Leach, Washer get it done

Rick Leach and Greg Washer had the golden touch Sunday.

Competing at the United States Tennis Assn. Men's 45 Hardcourts at Westlake Tennis and Swim Club, Leach captured the singles title and teamed with Washer to win the doubles title.

By winning a national title in both events, the two received the prestigious "gold ball" trophy that the USTA presents to tournament winners in each division up to the U.S. Open, Washer said.

Leach defeated No. 3-seed Leland Rolling (6-0, 6-4) of Ramona in the singles final. He and Washer swept Robert Green (San Diego)/Michael Kovar ((St. Louis), 6-3, 6-1, in the doubles final.

The tournament started June 7 and concluded Sunday at a tennis and swim club originally built by Leach's father, Dick Leach, Washer said. Seventy players from around the country competed at the tournament.

Rick Leach, who grew up in Laguna Beach and now resides in Newport Beach, won his first gold ball at the 12-and-unders level.

Leach, 46, and Washer, 49, have now won national titles on Clay, Indoor and Hardcourt surfaces.

Washer said that the two have never played the grass courts together but will get that chance in late-August when they travel to Philadelphia's Germantown Cricket and Tennis Club to compete for the National title on grass courts.

Sunday's doubles win was the first hardcourts title for Washer.

Leach and Washer, sponsored by Quiksilver Performance, are the No. 1-ranked doubles team in the country for the men's 45-and-older division.

They also held that ranking in 2009.

"The National 45's Hardcourt tournament is rich in tradition with such greats as Bobby Riggs and Poncho Gonzalez having played in it," said Washer, a resident of Emerald Bay. "Ask any tournament tennis player how difficult to earn a gold ball is, and that is why I am especially happy with all the hard work with Rick I have put in.

"This gold ball is memorable also because of the deep field the hardcourts always brings. Of course in doubles, I say it's all about how good you pick your partner and I have to say, Rick is the best in the world.

"We have such a great time preparing and competing in the Nationals. Rick and I have been good friends for over 35 years so we know each other very well. That helps on the court when its a competitive close match to stay positive. Rick calls it good

'mojo.' "

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