August 1, 2011
I’ve finally reached the end of the road on this awesome summer journey. I arrived today in Seattle for the final tournament of the PNW Circuit, the 120th annual Washington State Open. This tournament arguably holds the most prestige on the circuit because it is so old and is played at the hallowed Seattle Tennis Club.
Located right on the banks of Lake Washington, the courts and incredible two-story clubhouse overlook the water and all the eastern suburbs of Seattle. To keep with the tradition of the club, the players are only allowed to wear all-white clothing, just like Wimbledon. Furthermore, the tournament is always held each year concurrently with a big festival on the lake called Seafair, where everyone who owns a boat is hanging out on the lake, with boat races going on and the Navy’s Blue Angels flying low overhead to entertain the crowds. You often have to stop play during the tournament because the planes are flying so low over the courts that you can actually read the numbers off the bottom of the plane. The ground shakes and the sound is deafening from their roaring engines above. These highly skilled pilots fly astonishing patterns so close to each other, climbing and diving and twisting and turning together in the sky over the lake for everyone to see. The incredible setting makes for a pretty awesome event for the circuit finale!
Last week I competed in another beautiful event, the 121st annual Pacific Northwest Championships at the Tacoma Lawn Tennis Club. Unfortunately, I couldn’t replicate my semifinal run of last summer, as I was ousted in the second round by eventual champion Damian Hume of Boise State, 6-2, 6-4. However, my partner Charlie Cutler and I did have some success in the men’s doubles draw, as we reached the semifinals before losing to the Israeli duo of Amir Hadad and Tal Eros. Eros is currently playing on the world tour and is ranked 755 in the world. His partner and coach Hadad has reached as high as No. 180 in the world in singles and No. 87 in doubles. Charlie and I had our chances in the second set, but were defeated 6-2, 6-4. We did, nonetheless, have a couple of good wins along the way, including a straight set victory in the quarterfinals over Angelo Niculescu and Chris Kearney, 6-4, 6-4.
Mixed doubles was also a highlight of the weekend, as I had the opportunity to play with my dear friend Suzie Matzenauer’s mother, Leona, who is an incredible player herself. She was one of the best juniors growing up in Eastern Europe, and was formerly the No. 1 woman in the US in the 35 and over age division. In addition, she has been a wonderful friend and mentor to me growing up, and it was a real treat to have the opportunity to play with her in their family’s hometown tournament. We got through our first match, but lost in the next round to eventual champions Clancy Shields and Lauren Megale, 8-1. I want to thank Leona, along with her husband, Ales, for putting me up in their home over the weekend, and for playing mixed with me! I had a great time!
I’m sad that this summer is coming to a close. It has been a great ride! The scenery of the Pacific Northwest summer couldn’t be more picturesque. The people along the way have been incredible. The hospitality and kindness that have been offered to me has been amazing. And the tennis has been good fun too! I’m not quite ready for it to end, so I’m going to fight hard in this last tournament to try and make it my summer circuit experience last for as long as I can! Stay tuned for updates from the final tournament of the PNW circuit, and thanks for reading!