Posted by Coach Craig Cignarelli: Since no one seems to have any research to determine which one is better, over the last few years, I’ve done the following. I’ve trained a group from age 7 to 9 with ROG and another group from age 7 to 9 with yellow balls. Here’s what I’ve found: The kids who trained with ROG are consistently beating the yellow ball kids when they play with the green ball. The kids who trained with the yellow ball are consistently beating the ROG kids when they play with the yellow ball. Tactically, the ROG kids have a better sense of angles and coming forward. The yellow ball kids hit with better depth and can adapt to different ball heights much better. The ROG kids have much better drop shots. The yellow ball kids have more power. After almost three years of doing both, I’m sticking with yellow balls. If you are going to master a saxophone, it’s probably better to just start playing the sax than to start on a kazoo.
An odd name for an article: American Tennis Prodigies You Don’t Know
For me it’s odd because it’s next to a picture of Noah Rubin who I do know. I first saw Noah play 9 years ago at Eastern Excel Tennis Camp. I have seen him at tournaments and have written about him since. Noah is the highest ranked American junior tennis player in the World at #15. He is currently recovering from a broken wrist injured playing basketball – which kept him out of the Australian Open Juniors. The title is also odd because it is an article about only one prodigy – Noah Rubin – but once I got past the title I found it to be a well written article.
There was this quote from Noah:
“Well in a year from now, a year and a half, I’m going to have to make a decision whether I’m going to do college or just go straight to [the] pro’s. I have a lot of people telling me different things right now, so I’ll have to step back and take a look at it every once in a while, but we’ll have to see how well I do this next year in professional tournaments. That’s what I will be focusing on is that, and the four grand slams, so we’ll see how I do then. We’ll make a decision when the time comes, but for now, just enjoy it and have fun with everything.”
Plus there was this paragraph:
According to Rubin’s long time coach and JMTA Director of Tennis Lawrence Kleger, “Noah is the best tennis player to come out of New York since McEnroe.”
Having known Lawrence for 13 years, it was good to see him get the credit he deserves and even better to see Noah also getting the recognition. Many times these articles quote their USTA coaches and not the great coaches who got these players to where they are now. I hope to be able to keep writing great stuff about Noah in the future and I know he will be a great ambassador for the sport. Read the entire article – HERE
- The Rubins (adirondacktennis.wordpress.com)
From the Austin Tennis Academy’s Blog (ATA):
During a recent ATA parent meeting, Anne Pankhurst shared her expertise on how, as a parent, you can support your tennis athlete and maximize potential. I observed eager young parents taking in all that they could, and it reminded me of the beginnings of my ATA journey… and little did I know.
I met Mrs. Mayo in the bleachers of a UT match where her son, Austin, and my son, Josh, were on court together as ball boys. She told me her son was a SuperChamp player at ATA. I did not grow up in USTA Texas, and I had no idea what she meant by that. The next month, Josh played an ATA SuperChamp player at the Texas Open. It was a tough match and Josh beat him. At the time, I had no idea that was an upset. That player and his mother left the Texas Open immediately after the match so that he could make it into a National tournament in another state. I thought to myself, ”Seriously… you’re going to drive 9 hours to a tournament?”
The #19 player in the country last year was not selected as a seed at the B18 National Championships in Kalamazoo. He was passed up by USTA PD players who were ranked below him along with numerous wildcards.
Next year the USTA JCC has stated that the Super Nationals will be 128 draws and that they will be awarded 16 wildcards. It’s not too hard to look like your program is working when you are hand picking 1 out of every 8 players. It’s not hard to get to the top when somebody is paying for all your travel expenses, food, clothing, equipment, and onsite private coaching. There is nothing wrong with it being a 128 draw, as they are suggesting if they went ahead and had a 64 draw qualifier for 8 spots. The USTA PD does not need or deserve to have the 16 wildcards.
This may sound like it is coming from a parent whose child is not a top player. Our son was ranked #1 in the Midwest in the 14s, 16s, and the 18s. He was ranked as high as #9 nationally and was a Blue Chip player for 3 years. All while attending public school, working with his coaches and sleeping in his own bed.
Read the whole letter – HERE
Editor’s Note: The writer states “There is nothing wrong with it being a 128 draw, as they are suggesting if they went ahead and had a 64 draw qualifier for 8 spots.” I am in favor of a Main Draw and Qualifier for the national events.
On Christmas Eve – Parenting Aces Podcast had an interview with Louise Allen that all tennis parents will get a lot out of. Louise, who is a former touring pro, talks about her experience as a tennis parent with host Lisa Stone. The two of them share experiences and provide a lot of great insight. To listen to the podcast click the link below:
This profile of Louise is from Trinity University‘s Hall of Fame:
2003 HALL OF FAME CLASS
Bachelor of Science, Business Administration 1984
- Four-time All-American, 1981-1984
- Won NCAA Doubles Championship with Gretchen Rush Magers, 1983
- Captured Pan American Games doubles title with Magers, 1983
- NCAA singles semifinalist, 1983
- Won Broderick Award (best collegiate player in women’s tennis), 1983
- Amassed a singles record of 115-11 for the Tigers
- Ranked in the top 100 in singles and doubles as a pro
- Reached third round of singles at Wimbledon and U.S. Open, and quarterfinals of doubles
- Nominated for Women’s Tennis Association Comeback Player of the Year, 1992, after battling back from an injury
- Retired from pro tennis in 1993 with five singles and eight doubles titles to her name
- Native of Winston-Salem, N.C. Elected to North Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame.
CLICK HERE for her Grand Slam singles record
Les Petite As is the premier 14 and under tennis event in the world. This year American CiCi Bellis won the tournament – read more – HERE. Last year the boys event was won by American Francis Tiafoe – he won both the singles and doubles. Although great results in the juniors does not guarantee a good professional career, many good players have been in the finals of Les Petite As in the past including winners:
- Richard Krajicek – 1996 Wimbledon winner and former #4 player ;
- Michael Chang, the youngest player ever to win a Grand Slam tournament when he won the 1989 French Open at age 17. Chang made it to #2 in the world;
- Juan-Carlos Ferrerro who became #1 in the world in 2003 when he won the French Open and was a finalist at the U.S. Open;
- Olivier Rochus who became #24 in the world and won the 2004 French Open doubles with partner Xavier Malisse
- Paul-Henri Matthieu – Current world #54 who was ranked as high as 12th in the world;
- Donald Young – Young was the youngest male to win a Grand Slam event, winning the Australian Open Junior Championships in 2005. A record he held until the Australian Open in 2008, when Bernard Tomic won the event 2 months younger than Young. In 2005, he became the youngest year-end World No. 1 in junior rankings at 16 years, 5 months (one month younger than Richard Gasquet in 2002). Young won the Australian Open junior title at age 15 to become youngest-ever and first African-American man to be ranked No. 1 in the world. Young is currently ranked 190th but last February he got up to a career high of 38th.;
- Rafa – “The King of Clay”. Owner of 11 Grand Slam Titles – tied for 4th on the all time list. He is also 7th for number of weeks at #1 and the year end #1 for 2008 and 2010.
Here are some Les Petite As Finalists:
- Noah Rubin – currently 16th in the world in the juniors;
- Christian Harrison, younger brother and doubles partner of Ryan harrison. They are currently 173rd in the world and Christian is only 18;
- Andy Murray – the interesting thing about his loss in the finals is that he beat Novak Djokovic 6-1, 6-0? in the tournament. Their rivalry goes back a long way;
- Brian Baker p currently world #62 who got his ranking up to #52;
- Mario Ancic who later became the #7 player in the world;
- Magnus Norman – 2000 French Open Champion who reached a career high of #2 in the World.
Here are the Women’s winners:
- Timea Bacsinszky who made it to #37 in the world – currently 181st;
- Ksenia Pervak who also made it to #37 in the world and is now 72nd;
- Dinara Safina who made it to #1 in the world. She also made it to 3 Grand Slam finals and 2 semi finals. She is the sister of Marin Safin;
- Bethaney Mattek-Sands who won the Australian Open Mixed Doubles last year with partner Horia Tecau;
- Lina Krasnoroutskaya who reached a career high 25 in singles in 2004 and 22nd in doubles (she made it to the semi finals at Wimbledon);
- Kim Clijsters – a 3 time U.S. Open winner who made it to #1 in the world. Clijsters has a 523-127 career winning record. She also was ranked #1 in doubles;
- Mirjana Lucic who is ranked 96th in the world, having been as high as 32nd;
- Anna Kournikova who was ranked #8 in the world in singles and #1 in the world in doubles. She never got her first career title in singles but was a 16 time winner in doubles;
- Martina Hingis – 5 time Grand Slam winner in singles and a 9 time Grand Slam doubles winner. She was #1 in the world in singles and in doubles. She also has a Grand Slam mixed doubles title to her name;
- Anke Huber reached a career high #4 in the world on October 14, 1996.
Lastly, the Women’s Finalists:
- Lindsay Davenport just appeared on CSI with Chris Evert and Justim Gimelstob. Lindsay was the #1 player in the world in singles and in doubles. She has 3 Grand Slam singles titles and an Olympic singles title. Her 38 doubles titles include 3 Grand Slam titles and she had 6 other Grand Slam appearances in the finals. She is 4th n the all time women’s career prize money list;
- Justine Henin is another former #1 player. With 7 Grand Slam wins and 2 other appearances in the finals she has to be considered one of the all time best;
- Elena Bovina – formerly #14 in the world in both singles and doubles. She also won the Australian Open mixed doubles in 2004 with partner Nenad Zimonjic;
- Alisa Kleybanova – formerly 20th in the World;
- Jarmila Gadjdosova who just won the mixed doubles at the Australian Open and was once ranked 25th in the world in singles;
- Elena Bovina was ranked as high as 14th in the world;
- Rita Kuti-Kis of Hungary who reached 47th in the world;
- Dally Randriantefi who reached 44th;
- Alexia Dechaume-Balleret who reached a career high 46th in singles and 22nd in doubles.
Rafael Nadal Vs. Richard Gasquet at Les Petite As – both were 13 at the time.
Junior Team tennis is off and running for the 2012-13 season. I plan to do articles on each of the divisions starting with today’s article on the 12 & unders.
15-LOVE – Captain Domingo Montes
Eldred Cabahug, Sven Ceniza, Nasiru Kotey, Alyana Leandry, Gia Resciniti, Samaria Spivey
The 2013 15 LOVE 12’s has a mix of new and old. The team has 3 new members Sven Ceniza, Samaria Spivey and Gia Recinetti. Returning from the 2012 season are Nasiru Kotey, Alyana Leandry, and Eldreg Cabahug. Besides tennis the team enjoys 15 LOVE Healthy Cooking nights and gardening at the 15 LOVE garden. As cousins Sven and Eldreg enjoy being on the same team and learning from each other. They often hit together at various parks with their families. Nasiru and Alyana being two of the veterans of the 12’s team have taken their leadership roles seriously, guiding younger teammates Gia, Samaria and Sven in practice and matches.
Capital Region Mini-Netters – Captain Peter Green
Madeline Carswell, Cole Churchill, Zoe Davis, Michael Kendrick, Kevin Lin, Frank Mendonca, Yolanda Mendonca, Christian Ricciardelli, Lucas Young
Last year, the Capital Region 12 and unders completely the journey from a last place team the year before to a first place team. This years team hopes to do the same. Kevin Lin remains from the winning team, most of whom are playing in the 14’s now. Cole Churchill was around her sisters team enough to know she wanted to play team tennis too. Christian Ricciardelli also played on a 12 and under team last year. The remaining players – Madeline Carswell, Zoe Davis, Michael Kendrick, Frank & Yolanda Mendonca and Lucas Young are all new to team tennis. At Capital Region, we strive to give our kids opportunities to play and team tennis is an opportunity they all love.
Junior Slammers – Captain Karen Ricci
Paige Benfer, Jack DeWeese, Bryce Dittrich, Emma Eldrid, Cassidy Levy, Cole Levy, Charles Liebers, Amanda Ricci
Our U12 team, The Jr Slammers U12, is a very tight-knit group! The parents and players get along like a family and have tons of fun. This is a building year for us, but we simply focus on doing our best while still having fun. Many times, all the kids will ride in the same car to matches and either talk the whole time or blast music and sing together! For our team, the memories we make having fun together are what is going to stick with us for years to come.
Saratoga Aces – Captain Virginie Poritzky
Krisia Flores, Lorna Flores, Gracelyn Goodridge, Nicholas Grosso, Matthew Hogan, Bryce North, Elijah Poritzky, Elizabeth Siebeneck
Scared Hitless – Captain Joe McClements
Pierce Doud, Rebecca Dunay, Jordan Flicker, Max Jackson, Rece McClements, Chloe Roop, Anya Sager
Scared Hitless is a 12 and under USTA tennis team based out of the Wilton YMCA. For the last two years the team was called the Wilton Smashers. It was coached and captained by Wilton YMCA employee Joe McClements. The new team still has three players from the old Smasher team. Rece McClements, Max Jackson, and Jordan Flicker they have been playing together for three years. New additions to the team are Rebecca Dunay, Anya Sagar and Pierce Doud. This years team has a new look and a new coach. Wilton YMCA Tennis Director Bill Brahler is now coaching with Coach McClements assists and Captains the team. The team wears tye die shirts and blue “Act With Respect Always” warm up shirts.
Sportime Acers – Captain Minho Lee
Christine Lee, Tadd Long, Yvonne Tang, Elise Wagle, Evan Eagle, Edwin Yang
Sportime Bombers – Captain David Versocki
Rubin Chen, Anika Govindarajan, Marielle Maple, Nikhil Mehta, Sydni Towe, Samantha Versocki, Benjamin Yao
Last spring SPORTIME Schenectady decided that they would sponsor a junior team tennis team. Under the direction of our Tennis Coordinator and QuickStart Director, Sarah Sharpe, practices were started in April for the current season. So many juniors were interested that Sarah realized that we’d need two teams and the drafting of the Acers and the Bombers began. The Acers are lead by Capitan Min-Ho Lee and feature his daughter Christine Lee, and Evan and Elise Wagle, Edwin Yang , Tadd Long and Yvonne (Evie) Tang. While the Bombers are lead by Marie-Claire Maple and feature her daughter Marielle Maple and Samantha Versocki, Ben Yao, Anika Govindarajan, Rubin Chen, Nikhil Mehta,and Sydni Towe. Even though the teams face each other, they train together in weekly practices on Sunday and are friends on and off the court. Teammates often compete against each other in USTA tournaments, but still remain friends going to see” Wreck It Ralph” after battling on court. We hope for continued success for both teams in our first year of team tennis competition.
Straight Aces – Captain Maureen Parker
Aidan Arciero, Owen Brehm, Regina Erwin, Adysen Farrell, John Hogan, Riley Kern, Emily Pecora, Hanna Pecora, Ava Vitiello, Daniel Vitiello
Sportime Acers are 6-0 having won 34 out of 36 sets played
Sportime Bombers are 4-2 and have a 26-9 record in sets
Saratoga Aces are 4-1 with a 25-5 record in sets
15-LOVE is 4-1
Scared Hitless is 3-3
Capital Region Mini Netters are 2-4
Junior Slammers are 0-6
Straight Aces are 0-6
From “Parenting Aces”:
As I’ve been posting on Facebook and Tweeting this week, TennisRecruiting.net recently announced its National Showcase Series for 2013.
Per the email I received yesterday from TRN, the National Showcase Tournaments are designed to give players a chance to compete outside of their districts and sections. They are seeking to fill the gap left by USTA’s 2013 and 2014 junior competition calendar changes, some of which limit players to competing within their own section or region. While the TRN events will NOT count toward USTA national rankings, they WILL count toward USTA sectional or district ranking (if the player is competing in one of these events held in his/her own section or district of residence) as well as a player’s ranking and star rating on TennisRecruiting.net. It’s important to note that players who choose to compete in National Showcase events held OUTSIDE their section or district of residence will not receive USTA ranking points but will stillget credit toward their TRN ranking and star rating.
TRN’s Dallas Oliver says, “The idea of these National Showcase tournaments is to provide meaningful cross-play between different areas that will provide more data for meaningful national rankings. We have gotten a lot of positive feedback so far – players and parents appreciate having more choices. And the tournament directors we have on board so far have great reputations for running quality tournaments. We think that this tournament series has a lot of positive qualities. These are USTA-sanctioned events, so players and their families will get a familiar experience. But the tournaments will not be on the USTA national schedule, which obviates the concerns many had about ‘point-chasing’. At the same time, these tournaments will count for Tennis Recruiting rankings, and so there are rewards for players to compete in them.”
Read more about these tournaments and see the listing of all the scheduled National Showcase Tournaments:
The project to rebuild tennis courts at Michigan Ave., located in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of Schenectady, is now complete. In an effort led by 15-LOVE, more than $350,000 in funding was raised to create six 10-an-under and eight regulation sized tennis courts.
They will be the only courts of their kind from New York City to Canada, explains 15-Love Executive Director Amber Marino.
The 10 standard courts off of Schuyler Street have already been torn up to make room for eight 78-foot courts with blended lines and six 36-foot courts. The latter are for participants age 10 and under. The combination of these court types at one site is rare. Semi-permanent outdoor bathrooms will also go up at the fenced-in site.
“This is going to be a very unique site, a family-oriented site, because kids of all ages will be able to play on appropriate courts,” Marino said.
Read about the Project in the Schenectady Gazette:
Before & After Photo’s:
Parenting Aces recently interviewed Cintia Sanyeh of Playinthe US.com. Play in the US helps players from all over the world play college sports in the United States and to get college scholarships. They work with players in all sports, but Cintia comes from a tennis background, having played college tennis at Pepperdine and coached tennis at several colleges, including Baylor. This is a good interview to listen to for anyone who is interested in getting a college scholarship. There is also other information about the NCAA and NAIA process.
On Saturday, November 24th, a contingent from the USTA, led by incoming president Dave Haggerty and Chief Executive, Community Tennis Kurt Kamperman, conducted the second in an ongoing series of “listening sessions” that the association is hosting in regard to the proposed changes in Junior Competition structure, slated to take effect in 2014. The session, attended by some 30 parents, coaches and teaching pros from six of the USTA’s 17 sections, was held at the Fitness and Tennis Center of Rocky Hill (Conn.), during the boys’ and girls’ 14-and-under National Open.
“We are here for one reason,” said Haggerty as he addressed the attendees at the start of the session. “And that is to listen and to learn. If you have concerns; if you have questions, we want to hear them, because it is only through this kind of give-and-take that we will be able to develop the best and most successful competitive structure. ”
Read the entire letter and follow the conversation on the “Parenting Aces” Facebook page – HERE
This past week, Copeland Paving added blended lines for 10 & under tennis to the back courts at Capital Region with Court 1 soon to follow. The blended lines will allow the courts to be used as 36 foot courts and 60 foot courts for 10 & under lessons and play (see diagrams to the right) and as a normal size tennis court (78 feet). The United States Tennis Association (USTA) and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) both recommend different balls and different court sizes for training beginning players in the younger age groups. The blended lines will help facilitate that training. They also recommend smaller size racquets for younger players.Drive through almost any suburban neighborhood and you will find a a Little Tikes basketball net in one of the driveways. The USTA and the ITF are applying that same principle to tennis. Where the approach of the USTA and ITF has been different is that they are requiring the smaller balls and courts for tournaments that they sanction for the younger age groups. As far as I know AAU and other sanctioning bodies do not. The idea is to use a ball that won’t keep bouncing over the players heads so that they will be learning to hit proper strokes instead of hitting overheads on almost every ball.
It has been awhile since I wrote about my experience at Zone Team Championships. I did an update article on how some of the players are doing since Zonals. I am doing one more update article on the kids in the 12’s who played zonals.
Going into zonals, there were 4 Eastern Boys in the Top 100 Nationally – Daniel Nuzhny (76); Luke Smith (81); Steven Sun (88) and Gary Fishkin (92). There were 3 Eastern Girls in the Top 100 nationally too – Dasha Kourkina (62); Jennifer Yu (76) and Chelsea Williams (96). There were some other Eastern players in the Top 100, but this article is only focusing on players who played Zonals. So where are they ranked now? Nuzhny is ranked 80th but he didn’t play any tournaments in August and has been playing in the 14’s since. It is hard to replace last years points when you are playing in a higher age group this year. Smith is now ranked 23rd, Sun is 22nd and Fishkin is 36th. In the Girls, Kourkina is ranked 29th; Yu is 74th and Williams is 53rd.
But there is more. All of the Boys who were ranked between 100 and 200 during Zonals are now in the Top 100 except for Satish Kumar who is now in the 14’s – Satish did get into the low 90’s before aging out of the 12’s. Daniel Pellerito came into Zonals ranked 130th, he is currently 37th. Ronald Hohmann went from 141st to 50th since Zonals while Harris Walker went from 167th to 82nd. Oren Vassar started out at #180 and went to 78th and locally, Ronan Jachuck (Slingerlands) went from 188th to 63rd.
And the Girls? Michelle Sorokko was 105th, is now 50th; Nicole Semenov was 159th, is now 82nd; Mackenzie Clark was 190th, is now 58th; Gabriella Price was 192nd, is now 96th and Lea Ma was 193rd, is now 45th. Like the Boys, the Girls ranked between 100 and 200 during Zonals are all ranked within the Top 100 (except for Girls who have since aged out of the 12’s and are now playing in the 14’s).
Also since Zonals began, even more Eastern players have joined the top 200, some even in the top 100. Cannon Kingsley (57); Michael Sun (66); Patrick Maloney (76); William Turchetta (86) and Albany’s Max Benson (87) are now in the top 100 while Josh berman (101): Adam Oscislawski (113); Noah Lilienthal (129); Jeremy Casabon (161); Lex Decker (162); Sam Kesti (172); Connor Nisbet (176) and Holden Koons (177) are in the top 200.
Girls who are now in the top 200 that were not in before zonals are: Andrea Cerdan – 109; Katherine Kachkarov – 151; Shelly Yaloz – 166; Brianna Omar – 175; Alexa Goetz – 184; Samantha Lugtu – 188 and Anastasia Koniaev – 195.
It was not just the Eastern players who enjoyed a ranking bounce coming out of Zonals and beyond. Robert Siniakowitz (Middle States) was the highest ranked boy at Zonals. His ranking went from 55th to 24th. His teammate Tyler Zink went from 120th to 70th. On the Girls side, Christine Hand went from 93rd to 47th and Brianna Shvets went from 107th to 57th. In the Midwest, Grant Smith (194) cracked the top 200. Finn Garner (New England) went from 193rd to 127th and Amaya Lopez Clay – also from New England – went from 93rd to 70th.
It is clear in looking at these results that playing Zonals was a positive step in their tennis career for these young players. The points they got at Zonals helped boost their rankings, but most have enjoyed continued success afterwards even if they did not get many wins at Zonals. I enjoyed my time there and wish all of the players the best of luck.
Lisa Stone recently interviewed Johan Kriek on her Parenting Aces Podcast radio show. It’s a great show to listen to for anyone with a child in tennis. You might not agree with everything he has to say, but it’s hard to argue with his success as a player and as a coach. His tennis academy features Alicja Sierzputowska, the #1 14 and under girl in Poland. Johan Kriek has won two Australian Opens, was a semi-finalist at the US Open, reached the semi-finals at the French Open and the quarterfinals of Wimbledon. He has won 14 professional singles and 8 doubles titles, reaching an all-time high ranking of Number 7 in the world. Kriek’s most memorable wins include victories over Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg.
Listen to the interview – HERE
Johan Kriek is not only known for his successful tennis career, but also for his philanthropy. In his latest endeavor Kriek is giving back to his native Africa through the Global Water Foundation he established with Minnie Hildebrand two years ago. The Foundation recently completed a project in a remote area of Uganda. Kriek said, “It took six months to complete the project in Uganda but people there have been living without clean water all their lives. The well we built provides water for 15,000 people! We also recently completed another project in Manta, Ecuador. We hope to help thousands more through this foundation.”
To learn more about Johan’s Global Water Foundation please visitwww.globalwaterfoundation.org.