Junior Tennis: Beblie remains devoted

FOUNTAIN VALLEY— Tracy Beblie tried a little bit of everything Saturday at the Fountain Valley Tennis Center.

He sliced, he hit with topspin, he even served and volleyed.

And at the end he was cool with the result, even though he was on the wrong end of a 6-4, 6-4 loss to Oliver Welsh of San Diego in the boys' 16s singles round of 256 at the Southern California Junior Sectional Championships.

"This is kind of a warm-up for this next week and coming weeks," said Beblie, who also has academics to think of next week as it's finals week at Newport Harbor High. Beblie is finishing up his junior year.

It's all part of a plan for the 16-year-old. And his father, also named Tracy, knows it as well.

It was four years ago when his son came to live with him. The younger Tracy grew up playing basketball but he told his father he wanted to play tennis, a sport not unfamiliar to pops, who also has played both sports.

Dad said he got into tennis when he saw former French tennis standout Yannick Noah on television. The elder Tracy attended DeVry in Los Angeles, but would meet up with a buddy before classes to hit at tennis courts next to the Fox Hills Mall in Culver City.

It was something he didn't pursue as much as he could have, but he said he's gotten back into it again since his son has been playing.

"It's been just him and I, from day one," said the elder Tracy, who acts as his son's coach.

They like to practice together at Mariners Park and the younger Tracy, who played at No. 1 singles last year for Newport Harbor, said it's been great as well.

"It's really cool seeing him back into it," he said. "I always have a hitting partner sitting on his bum at home."

He took French in eighth grade and did a report on Yannick Noah, although the teacher didn't even know who the former French Open singles champion was.

"What is that?" the elder Tracy said, shaking his head. "I said, 'He was a stud in your country. He was like Pele.' "

The Newport Harbor senior-to-be has big plans for the rest of this summer. He wants to start playing in the 18s division and would love to take the sport as far as he can. On Saturday, he lost the tight match to the consistent Welsh, ranked No. 84 in Southern California in boys' 16s. Beblie is ranked No. 141.

Beblie couldn't hold a 4-3 lead in the opening set. Serving at 4-5 in the second set to stay in the match, he saved match points to get it to deuce before mishitting a backhand. Beblie's next shot was just wide.

But that was just fine. It was his first match since the Sunset League individuals tournament in early May, and he's hoping it's the first of many this summer.

"Tennis is something new but it's my passion now," he said.

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