We hear players say it all the time to justify their decision to go to college, but is that the scholarship talking?
How many would go to college without being offered a scholarship?
I know all tennis players aren't created equal, some will have different timelines in which to develop their skill and talents. Maybe all college has to offer is extra time and serves as a buffer. Is there more to it than a buffer? How much coaching and assistance is available towards player development? Has college become more of a "cookie-cutter" approach to win games? Or is it really tailor designed to each player?
Once the college players drink the kool-aid, doesn't it become more difficult to turn pro? How many dual matches are against ranked players? Is college like a "feel good" drug? Wins occur more frequently due to less competition. There's support from teammates, cheering one on. Financial support from college for tuition, meals, accommodations, travel, uniforms, etc. By comparison, turning pro is somewhat the complete opposite.
If that is the case, does college make it that much harder to turn pro?
How many college players really have had success? How many have won a WTA tournament or have been ranked in the top 20?
Burdette, Sanchez, and Gibbs seem to be the top 3 at the moment. Maybe add Irina Falconi to the list, but she went to Georgia Tech and I may be a bit biased
after what they did to Stanford.
Here's an interesting article about Falconi.
Perhaps Burdette's ball striking talent help paved her way to the 3rd round of the US Open that became the deciding factor for her, not Stanford. Perhaps Sanchez is reaping the coaching benefits from Chris Evert, not USC. Still too early to discuss Gibbs, taking it one day at a time. The point is perhaps the current success are merely just exceptions, still early to be determined.
Certainly the USTA provides support to players like Townsend, Min, and possibly to Chirico(?). There seems to be a gap for the rest of the talented players. Maybe it is like Wayne Bryan said that they (USTA) built a half mile bridge over a one mile river.
I like what Billie Jean King's concept with World Team Tennis, but it seems like a mixture of retired pro's, current pro's, and rising stars. Maybe this concept could be applied to both junior and college aged players, to be funded by the USTA along with the major tennis sponsors. I get the feeling that the existing system has holes in it and college has a hole that can fill Lake Michigan.
Not sure if I am just ranting or wondering with curiosity...perhaps a bit of both.
Chime in with your thoughts and comments.