Friday, December 11, 2009

I Have Said it before ITF Junior Rankings are sometimes Mickey Mouse

Looking at the Orange Bowl which is widely recognized as one of the most important junior tennis championships in the world, in the 18s Boys draw, firstly I wanted to see how the New Zealand contingent did, Grinter,MCLACHLAN and Franks all made first round exits.I noticed that a Wild Card Jack Sock(USA) knocked out the second seed in straight sets. Sock currently has a ITF Junior Ranking of around 499, Ben MCLACHLAN is the highest New Zealander of a combined total 67 on the World junior ITF Boys ranking.So obviously Sock's ITF junior ranking did not warrant a seeding in this event......shame for the second seed . So I investigated further to find Jack Sock had just won a US Men's Futures event.Sock is born in 1992.He has an ATP Men's ranking of 699 a career high.Included in the futures success was a win over Michael Venus who was born in New Zealand but is listed as USA, Venus has had a great US College career.While juniors sit this side of the world and leap frog up the ITF junior Ladder players like Sock have really left the Juniors to make a name for themselves on the Senior tour.We need our top juniors mixing with the "cream of the crop" not playing amongst themselves in Fiji and New all makes well and good for Mickey Mouse rankings. Check the Orange Bowl results here


  1. I agree Steve, more of the NZ juniors should be playing Open events. In my junior days in Australia the big tournaments had Open and Junior sections at the same time and all the good players over 16 played both and definately once you were 17-18 you were entering more mens and futures than juniors. On the flip side I'm sure it has been an amazing experience for Ben, Riki etc.. to play in the Grand Slams even if they were juniors. But it just shows that we shouldn't get too carried away with junior results.

    My final thought on this is that in NZ there are too few Open tournaments. There should be one every weekend and then the 16yr olds could slug it out with us older guys more regularly and I'm sure they would learn from it. I mean really what does it take to put on an Open tournament. Maybe $1000 prize money and a few volunteers for the weekend.

    It is unbelievable to me that none of the Clubs in Christchurch have their own Open tournament and it seems that neither does Timaru, or Blenheim. There seem to be very few in Wellington, and Aukland only has those few money events. I think Caro Bowl and Interclub are great, but the local clubs should all have an open tournament. Tournament play is what the juniors need and I think more seniors would keep playing these events also. I have players here from overseas like you do and I am sure they would play a lot of these events and we could attract more players from overseas to train here if there were more tournaments for them to compete in. This would lift the overall standard of the game in NZ and give the younger players something to aim for. And it is a lot cheaper than going to New Caladonia.

    It is also unfortunate that they have dropped the national teams event cause I think this was a great event where the top juniors had a crack at the top seniors and we older players could sit on the court and help the younger ones out a bit. I think this was good for their development and helped them think about different ways to win.

    Anyway enough said. Nice website Steve.

  2. Thanks Perry , I agree with your comments , more open tournaments are needed here in nz , its what made good juniors great senior players in Aus for sure!

  3. Hi Steve, good work with the blog. Just wanted to leave a comment about my view of tennis. Only recently taking up the sport (2007) I notice many things, which puts latecomers at a disadvantage. Although, it is fair to say that there aren't many people in my position being too old to fit into a junior program but not old enough to be a senior. I find that wanting to improve tends to be a slow crawl and the tennis programs available are not readily available. Sure I do not have aspirations to be the next Roger Federer, however, it does not stop me from enjoying the sport. (The following points you do not have agree with me on). I have found that finding a coach that gives you bang for buck at my age is difficult. Being a University student and graduation around the corner, I have found that wanting to improve in the sport via a coach is too expensive for the hour, with juniors having a rate well below what us "seniors" have to pay for private lessons. Also, I have found that finding a hitting partner with similar current playing level is difficult and have instead resorted to scoping out and asking juniors at my local club. I know there's not much I can do about that but it's an observation nonetheless. Also, sorry for being off topic but with the above posting and the earlier posting about how Junior ITF does not necessarily translate to ATP/WTA, I completely agree with. New Zealand's Top Dog system, also, seems to be flawed, I'm not quite sure where as I haven't had that close look at it (not sure how points are calculated) but it is flawed somehow. Sorry for ramble, great blog, keep it up.