USTA NAMES TOP COLLEGIANS TO U.S. TENNIS TEAMS FOR 2007 PAN AMERICAN GAMES
USTA National Coach Kent Kinnear to Coach Men’s Team,
University of North Carolina’s Brian Kalbas to Coach Women
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., June 26, 2007 – The USTA today named eight top collegiate players to the men’s and women’s tennis teams that will represent the United States at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 13-29. The Pan American Games is the world’s second largest multi-sport event following the Olympic Games. The tennis competition will be held on the clay courts of the Marapendi Club.
The men’s team will feature four of the top 15 collegiate players in the country: Stephen Bass of Notre Dame, Travis Helgeson of Georgia, Todd Paul of Wake Forest and Luke Shields of Boise State. The team will be coached by USTA National Coach Kent Kinnear.
The women’s team is comprised of NCAA champion Audra Cohen of Miami, and three other players ranked among the top 10: Megan Falcon of LSU, Natalie Frazier of Georgia and Kristi Miller of Georgia Tech. The women’s will be led by North Carolina head coach Brian Kalbas.
All nominations are subject to the approval of the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Bass, 22, of Bronxville, N.Y., ended his collegiate career as the No. 10 player in the country. He was recently awarded the 2007 Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s John Van Nostrand Memorial Award, given to an outstanding senior men's player who plans to pursue a professional tennis career upon graduation, and was named the ITA Senior Player of the Year for the Midwest Region. Bass is also a three-time All-Big East selection and the 2007 Big East Performer of the Year.As a junior player, Bass rose to No. 11 in the USTA Boys’ 18s and reached the final of the 2003 USTA Boys’ 18s National Clay Court Championships and won the Florida Gator Bowl and the ITF Canadian Open in 2003. He is currently ranked No. 1158 in the world and reached the semifinals of the USTA Futures in Vero Beach, Fla., last month on clay.
Helgeson, 21, of Overland Park, Kan., finished his junior season ranked No. 11 in singles and No. 19 in doubles. He helped Georgia to an undefeated 32-0 season and its fifth national championship in 2007, having transferred to Georgia after playing two seasons at the University of Texas. Helgeson was named the 2007 ITA Player to Watch for the Southeast Region. Helgeson was a three-time Kansas State High School champion and a three-time All-State performer.He won the singles title at the 2003 USTA Boys’ 18s National Winter Championships and finished third at the 2004 Easter Bowl. He has one ATP point and is ranked No. 1505 in the world.
Paul, 21, of Stamford, Conn., was named the ITA Senior Player of the Year for the Mideast Region. Ranked No. 1 during the season, he ended the year at No. 14. Paul, who served as a practice partner for the U.S. Davis Cup team’s quarterfinal against Spain, finished his Wake Forest career as the school’s all-time leader in singles wins and was the first player in school history to be named All-ACC four straight seasons. Paul was a four-year letter winner at Fairfield Prep in Connecticut and was coached by Brian Barker (James Blake’s coach). He advanced to the round of 16 at the 2004 USTA Boys’ 18s National Championships before falling to eventual champion Scoville Jenkins. Paul is ranked No. 975 in the world and reached the final of the USTA Futures in Godfrey, Ill., last July.
Shields, 22, of Grand Junction, Colo., helped Boise State to a third consecutive WAC Conference championship this year as a junior and was named the 2007 WAC Player of the Year. He finished the collegiate season ranked No. 13 in the country and received the USTA Sportsmanship Award at the 2007 USTA/ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championships. As a junior player, Shields won the 2002 USTA Boys’ 18s National Winter Championships in both singles and doubles, teaming with his brother, Clancy, for the latter title.
Cohen, 21, of Plantation, Fla., won Miami’s first-ever NCAA women’s singles title as a junior in May after finishing runner-up in 2005 as a freshman at Northwestern. She was the No. 1 player in the country the entire season and finished with a 42-2 singles record. Cohen led the Hurricanes to the quarterfinals of the team competition, where they fell to No. 1 Stanford. Cohen was No. 1 in both singles and doubles in the USTA Girls’ 18s, winning the 2003 USTA Girls’ 18s National Clay Court Championships and consecutive doubles titles at the event (2003 and 2004). She is ranked No. 525 in the world and won the USTA $10,000 event in Evansville, Ind., last July as an amateur.
Falcon, 21, of Alameda, Calif., finished her sophomore season ranked No. 2 in the country -- the highest individual ranking in school history. She became the first LSU women’s player to advance to the NCAA singles semifinals, where she fell to Southern Cal’s Lindsey Nelson. Falcon was named the 2007 SEC Player of the Year and the ITA National co-Player to Watch. As a junior player, Falcon was ranked as high as No. 1 in the USTA Girls’ 16s and No. 5 in the USTA Girls’ 18s. Currently unranked on the WTA Tour, Falcon earned a career high of No. 331 in February 2005.
Frazier, 22, of Riverdale, Ga., ended her collegiate career ranked No. 5 in the country. She was the ITA Senior Player of the Year for the South Region and was named SEC Tournament MVP after going undefeated (3-0 singles, 2-0 doubles) to lead Georgia to the SEC women’s tournament title. She advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA singles championships, where she lost to Falcon, and led the Bulldogs to the quarterfinals of the NCAA team championships. During her junior career, Frazier was ranked as high as No. 3 in the USTA Girls’ 16s and No. 8 in the USTA Girls’ 18s.
The only All-American in both singles and doubles among the women, Miller, 21, of Marysville, Mich., led Georgia Tech to the 2007 NCAA team title and finished her junior season ranked No. 7 in singles and No. 5 in doubles. Miller won the Honda Award as the top women’s tennis player in the nation in 2006 and has been an All-American in each of her three seasons at Georgia Tech. As a junior player, Miller teamed with Cohen to win the doubles title at the 2003 USTA Girls’ 18s Clay Court Championship. Miller is ranked No. 905 in the world and reached the final of the USTA $10,000 event in Evansville, Ind., in 2005.
The Pan Am Games are held every four years in the year immediately prior to the Olympic Summer Games. This year, an estimated 5,500 athletes from 42 countries are expected to compete in 33 sports. Past tennis standouts to have represented the United States include Arthur Ashe, Althea Gibson, Luke Jensen, Patrick McEnroe, Chanda Rubin and Pam Shriver.
The United States claimed a record five medals at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada, including a gold and silver in the men’s singles, a silver and a bronze in the women’s singles and a bronze for Bob and Mike Bryan in the men’s doubles. In the last Pan Am Games, in 2003 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, the U.S. claimed three medals. Sarah Taylor won a silver medal in women’s singles, while Ansley Cargill claimed a bronze in women’s singles and Alex Kim took the bronze in men’s singles.
Since the inception of the Pan American Games in 1951, the United States has won 20 gold medals in the tennis competition and 41 medals in total.