When Geoff Abrams first appeared on my tennis radar as a 13-year-old,
he quickly inherited the "phenom" label as a junior player. But what
I remember most about him was his intelligence. I mean, this kid was
sharp. Well spoken. Maturity beyond belief.
During one of our early conversations, Abrams, who trained once a
week with the UC Irvine men's tennis team as an Ensign eighth grader
in 1992, told me he would love to play tennis professionally one day
and make a living at it. But he also said his goals included
attending Stanford and getting into medicine, one day becoming a
Abrams retired from playing the United States Tennis Association
men's satellite circuit last year, following an All-American career
at Stanford, and now, according to his mother, Nancy, has been
accepted to medical school at UC San Diego.
Abrams, who will start medical school in September, has been
working in drug studies for Prescription Solutions in Costa Mesa for
the past year, while applying to medical schools.
A former Newport Harbor High standout who was ranked No. 1 in the
nation by the USTA in the 14s during his junior career, Abrams had
enough of the globe-trotting lifestyle on the pro tennis circuit,
while barely earning enough money to break even. He played on three
NCAA championship teams at Stanford before joining the pro circuit.
His new adventure should be quite a challenge. Congratulations.
The Costa Mesa Tennis Center will once again host an open
community pre-qualifying tournament for the ATP Tour's Mercedes-Benz
Cup at UCLA.
Costa Mesa is one of 10 sites in six counties throughout Southern
California, and the only facility in Orange County, to play host to a
pre-qualifying tournament. The Costa Mesa event is Saturday and
Sunday and May 10-11.
The singles winner and finalist and the winning doubles team from
each pre-qualifying tournament will have the opportunity to enter the
Wild Card Tournament July 17-20. The winner of the Wild Card
Tournament earns an automatic entry into the Mercedes-Benz Cup July
28-Aug. 3. Details: (310) 208-3838, ext. 224.
The Palisades Tennis Club is scheduled to face Laguna Niguel
Racquet Club on Saturday in the finals of the Private Tennis Club
Association of Orange County Club Challenge Cup.
Top-seeded Palisades, the Challenge Cup's two-time defending
champion, knocked off Ridgeline Country Club in the quarterfinals,
18-3, following a first-round bye, then topped Rancho San Clemente
Tennis and Fitness Club in the semifinals, 17-4, in April.
The four-month PTCA team competition begins in February and is
played once a month through May. Play is in women's, men's and mixed
doubles, with one team in each of the seven rating divisions -- 3.0,
3.5, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0, 5.5 and open.
"This competition is the most exciting team tennis event in the
area because it involves men and women in seven different playing
levels, from beginner to open player," PTCA President A.G. Longoria
said. "For example, after four hours of play, the deciding match in
last year's semifinal between Palisades and Laguna Niguel was
determined by a beginner 3.5 mixed doubles match that went to three
Laguna Niguel will host Palisades in Saturday's final at 1 p.m.
The public is invited to attend with no charge. Details: (949)
Speaking of the Palisades Club, the private Newport Beach facility
is taking member/guest events to another level. Any member playing in
the event May 15-18 has a chance to win a drawing for a cruise aboard
Silversea Cruise Lines.
In addition to men's and women's doubles championships, the club
will host a dinner and dance Saturday, May 17, and a barbecue Sunday,
May 18, during the member/guest finals. Details: (949) 644-6900.
Beginning in January 2004, the USTA will be using a Points Per
Round Ranking System to determine year-end junior national singles
and doubles rankings and monthly standing lists. The Star System will
no longer be used to determine junior national rankings or national
"It will make a huge difference in how kids enter tournaments,
because it's based on the matches you've won. The USTA has stepped
away from the head-to-head thing," said Annette Broersma, tournament
director for the Quiksilver (boys) and Roxy (girls) junior tennis
tournaments headquartered at the Balboa Bay Club Racquet Club May
The USTA has concluded that a Points Per Round ranking system best
addresses the overall goal of helping players reach their potential.
By using tiered levels of importance, the USTA can weigh the events,
assign regulations that help juniors to compete often, and put the
emphasis on advancing through the draw. The simple concept of having
a player capable of categorizing an event, determining its level, and
understanding the ranking impact of success in that event allows the
player to understand what needs to be done. This is an invaluable
asset in developing tangible and measurable goals that also help the
players' preparation and motivation.
While the new Points Per Round Ranking System will not be
implemented until January 2004, all Level 1-5 tournament results from
Thursday through December 31 will be counting for points determined
by the Points Per Round ranking logic for the first Monthly National
Standings Lists, which will be published January 15, 2004.
The Quiksilver and Roxy tournaments are Level 3 events. It's
essentially two tournaments in one, with a total of 512 juniors
entered in the 12s, 14s, 16s and 18s. Broersma received some 700
entries this year and predicted that next year the tournaments will
be larger than the Easter Bowl.