Trent Bryde, Patrick Kypson, and TennisMentors.net

TennisMentors.net
Photo courtesy of Bill Kallenberg of Captured In Action

This week’s podcast:

What happens when two top juniors get together to form a business while giving back to the sport they both love? TennisMentors.net!

I had the opportunity to chat with Trent Bryde and Patrick Kypson the day before their week at Kalamazoo 2017 started. They took some time away from their tournament preparation to talk about their goals as tennis players as well as in business.

Trent and Patrick have wisely partnered with Jim Harp of Harp Performance Tennis Academy to market their mentoring service to young players around the US. Jim is an experienced coach based in the Metro Atlanta area and is a huge asset to this blossoming business.

The other two mentors on board so far are Gianni Ross and Sam Riffice. They hope to eventually include some female mentors, too.

Through their new venture, these young men hope to meet with and advise those coming up behind them. Whether it’s through an online chat, a phone call, or an in-person hitting session, they will work with a player on a one-to-one level with the aim of helping the younger players reach their own tennis goals.

Be sure to check out their website at http://tennismentors.net. Huge congratulations to Patrick on winning the Boys 18s singles (and for reaching the finals of the Boys 18s doubles) at Kalamazoo last week! Please join me in wishing him all the best as he puts his US Open Wildcard to use in a few weeks!

Note: We are currently seeking additional sponsors for the ParentingAces podcast. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Lisa at lisa@parentingaces.com.

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A New Way to Get Into B&G18s National Hardcourts

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USTA recently announced it is holding a Wildcard Playoff tournament for a spot in the Boys (Kalamazoo) and Girls (San Diego) 18s Hardcourt Championships. When I first heard about the event, I thought it was something being held in each USTA section, but that is not the case. There is one site – Arlington, Texas – for this 64-draw tournament (click here for the TennisLink page).

Per a recent communication from USTA:

One boys’ wild card and one girls’ wild card will be awarded to the winners of this tournament.  The tournament will be held at the Arlington Tennis Center in Arlington, Texas.  The site is 26 minutes from the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport (DFW).

The tournament will be played July 20-23, 2015 and is open to all age-eligible players who are not already accepted into the B18 National Championships in Kalamazoo or the G18 National Championships in San Diego.  Entries will OPEN on Thursday, May 14, 2015 [the TennisLink site says entries will open May 21] and will CLOSE at 11:59 a.m. EDT on Thursday, July 9, 2015.  This singles only, single-elimination tournament will have a draw size of up to 64 players.  Up to 16 wild cards may be awarded.  We will publish an acceptance list no later than Monday, July 13, 2015.  As you know we cannot publish an acceptance list until the wild cards for the National Championships have been awarded, which we hope to do by Friday, July 10, 2015.

If you’re a bit confused by all this, you’re not alone! The first sentence in the quote above says that one WC will be awarded but says further down that up to 16 WCs may be awarded. I’ve reached out to the national office and my section’s Jr Comp folks for some clarification. Here’s what I found out . . .

The 16 wild cards mentioned above are into the actual wild card event. In other words, there will be 48 direct acceptance and up to 16 wild cards for the 64 draw. The winner of this event gets a wild card (one of the eight given by Player Development) into the National Championship.

Here’s what else I found out from the National office:

  • Players accepted into a younger division of a concurrent USTA National Championship are eligible for selection into the wild card playoff tournament and if such a player wins a wild card, they shall be withdrawn from the younger division without penalty.
  • Selection will take place after selection of wild cards allocated to each Division.
  • Up to 16 wild cards may be awarded into the wild card playoff tournament.  Remaining players shall be selected and the alternate lists shall be ordered using the most recently published National Standings Lists of the 18 Divisions.
  • Ratings shall be used to seed players.
  • No ranking points shall be earned for participation in the wild card playoff tournament.
  • Best-of-3 tiebreak set match format.
  • The finals will be chaired and the one official for four courts standard for all national junior tournaments must be met.
  • Entry fee will be $54.25.
  • The tournament shall be held on July 20-23, 2015, and corresponding calendar dates in future years
  • The tournament will take place at the Arlington Tennis Center in Arlington, TX.

I think this is a great addition to the national junior calendar. It offers yet another way into the most prestigious event in the 18s age group – much like the wildcard series held for the Australian and French Open at the pro level – without cutting into quotas or other entry criteria, and it rewards those players who have played a national tournament schedule and done well throughout the year.

Be sure to check the event website over the coming few days for additional details.

For the most recent information on the National Junior Competitive Structure, including draw sizes and quotas for the various events, click here.

 

Changes in National Clay & Hards for 2015

The following information appears on ZooTennis today at this link (click here for the full article):

The USTA board has approved changes to the 2015 USTA Clay Court and National 16s and 18s championships. After a qualifying tournament was held in 2014 to determine eight spots in a 128-player draw, the tournaments will revert to the 192-player draws they had prior to 2014. Alternate methods of gaining entry have also been reintroduced. The changes:

1. Eliminates Qualifier: Replaces the 64-player qualifier and 128-player main draw at the Boys’ and Girls’ 18 and 16 USTA National Clay Court Championships and The USTA National Championships (Hard Courts) and with a main draw of 192 players.

2. Creates Direct Acceptance List: Creates a Direct Acceptance List of top USTA, ATP/WTA and ITF* players to be published on May 1 that will automatically be selected for the Boys’ and Girls’ 18 and 16 USTA National Clay Court Championships and The USTA National Championships. ATP/WTA and ITF players are only included on the Direct Acceptance List for the 18 Divisions. Up to 32 players are selected off of this list for the 18 Divisions; up to 16 players are selected off of this list for the 16 Divisions.

I have seen reference elsewhere to the criteria for ATP/WTA/ITF entry as follows, although this could change:

In the 18 Divisions, the Direct Acceptance List will be comprised of the top 16 players on the National Standings List, followed by players with top 800 ATP ranks/top 600 WTA ranks, followed by top 100 ITF players. Up to 32 players will be selected by this method. If fewer than 32 players on the List enter, the open spots are filled with endorsed players from the National Standings List published at the time of selection.

3. Net Increase in Draw Size to Section Quota: The net increase in draw size is allocated to Sectional Association quota using the same quota formula that currently exists (60% based on strength of Section/40% based on size of junior membership as of December 31, 2013).

4. Sectional Ranking Tournament Winner Always Replaced with Quota Player: If the winner of the designated Sectional Ranking Tournament (May/June Sectionals) does not enter The USTA National Championships (Hard Courts) or is not age eligible, one additional player from the Section’s endorsement list will be selected. This proposed change applies to all divisions (BG12-18).

With the elimination of the qualifying tournaments, the previously published 2015 dates for the Clays and Nationals will not be accurate, so look for revisions there in the upcoming months.

While I am thrilled USTA has reverted to the larger draw sizes and alternate means of entry to, hopefully, eliminate the craziness that happened during the 2014 selection process (click here and here to read my articles), I am disappointed it didn’t happen in time for my own son to get to experience playing at Kalamazoo. That said, USTA seems to have recognized and acknowledged the problems with many of the 2014 changes and looks to be on track to correct many of them. That’s good news for those of you with kids still eligible to play.

Heading to the Open

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About 18 months ago, Sol Schwartz of Holabird Sports put me in touch with a fellow tennis parent he had recently met, Melanie Rubin. Sol thought Melanie and I would hit it off and wanted us to make contact.

For those of you who have been around ParentingAces a while, you may recognize Melanie’s name. She was a guest on my radio show in April 2013. She also did interviews for me at the 2013 National Hardcourts in Kalamazoo then helped me out at last year’s US Open.

If you’re new to ParentingAces, you may recognize Melanie’s name as the mom of 2014 Wimbledon Junior Champ and 2014 Kalamazoo Champ (and rising freshman at Wake Forest), Noah Rubin.

Well, my friend Melanie is about to see her son live his dream: playing in the main draw at the US Open right in his own backyard! And, I’m going to be there to document the experience from the parent’s side of things. It’s going to be a very exciting 2 weeks in New York, and I hope you’ll follow along with me to see how my amazing Tennis Parent friend fares as her son competes on one of the world’s biggest stages.

I’ll be at the Open starting this Thursday. If you plan to be up there, too, please reach out via text message, email, Twitter, or whatever so we can meet!

I know you all join me in wishing Noah and his momma all the best in his US Open debut! Stay tuned!

 

Kalamazoo 2014 Is Underway

Qualies are complete. Seeds were announced. Draws are posted. The 2014 National Hardcourt tournaments are now underway.

The one I’ve been watching most closely is Kalamazoo since that’s the one my son worked toward playing this year. Unfortunately, despite working very hard and improving dramatically over the past year, my son made neither the Southern quota for the main draw nor the National Standing List (NSL) cutoff for the qualifying draw. Kalamazoo won’t be one of the tournaments on his very long player history when this whole junior tennis thing is all said and done. We’re both disappointed.

That said, I will continue to follow this year’s tournament very closely – mostly via Colette Lewis and her ZooTennis website and Twitter – and will continue to suggest where I think the USTA Junior Competition & Sportsmanship Committee can do a better job moving forward.

I would like to point out that this year’s top seed in the B18s, Jared Donaldson (who was last year’s runner-up, losing to unseeded Collin Altamirano), needed a wildcard to get into the Main Draw. In fact, 10 of the 11 top seeds needed either a wildcard or had to get through qualies to make the Main Draw: seeds 1-7 plus 10 are all wildcards while Baughman (#9) and Smith (#11) qualified as did Opelka (#19). Woe to the poor boys who got denied a spot in the Main Draw and a chance to be seen by more college coaches because they unluckily drew Deiton, Logan, or Reilly in the qualies!

This Monday’s radio show will be devoted to Kalamazoo. My guests are two fellow Tennis Parents who are there with their sons. If you are at one of the other Hardcourts sites and would like to call in and share your experience so far, please email me at lisa@parentingaces.com so I can give you the details of how to do so.

For those of you with children playing Hardcourts over the next week, good luck and please let me know how it goes!

 

Our Summer Is In Full Swing

Photo courtesy of www.thesweatshoppe.com
Photo courtesy of www.thesweatshoppe.com

 

Summer 2014 is in full swing at the Stone house. My son finished his junior year of high school as of May 20th, and immediately started training hard to get ready for the state qualifier to our sectional closed tournament. He had a very good tournament, playing seven (7) matches in 3 days, winning five of them, and ensuring entry into Southerns which begins this Saturday. Needless to say, his body needed a few days to recover after the Qualifier, but after taking time away from the court and the gym, he hit both hard to make sure he is in optimal condition (the humidity levels here are ridiculous!) for what will likely be the biggest tournament he plays this summer.

Southerns is sanctioned for 7 days, so, depending on how he does, we’ll come home for a day or two (hopefully, not more than that!) before heading to our state clay court open tournament. After that, we’re heading down to the Florida Gulf Coast with my extended family for a week of R&R for me and a mix of rest and tennis for my son. He’s bringing a tennis buddy with us to the beach so they can hit each day because we’re driving straight from the beach to Florida State University for his first ITA Summer Circuit tournament of the summer. We’ll combine the tournament with some campus visits around the area, too – we’re still mapping out our route through Florida – and will wind up in South Florida where, hopefully, my son will have a chance to play in the Qualies for the National Clay Court tournament in Delray Beach. If he doesn’t get into the Qualies, that’s okay because there are some schools he wants to see in that part of Florida, too, so we’ll make the most of the fact that we’ll have our own car and can go at our own pace.

After our Florida Tour, we’ll be home for a few days to regroup . . . and do laundry! Then, it’s off to the West Coast to celebrate my son’s birthday, do more college visits, play another ITA event, and train again with Craig Cignarelli, Lester Cook, and, hopefully, Amir Marandy, too. While my son is on the courts, my husband and I are hoping to steal a bit of beach and family time and to take advantage of all our favorite SoCal haunts. Unfortunately, our oldest daughter, Emma, who lives in Los Angeles, will be away while we’re there, but the plus side of that is we’ll have use of her cute little Mustang convertible – FUN!

At the end of almost two weeks in California, we’ll fly back home for a few days and keep our fingers crossed that we have a reason to head up to Kalamazoo for the National Hard Court Qualies. Because school starts so early here (August 4th this year – ugh!), if my son does happen to get into Kalamazoo, he will wind up missing the first few days of his senior year of high school, but I’m hoping his teachers will be understanding of his situation and cut him a bit of slack – we’ll see!

It’s hard to believe that this is my son’s last full year in the Juniors, but our journey is nearing its end. I feel very lucky to have the chance to spend so much time with him this summer as he continues to work toward his goal of playing college tennis. I realize these opportunities are going to be few and far between once he leaves the nest next Fall, and I’m savoring every single moment while I have the chance.

 

Interviews from the US Open – K’zoo Champ vs. Bruin

altamiranomcdonald

This morning, two promising American juniors faced off in Louis Armstrong Stadium in Round 3 of the Junior US Open. Their match was televised live on the Tennis Channel, and I watched from the comfort of my living room. But, my partner in crime, Melanie Rubin, was there live and in person, and she had the opportunity to sit in both of their post-match interviews. I’ve posted the interviews below. You might want to share these with your own junior player(s)!

20130905-203609.jpgCollin Altamirano Interview

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mackie McDonaldMackenzie MacDonald Interview