12 Comments

  1. Most informative words I have read. I was told about this history but to see it on paper Clear/Concise and void of much opinion is re-freshing. Having been told by many (~10+ parents) of kids that are know 14-17 and playing ITF's to leave the USTA because of everything written in this post provides just another piece of evidence in a long list of reasons to forge a plan as they have done. Anyone with a Jr Tennis player would be selling themselves short otherwise. ITF has US Kids from 13-17 with relatively low USTA National Ranking, most 3-4 stars on Tennis Recruiting. net. Playing these events Grade 5-4-3's Qualies and getting into MAIN DRAWS. They have decided to take their TIME/$$$ elsewhere since they were casualties of the changes listed in this post. Having met them first hand I know their stories and completely understand. Read top right of Homepage and look at some of the US Kids in Drawsheets. http://www.itftennis.com/juniors/home.aspx

    • One issue with going the ITF route is the fact that the tourneys run during the week requiring kids to miss tons of school. Couple that with the fact that there are very few ITFs in the US during traditional US school vacations, as well as no backdraws, and it makes that a challenging alternative to USTA.

    • Perhaps you should look at the top 40+ ranked itf players from the US. They are primarily blue chips and only a few 5 stars. Three and four stars would not be successful in the current itf environment.(An rnvironment that I agree with you is a product of what the Usta has done to the junior tournament structure.)

  2. The ITF route would be great, except it is not realistic for families that have two working parents. All the ITFs and Futures events I see are conducted during the work week. I sacrifice all my personal and vacation days already as my player goes deep in most of her events, and we are still there on Mondays. It only starts to become viable once the player can drive themselves to events, and I am not really comfortable cutting my 16-year old daughter loose to travel hours or days away from home without a support network in close proximity.

  3. Thank God my kid is in college and we don't have to deal with the horrible changes that have recently been made. I doubt tennis would have been nearly as attractive to him with the new tournament changes. The USTA is an insane, corrupt, beaurocratic organization that has too much money and zero interest in helping its membership. Hopefully one day this will change. The USTA only cares about one thing -- the higher level, overpaid employees within the organization.

  4. I didn't want to suggest it was an Alternative to the USTA. Disclaimer ----- With the recent changes and seeing THE SHEER NUMBER of experts that agree to disagree with these changes I have no confidence in the current system, but hope USTA will revert back in some fashion. Talking to these folks they see the USTA as the alternative. If we have some time and .... We will enter a USTA event. They saw the USTA changes as abandoning them in the middle of their Journey. They were very very distraught and hurt by the changes over the last few years. Coupled with College's taking kids with ITF experience it wasn't difficult to understand. 2 of the kids are from single households with very little means. Folks you would never think of as ITF types. I was very surprised and asked many questions about this pathway. Why - These were THEIR replies - ITF Schedules rarely change the events the countries so scheduling was not difficult - Cost to North/Central America and Caribbean / Northern part of South America was cheaper than a lot of US destinations. (example Cost to fly to Mobile is TWICE cost to go to Jamaica) Lodging if Hospitality NOT included (it is for some events) is comparable. - Just plain more fun than a good number of the USTA event locations, the TD's treat them well and want their business. - Driving to US events takes 5 hrs just to get out of Florida so its a pain. - Yes it may be Qualies/But they can plan a trip for an August event in February and not wait 2 weeks out as Air Fare's DBL (I've LIVED this one) To a man they plan their calendar/budget/days away and they all said it was Easier to plan, cheaper, and their kids missed less school. They did fewer events but built college resumes and seems it worked for them.

  5. Thank you Robert.

  6. Lynn said - "Perhaps you should look at the top 40+ ranked ITF players from the US. They are primarily blue chips and only a few 5 stars. Three and four stars would not be successful in the current itf environment." Lynn You cherry Picked the Top 40 ITF kids from the US, I was talking about kids well below that level. Look Several Hundred numbers lower/look @ their National USTA ranking and TRN. Kids that are not 5 Star and Blue Chipers are going the ITF route. It is not as elite as many profess. It goes to my point as not the Elite but it is these Middle of the Road kids that felt left aside.

  7. You can look at the ITF list in Claremont, and decide the level yourself. It's high... I think we shouldn't be talking about the level of kids though. It is the same as talking about sections.... It just divides the unity of this group. The bigger questions should be: 1) What is more attractive about ITF's? I think it is well run tournaments, less cheating, MORE FUN. For the parents, clearly defined rules that don't change every ten seconds. I find it extremely odd that the USTA seems to be shooting themselves in the foot. They seem to have had no modeling computer software to plan out how this would all lay out.... The better players are not playing the sectionals and they don't have enough wildcards to get the best players in this country into Kalamazoo. I am not a fan of wild cards, but if the winner of Kalamazoo gets to go to the MAIN DRAW OF THE US OPEN, this sectional quota list makes zero sense. A quota now to get into the US Open..... And I will ask the same question again? Where is the countability for their own players....................... It almost appears if there are one set of rules, but some players don't have to follow them. 6 Florida players ( USTA PD) signed up for the USTA Level 2 in Florida ( President's Day weekend tournament) and pulled out two days before the tournament actually began. Where did they go? The qualifying for the FUTURES. How did most of them get in? Wild cards. If you or I pulled our kid out of a national tournament to play another tournament, there would be penalties..... Consequences. But, for the PD kids, it is like they beat to their own drummer...

  8. Thanks for the enormous amount of work that went into this, Robert. It will be a great starting reference point for future discussions. Now that you've tackled this, why don't you go after a history of why the 12s national tournaments and rankings were eliminated and the consequences of those decisions? It may be relevant in the context of the elimination of serious 10s competition and 10s rankings. I know running a business and running tennis tournaments leaves you lots of free time to do all this :).

  9. I don't know what needs to be done, but we just left the Florida Level 4. Kids on the Courts 8:30 finished @ 5:30, with 3rd set Tie Breaks and DBLS 8 game proset. This is tough, and for Sectional endorsement these events matter. For competitive Natl, the DBLS matter. This is just too much to get in 3 days (perfect weather). Can't imagine in May-Jun-Jul.... Just wondering if this is too much. We skipped the Level 5, and we will most likely skip the next one in Apr just too much. Sections with National need to create a better Flow, I can't see why missing the extra day of school per event isn't better than playing 6 hrs in the HOT SUN.

  10. All it would take to clean up junior tennis and produce great American players again is to erase everything that has changed in tennis since the late 1990's and go back to what worked in the past but with the benefit of computers The last generation to benefit from the old system was Mardy Fish and Andy Roddick.. Since then, I could and should write a book titled "USTA : All The Wrong Moves- How To Kill a Sport Thoroughly"

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