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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-02-2014, 03:54 AM Thread Starter
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Thoughts on the American Juniors

Here are some of my thoughts on the juniors, from what I have seen this year. Saw Mmoh and Fritz the least. Feel free to chime in.

Jared Donaldson
Age: 18 (09 Oct 1996)
Height: 6-2/6-3
Style: Aggressive baseliner.
Strengths: backhand, no real weaknesses from the baseline.
Things to work on: mental game, net game, serve.

Ernesto Escobedo
Age: 18 (04 Jul 1996)
Height: 6-2/6-3
Style: Aggressive baseliner, similar to JD but not as versatile.
Strengths: serve, forehand
Things to work on: backhand, mental game, net game.

Stefan Kozlov
Age: 16 (01 Feb 1998)
Height: 5-10/5-11
Style: Steady all court game.
Strengths: backhand, net game, variety
Things to work on: forehand, serve, more aggression

Francis Tiafoe
Age: 16 (20 Jan 1998)
Height: 6-1/6-2
Style: Aggressive baseliner
Strengths: forehand, athleticism (defense to offense)
Things to work on: forehand technique, serve, mental game, backhand
Has most question marks going forward (techniques)

Michael Mmoh
Age: 16 (10 Jan 1998)
Height: 6-1/6-2
Style: Offensive game
Strengths: serve, forehand, athleticism (defense to offense)
Things to work on: forehand, backhand, staying closer to baseline, more aggression (can get into ala Monfils passive mode)

Taylor Fritz
Age: 17 (28 Oct 1997)
Height: 6-3/6-4
Style: Offensive game
Strengths: serve, forehand
Things to work on: backhand, staying closer to the baseline

Donaldson and Kozlov are the steadiest from the baseline and have the best point constructions (thanks to their advanced backhand). They’re also the best returners.

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Last edited by SapELee; 11-02-2014 at 03:59 AM.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-22-2014, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Thoughts on the American Juniors

Like I said in Mmoh's thread, after the last couple of matches I think his backhand is better than forehand (seems more penetrative when he flattens it out cleanly). The FH is not as explosive. The serve is probably the best of the 98 group.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-23-2014, 07:24 AM
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Re: Thoughts on the American Juniors

Sap, did you leave Rubin off of this list because he went to college or because you think he's a notch below these guys as a prospect? I think he'll be at least as good as Tim Smyzcek. He has the elite quickness and mental makeup to overcome his size.

I suspect that Opelka will eventually be grouped with these guys as well. He seems like an Isner clone. Results-wise I believe he's ahead of where Isner was at the same age.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-23-2014, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Thoughts on the American Juniors

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Sap, did you leave Rubin off of this list because he went to college or because you think he's a notch below these guys as a prospect? I think he'll be at least as good as Tim Smyzcek. He has the elite quickness and mental makeup to overcome his size.

I suspect that Opelka will eventually be grouped with these guys as well. He seems like an Isner clone. Results-wise I believe he's ahead of where Isner was at the same age.
I originally made the post for twitter and I was trying not to make the image too small so I left him and other players off.

The guys I listed are already a pro or are likely to go pro. I'm surprised Rubin skipped the fall collegiate tournaments to focus on the pro events. Probably not a good impression on his teammates.

I have never seen Opelka play so I left him off. Haven't seen enough of Baughman to give my thoughts. I think Paul and Rybakov will go to college.

Rhyne Williams
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-20-2014, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Thoughts on the American Juniors

My post on 10 American Teenagers to watch in 2015 http://justdroptheball.blogspot.com/...h-in-2015.html

Rhyne Williams
Brian Baker Welcome Back
Jared Donaldson



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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-15-2016, 06:25 PM
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Re: Thoughts on the American Juniors

It's fun to look back on this now. Tommy Paul wasn't even on the list and now he's one of the best prospects in tennis. Opelka emerged in 2015. Fritz has exploded. Donaldson and Kozlov have stagnated. Escobedo hasn't made as much of a jump as one might have expected. Rubin has made progress.

Then there are guys who have sort of come out of nowhere: Ulises Blanch, Brandon Holt, JJ Wolf, and Christopher Eubanks. I haven't seen much of Holt, but Blanch, Eubanks, and Wolf are all very intriguing to me. If I were to rank the top-10 American prospects, I would give serious thought to listing those three in the 5-8 range, behind Fritz, Tiafoe, Paul, and Opelka.

By the way, Liam Caruana surprised me at the Australian Open. He could be a Bjorn Fratengelo type.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-17-2016, 11:38 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Thoughts on the American Juniors

Eubanks, as in Christopher Eubanks...the one who got destroyed by Stepanek on his comeback trail? That's my only memory of him. Blanch has a good serve but his ground game, unfortunately doesn't impress me as much right now (so hit and miss). I am hesitant to rank them ahead of Donaldson. Jared has his growing pains, mostly mental, but he is a better ballstriker.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-17-2016, 11:48 PM
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Re: Thoughts on the American Juniors

Quote:
Originally Posted by SapELee View Post
Here are some of my thoughts on the juniors, from what I have seen this year. Saw Mmoh and Fritz the least. Feel free to chime in.

Jared Donaldson
Age: 18 (09 Oct 1996)
Height: 6-2/6-3
Style: Aggressive baseliner.
Strengths: backhand, no real weaknesses from the baseline.
Things to work on: mental game, net game, serve.

Ernesto Escobedo
Age: 18 (04 Jul 1996)
Height: 6-2/6-3
Style: Aggressive baseliner, similar to JD but not as versatile.
Strengths: serve, forehand
Things to work on: backhand, mental game, net game.

Stefan Kozlov
Age: 16 (01 Feb 1998)
Height: 5-10/5-11
Style: Steady all court game.
Strengths: backhand, net game, variety
Things to work on: forehand, serve, more aggression

Francis Tiafoe
Age: 16 (20 Jan 1998)
Height: 6-1/6-2
Style: Aggressive baseliner
Strengths: forehand, athleticism (defense to offense)
Things to work on: forehand technique, serve, mental game, backhand
Has most question marks going forward (techniques)

Michael Mmoh
Age: 16 (10 Jan 1998)
Height: 6-1/6-2
Style: Offensive game
Strengths: serve, forehand, athleticism (defense to offense)
Things to work on: forehand, backhand, staying closer to baseline, more aggression (can get into ala Monfils passive mode)

Taylor Fritz
Age: 17 (28 Oct 1997)
Height: 6-3/6-4
Style: Offensive game
Strengths: serve, forehand
Things to work on: backhand, staying closer to the baseline

Donaldson and Kozlov are the steadiest from the baseline and have the best point constructions (thanks to their advanced backhand). They’re also the best returners.
a nice introduction for me.



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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-18-2016, 04:47 AM
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Re: Thoughts on the American Juniors

Quote:
Originally Posted by SapELee View Post
Eubanks, as in Christopher Eubanks...the one who got destroyed by Stepanek on his comeback trail? That's my only memory of him. Blanch has a good serve but his ground game, unfortunately doesn't impress me as much right now (so hit and miss). I am hesitant to rank them ahead of Donaldson. Jared has his growing pains, mostly mental, but he is a better ballstriker.
Eubanks is 9th in the ITA rankings. He's played well over the fall and spring semesters. His serve and forehand are big weapons. It may take a while, but I like his upside. He and McDonald are the two best American collegiate players in my opinion.

Blanch is very error prone, but he can hit the ball explosively, especially on the forehand side, and his serve is one of the single best shots of all the young Americans. His recent results are encouraging. But yeah, he needs to become more consistent from the baseline and develop a more versatile game.

I would probably put Donaldson 5th in my rankings. I still like him; I'm just a little concerned about his lackluster form.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-20-2016, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Thoughts on the American Juniors

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I would probably put Donaldson 5th in my rankings. I still like him; I'm just a little concerned about his lackluster form.
I was concerned as well but after watching his loss against Nishioka in Memphis, I think he will be fine. Struggled with short balls and big points, they can only be improved right?

Rhyne Williams
Brian Baker Welcome Back
Jared Donaldson



http://justdroptheball.blogspot.com/
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