July 12, 2010
San Luis Obispo, CA — Medford, OR
Had a great time down south over the weekend at the Tracy Austin Doubles Tournament, where I won the mixed doubles championship and lost in the semifinals of the men’s event. It was a flip-flop in results from last year’s showing, when I won the men’s and lost in the finals of mixed. This year’s mixed finals pitted my partner and I against the two-time defending champions, and the team that I had lost to last year in the finals, and it felt good to get some sweet revenge! And though we lost in the men’s draw in the semis, it was still some great tennis and a great learning experience. We played a former collegiate standout and touring pro who had made it up to around 200 in the world in doubles, and his partner who is one of our nation’s best juniors, who had just returned from competing in the boys event at Wimbledon and is getting set to join the USC men’s team in the fall. We lost 7-6 1-6 6-4, and though we were disappointed about not the getting the win we were very pleased with our performance and learned a great deal.
As I previously mentioned, in the mixed final we played the same team that I had lost to in the finals last year. The guy was a former UC Santa Barbara standout, a tall, looming adversary who could bomb the serve and had great hands around the net. The girl just graduated high school and is taking her talents to Loyola Marymount University in the fall. She is a very talented player with great hands around the net and excellent doubles instincts, and I believe she has a bright future ahead of her and she continues to mature and develop her game. We came out a little slow in the first set, getting broken a couple times early on, battled back, but came up short in a tiebreaker in the first set 7-6 (7-5). However, this only seemed to light a greater fire in both my partner and I, and we responded by grabbing an early 5-2 lead in the second set. After a slight hiccup on my serve, our opponents fought back to 5-5, but we quickly righted the ship and closed out the second set 7-5. The second set’s twists and turns seemed to take the wind out of our opponents’ sails, and we started off strong, slammed the door, and closed out the match with a 6-2 third set win.
It was a sweet victory for me on a number of levels. First of all, I have to thank both my partners, Jordan Bridge and Alexa Lee, for competing their butts off and having so much fun on and off the court. It was an emotional day for Alexa, and to go out and compete the way she did in the finals was an awesome effort. Many times throughout the tournament she played the stable, solid, reliable partner, settling my temper a bit (which can tend to get out of hand sometimes), playing smart and solid at crucial times in the match, and leading us to victory. At only 19 years old and to have the talent and increasingly maturing mind for the game, she will be very successful in the coming years.
For me, it was a blast winning a title at the club I grew up at, and winning the mixed for the first time. It’s a neat experience to be competing so hard out there in my twenties, and being able to look around the club and see the old junior clubhouse where my friends and I would always hang out, or the snack bar where I ate countless meals that my parents would probably not have approved of when I was 10 years old. Dozens of people were watching courtside that have been there for practically my entire tennis career, including two teaching pros who first put a racquet in my hand at the age of three, and other friends and family who have seen me grow up through the years. Having my mother in the stands too is always special, as she has been my number one cheerleader for my entire life. I greatly appreciate her love and support for me, which is always evident by her enthusiastic yelling and thunderous hand clapping. I know that the fire and passion that burns inside me when I’m on the court comes from her extraordinary zeal and passion for life that she shares with the world everyday, making her such a positive influence on the world around her. For that, thanks Mom!
Following my brief layover in San Luis Obispo, I have a 12-hour drive ahead of me today back up to the beautiful Pacific Northwest, as I head for a friend’s house in Medford, OR. I will be staying there for a couple days, doing some hiking around Crater Lake (a place I have always wanted to see) and getting in a couple of good hitting sessions as I prepare for my next tournament which begins Thursday in Salem, Oregon. I will be playing singles, men’s and mixed doubles, so smart preparation and good care of the body is a must. Stay tuned for updates from the road as I head north!
PS. Some people have requested a full list of the upcoming tournaments I am playing, so here they are…
July 15-18: RDAdventures Salem Summer Classic (Salem, OR)
July 20-25: Pacific Northwest Championships (Tacoma, WA)
July 28-Aug. 1: adidas Open Tennis Championships (Portland, OR)
Aug. 3-8: Washington State Open (Seattle, WA)
I am in the process of scheduling the tournaments following these…