Wednesday, May 29, 2013

July 18, 2012

With Guest: 2012 US Olympic Coach and USTA Head of Men's Tennis: Jay Berger

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Chuck Kriese interviews Jay Berger, 2012 United States Olympic Coach and Director of Men’s Tennis for USTA. This show centers around philosophies and direction of the USTA and the approach that they are taking in trying to find the next top players. Berger’s comments focus around the approach of having players compete for wild cards, taking no short cuts and making sure that youngsters have the right fundamentals as they come up through the ranks. Kriese’s questions contrast USTA philosophies of uniformity in suggesting that best players are made independently and not from a central structure. The weakening structure of college tennis in the United States is a strong part of the program. Berger talks about the difference of college programs in the 80’s when multiple players came out of the college ranks and made it to the pros compared to the present day when very few make it and international players dominate the ranks. Berger states that college tennis in the 1980’s was a big part of USTA player development and more than 20 exceptional players that he knew went on to play at a high professional level or represented their countries in Davis Cup competition. He blames the overregulation and too many rules against working hard as being one of the problems. Kriese states that the three organizations that have a chance to do something about improvement of college tennis could be the NCAA, the ITA and finally the USTA. He states that the NCAA will not as they do not look at college tennis as something important enough to make changes to help players develop into professional players. Most of the rules are for dumbing it down to fit into an agenda that just doesn’t cause much friction or too much effort to keep up with. The ITA is an organization that has too many irons in the fire with D-1, D-2, D-3, NAIA and Junior Colleges; both men and women. He therefore asks Berger for the USTA to be the help that college tennis needs to once again train America’s best.

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