4) 10-7

ORDER OF PLAY – FRIDAY, JULY 28, 2017

STADIUM COURT start 12:00 noon

[Q] T. Paul (USA) vs [3] G. Muller (LUX)

Not Before 2:00 pm

L. Lacko (SVK) vs [2] J. Isner (USA)
[4] R. Harrison (USA) vs [WC] C. Eubanks (USA)

Not Before 8:00 pm

[1] J. Sock (USA) vs [5] K. Edmund (GBR)
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) vs H. Chung (KOR) / J. Nedunchezhiyan (IND)

AJC GRANDSTAND start 2:00 pm

Local Pro League Finals

Coca-Cola Fireworks show at Sundown

Tickets available at www.bbtatlantaopen.com

 

College Night A Big Success for Chris Eubanks

Chris Eubanks
Photo courtesy of Bill Kallenberg Captured in Action Photography

College night even became more special for Georgia Tech rising senior, Chris Eubanks, as he earned his first ATP World Tour main draw win on Tuesday in his hometown of Atlanta. It was a Tuesday evening that seemed like any other, but those at Stadium Court at the BB&T Atlanta Open witnessed what could be the turning point for a local tennis phenom. In the scorching heat of a summer evening, and among an arsenal of Georgia Tech fans and students, Christopher Eubanks notched his first BB&T Atlanta Open Tournament win 7-6(5) 6-4, against American Taylor Fritz, ranked 125 on the ATP Tour and considered one of the top players in the US’s NextGen.

Eubanks, a two-time ACC player of the year and two time All-American is no stranger to success at the college level. He has done nothing but dominate the competition while harnessing his gigantic swing. He has been a force on the college level, and now he has his sights set on the ATP World Tour.

Two years ago at the 2015 BB&T Atlanta Open, Eubanks lost in straight sets to Czech Republic’s Radek Stepanek. The following year, Eubanks showed more promise, as he was able to win two qualifying matches, but eventually fell to fellow American Reilly Opelka.

The match between Eubanks and Fritz had the makings of a classic three set marathon. The first set would have both player holding serve to force a decisive tiebreak. Eubanks tightened his play and pulled ahead quickly to a 6-2 lead in the tiebreak. Fritz dug deep but was unable to make up the ground needed as Eubanks took the set 7-6(5). The second set started much like the first as each player held serve. It wasn’t until the fifth game of the second set that Eubanks was able muscle through to take the first break of the match. That was all Eubanks needed to put his foot on the gas and take the set 6-4.

Thursday evening, Eubanks will be back on court. Armed with a powerful service game that can give any one trouble and a massive forehand, Eubanks showed why is he poised to make waves in this year’s tournament as well as in the professional ranks.

Hispanic Outreach Clinic

Children from the Agape Family Center, 43 in all, participated in the 2017 Hispanic Outreach Clinic at Central Park in Atlantic Station. The event was part of the USTA Net Generation initiative, which encourages youth participation in tennis. Throughout the morning, kids were allowed to play on youth sized courts with local coaches, including Kennesaw State University men’s and women’s head coach, Eduardo Rincon. ATP World Tour player, Ernesto Escobedo also participated.

This was Rincon’s third year working with this event. He enjoys the opportunity to interact with the next generation of tennis. “I feel like tennis has given me so much that I have to somehow give back.”

RESULTS – JULY 25, 2017

Men’s Singles – First Round

[5] K. Edmund (GBR) d M. Baghdatis (CYP) 6-3 7-5
[6] D. Young (USA) d [Q] T. Smyczek (USA) 6-4 6-2
D. Sela (ISR) d K. Kravchuk (RUS) 7-5 6-2
P. Gojowczyk (GER) d G. Pella (ARG) 4-6 6-3 7-6(5)
[PR] J. Millman (AUS) d F. Tiafoe (USA) 5-7 6-4 7-6(5)
[WC] C. Eubanks (USA) d [WC] T. Fritz (USA) 7-6(5) 6-4
M. Jaziri (TUN) d [WC] R. Opelka (USA) 5-7 7-6(14) 6-1
V. Pospisil (CAN) d B. Fratangelo (USA) 7-5 4-6 7-6(3)

Men’s Doubles – First Round

[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d M. Reid (AUS) / J. Smith (AUS) 4-6 6-4 10-7
A. Qureshi (PAK) / So. Ratiwatana (THA) d [3] N. Monroe (USA) / D. Young (USA) 1-6 7-6(9) 10-5
W. Koolhof (NED) / A. Sitak (NZL) d [WC] J. Cox (USA) / E. Reinberg (USA) 6-2 3-6 10-6

ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY, JULY 26, 2017

STADIUM COURT start 12:00 noon

[Q] T. Paul (USA) vs M. Jaziri (TUN)
[Q] Q. Halys (FRA) vs [3] G. Muller (LUX)
[6] D. Young (USA) vs L. Lacko (SVK)

Not Before 6:00 pm

V. Pospisil (CAN) vs [2] J. Isner (USA)

Not Before 8:00 pm

S. Gonzalez (MEX) / S. Lipsky (USA) vs [4] P. Raja (IND) / D. Sharan (IND)

AJC GRANDSTAND start 1:00 pm

A. Molteni (ARG) / A. Shamasdin (CAN) vs [2] R. Harrison (USA) / M. Venus (NZL)

Not Before 5:00 pm

H. Chung (KOR) / J. Nedunchezhiyan (IND) vs [WC] E. Sock (USA) / J. Sock (USA)

Tickets available at www.bbtatlantaopen.com

Saving & Growing College Tennis with Tim Russell

college tennisThis week’s podcast:

Tim Russell, the head honcho at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), discusses how his organization is working with colleges, coaches, and communities to save and grow college tennis across the US.

The ITA has developed a self-assessment tool, the Program Health Index, for college tennis programs to use in order to determine whether their team is “safe” or at risk of being cut. The assessment includes items such as the team GPA, how much community outreach the players do, and how often the college president attends matches. Tim and his staff hope this will help prevent program cuts by helping coaches learn what’s important to university administrators. Tim stresses that the ITA is committed to telling the stories of college tennis, not just to the community, but also to college presidents and other decision-makers at the school. It is a tough sell since tennis is a non-revenue sport, but the Program Health Index and other tools are helping the ITA to make its case effectively.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a college tennis discussion without addressing the subject of international players! Tim and I delve into that topic as well. You can learn more about the ITA and its initiatives at www.itatennis.com.

Just a reminder that entries are still open for the Sol Schwartz #SaveCollegeTennis All-In tournament in Baltimore August 12-13. You can enter at http://events.universaltennis.com/tournaments/336/.

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