The College Conundrum

Professional tennis players and especially American professional tennis players face the decision at some point in their careers. Men and women. To go to college or not go to college?

Players from outside of the United States like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal invariably choose to turn professional at an early age. There is less pressure on young tennis stars to attend college in many foreign countries than there is in the United States. There is also less precedent.

As early as 30 years ago, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors had to make the decision. Mac attended Stanford for two years and won the NCAA’s. He has never regretted his college decision.Same with Jimmy Connors at UCLA. He went for one year and also won the NCAA’s.

Three years ago, John Isner and Sam Querry burst on the scene.Isner went to the University of Georgia for four years and led his team to an NCAA crown.He finished second in singles. He wasn’t ready as a player to turn pro out of high school.Sam Querry, on the other hand turned down a full scholarship at USC. They are both about equally ranked now.

The college scene has changed dramatically over the past decade or so. More foreign players are attending colleges in the States  and that makes the competition better for Americans who continue on with their educations. Benjamin Becker is a prime example. He attended Baylor and is now No. 50 in the world.

The US Open Junior Finals this year pitted Jack Sock against Denis Kudla. Sock won the event and is torn between college and turning pro. Kudla has already turned pro. Sock and his family were approached by countless agents at the Open.

In our opinion, players should take a page from the James Blake playbook. The former Fairfield, Connecticut high school star attended Harvard for two years and then turned pro. He honed his skills at Harvard and picked up many valuable life tools in the process.He rose to as high as no. 6 in the world and was an endorsement guru. College did not hurt him a bit.

Jesse Levine turned pro after one year at the University of Florida. He stated, “You can always go back to school but not to pro tennis.” That is true but Levine has had a somewhat undistinguished pro career and probably wasn’t ready physically to turn pro when he did. Perhaps four years in college would have made Levine a better pro and a more well rounded individual.

Clearly, there is no easy answer to this conundrum facing many young tennis players.

Richard Kent is the autor of Inside the US Open and The Racket.

Tuesday Results & Wednesday Order of Play for Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships

NEWPORT, R.I., July 6, 2010 - Americans and top seeds Sam Querrey, Mardy Fish and Rajeev Ram were among the players to advance today when first round competition at the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships continued in Newport, R.I. Nicolas Mahut, who famously played in the longest match in tennis history last month, also advanced, following an 83-minute match in which he defeated Columbia’s Alejandro Falla, whose own Wimbledon match was a grueling 198-minute battle with Roger Federer. Querrey, who won his first grass-court title last month at Queen’s Club and was a finalist in Newport last summer, defeated countryman Jesse Levine in straight sets. In another all-American match up, Fish defeated Michael Russell. In today’s final Center Court match, defending champion Rajeev Ram overcame Spain’s Ivan Navarro.

The action continues tomorrow with Fish facing India’s Somdev Devvarman first on Center Court, followed by No. 1 seed Sam Querry versus Jamaican Dustin Brown. Nicolas Mahut returns to Center Court for the third match, when he will face Canada’s Frank Dancevic. Wednesday’s final match on Center Court will be an All-American contest between 18-year-old Ryan Harrison and 17-year-old Denis Kudla, who both received wild cards for the tournament.

Click here for a downloadable PDF of the Order of Play for Wednesday, July 7.

Click here for a downloadable PDF of the Singles Main Draw.
Click here for a downloadable PDF of the Doubles Main Draw.

Following are Tuesday’s results and the Order of Play for Wednesday, July 7.

RESULTS – JULY 6, 2010
Singles – First Round
[1] S Querrey (USA) d J Levine (USA) 63 63
[2] S Giraldo (COL) d [Q] A Peya (AUT) 76(1) 16 64
[WC] N Mahut (FRA) d [3] A Falla (COL) 63 16 63
[5] M Fish (USA) d M Russell (USA) 61 62
[7] R Ram (USA) d I Navarro (ESP) 63 76(3)
B Dabul (ARG) d C Ball (AUS) 57 62 01 Retired
[Q] S Bubka (UKR) d C Guccione (AUS) 76(0) 64
[Q] R Klaasen (RSA) d I Bozoljac (SRB) 76(5) 76(0)
S Devvarman (IND) d K Kim (USA) 64 63
[WC] D Kudla (USA) d S Ventura (ESP) 63 36 75
[Q] R Bloomfield (GBR) d C Rochus (BEL) 76(1) 63

Doubles – First Round
T Bednarek (POL) / D Brown (JAM) d S Giraldo (COL) / O Rochus (BEL) 76(13) 62
N Mahut (FRA) / E Roger-Vasselin (FRA) d A Falla (COL) / S Prieto (ARG) 67(2) 76(4) 10-5
M Kohlmann (GER) / A Peya (AUT) d K Beck (SVK) / R Wassen (NED) 64 64
ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY, JULY 7, 2010

CENTER start 11:00 a.m.
[5] M Fish (USA) vs S Devvarman (IND)
[1] S Querrey (USA) vs D Brown (JAM)
F Dancevic (CAN) vs [WC] N Mahut (FRA)
[WC] R Harrison (USA) vs [WC] D Kudla (USA)
COURT 1 start 11:00 a.m.
B Dabul (ARG) vs G Soeda (JPN)
[Q] R Klaasen (RSA) vs [7] R Ram (USA)
[Q] R Bloomfield (GBR) vs [2] S Giraldo (COL)
[1] M Fish (USA) / S Querrey (USA) vs C Ball (AUS) / C Guccione (AUS)
M Gicquel (FRA) / S Ventura (ESP) vs [2] R Ram (USA) / J Rojer (AHO)

COURT 2 start 11:00 a.m.
[3] R Hutchins (GBR) / J Kerr (AUS) vs J Erlich (ISR) / S Lipsky (USA)
J Marray (GBR) / J Murray (GBR) vs [WC] J Cerretani (USA) / A Shamasdin (CAN)
[4] O Rochus (BEL) vs [Q] S Bubka (UKR)
[WC] S Huss (AUS) / J Sirianni (AUS) vs [4] S Gonzalez (MEX) / T Rettenmaier (USA)

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About the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships

The Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, an ATP World Tour event, will be held July 5 – 11, 2010 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum in Newport, Rhode Island. The tournament draws 32 top male players to Newport direct from Wimbledon to compete for the Van Alen Cup and $442,500 in prize money. Hosted on the legendary grass courts of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships is the only ATP World Tour event played on grass in North America. In conjunction with the tournament, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum will host the annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday, July 10. The Campbell Soup Company is the title sponsor of the tournament In addition, the tournament is made possible through the generous support of numerous Official Partners, including BNP Paribas, Corona Extra, Chubb Personal Insurance and Rolex Watch U.S.A. For additional information, visit www.tennisfame.com