14-year-old Kicks off Pro Career; Twitter Warnings

Young American Training in France Does Well in First Pro Event
When I recently spoke to Patrick Mouratoglou about the Jan Silva shoulder situation, I asked him about Sachia Vickery, the young American girl who relocated to Mouratoglou’s Paris academy in February. Vickery, 14, whose mother has been working as a bartender at a North Miami nightclub to fund her tennis, reached the semifinals of her first pro event in Evansville, Ind., last month. “That’s not bad at all,” said Mouratoglou, whose past students include Marcos Baghdatis and Aravane Rezai.

Mouratoglou praised her mother’s support as “really focused” and crucially important to become a top pro and lauded Vickery’s speed. “She has a lot of physical abilities we need to develop and is an unbelievable athlete,” he said. Short and sturdy, Vickery is likely to be giving up more than a few inches on today’s top pros (her height is not listed on the WTA website). “She doesn’t give the feeling she is going to be tall,” admitted Mouratoglou. “The muscles are already quite strong and she looks like an adult with the body.” He said Vickery reminded him of 5-3 Dominika Cibulkova, who reached this year’s French Open semifinals. “There is a place for everyone in tennis,” said Mouratoglou.

After losing to top-seeded Kristina Mladenovic in the second round of Junior Wimbledon, Vickery maintained she could have won even though she was thoroughly outclassed (I watched part of the match). Mouratoglou said that kind of self-belief, even if it encroached on the unrealistic, was a positive. “I prefer someone who is very disappointed and feels that she could win rather than someone who could win and thinks she couldn’t – which is often the case with many players,” he said. He added: “It’s a good problem to have.”

Twitter Warnings
As previously reported (including on some Twitter postings), the ITF sent out emails the last couple of weeks warning players to be careful about what the Tweet. The rules are not new, said ITF executive director Bill Babcock, but like any messaging system, when players communicate to the public outside of the court, “the current rules could put them in jeopardy” if they disclose sensitive information (read: Something wagers could use). The reminder was prompted in part by media reports of how the NFL is handling the Twitter phenomenon (by clamping down, of course). “It was a simple notice to remember that there can’t be any communication devices on court and be careful off court,” Babcock told me.


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