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Jared

TCU Tennis - 2016-17

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World Team Tennis, run for a long time by Billie Jean King, is really the only thing like that in international tennis, but their schedule is so limited and most pros don't participate, so while it has succeeded in not collapsing (like many anticipated), it's not exactly a major sport.  They used to have a team in Chicago and I went to a few matches, but it was fairly poorly attended and the team eventually moved away.  I agree with Roditi (and you) that it should encourage fan participation.  Really good players can get used to yelling and insults, even while serving.  Tennis isn't golf and shouldn't be treated like golf.

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8 hours ago, Jared said:

I heard that that famous tennis reporter is going to re-surface for the crucial upcoming TCU v. Dartmouth match in February in Hanover.  That is, if he can overcome his fears that rural New Hampshire in the midst of winter doesn't resemble some sort of Stephen King novel.

I'll go if you'll go 

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17 hours ago, Boston Frog said:

I'll go if you'll go 

I'm going to the match against Northwestern.  The Frog Horn's reportorial resources are really stretched thin and we shouldn't double up our reporters at the same event.

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Another worry about Cameron Norrie has arisen.  Because it's so close and based on the principle of why not, Cameron has entered a qualifying tournament for the Australian Open that will be held in his "home" town of Auckland in about two weeks.  If he wins three rounds (I think) there, he'll qualify for the main draw at the Aussie Open and those dates will conflict not only with the Maui Challenger but also the first week or so of February,  Moreover, if he's good enough to make an ATP Grand Slam event, that's the sort of thing that would convince him to turn into a full-time pro.  If he had done as well in the Challengers in the fall as he did this summer, he was on track to be on the bubble for qualifying without a qualifying tourney.  But while he rose in the rankings from 771 to 278, that wasn't enough, so he didn't automatically qualify - he would have had to be in the top 128 (or so) to do that.  If he qualifies for the Aussie Open, he won't be going to Maui and he probably won't return to Ft. Worth.  All the fans on the brittennis site are brazenly rooting for him to qualify (he's got a whole thread dedicated to him) and go pro full-time; I'm the only one who wants Cam to stay with the Frogs.

 

In addition, last year, Cam played in the Te Auna Invitational in Auckland the week after Christmas and he made the finals there.  He isn't on the acceptance list there as yet, but I wouldn't be too surprised if he plays there (if invited) as a warm-up for the Aussie Open qualie.  There's also an ATP World tourney in Auckland the week after that (and 2 weeks prior to the Aussie in Melbourne) - he hasn't qualified for that either but it's conceivable that, as a Kiwi, he could get a wild card in the event there are too many withdrawals.

 

Alex Rybakov is still at Lake Nona - there have been several tweets about it. In one, Alex (wearing a TCU shirt) and others were singing a "Christmas" carol entitled the "Twelve Days of Tennis" and in another, he (wearing a different TCU shirt) and several other young pros were doing some intense drills.

 

 

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Well, the odds are that he won't qualify for the Auckland ASB and he won't qualify for the Aussie either.  He's #278 worldwide and usually, that's nowhere near good enough to make it into an ATP World event.  He's a really good, possibly great, college player, and he's rocketed up in the pro rankings this year, but he's still not really at the level of a ATP World player.  And there's nothing wrong with taking a shot at the big-time in a qualie, but I'm predicting that he won't succeed.  Which means that the Maui concern is probably the real concern and we're probably talking merely about missing a handful of TCU matches in January; not losing him forever.  Moreover, based on the Roditi August interview, right after Cam's stunning success at Tulsa, Wichita and the Aptos Challenger, Cam wants to return to TCU, he really likes it here and Rybo is the bigger worry as far as wanting to go pro quickly goes.  Personally, I think Cam wants to lead TCU to a NCAA championship, he wants to win the NCAA individual singles championship - last year was so emotionally devastating in losing to Cal and Torpegaard, that he wants revenge.  But we shall see.  I'm just reporting what all his British fans are saying and expecting (and he has quite a few).  And right now, while we're all speculating and worrying about it, he's probably enjoying the beaches in NZL and spending time with his family.

 

Meanwhile, Rybo tweeted today about the Frogs being ranked #1 in baseball - I am now 99.9% sure he'll be back this Spring.

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While most of us were busy with Christmas, Guillermo Nunez entered the $10,000 Chile F8 Futures tournament in Santiago.  And, partnering with Nicholas Jarry, an extremely hot fellow 21-year old Chilean who won the singles title on his own, he won his third pro doubles title ever, by winning 4 straight matches and prevailing over the Argentine/Chilean combo of Carlos Cuevas and Juan Pablo Paz 6-3, 7-5 in the finals.  This is a fantastic result for Guillermo, especially coming off the semis in doubles while partnering with Norrie at Waco in the Little Beast's last tourney.  This was Guillermo's first pro title since 2014 and is an excellent harbinger of how well he might do after he's done at TCU - he's "always" had success in the Chilean Futures tourneys, especially before he became a Frog and he's still got it.  I didn't even know that Guillermo had entered the tourney; having focused way more attention on Norrie and Rybakov (and even Gray) and only read about it today, nearly a week after it happened.  So they aren't the only successful TCU pros, Nunez is a serious threat as well.  (In the singles, Guillermo was automatically in the main draw and made it to the Round of 16, losing to Juan Pablo Paz 1-6, 4-6). 

 

And, uh, Virginia's Thai-son frickin Kwiatkowski won the singles title at the Puerto Rican Futures tourney as well.

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It turns out that Cameron Norrie did not receive an invite to return to the Te Anau tourney in New Zealand (or maybe he did and didn't accept), which started today in Auckland, so he won't be playing there.  And, it looks like he won't get into the Auckland ASB either.  Because the Aussie Open is so soon, the big-time pros are treating it kind of like they do the Queen's Club tourney the week before Wimbledon.  That is, it's the warm-up for the Aussie and all the players who want to get in there are playing in New Zealand because they're already down under.  So the cut-off for the qualies for the Auckland ASB is about #105, and while Cam is doing well at #278, that's nowhere near good enough to even make the qualies at a ATP World event when the field is so tough.  Unless there are some withdrawals, the likelihood of him getting in there (and from there, the Aussie) has diminished.  So, Maui will probably be his next tourney.  We'll see.  I am now 64.9% confident that he'll return to TCU.

 

And Rybakov tweeted that  he "can't wait to be back with his boys" with a picture of the TCU team, so I am now 100% confident he'll be back.  He also retweeted one from 6'11'' Reilly Opelka, with whom he has been practicing at Lake Nona - Opelka has made the trip down under and will be attempting to qualify for the Aussie.

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Cam Norrie will be playing this week at the Noumea New Caledonia Challenger.  His first round match is against Duck Hee Lee, an 18-year-old South Korean whose ATP ranking is #149 and who is 3rd seeded.  Lee plays mostly at the Asian ATP events, although he did make it to the U.S. Open this year, where he lost in his 2nd round qualie match.  He was also born deaf and, while he can hear vibrations on the court, he must rely on hand signals to "hear" umpire or line judge calls.  New Caledonia is a South Pacific archipelago north of New Zealand and east of Australia and Noumea is its capital.  Norrie is 10th seeded and his ATP ranking has inched up to #276.  It would be an upset for Cam to win against Lee - his match isn't on the schedule yet, but it'll probably be in the next two days.  Norrie is also now on the qualifying list for the Auckland ASB in two weeks.

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Norrie is also entered into the doubles competition and he's partnering with Jose Statham, who we remember as an upset victim of Alex Rybakov from last fall in one of the Florida Futures tourneys.  Statham is a Kiwi, who plays on their Davis Cup team and is an experienced veteran pro.  They'll be playing Alejandro Falla, from Colombia and Jose Hernandez-Fernandez from the Dominican Republic, who are ranked #'s 294 and 260 respectively in doubles.  Norrie has an ATP doubles ranking of #538 and Statham is #686, so they're clearly underdogs.  In fact, Cameron got bad draws in both singles and doubles, so he'll be lucky to advance one round in either.  And, if Norrie/Statham advance, they'll likely play the top seeded French players Halys and Lamasine. Play has started in both, but Cam's not on the schedule yet, so I'm guessing tomorrow.  The hard courts are right next to the Pacific Ocean - I've seen a pic.  New Caledonia is a French "special collectivity" known for a multi-cultural population specializing in French cuisine and boutiques and "dazzling lagoons."

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Norrie's singles match is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. (CST) (10:00 a.m. New Caledonia time) and his doubles match is the 4th match scheduled on the same court (probably around midnight).  Given that Boston Frog neither organized nor financed a TFH trip for any of us, the best coverage that will be available will be at the ATP Challenger site (or here).  New Caledonia has an interesting history in both WWI and WWII.  In WWII, the local Kanak people provided the bulk of the Oceanic forces to the French army fighting in Europe despite a then-population of only about 56,000 - they also provided assistance in attacking German islands in the South Pacific region.  In WWII, the archipelago served as a land-based aircraft carrier for American troops/pilots that was especially significant in the Battle of the Coral Sea.  This was only after the then-Governor tried to ally with Vichy until thousands of Kanak living in the bush descended upon Noumea and demanded that the government instead ally with De Gaulle.  And, in addition to providing naval, ground and air assistance in the Pacific, many locals also served in the African and European theaters as part of the free French forces.   New Caledonia was instrumental in keeping the sea lanes open to Australia and resisted Japanese incursions throughout the war.

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They're warming up in sunny New Caledonia in 85 degree temperature.  The matches in Auckland today (the women have already started) were rained out.  If I were playing against a deaf player, I'd dink and lob a lot (because he couldn't hear how hard I was hitting).  Of course, dinking and lobbing is my game anyway;).  Yes, New Caledonia is 17 hours ahead of CST, so it's already tomorrow (like it is virtually always, especially compared to PST).  They're playing on the Anne Marie Morault court, who was the tennis-playing wife of the head of the electric utility in New Caledonia.  Lee and Norrie have never played and Lee may well be the toughest opponent Cam has ever played at least in terms of ATP rankings (Lee is #149). But the British betting sites are calling this pick'em.   Lee will serve first.

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13 minutes ago, Jared said:

They're warming up in sunny New Caledonia in 85 degree temperature.  The matches in Auckland today (the women have already started) were rained out.  If I were playing against a deaf player, I'd dink and lob a lot (because he couldn't hear how hard I was hitting).  Of course, dinking and lobbing is my game anyway;).  Yes, New Caledonia is 17 hours ahead of CST, so it's already tomorrow (like it is virtually always, especially compared to PST).  They're playing on the Anne Marie Morault court, who was the tennis-playing wife of the head of the electric utility in New Caledonia.  Lee and Norrie have never played and Lee may well be the toughest opponent Cam has ever played at least in terms of ATP rankings. But the British betting sites are calling this pick'em.   Lee will serve first.

There's betting on this? 

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1-1:(.  Ouch - Cam also not serving well.  Lee was born deaf.  If you want to follow the match and not rely on me, go to the ATP Challenger website and click on LiveScore ap.

2-1!!  Cam saves two game points and gets the break after two deuces.  Lee at only 44% on first serves.

3-1!  Cameron holds and settles down on his serve.

3-2.  Lee still not serving well and Norrie gets to two deuces but can't break.

4-2!  Cam holds.  Norrie has become a HUGE fan favorite in GBR because of how he's rocketed up the rankings this year - that's probably why the British are betting on him and it's pick'em because the oddsmakers like to make money.

5-2!!!  Norrie breaks for the third time out of four and is up two breaks and is serving for the first set!! 

5-3.  Arrrrrrgh.  Duckhee breaks at love, including Cam's first doublefault.

5-4.  Cam gets two set points but can't convert and Lee holds after multitudinous deuces.  Norrie serves for the set again.

6-4!!!  Cam takes the first set after losing just one point on his serve!  On to the 2nd set...

 

Meanwhile, USC leads 27-21 at halftime in the Rose Bowl.

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