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Team USA department created to assist pro players

February 9, 2016 03:37 PM

By Sally Milano, USTA.com

In an effort to help American pros reach the world's Top 100, USTA Player Development has created a new “Team USA – Pro” department that will provide players with coaching assistance, training and financial resources.

USTA Lead National Coach and former U.S. Davis Cup captain Tom Gullikson will lead coaching efforts on the men's side, and fellow Lead National Coach and former Top 10 player Kathy Rinaldi (pictured above left) will head up efforts on the women's.

The Team USA – Pro department was created to provide professional players ranked between Nos. 100 and 500 with resources and assistance similar to what has been available to junior players since USTA Player Development first began incorporating the Team USA philosophy into its junior development structure in 2014.

“When players move quickly into the Top 100, they have a much better chance of achieving rankings in the Top 50, Top 20 or Top 10,” said USTA Player Development General Manager Martin Blackman. “Team USA – Pro will better enable us to maximize this opportunity for our American pros and help them achieve a ranking that gets them into the main draw of Grand Slam events, where we eventually want to see them competing into the second week.”

Geoff Russell, who is currently the Senior Manager, Player ID and Development, will assume a new role as Senior Manager, Team USA – Pro, overseeing the new department’s administrative operations.

In addition to the new Team USA – Pro department, USTA Player Development has reorganized its structure of national coaches, creating teams of coaches who will focus on distinct groups of players: junior, collegiate and pro players. Richard Ashby (girls) and Andy Brandi (boys) have each been promoted to lead the junior coaching teams.

The overall coaching reorganization comes as a move to assemble teams of coaches that will better be able to meet the developmental and training needs of those specific groups of players.