Coaches Invest In Blue Chips


Maria Ross, Staff Writer

In finance, Blue Chips are giant, well-established stocks from financially stable companies. But did you know that this commodity term also describes top tennis players in the country on, a college recruiting network especially made for junior tennis players.

In the tennis world, it’s a well-known fact that elite athletes who do not go pro right after high school make their way into college. In tennis, the recruiting process starts during one’s sophomore year in high school when college coaches begin looking at players. These coaches are not allowed to speak with any prospective players.

To see if they’re being scouted, players need to sign up for a membership on where they are  are given access to all the coaches who look at their pages. While players can see dates and times that their pages were accessed, coaches are strictly forbidden to make any contact with the players.

What draws a college coach to look at a player is not only just a national or state ranking but also “stars.” Stars are a complex system that represent a player’s wins and losses but also the level of wins and losses. If a lower ranked player beats a higher ranked player, the rankings can be significantly disrupted.

A blue chip player represents the top 25 girls/boys in the nation, followed by a five star which makes up the top 75, followed by four stars, three stars, two stars and one star. To gain a star players must beat a substantial number of players in the rank ahead of them. It is nearly impossible to become a five star or blue chip if you are a four star. However, it is rather easy to fall.

Star rankings have become a more prominent way to define a tennis player to some athletes’ dismay. College coaches are turning more often to because it gives them insight on players.

It is very easy to travel to every big tournament and gain points just losing in the first round but ranks you based on the level of your win. Beating top ranked players (blue chips) gives you more points to better your own star ranking.

This rating system is becoming the leading site for recruiting tennis players. Many believe the rankings shows the true dimension of players and how skilled they are in tournament play. Others see problems with the system.

“I think it is a great tool especially for college coaches to learn about a player and their ranking etc. The star system is nice, however it can sometimes be deceiving because someone could be very good and have a low star because they haven’t played very many tournaments, and another person could just be decent and have a higher rating because they have played a lot of tournaments. Overall I think it is extremely helpful and tells you more than just people’s rankings which you can find on the USTA website by using the star system, but I don’t think it truly defines a player,” says ODA eighth grade tennis player Sydney Sforzo.

“I don’t think it actually measures your talent because anyone can be anything on a given day. Just because someone plays a lot of tournaments doesn’t measure how good they are. I could lose to a four star, and then I will drop. It’s harder for a four star to get up to a five star. I think they need to find a different way to recruit,” says senior M’Balia Bangoura who just committed to Nebraska.

For coaches, however, the system offers a clear way to assess players.

“It rates each player accordingly and has an efficient way of calculating standings for each graduating class. The one downfall to this system is that it leaves out international players in this process and it ranks only Americans. At least 60% of collegiate players are foreigners so you have to take that into consideration when you look at the ratings on tennis recruiting. For example, if you are 30 on tennis recruiting, it’s safe to say you’re probably between 80-100 overall when it comes to players being recruited,” says Chris Marquez the Head Coach of Lakewood Ranch County Club.

As helpful as has been to coaches, it is becoming a pressure pot for players to succeed and uphold their star ranking. While coaches appreciate the convenience of evaluating a level of a player, some players believe it is unfair and oversimplifies complex variables in a multilayered sport.