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It’s Not Easy Being Green


Robert Sasseville sent the following scenario to the [email protected] email address. I was lucky enough to receive a copy and got Robert’s permission to reprint it here. I hope it helps clarify some of the likely outcomes and consequences of the 2014 Junior Competition Calendar.

As an aside, I’m working on my post about last night’s Listening Meeting in Los Angeles.  I’ve been inundated with phone calls and emails from those in attendance, but I will do my best to compile all the notes into a readable article by the end of today or tomorrow morning at the latest.  Stay tuned!

Imagine the year is 2014 and the new USTA schedule is in full swing . . .

Imagine being from Henderson, NV and the # 64 player in National Boys’ 16 standings . . .

“I need to keep my ranking up to have a chance to play tennis for one of the three schools I’ve always wanted to attend, and continue to get free stuff from Head.

What are my choices if I want to maintain my National Ranking?

Let’s see…..

Okay, I can get into my January Sectional, but wouldn’t you know it, it’s indoors in Boise, Idaho (at least that’s where it’s rumored to be held). It’s a straight shot north about 650 miles. So much for playing close to home.

I know that I can get into a February National Selection tournament. However, one is on clay in Florida, which I never play on, one is indoors in Mt. Kisko, NY, and the third is on hard in Austin, TX. I have a real dilemma. Austin is closer, and cheaper, and on my favorite surface, but chances are that it will fill up first. Mt. Kisko is on hard, but all the way across the country, so it’ll be very expensive, and I’ve never played indoors except for Boise. I’d rather have a root canal than play on clay, particularly in February. Do I put all of my eggs into Austin and apply for the Regional as a back-up, or bite the bullet and apply for Mt. Kisko and/or Florida?

The Easter Bowl Companion event is out. It’s in driving distance, but since only 32 get in, I’m toast.

The first Sweet 16 is out, although it’s held at Darling Tennis Center in Las Vegas (or it might be). I could almost ride my bike to that one.

I will get into the June Sectional Championship. It’s in Denver, again like last year, so it’s not like going across town. It’s over 750 miles one way, so it’ll kill an extra day or two.

I’ll never make Intersectionals.

Zonals are fun. Maybe I can win some matches there, but Waco, TX is more than half way to the Atlantic Ocean. If my parents like American Airlines, we can fly there with only one changeover. Otherwise, we can fly to Austin or Dallas-Ft. Worth and drive the 90+ miles from either.

Unless the Intermountain 16’s are really strong this year, I’ll get into the National Clay courts and the August Nationals as a quota player.

However, since I don’t ever play on clay, it might be better to apply for a Level 3 Regional and forget traveling to Delray Beach, FL. Playing 3 time zones away and on clay doesn’t appeal to me. Although the Level 3 has only 15% of the points, I will have a chance to win on a familiar surface and won’t have to fly across the country or take a 2,500 mile road trip.

At least Kalamazoo is on hard courts. I don’t care how far away it is, I want to go to Kalamazoo!! (You know, I just love their tee-shirts.) I hope Intermountain isn’t super strong this year so that I’ll be in quota, If I can’t make quota, I can apply for a wild card, but with no “remaining vacancy” option there is little chance that I’ll get in outside of quota. I hear all the Player Development kids get them anyway. Maybe I can win sectionals in June, but I can’t count on that.

The Level 4 on Labor Day won’t help my ranking enough to play. Besides my family really wants to finally take a vacation, the first in 5 years, and go to the Open in New York.

The October Sweet 16 is out, just like February.

The National Masters …. you’ve got to be kidding, the top 7 16’s get in?

The November National Selection tournament is February all over again, but if I’m to have a chance to maintain my ranking, I have to play.

Although team play is fun, with all 16 Sweet 16 players being admitted to the Level 1 Winter team event, I don’t have a chance of being admitted. I hate cutting short my Christmas holiday just to play a Level 2 team event, but if I miss any of the other dates I may have to rearrange our family’s Christmas plans to keep my ranking up.

Well, there are 6 individual dates and 2 team dates that I can choose from.

I don’t want to play the National Clays, so it looks like I still have to play everything else, since I need at least 6 tournaments to keep my ranking up, if I win, that is.

I hope I don’t get hurt, particularly in June or July, and miss Kalamazoo.

My older sister, Olivia, is planning to get married this summer, but the only weekends that work for her and her fiancé are the weekends of the Zonals and Kalamazoo.  I can’t miss her wedding.

I don’t know where I’ll end up for the National Selection Tournaments, probably somewhere a long way from here, but I have to play them.

Well, I guess that’s my schedule.

This new schedule was supposed to help my family cut costs and let me play closer to home, as well as allow me to miss less school, but it looks like I’m going to have to travel farther.  Last year two of the National Opens were in cities where family lives and another was in Lakewood, CA only 4 hours away, but not this year, so we’ll certainly spend more money traveling.  With fewer tournaments to choose from we’ll have basically play them all.  Because the tournaments that I have to play are located all over the country, we’ll spend more time on the road, causing me to miss more school than I did last year.

You know, if I were ranked 180, I wouldn’t have to worry about all this.  I’d just stay home and apply for what I thought could get into.  But ….. I really want to play college tennis, so I have to do this.



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