The Taylor Townsend Decision

The USTA decided to discourage and not support Taylot Townsend’s entry into the U.S. Open Juniors.  Not only is Townsend the top American Junior Tennis Player, she is #1 in the world.  The reason the U.S. doesn’t want her to play? The USTA says they benched Townsend because of her fitness.  ESPN W online sums it up pretty well.

It was the day of the women’s semifinals at the U.S. Open, yet much of the buzz and attention was on a junior player who had just lost in the quarterfinals of the girls’ event.

Her name is Taylor Townsend, and she is an American who currently is the world’s top-ranked junior. But that wasn’t the reason reporters were practically spilling out of the interview booth where her post-match news conference was being held.

It was because news had broken that Townsend had been told by USTA coaches earlier in the summer to stop competing until she got into better shape.

That also meant the organization had declined to pay Townsend’s expenses for competing at the U.S. Open, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

There was some back-and-forth between the two sides as the controversy grew. Townsend and her mother, Shelia, a former college player, said the Chicago-born teen had missed the U.S. girls’ nationals, where she would have had the opportunity to earn her way into the U.S. Open. A request for a wild card into the main draw or qualifying at Flushing Meadows also was turned down.

The article is very well written – read the whole article – HERE

Among the comments was one by Maurice Pogue – a professor at Michigan State University. If fat Serena can whoop up on the WTA in 2007, utterly demolishing Sharapova in ways that make the 2012 Olympic Final unremarkable (make no mistake about it, she was clearly out of shape and played her way into shape), and Venus can be competitive with Sjögren’s syndrome, both over the age of 30, then there is absolutely no excuse to snub the #1 juniors player IN HER OWN COUNTRY. I would think that after a watching the WS win 20+ majors through three decades (yes, it has been that long) we would be well past racial/body politics of female players. This story is repulsive in so many ways. Shame and disgrace upon the USTA. It’s not like they’ve produced the future of men’s or women’s tennis in the US anyway.  And while most of us are not old enough to remember Martina Navratilova, you might recall when Lindsay Davenport and her stout figure that could produce enough power to run the WS (Williams Sisters) off the court.

Speaking of Martina Navratilova and Lindsay Davenport, they also weighed in on the matter:

“You cannot punish someone for their body type,” Davenport said.

“I’m livid about it. Livid,” Navratilova said. She added: “It speaks of horrible ignorance.”

That from a Wall Street Journal Interview (CLICK HERE)

“For a female, particularly, in the United States, in particular, and African-American, to have to deal with that is unnecessary. … Women athletes come in all different sizes and shapes and colors and everything. I think you can see that more than anywhere on the tennis tour.” – Serena Williams (AP) – CLICK HERE

From “The Grio”

Townsend said she was devastated when her USTA coaches told her she couldn’t compete in the U.S. Open.

“It was definitely shocking,” the teen said. “I was actually very upset. I cried. I was actually devastated. I mean, I worked really hard, you know, it’s not by a miracle that I got to number one. I’m not saying that to be conceited or anything, but it’s not just a miracle or it didn’t just fall upon me just because my name’s Taylor.”

After her Australian Open win, the Chicago teen who now lives at the USTA center in Florida, ditched fast food and incorporated running and weight-lifting into her training routine. But the wasn’t enough for Patrick McEnroe, the general manager of the USTA’s player development program. McEnroe explained why the USTA refused to finance Townsend’s slot in the Open.

“Our concern is her long-term health, number one, and her long-term development as a player,” he explained the Wall Street Journal. “We have one goal in mind: For her to be playing in [Arthur Ashe Stadium] in the main draw and competing for major titles when it’s time. That’s how we make every decision, based on that.”×9

This is a comment on the Fox Sports article (


I rarely write on any forum but it’s troubling to see so much misinformation. The fact that some people are calling for McEnroe to resign is ridiculous. What nobody is saying, and what the USTA is not allowed to say, is that Taylor Townsend is anemic. Prior to the US Open she could not run more than one lap around a tennis court and doctors advised her not to play. The USTA is not allowed to say this due to HIPAA and so they used the word “conditioning.” Everyone is running around making this a weight issue, a gender issue, a racial issue – when the USTA was actually trying to think of her long term health. They have been funding her for YEARS and the fact they get blasted by clueless journalists like Greg Couch is unfair.

From “”


Australian Open junior champion Taylor Townsend of the United States didn’t have medical clearance to play, which is why the USTA declined at first to send her to the U.S. Open, has learned. Townsend was recently diagnosed with low iron, and the USTA did not feel it was safe for her to play until her doctors gave her the go-ahead.

RuthB 5 pts

When I read the first sentence of Cronin’s article about Taylor’s not having “medical clearance” to play, I was sadly preparing to read about some heart condition or some serious joint issue that had been discovered. Low iron? Really, PMac and USTA. As JMac would say, “You cannot be serious!” Have they heard of Sampras’s much more serious anemia problem which he kept a secret as he played and won. Or of Venus’s playing with Sjogren’s? I’m glad to hear that it’s the easily mamnageable low iron/anemia problem that would not normally result in an athlete’s being prohibited from playing his/her sport.. As for the separate matter ofTaylor’s fitness/weight/ whatever, let’s hope that she, her family, and the USTA can work together on this issue without, as someone mentioned, creating another one of those candidates for eating disorders about whom we read in so many post-career bios of athletes from many sports, including tennis.


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