Grayson Frazier and Trent Jones have known of each other since they were in elementary school.
As they both began to engulf themselves in tennis, both took similar paths, following in the footsteps of their tennis-enthusiast fathers, as they made the sport a priority when middle school rolled around.
That similar development has led to similar success.
“Doubles is a different game than singles,” La Cañada High boys’ tennis Coach Will Moravec said. “There wasn’t a lot of miscommunication between them because they were both learning it at the same rate, at the same time.”
Before they started learning doubles tennis, the two played against each other in sixth grade during a tennis camp at the Rose Bowl.
From there, their relationship grew into a friendship, after the two took classes together in junior high and high school.
Little did they know they would become a formidable pair, and turn into the second-most successful doubles team in La Cañada’s history, according to Moravec, who has coached the program for 19 years.
The highlight of their high school careers for Frazier and Jones came this past season when the Spartans beat rival San Marino, which had been undefeated in league for 28 years
“Senior year was the best by far,” Frazier said. “It was a great way to end it.”
Frazier and Jones finished second in Rio Hondo League, going all the way to the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Individual Regionals, where they lost in a three-set match. In addition, the duo posted a 46-7 record and helped the Spartans advance to the Division II team quarterfinals.
It is because of that success that Frazier and Jones have been named the 2010 All-Area Tennis Doubles Team of the Year by the sports editors and writers of the Burbank Leader, Glendale News-Press and La Cañada Valley Sun.
The pairing that yielded so much success this past season actually took shape two years ago. During their sophomore year was the first time Frazier and Jones partnered up. The duo’s first experience together came when Frazier’s regular partner got injured, and Jones stepped in.
“We worked really well together from the first match, it was kind of weird,” Jones said. “Usually when you first play with somebody you have these mix-ups where you both go for the ball at once. It is usually awkward, but we just clicked.”
The right combination of compatibility and skills served them both well.
“We’re overall kind of good at everything [on the court], and we just intertwined into a good match for doubles,” Frazier said. “Our strategy and net skills are probably what separated us from others.”
Frazier brought quickness, with his feet and hands, a strong backhand and calmness when he stepped onto the court.
"[Frazier] doesn’t panic, which is big for any high school athlete,” Moravec said.
Jones brought a powerful serve, formidable forehand and a willingness to poach at the net.
Poaching happens when a player steps in to cut off and redirect an opponent’s return.
The trick is committing at the perfect time so it’s not so early the returner has time to adjusts and hits it to the other side.
“Some people don’t want to poach on an important point,” Moravec said. “It’s kind of like taking the final shot in basketball. Not everyone wants the ball in their hands at the end of the game, but [Jones] will take it.”
According to the players, another key to their success was Moravec’s coaching.
“Coach Will Moravec had the knowledge and ability to break down our opponents and their weaknesses,” Jones said. “If we were ever having trouble, he could point stuff out we could take advantage of; that was always really helpful.”
Along with the top singles team, La Cañada was fortunate to have enough depth that allowed it to field a number of good singles players this past season. Moravec said Frazier and Jones were willing to step up and play doubles, all in an effort to help the team. had the best volleys and stepped up as some of the only ones willing to play doubles.
“In high school tennis, you can’t just win all your singles matches, you need to win some doubles too,” Moravec said.
La Cañada got those wins from Frazier and Jones. They delivered victories when the Spartans needed them, and seemed to always push the squad in the right direction.
“A lot of people want to play singles because they like being alone and not having to worry about a partner,” Frazier said. “But if you look at us, we are a much better doubles team than we are as singles players because our skill sets are better for doubles.”
That doubles pairing, however, has come to an end.
Jones is going on to attend USC. He said he plans on trying out for the tennis team, but if he doesn’t succeed he hopes to keep up with his game by playing at the club or intramural level.
Frazier is off to Glendale Community College, where he’ll be playing for Vaqueros in the fall. In college, he will be playing on his own in singles for the first time in three years.
For players who embraced their doubles pairing, and made the most out of it, the experience has been memorable for Frazier and Jones.
“If I get to have a partner like Grayson, I like doubles more,” Jones said. “He is a good friend and we had a lot of fun out there on the court.”