Great article. I wished he'd have touched on the increase in the wild card spots as well, because the decrease in opportunities is even more dramatic when you account for all spots reserved for USTA's chosen ones.
It's really sad what's happening. Unfortunatley, the lack of a US champion in recent years seems to be leading to a massive loss in perspective by the leadership at the USTA.
Fundementally, what they have lost sight of us that junior tennis is an end in and of itself. It's the journey, not the destination. 99.9% of junior players will never be pros. Pro champions are a by product, not the objective. "Player Development" has hijacked the whole junior tennis program in their ill conceived top-down Soviet-Era style approach to create a champion. When they get out of the way America will start producing champions again the old fashion way. Through competition. And in the process thousands.of more juniors will have fun, fulfilling experiences in national junior competition and then go to college and then not go pro and that's ok.