Slideshow from #theSol Atlanta Day 2

A huge thank you to David Kapper of CL!X Portrait Studio for the great action shots of our players from Day 2! You can order your own copies of the photos directly from his website using password “ACE”. I hope you enjoy the slideshow – click here to see the photos from Day 1!

Slideshow from #theSol Atlanta Day 1

A huge thank you to David Kapper of CL!X Portrait Studio for the great action shots of our players from Day 1! You can order your own copies of the photos directly from his website using password “ACE”. I hope you enjoy the slideshow – Day 2 coming soon!

#theSol

Day 2 at #theSol Atlanta

#theSol AtlantaToday was another fantastic day of tennis and activities at #theSol Atlanta!

Our first matches went on at 10am after a quick briefing by Tourney Director David Stolle, reminding the players to be on their best behavior for their final day of matches. The weather was hot and humid, but the kids stayed calm and collected on the court and off.

Once the first wave of matches was complete, we had sub sandwiches and Voss water waiting for the players inside. Promptly at noon, WTA player Melanie Oudin arrived to talk to the families about her life as a junior player, making the decision to turn pro, and the challenges of staying healthy now that she’s been out on the tour for several years. We opened up the floor for questions. The kids themselves were a bit shy, but the parents had plenty to ask! Afterward, Melanie autographed some tennis items for the kids and posed for photos with them. She was so sweet and engaging, sticking around to make sure everyone who wanted a picture got one. A huge thank you to her for taking the time to be part of our tournament!

Pardon my poor videography skills, but enjoy Melanie!

After lunch, we still had 2 matches left to play, one to decide the winner of the White Draw and the other to decide the Runner-Up of the Blue Draw. The White Draw final went the distance, with Eli Hagan emerging at the winner after a long 3-set battle that ended in a tie-breaker.

Photographer David Kapper of Clix Photography was on hand again today to capture the players in action. He has uploaded all his photos to www.clixnorthatlanta.com. You can view and order them by clicking on View & Order Prints, then Search – TheSol Atlanta should be the first event listed. Enter password “ACE” to view and/or order any of the photos from the tournament.

Click here to view the Day 2 Slideshow

I want to thank everyone who participated in #theSol Atlanta tournament, hosted by Georgia Gwinnett College’s Tennis Facility and Coach Chase Hodges! We had a fabulous 2 days, led by our super competent Tournament Director David Stolle of Universal Tennis Academy, and brought to you by the best sponsors ever:

  • 10sBalls.com
  • Holabird Sports
  • Steven J Schwartz, MD and the Intensivist Team
  • Judie Schwartz
  • Kassimir Physical Therapy
  • Match! Tennis App
  • Universal Tennis Academy
  • ParentingAces
  • UTR
  • Maller Wealth Advisors
  • Michael Sellman
  • Ilene, Dori, & Evan Schwartz
  • Solinco
  • Dunlop
  • Tennis Trunk
  • Melanie Rubin
  • Voss
  • TournaGrip
  • PNC Bank
  • Summit Group

We hope to be back next year and hope everyone who participated in our first Atlanta event will join us again! A huge thank you to the players, parents, and grandparents who played and cheered in the spirit of Sol Schwartz!

Here are the results from Day 2:

Red Draw
Gavin Segraves (12.20) d. Cole Brainard (10.97) 6-4 6-0
Luis de la Mano (UTR unknown) d. Cole Brainard (10.97) df
Winner: Gavin Segraves received Wilson Prize Package including racket, backpack, shoes, 6 packs of string

White Draw
Kelli Osajima (9.12) d. Jonathan Molner (6.94) 6-1 6-4
Taylor Galloway (8.55) d. Brenna Reilly (8.50) 6-4 6-4
Kiran Gadde (6.24) d. Samantha Birger (6.55) 7-6 (1) 6-3
Eli Hagan (8.40) d. Jake Young (8.43) 6-3 4-6 7-6 (6)
Winner: Eli Hagan received 2-month subscription from Tennis Trunk, Solinco string
Runner-Up: Jake Young received gift certificate from Clix for family portrait, Solinco string

Blue Draw
Brent Nieri (5.20) d. Raines Grassi (5.55) 6-3 6-4
Peyton Schuchart (5.94) d. Grayson Balloon (5.69) df
Winner: Peyton Schuchart received 2-month subscription from Tennis Trunk
Runner-Up: Brent Nieri received Solinco string

Green Draw
Chloe Zigliara (3.11) d. Clara Balcom (3.58) 6-0 6-3
Matthew Pinto (4.41) d. Teja Gadde (4.26) 6-2 6-3
Sydney Balcom (3.80) d. Christopher Pinto (3.0) 6-0 6-1
McKenzie Oliver (4.71) d. Shek Berry (4.55) 6-1 6-1
Winner: McKenzie Oliver received Solinco hat, sweatbands, headband, and string
Runner-Up: Shek Berry received gift certificate from Clix for family portrait

The Sol Schwartz #SaveCollegeTennis All-In Tournament

Sol Schwartz

Listen to this week’s podcast here:

My dear friend, Sol Schwartz, passed away suddenly in March 2016, and a group of us decided to honor his legacy and try to continue his life’s work by creating a very special junior tennis tournament. The inaugural tournament was held in Sol’s hometown of Baltimore in August of 2016. This year, we are excited to expand the tournament to two cities: Atlanta July 17-19 and Baltimore August 12-13.

In this week’s podcast, we hear from others affiliated with the tournament as well as from Sol’s wife, Ilene. My hope is that you’ll feel compelled to sign your junior players up for these tournaments after hearing from them! After all, in what other junior tennis tournament is your child guaranteed 3 matches all for the low cost of $15 per day?

A huge thank you to the tournament sponsors:

10sballs.com
Holabird Sports
The Intensivist Team
Kassimir Physical Therapy
Match Tennis App
Maller Wealth Advisors
Solinco
Dunlop
Tennis Trunk
Universal Tennis Rating
Universal Tennis Academy
Voss Water
Melanie Rubin
Michael Sellman
Ilene, Dori, and Evan Schwartz

For more information on the tournaments, you can visit the following links:
#theSol Atlanta: http://events.universaltennis.com/tournaments/261/
#theSol Baltimore: http://events.universaltennis.com/tournaments/336/
More info on this year’s tournaments: http://parentingaces.com/thesol-year-2/
Info on last year’s tourney: http://parentingaces.com/sol-schwartz-savecollegetennis-all-in-tournament/
Info on Sol: http://parentingaces.com/tribute-to-a-gentle-man/

Check out our latest podcast!

 

#theSol Year 2

#theSol

It’s hard to believe that almost a whole year has gone by since our inaugural Sol Schwartz #SaveCollegeTennis All In Tournament. Last year’s event (click here to read all about it) was a tremendous success by all measures, and we hope to do even better this year.

As in 2016, this year’s #theSols will be run through the Universal Tennis Rating tournament platform which gives our tournament directors great flexibility in terms of scheduling, communication, and draws. Unlike last year, we are hosting TWO events in 2017, one in Atlanta July 17-19 and one in Baltimore August 12-13. A huge thank-you to our presenting sponsor, 10sballs.com, and our title sponsor, Holabird Sports! Registration is now open for both tournaments. Click here for Atlanta. Click here for Baltimore.

Why should you add these tournaments to your junior player’s summer schedule? Well, let me tell you why!

  1. This is like no other junior tournament your child will play!
  2. Players are guaranteed at least 3 matches.
  3. On-court coaching. Players can receive assistance during the side changes.
  4. Where else can your child play matches that will count toward their UTR plus be coached on court during side changes?
  5. And, speaking of UTR, all matches will count toward your child’s rating.
  6. Players will get an amazing player goody bag and we have an incredible prize package for the overall winner.
  7. Players will have official player credentials.#theSol credential
  8. Players will get a full-color player book.
  9. Complimentary lunch for players and parents.
  10. Full-color high quality dri-fit tournament shirts.

I heard from the coach of last year’s #theSol winner that it was the best tournament she’s ever played. Not just because she won it, but also because of the atmosphere created by our incredible volunteers and committee. Don’t you want your junior player to have this type of positive tournament experience?

NOTE: We’ve just added another great perk to this year’s tournaments! We will be using the Match Tennis App for all tournament updates and communications. Why should you care? Because that means that, once you register to play, you get a FREE 30-day trial of the app! For more information on the Match Tennis App (plus a nice discount to use after your trial expires!), listen to our podcast here.

Enter the Atlanta #theSol here
Enter the Baltimore #theSol here

In case you’re wondering why we’re going to all this trouble to put on junior tournaments, it’s because of Sol Schwartz and the legacy he left behind in the Tennis World. He was a man devoted to preserving the sanctity of the sport, especially when it came to college tennis. The tournament committee is committed to continuing Sol’s legacy. All of the net proceeds from these events are going into a non-profit fund that will eventually be used to provide grants to college tennis programs at risk of being cut. For reference, from 2010-2015 twenty-two (22) men’s programs were cut with an additional nineteen (19) women’s programs. That does not bode well for the future of our sport.

NOTE: Per data from the ITA, four (4) men’s tennis programs were dropped during the 2016-17 academic year, and five (5) women’s programs were dropped. At the same time, five (5) men’s and four (4) women’s tennis programs were added. For more information, see the document below.

I hope to see you in Atlanta or Baltimore or both (!) this summer! If you have any questions or need more information, please feel free to email me at lisa@parentingaces.com.

We all have to band together to #SaveCollegeTennis!

The Curtis Consolation Draw

It is mid-April, and I have just become aware of a change to the junior competition protocol for the Southern section that I want to share with the rest of you. Historically, the Southern section has been a testing ground for several rule changes in junior tennis, so even if your junior doesn’t live or compete in the South, you should familiarize yourself with this latest tweak. It’s probably coming to your section very soon!

The change I’m referring to is in the way the consolation draw is handled in Southern Level 2 events, specifically the addition of a second backdraw called the Curtis Draw. Here’s how it works . . .

If a player loses in the first or second round of a Southern L2 tournament (these tournaments use a 64-player draw), then they feed into the regular consolation draw. However, if a player loses in the Round of 16 or Quarterfinals, then they feed into the Curtis Draw. Neither of these two draws plays the Finals match though both draws do have matches on the final day of the tournament, typically Monday, requiring players to miss a day of school.

So why do the L2s need two separate consolation draws? According to USTA Southern, previously the Round of 16 losers on Sunday morning did not play again until Monday thus having only one match on Sunday.  Use of the Curtis consolation where the Round of 16 losers and Quarterfinal losers are in one draw provides for a consolation match on Sunday afternoon for the Round of 16 losers (the Quarterfinal losers will have played that Quarters match on Sunday afternoon) and then two more matches in that draw on Monday.

In theory, the Curtis draw looks good since it allows the regular consolation draw to continue moving without having to wait for R16 and QF players to feed in on Sunday. Ideally it will allow for faster play overall and not hamper the tournament director with timing challenges.

However, I am hearing some concern about the point tables for the L2 regular consolation draws in terms of the maximum number of ranking points available. If a player loses in either the first or 2nd round in the main draw, then the maximum number of points possible is either 100 or 135 depending on in which round the loss occurs. The small number of ranking points may not be worth the cost of sticking around the tournament – both in terms of money and missed school – for some families. USTA Southern assured me that they are evaluating the point table for the consolation draw to see if some adjustments are warranted.

NOTE from Maria Cercone at USTA Southern (April 20, 2017): Just wanted to let you know that the committee approved a point change for the Curtis Level 2 tournament. The 1st and 2nd rd losers (1st Consolation) will receive 40 points per win , instead of 25. We saw an issue and we fixed it! It will be retroactive for all the players that played last week.

In the most recent L2 held in Alabama, there were three backdraw walkovers in the Boys 14s and three in the Girls 14s while there were three backdraw walkovers in the Boys 18s and seven in the Girls 18s which would be expected in the older age group due to the fact that these players are typically in high school and missing school is much more significant at that age. (Whew! That was a long sentence – sorry!) Out of 32 players in a backdraw these are not huge numbers but still worth the USTA looking into moving forward.

In contrast to the regular consolation draw, the Curtis draw offers much more significant ranking points, 60 points for each match won in the Curtis draw versus 25 for each match won in the regular consies, again with neither draw playing out the Final round. In real terms, that means a player who loses in the R16 of the main draw still has the potential to earn a total of 324 ranking points, 360 if they lose in the Quarters. Again, to compare, a player who loses in the first round of the main draw then feeds into the regular backdraw has the potential to earn 100 ranking points, 135 points if they lose in the 2nd round. Just to reiterate, that means a player in the regular backdraw has the potential to earn only 50 additional ranking points by staying through Monday and missing an extra day of school (not to mention paying for an additional night in a hotel) while a player in the Curtis draw could earn 120 additional ranking points. That’s a pretty significant difference, especially when you look at the ranking lists and study the point spreads between the players.

Interestingly, this past weekend’s L2 was the first of 2017 to utilize the Curtis Draw even though there have already been two L2s this year. One parent told me they had no idea the new backdraw was being used until they arrived at the tournament. I looked at the tournament website on TennisLink, and there is no mention of the Curtis Draw in the Important Info area (click here).

I asked the folks at USTA Southern why they decided to change things mid-year and how they notified participants of the change. They told me that the changes had been discussed earlier but weren’t finalized until right before this latest L2. Participants were not notified directly (still one of my pet peeves since the tournament director collects email addresses for participants when they register for the tournament!) but the information was posted on the USTA Southern website (see links in the next paragraph). I think it was also supposed to be included on the tournament website as well though, as I mentioned above, I can’t find any mention of it there.

I do think the Curtis Draw has the potential to be a positive addition to the L2s and even some of the other higher-level tournaments. That said, there needs to be some tweaking, especially in the area of available points for each backdraw. It looks like USTA may agree and may be making those tweaks before the next Southern L2.

To read more about the Curtis Draw on the USTA Southern website click here and here.

Please let me know what you think of this latest change. If you were at the Southern L2 in Alabama, I would love to hear how it went for your player.

NOTE: I have added a page to this website with links and contact information for USTA staff and departments that are relevant to the Junior Tennis Journey. Click here or on the link in the menu bar on the left side of the page.

Could This Work for Juniors?

boxI know y’all are sick and tired of hearing about my travels, but this past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a really unique college tournament at the University of Minnesota, and it got me thinking. . .

Here’s how the tournament worked: Colleges entered pairs of players who were selected into a round-robin draw based on UTR. After a 5-minute warmup, each pair played one set of doubles against an opposing pair immediately followed by (aka no additional warmup) a regular singles match with the top-rated players in each pair competing against one another and the next-rated players competing against one another. They used no-ad scoring, played let serves, and played a 10-point tiebreaker for the 3rd set. The doubles and each singles match counted as one point, and the team winning 2 out of the 3 points moved on in the draw.

On the first day (Friday), the teams played 2 full rounds – 2 doubles matches and 2 singles matches for each player. On Saturday, they again played 2 full rounds. On Sunday, they played 1 full round, giving each player a total of 5 doubles and 5 singles matches over the course of the 3 days.img_7924

Wouldn’t this be a great format for junior tournaments as well? It would give juniors a chance to work on their doubles skills since they would be playing multiple doubles matches during the tournament regardless of outcome. It would also give them a chance to get in some quality singles as well. What if we use this format for future iterations of #TheSol? Would you and your junior player(s) be interested?

I would love to hear any feedback on the format and its use in the juniors. In my mind, it is a great way to run a junior tournament – you get players entering as a pair, so they have their partner there cheering them on throughout the event. All of the matches count equally toward UTR, so you’re less likely to have players pulling out if they lose their first or second match. Juniors can work on a variety of doubles skills and strategies since they’ll have multiple matches with the same partner regardless of the outcome. What am I missing? Please share your thoughts in the Comments below.