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Cummings and Goings XVI by Jim Cummings

November 28, 2008 04:51 AM

The USTA is concerned about the lack of US players at the top and is doing something about it. Patrick McEnroe has been brought in to head up and revamp the player development program and, in 2009, the USTA is increasing the budget for that program by 50%. One of the things McEnroe will be doing that I am particularly interested in is engineering a shift away from muscle tennis to movement and preparation. This will be a welcome change from what quite frankly can be a boring game to watch. Imagine, US players being able to stay in a point, keep the ball in play and then set up a winning shot. I would love to see another Frank Parker (1) emerge with a game as smooth as silk. You have to have some age on you to know who Frank Parker is and that is an advantage I have. From 1933 to 1949, Frank Parker was in the top 10 US rankings and in 1944 and 1945, headed the list of American men players. In the early 1960s, I worked in Chicago and lived on the far north side. During the winter, the only indoor tennis available in my area was the Broadway Armory on its wooden basketball floors. I know of no tennis surface faster than a basketball court; not even some of the grass courts I have played on. Next to our Sunday group was a foursome that included Frank Parker. He was a marvel to watch. I never saw him hit a shot where he wasn't in position with his racket back, waiting, yes, waiting, to hit the ball. Good luck, Patrick. I am waiting.
 
The Tennis Recruiting Network
 
Julie Bouchelle and Doug Wrege met and married.  So? Men and women have been meeting and marrying ever since Adam and Eve. But their marriage to each other is not what this story is all about. This story is about a marriage within a marriage.  Doug had a PHD in physics. Julie is a tennis aficionada. Observing Julie slaving away on all the paperwork that running a tennis tournament use to engender, Doug offered to write a computer program that would do away with all that drudgery. All he asked is that Julie write down what she would like to see such a program produce and then to leave him alone for 6 months. Thus was born Tournament Management System, the bellwether computer program that revolutionized the way tennis tournaments are run.

I first met Julie at the National Championships at Forest Hills back in the 70s. She and I were fellow officials and in talking with her, learned that Julie was originally from Charleston, WV and that we had both played in the Western Maryland Championships at Mountain Lake Park. What impressed me about Julie at the time, as it does now, was her clarity of thought and expression. Our paths crossed many time in the years to follow, most recently at the National 16s and 18s that were held at the Woodmont Tennis Club in Rockville, MD.
 
A few weeks ago, I received an email from Julie telling me about TennisRecruiting.Net (TRN), the website she and Doug had launched back in 1997 designed to enable juniors to compete at the college of their choice and to provide the premier online experience for amateur junior tennis. Naturally, I went there and was amazed at the wealth of information it contained. TRN is primarily for juniors hoping to play collegiate tennis and for college coaches looking for recruits, but it is of interest to all of us who like to follow junior tennis. I recommend it to you.

(1) Footnotes re:  Frank Parker:  a.) Milwaukee, WI native.  b.) Inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1966. c.) Book about him:  “Frank Parker: Champion in the Golden Age of Tennis” (Paperback) by Cynthia Beardsley (Author) d.) Each year, the WTA awards the top junior female and male players the Frank Parker Award, along with a copy of the book. For a complete list of Frank Parker Award winners, click on About Us, Awards or click here.
 
By:  Jim Cummings 11/25/2008

Jim Cummings Bio:
   Born in Marinette, WI
   Boyhood friend of the Cook family
   Played varsity tennis for UW-Madison in the 50s
   Officiated at over 25 US Opens as a chair and line umpire
   Served on USTA's Rules Committee when Jack Stahr and Nick Powel were Chairs
   Active senior player and Referee
   Presently helps edit the Friend At Court
   zjimc@msn.com

 

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