Adoption Guild tennis tournament draws a crowd in Newport Beach
Tennis legend Roy Emerson himself, now 86, showed up over the weekend at the tennis tournament that bears his name.
With 444 athletes competing in the annual Roy Emerson Adoption Guild Tennis Classic, plenty of other people came by Palisades Tennis Club in Newport Beach as well for the annual Memorial Day Weekend event that concluded on Monday.
“The place was packed all weekend with spectators, packed to the brim with people watching and participating,” said Adoption Guild of Southern California President Chris Garber, who lives in Newport Beach, in a phone interview Tuesday. “It was really, really fun, and it was a huge turnout.”
World Team Tennis pitched in $15,000 in total prize money for the winners and finalists of the 61st annual event, Garber said. The connection there is that Palisades owner Eric Davidson, who lives in Laguna Beach, is also the World Team Tennis chairman of the board.
Proceeds from the Roy Emerson Adoption Guild Tennis Classic, a Level 5 tournament often called just the Adoption Guild, go to support Los Angeles-based HFS Adoption and Foster Care.
Newport Beach resident Carsten Hoffmann won twice in doubles at the Adoption Guild. He and partner Jayson Amos, a Mission Viejo resident who played college tennis at Oregon, won the men’s open doubles.
No. 2-seeded Hoffmann and Amos edged No. 3 Henry Bilicic of Del Mar and Raymond Sarmiento of Los Angeles, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6, in the title match. Hoffmann said it was his first time winning the men’s open doubles at the Adoption Guild, though he has won in several other divisions.
“[Longtime partner] Art [Hernandez of Huntington Beach] said we’ve been in the finals six times and have lost six times,” Hoffmann said. “That might have been 15th attempt at the Adoption Guild, and my seventh attempt in the finals. It was nice to finally win the open crown.”
He and Hernandez teamed up to win the 50-and-over men’s doubles, as the top seeds beat No. 2 Robert Wesley Hinkel of Newport Beach and Patrick Crow of Garden Grove, 6-0, 6-2 in the final.
Hernandez and partner Dean Jackson of Irvine won the men’s 35s doubles, topping No. 1-seeded Brian Morton of Newport Coast and Cornel Catrina of Costa Mesa 6-7, 6-4, 6-1 in the final.
Hoffmann’s son Niels, a junior at Corona del Mar High who won the CIF Southern Section Individuals tournament last week, also was nearly a champion at the Adoption Guild. But Niels Hoffmann was edged by Jett Middleton of Colorado, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 in the men’s open singles final.
“It’s my greatest thrill in life,” Carsten Hoffmann said of watching Niels, a USC commit, improve. “It’s a blast to watch him getting better. I always enjoy the journey, and I love working with my boys … Some of the tennis he played at the Adoption Guild was truly outstanding. Even the match that he lost, I can see that he’s taking steps forward.”
Middleton, meanwhile, a junior at Boise State, saw winning the Adoption Guild as a significant step as he recently finished rehabbing from a foot injury.
He said he understood why the crowd would root for the hometown hero Hoffmann, but he was definitely happy to edge out the victory.
“It’s such a cool event, a really well-ran event,” Middleton said. “They get ball kids out, and it’s a unique experience, especially in the finals. [Tournament director] Drew [Arbeiter] does such a great job, and it’s for a good cause. I like playing it. I’m going to try to play it every year that I’m playing tennis.”
No. 2-seeded Brandy Walker of Rialto won the women’s open singles title, edging top-seeded Eduarda Piai of La Cañada Flintridge 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 in the final.
In mixed open doubles, top-seeded Matthew Sah and Alyssia Fossorier of UC Irvine beat No. 2 Piai and Giovanni Fragalle of Huntington Beach, 7-5, 6-3, in the title match.
Whitney Johnson of Helendale and Heidi Schuler of Riverside won the women’s 50-and-over doubles.
The Adoption Guild is also unique as parents play with sons and daughters. David Barrows of Laguna Beach and Gordon Barrows of Portland, Ore. won the father-son division, while Laura McCorvey of San Clemente and Rachal Jackson of Del Mar were undefeated in a round-robin format in the mother-daughter division.
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