#1 Junior Taylor Townsend "Benched" by the USTA

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by Tcbtennis, Sep 6, 2012.

  1. Tcbtennis

    Tcbtennis Professional

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    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444273704577635530959121916.html

    The article states that the USTA Player Development asked Taylor, the #1 ranked junior in the world, to withdraw from the US Open junior tournament because she is too fat. They "benched" her, meaning that they didn't pay any of her expenses towards the tournament as they are paying for all the other USTA Development juniors. Her mother is paying her way through the US Open.

    The USTA is only letting her play enough tennis to keep her timing and have doubled her fitness regimen.

    She is 16 years old and definitely not as fit as should could be but she is still so young and has time to get her weight in better control. I hope that their drastic punishment doesn't lead to an eating disorder (she is at the perfect age that this could occur) or try to create an underweight stick figure like Ivanovic or Kournikova. She has been successful in her junior career and so far her weight hasn't hindered her. What do you think?
     
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  2. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    Says it all.

    "Townsend, who possesses a sunny disposition, isn't holding a grudge against the USTA. "I've gotten a lot of great opportunities, great fitness, great coaching," she said. "I'm doing everything that they ask me to do and being professional about everything." Shelia Townsend, who moved to Florida with her daughter and works in the Palm Beach school system, agreed the USTA academy had been good for her daughter. "It has afforded her a lot of opportunities," she said."
     
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  3. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

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    It's a shame that the USTA would so something like that. Teens these days are quite sensitive to appearance criticism. It's also a billion times worse when it gets published in the Wall Street Journal. Talk about screwing the kid up mentally. Eating disorder here we come.
    I have a feeling that her [Townsend] quotes are being fed to her by the USTA.
     
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  4. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    You`re right. They shouldn't be concerned with her health.
     
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  5. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Time for PMac to go.

    What I find baffling is how a quasi-government organization can almost infringe on someone's rights and yet PMac appears to pose as such a nice guy and get away with this as some kind of tough love.

    People of some demographics are naturally chunky and the USTA should be sent a strong message with a multi-million dollar civil rights lawsuit. And there are others of any ethnicity, especially women, whose genetics and hormones make them fat.

    The only situations where this kind of discrimination is allowed is in law enforcement, firefighters, and the military, and some other very specific and legally-upheld situations.

    Tennis is about who wins, not whether she is thin or fat.
     
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  6. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

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    They should be concerned with her health, but in the sense of physical health (i.e. body, injury prevention, etc.). Never should they have anything to say about her weight (unless of course she is obese).

    I looked up some pictures of her and she just looks like a teen going through the hormonal stage of life, she's by no means fat, not even chubby, she's just a little soft. No reason for her to be benched.

    I hope that she files a civil suit. What a disgrace.
     
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  7. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    I guess Serena shouldn't play either.

    Smacks of a lawsuit.
     
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  8. SoCal10s

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    USTA= control freaks .. want to control everything their way..
     
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  9. tball2day

    tball2day Semi-Pro

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    PR 101 folks...don't bite the hand that feeds you.

    All they can do is smile and agree on the outside regardless of how they feel on the inside. Otherwise they jeopardize future opportunities - expenses, WCs....all they can do is say the USTA is wonderful, they aren't stupid. But we would be naive and foolish to think this is how they actually feel. Only those on the inside know that.

    edit..that sounds like one fabricated response.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
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  10. JW10S

    JW10S Hall of Fame

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    As has been proven over and over being a successful junior does not always translate to being a successful pro. She is too heavy, and it will hinder her later when she turns pro. I can't see her playing juniors anymore after this year. She needs to deal with it now or it will only be a bigger problem later. She has talent, but I agree with the USTA on this issue--they are looking ahead.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
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  11. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    Even if she does need to deal with it, I can't see why it could not have waited until after the Open. Seems she earned the right to be there. I can't imagine what was going through their head on this one. Seems like a real petty move.
     
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  12. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    This is NOT a fair thing that USTA is doing to her. This is just a power trip by USTA.
     
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  13. Dreamcastin

    Dreamcastin Rookie

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    you dont prohibit someone from playing because of a weak backhand when they compensate for this with the rest of their game. why should fitness be any diff. if shes number #1, shes number #1. why try and hold a player back. reeks of B.S. to me.
     
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  14. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    If you read the article again, she asked USTA for a (women's) US open main draw or qualifying wildcard. USTA denied that and wanted her to work on fitness. She recently lost in a first round quali pro tournament.

    It sounds to me that Taylor wants to make a jump to the pro level. USTA said not yet... you've gotta deal with your fitness first.
    IMO, very similar issue with Donald Young...no. 1 junior making a transition. Fitness is important for her game and the tourn level. I could understand why USTPD wanted her well prepared for that but how's the "fitness" issue presented to her (and the media)...not sure it's right.
    She's too good for the junior ITF by now.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2012
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  15. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    I wish the media wouldn't print controversial stories concerning juniors but I guess that's what selling papers is all about. If there's a positive aspect to the story, TT will have to step up and earn her way onto the WTA tour.

    She hasn't had the best results in the last two junior slams. She lost in the round of 16 at Jr Wimbledon in straight sets to a 15 year old. She lost in round of 16 at Jr French and the the last two sets were 2-6, 1-6. In both of those slams the #1 junior in the world nearly lost in the second round (2 close 3rd set wins). So I'm not convinced that she's streamrolling through the junior tour. At times, she shows brilliance on the junior tour but she's not ready for the WTA as evidenced by her bad loss to 16 year old Vicky Duvall in Vancouver (a 6-2, 6-1 loss).

    They actually did her a favor by not giving her a WC. Great kid with tremendous upside -- I hope she knocks it out of the park.
     
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  16. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    As an investor's viewpoint (USTPD's), she's already been funded to all the junior slams. Getting fit and play domestic Futures, Challenger, WCs to some events would make sense moneywise. How much $$$ you think that junior AO cost? But again USTPD really needs that to show result and ...boost American's confidence.
    To fund her for another round of junior slams would perhaps add more trophies for the family.

    Hope this "benched" conflict would not make her change from the pro path to college.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2012
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  17. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    Not a chance. Perhaps a commitment path.
     
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  18. tennisforlife77

    tennisforlife77 Rookie

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    Whatever the circumstances i think it is generally accepted that coaches need to tread very carefully when it comes to weight issues and teenage girls. For this to leak out into the public domain via the WSJ is shocking and it's even more shocking that PMac would grace the article with a comment at all.
     
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  19. Alfy

    Alfy New User

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    Of course some of the pro's training in NY, like Oudin and Lepchenko, are outstanding fitness examples :)
    Also, since she does all her training under USTA's supervision, how she ended up in this "situation" to begin with ...
     
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  20. tball2day

    tball2day Semi-Pro

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    ................
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2012
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  21. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    Whoa. Maybe this is the source of the basic disconnect in views that often appears on this Board.

    I consider the USTA a private organization. I don't think I have rights to be entitled to anything beyond my membership subscription deal.

    What "rights" of Taylor Townsend are being infringed?

    Bare arms?
     
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  22. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    Perhaps this helps explain why Donald Young's family has been so leary of the USTA.

    Who knows what really goes on behind closed doors.

    This is a completely inappropriate way to treat the #1 junior player in the world.

    It's not as if every other american female junior or pro supported by the USTA is in great physical shape -- Melanie Oudin for example.

    Melanie never showed the promise Taylor has and the USTA keeps supporting her anyway.
     
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  23. WARPWOODIE

    WARPWOODIE Rookie

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    Three US Girls move to the quartefinals of US Open Juniors. Taylor is one of them, seeded at #1. Let's go Taylor....make P-Mac eat crow!
     
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  24. kme5150

    kme5150 Rookie

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    There is no doubt this is a powerplay by P-Mac and company. Taylor's family knows that the USTA controls the majority of the wildcards for young Americans and without their help in the beginning of her pro career it will be a long road. That is why they are taking the high road, it is a smart move.

    The Townsend's are now going to do what the majority of the country is doing and pay their own travel expenses. She is still going to get receive training for free and still be able to hit with great players and build her game, which is better than most.

    Do I think this is wrong? Yes. Her weight didn't just happen on it's own, she has been there training day in and day out with them. To deny the #1 junior in the world a US Open qualifying wildcard is just insane.
     
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  25. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    I agree.

    It really does seem more and more like Patrick is the wrong guy to be running USTA junior development.

    He seems to be very immature in his decisions and some of the comments he has made lately about US players.
     
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  26. Tcbtennis

    Tcbtennis Professional

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    When I came across this article I was quite surprised that I hadn't heard anything about it before. I think that this is a pretty big deal. The #1 American junior who is also the #1 junior in the world and a source of pride for the USTA Player Development is "benched". There are stories about other American juniors on the usopen.org website. Then I remembered that the US Open is a USTA run enterprise and that it can control the flow of information.

    I don't see any basis for a lawsuit as others here have stated. I just feel bad for Taylor that her weight has become an issue for them and that the USTA believes that not supporting her for her home junior slam is an appropriate solution. And as a former teenage girl and mother of a current teenage girl, I believe that the quotes that are attributed to Taylor are not thoroughly genuine. She will likely carry some resentment towards the USTA for this.

    I believe that fitness is very important for this sport and the USTA obviously knows more about her fitness level than I do. But it is quite possible that she is carrying baby fat and that her natural shape is not to be a svelte and lean Sloane Stephens type. She is not obese and messing around with a teenage girl's head about her weight is just not a good idea.
     
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  27. WARPWOODIE

    WARPWOODIE Rookie

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    #27
  28. widmerpool

    widmerpool Rookie

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    Does anybody have a picture of US Open WC recipient Jack Sock with his shirt off?

    He has man boobs and a beer belly. It's unreal. He must have loads of talent to win with that body.

    I assume he's been warned he won't get another WC unless he gets in shape.
     
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  29. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    I wouldn't be surprised if there was more to this story than meets the eye.

    Perhaps Pat McEnroe is angry with the family for some other reason and using her "weight" as an excuse to punish them.

    Because the excuse of her weight for not supporting her in the US Open just really doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.
     
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  30. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    Virtually all professionally coached sport teams have weight guidelines for all players; show up at training camp 20 lbs overweight and you're going to lose the weight or lose playing time (or be cut.) It's not as if her recent results demonstrate an ability to play well at this weight. USTA is well within its rights to select and financially support players based on the obvious ability and fitness categories.
     
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  31. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    How's that working?
    She showed great promise... and perhaps the poster child for why the USTA should be concerned with player weight/fitness.
     
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  32. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    Um, who said they shouldn't be concerned about her fitness?

    Being concerned about her weight/fitness is a bit different than refusing to support the #1 player in the world at her home slam and then publicly talking about this teenager's supposed weight problem.

    Certainly does not seem like the actions of an organization with Taylor's best interest in mind.

    There is probably a lot more to this story than we know.

    As for Melanie, nope...her game never showed the type of promise that would make her a top pro player. She was a very good junior player but she simply does not have the weapons to compete at a high professional level...as we have (unfortunately and repeatedly) seen.

    Also, Melanie (along with several other USTA supported female players) is not the picture of fitness now and was even more out of shape with a "pot belly" in years past.

    I don't remember the USTA ever humiliating Melanie about her weight as they have done to Taylor.

    Not quite sure what that means other than you watch too much Dr. Phil.

    Like I said, perhaps this glimpse into the nastiness that the USTA/P.McEnroe seems to direct at some of their players gives us some insight on the strained relationship between the Youngs and the USTA.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2012
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  33. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    DY has been on a total skid this year...thanks mom. Soon to be in the top 500 in the world. IMHO the parents completely mismanaged this once talented kid. Something to learn from there.
     
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  34. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    I'm not disagreeing with you.

    But there seems to have been some bad blood between the Youngs and the USTA for some time.

    We've heard P-McEnroe's side of it, but we've never heard from the Youngs.

    Perhaps this episode with Taylor gives a glimpse of the sort of stuff the USTA does to certain players behind closed doors.

    I am sure there is a lot of stuff that we will never know about these situations.
     
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  35. barringer97

    barringer97 Rookie

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    The most telling part of the article is this:

    "It all kind of came as a shock to us..."

    Might be some communication issues, gotta fault the USTA on this one...
     
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  36. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    First, USTA has nothing to do with a government. It is a private organization with private funding. They can do whatever they want.

    Second, not choosing to fund someone is NOT infringing on ANYONE's right. She can eat as much as she wants any time she wants, if that is her desire. Nobody can stop her from doing that. So, let's not go overboard and start talking about phantom rights infringement.

    USTA has made it CLEAR that their aim is to produce top flight pros. They do not believe this young lady is on that track due to her fitness. That is their call no matter how much you find it distasteful.

    Look, becoming a pro is very very difficult and you need every advantage you can get. We are not talking about some local high school player here. If she is not willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to get to the top, USTA does need to make a decision on whether or not they are spending their money wisely.
     
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  37. klu375

    klu375 Semi-Pro

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    She just lost.
    I question the timing of this article - to add more pressure on her?
     
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  38. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    It's very unfortunate.

    Hope the USTA is not going to end up destroying one of the best prospects we have.
     
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  39. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    I think you need to re-read the article. She asked them for a wildcard for the main tournament and they denied her, which is within their rights. But they couldn't deny her entry into the Junior Event, that not their decision, so they tried to strong arm her into not playing by refusing to support her (pay her travel expenses, etc). Again, within their rights, nobody's civil rights have been violated, there's no basis for a lawsuit, etc but it just seems petty, and well, USTA PD's typical heavy handed approach to things. I mean what's the point ? She's probably on her way back to Florida this weekend. Is she now not going to make it as a professional becuase she missed a week of conditioning to play at a tournament she earned the right to play in ?

    Also, as her results show, she is not too good for the Junior ITF.

    I don't disagree that she needs to be more fit. I just don't think trying to bully her into missing the Open was they way to go about it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2012
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  40. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

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    How is she not good for the Junior ITF based on her results? She's ranked #1 in the world, won Australian Open singles and doubles, won Wimbledon doubles, and was a doubles semifinalist at the French doubles.
    You're standards for being good enough seem awfully high.
     
    #40
  41. Sentinel

    Sentinel Bionic Poster

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    I hope your local club doesn't debar you from playing. Get slim fast, suresh.

    :D
     
    #41
  42. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    Does the USTA provide meals?
     
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  43. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    Whoa, slow down. I never said say she wasn't good enough for the Junior ITF, I was just saying she wasn't too good to be playing ITF's still. I know her results, sorry, but she has had some struggles this year too, french open and Wimbledon performances were uninspiring.
     
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  44. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

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    Actually you did say she wasn't too good yet for the Junior ITF. Look at your first comment.
    Yes, she has struggled on clay, don't all American's struggle on clay?
     
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  45. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    I agree with the other guy. She is not took good for the junior ITF at this point but she may be in another 6 months or year.

    She is still getting competative junior matches and she is still losing to other top juniors.

    There is no point in rushing to the pro level yet.
     
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  46. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    America had player a few years ago with much promise, and a weight issue. I know for a fact this player was held back by never fully getting a handle on her weight problem. Although the entire situation for Townsend is unfair on the surface, I gotta believe for the long-term if she slims down she'll be better for it. Throw her into the fire now and if she loses early and often at the pro level, then loses confidence and does not lose the weight, she may easily fad away. I hope the best for her. The only bad thing I see here is the matter is public and she's a teenager and like most sensitive to body image.
     
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  47. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    all of that is true, but it should never have come to this where the USTA reps are making public statements about a teenager's weight and then seemingly trying to take punative measures.
     
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  48. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    It's ashame it's public. How it got there and how the story broke who knows. It is a newspaper article and interpreting it from here and with no direct conversation with both sides leads us to speculate.
     
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  49. kme5150

    kme5150 Rookie

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    Her mother and P-Mac both commented to the press, stupid on both parts.

    Taylor and her mother should have waited until she was out of the tournament to talk to the press. It is hard enough for the #1 seed to compete with the pressure as it is, let alone with this kind of thing hanging out there.

    As much as I am no fan of P-Mac or the USTA PD system, I don't think for one minute that the USTA told her that she has a few weeks to get into shape or she isn't going.

    Weight was never brought up once in the article. With muscle weighing more than fat it would be a fitness issue, not weight.
     
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  50. goober

    goober Legend

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    What is the basis of the lawsuit? If you don't want to follow their rules, don't take their money. It is not like she still can't play in tournaments. She can still play in as many as she wants just like anybody else. The USTA just pulled funding for them. I am sure there are plenty of nonfunded players that would be glad to get money from the USTA if all they had to do was stay in shape.

    BTW Serena is a perfect example of how you can develop and do whatever you want (like skip junior tournaments) outside of the USTA.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2012
    #50

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