COSTA MESA - There was no farewell tour, no press conference and no
standing ovation at center court.
Geoff Abrams, one of the finest tennis players in Newport-Mesa
history, went out quietly Wednesday in the Costa Mesa Pro Classic at the
Costa Mesa Tennis Center, a $15,000 United States Tennis Association
Abrams, of Newport Beach, lost to Diego Ayala of Coral Springs, Fla.,
6-4, 6-2, in the first round of the main draw and said goodbye to a 1
1/2-year pro career.
"I love tennis, and it has been very good for me, but I'm really ready
to move on," said Abrams, a former Newport Harbor High standout and
Stanford All-American, who told tournament director Hank Lloyd that this
event would be his swan song.
Abrams, ranked 590th in the world in singles, played in front of his
parents and former Newport Harbor coach, Charlie Bleiker, in a morning
match that lasted 1:20.
Afterward, Abrams said he started the process last week to take the
Medical College Admission Test in April and enter medical school.
A Stanford premed graduate with aspirations of specializing in
orthopedics, Abrams carried a 3.3 grade point average at Stanford, where
he finished his senior year in 2000 as the Pac-10 champion and the
eighth-ranked college player in the nation.
"With the grind that's involved in playing (USTA Futures and satellite
events), I'm just not willing to do the things to get to the next level,"
Abrams said. "I always wanted to go to medical school. I don't want to be
28, 29 years old and not reach the next level (in tennis)."
Abrams, who said UC Irvine and UC Davis would be two of his top
choices for medical school, finished his pro career with one singles
crown and two doubles titles. Abrams pulled out of the upcoming Futures
event in Malibu.
"My focus has just shifted away from tennis," said Abrams, a former
USTA junior phenom who was ranked No. 1 in the nation in the boys 14s.
The 6-foot-5 Abrams, who possess soft hands and a booming serve,
played on three NCAA title teams in four years at Stanford and capped his
collegiate career by earning All-American honors in singles and doubles.
He owns the fourth-best winning percentage in Stanford history.
In other first-round matches Wednesday, qualifier Nicolas Brochu
defeated lucky loser Lesley Joseph, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-5; qualifier Brandon
Kramer beat wild card Bo Hodge, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 7-5; qualifier Jeff
Greenwald topped qualifier Alexandre Renard, 6-2, 6-2; qualifier Bertrand
Contzler upset eighth-seeded James Sekulov, 2-6, 6-2, 6-0; and Jason Cook
beat Willem Petrus Meyer, 6-1, 7-6 (3).
In other matches, fifth-seeded Daniel Willman swept K.C. Corkery, 6-0,
7-5; Oren Motevassel beat Robert Topalo, 6-4, 7-5; Mark Nielsen defeated
Chris Sands, 6-3, 6-2; and second-seeded Robert Kendrick went through
Ramsey Smith, 6-2, 6-2.