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Tennis : Pleasant Trades Racket for a Temporary Trade

These days, Darin Pleasant, an All-American and the top tennis player at Moorpark College, spends his afternoons polishing his overhead smash.

Oh, Pleasant has honed the skill of hammering a tennis ball down an opponent’s throat. This summer, he’s working at a construction site, learning how to drive a three-inch nail into a slab of pine.

“I just got my share of tennis, so I’m taking a break,” Pleasant said. “I go out and hit three or four times a week but it’s nothing too grueling. I really don’t need to go for a ranking anymore. I was going for the highest ranking so (college) coaches would know what they’re in for.”

The layoff might prove costly, especially in early August when Pleasant plans to resume training.

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“As far as I can see, my hitting ability hasn’t changed,” he said. “I’m not pushing myself, but I’ve probably lost some mental points. It won’t take long to get back into it.”

Moorpark Coach Bud Davis says Pleasant deserves a rest but admits the hiatus concerns him.

“When I was his age, I never wanted to put a racket down,” Davis said. “I guess it all comes down to how deep is your desire. Would Jimmy Connors ever put his racket down? No way.”

Pleasant hopes to attend UC Riverside in the fall on an athletic scholarship. Although he stressed that Pleasant has yet to be accepted at the school, UCR Coach Mike Johnston likes his chances.

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“I want him really badly in this case,” Johnston said. “We looked at him last year and he was a good junior and good sound player. . . . I don’t see any problems in his getting in here. He’ll fit in very well with our team.”

Double talk: In the April edition of Tennis West magazine, Doug Doss, head pro at Warner Center Club, challenged any five doubles teams from any club in Southern California to play the top five pairs from his club.

Wayne Bryan, head pro and co-owner of Cabrillo Racquet Club, was the first to accept the offer. The Warner Center team will play at Cabrillo this weekend, but Doss is not fazed.

“We’re going to go up there and slime them,” Doss said, adding that Bryan is a friend. “That’s on the record. They’ve got new courts but it doesn’t matter if we play them on cow dung, we’ll still beat them.”

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Though more subtle in his rebuttal, Bryan, too, is confident.

“We’ll show up,” he said. “I think we’ll win.”

Talented youth: A group of the Valley and Ventura areas’ top 12-and-under players will participate in the U. S. Tennis Assn. Junior regional championships beginning Sunday in Tucson, Ariz.

Participants include Mike and Bob Bryan (Camarillo), Pete Webb (Ventura), Steve Schnugg (Somis), Garrett Traub (Ventura), John Curiale (Thousand Oaks), Danielle Ouwendijk (Camarillo), Jessica Improta (Camarillo) and Jennifer Messmer (Camarillo).

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The group will be coached by pros Wayne and Kathy Bryan (Camarillo) and Pepperdine men’s Coach Richard Gallien.

Tennis talk: A public hearing will be held Wednesday at John Muir Junior High to discuss the proposed construction of a championship-caliber tennis and family sports complex in Burbank.

City officials have put plans for the $8 million center on hold, saying that the hillside complex may have a negative impact on nearby residential neighborhoods.

The decision disappointed developer Steve Starleaf--a former All-American tennis player at East Texas State--who had hoped that the facility would develop into one of five regional training centers of the United States Tennis Assn.

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“People up there are overly concerned about traffic, but I don’t think this would cause that much traffic,” Starleaf said. “And this center would raise property values, not lower them.”

Greg Braxton contributed to this notebook.


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