Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Off to Vegas

Our local 4.5 teams will be jetting off to Vegas tomorrow for Nationals, which begins on Friday morning. The guys will have just about all of their key players. The players have been practicing and should be in good form. There may even be a surprise or two in the lineups over the weekend.

Red and Freeman will hopefully be giving me updates, probably as things are going on, so I will be sure to keep everyone informed. Hopefully Betsie will chime in with some good news as well.

HTA season is in full swing. I've only glanced at results a couple of times, but as far as I can tell the most interesting team seems to be the Deucebags, who have added some talent in an effort to help offset the expected loss of Aadrian Hasker next season. Alex Beaux and his top notch serve should definitely help. Crafty Huy "DJ" Pham has made his reappearance and is now rated 4.0. I heard a rumor that one of their players played on the infamous Backesto team in California, but I can't find any record of that and was apparently misinformed.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Lots of Action this Weekend...

Lots of action this weekend around the city, state and country...

Top Items are:
Updates from 5.0 and 4.0 Nationals
Updates from Mixed Sectionals in Corpus
Houston Fall Festival

Edits in red to be factually correct.

Men's 5.0 Nationals
The Houston team that is based out of Copperfield made the journey to Indian Wells this weekend to represent Texas and did AWESOME. They were undefeated in pool play, going up against a tough team from AZ that was also 3-0 on Sat afternoon. Today they played the semi-final and won against Florida 2-1, but came up just short in the final against the team from NC. Every one of these matches was 2-1 this weekend. I can only imagine the nail biting involved in watching that last line finish!

Men's 4.0 Nationals
The team from Dallas (Wild Dallas) went 3-1 in pool play. They lost one of their matches to New England and thought they were done, only to have the team from Puerto Rico knock of New England to propel Texas into play on Sunday based on set differential. They came up against the eventual champ Eastern in the semis and lost 4-1. Three of the lines went to breakers. They won the "feel-good" 3rd place match against Florida. Props to this team. This was the team that edged out Freeman's 4.0 team in the final back in August. Word has it they were w/o one of their top guys who was at his sister's wedding. Props to that guy for making the right long term decision.

I don't have much a ladies' update from the Texas team as they are not from Htown and were eliminated in pool play. The full update can be found on the USTA site here.

Mixed Sectionals 2009 - Corpus

Mixed sectionals were held this weekend in Corpus. For those who have not played in Corpus before they have several nice facilities around town (THANKS HEB!) and it is ALWAYS windy.

7.0 Mixed - Tran gets the trip to Nationals
Our own Houston team that is built from some of SAP and Freeman's Hurricane won the 7.0 flight this weekend and will represent Texas at Nationals. They went 3-0 in pool play and then squeaked by in the semis and finals to win. Way to go Mike and team!

8.0 Mixed
Larry's Copperfield team is making a return trip to Corpus. This guy has a warehouse full of talent out there from Copperfield. They went 2-1 in pool play losing their first one to to Austin. In the end the just came up short. The Kingwood team representing NoHo was also in this flight. They were the whipping boy (and girl) of this flight as they only went with 3 of their women. Too bad as they had a good team this summer. Who makes the schedule and puts Houston and NoHo in the same flight. What a bonehead move by USTA-Texas.

9.0 Mixed
The Mason Creek must make their reservations for Corpus when the register for the team at the beginning of the summer. I think this team goes every year. In talking with Monty they were going with 6 people, so playing time would be a non-issue! They took their limited roster and made it all the way into Sunday. The team from Ft Worth that beat them leverages the high/low strategy in mixed - 5.0 men and 4.0 women. The guys from the Ft. Worth team were on the 5.5 team that went to Nationals a while back. Talk about stacked.

Houston Fall Festival

I think this event is cursed with bad weather. I don't have any stats (sure I could correlate past weather with this event) but it seems that every time I sign up for this event my entry fee turns up being a non-tax deductible donation to HTA/USTA. The draws this year seem to be deflated from past. Here are the stats:

2003 - 922 entrants
2004 - 792 entrants
2005 - 1106 entrants
2006 - 622 entrants
2007 - 628 entrants
2008 - 240 entrants (3 weeks post Hurricane Ike)
2009 - 281 entrants

I can discount the 2008 showing b/c of the Hurricane and everyone was in recovery mode, but what explains the 2009 poor showing? There were several conflicts (sectionals, nationals) as outlined above, but this might account for maybe 30 total entrants.

Maybe it has to do with the pricing of events in general. Here are the entry fees for the corresponding years in singles/doubles format:

2003 - $20/$15
2004 - $20/$15
2005 - $22/$15
2006 - $25/$18
2007 - $27/$19
2008 - $27/$16
2009 - $27/$19

Maybe USTA is deriving more revenue per entrant, but decreasing overall tournament revenue. I don't know for sure, but someone has to do something, but it becomes a confidence issue as the people who play regularly will not continue to pay MORE for LESS competition for very long. USTA need to hire a consultant to work out an optimal pricing strategy. I can be contacted at this site and my fees are very nominal ;)

I hope those who toughed it out today get good value for their dollar and don't have to take a day off of work to finish an event.

What's Next.....

The next nationals update will be later this month as the 3.5 nationals are the weekend of the 16th. The next interesting update will be at the end of the month when 4.5 team that Betsy captains and the 4.5 team that is Red and Freeman's birth child will be headed to Tucson (EDIT: Vegas) to represent Houston and Texas. Let's hope they continue the good showing that was started this weekend!