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Tennis | 10sBalls • Reports On The Recent • California Championships

The Event Was Called  •

DECEMBER 15 – 22, 2018

It was held at the Jack Kramer Club in ROLLING HILLS ESTATES, California


Here’s the Run Down •

On Dec. 22, Sam Querrey defeated Thomas Laurent 6-3, 6-4 in the final and was crowned California Champion.


Sam Querrey’s motivation, 31, with a career high of 22, was to get ready for the Australian Tour and make sure he remained undefeated in Los Angeles County, he said.


Querrey has won the last three LA Open’s, at the 250 level on the ATP Tour. Querrey beat Gage Brymer, 23, who beat Mardy Fish , 37, in the quarters, as well as Bradley Klahn, 28, ranked number 78 on The ATP Tour and Thomas Laurent, number five National Collegiate Athletic Association Oregon senior, in the final.


“It is important a So Cal Guy wins the California Championships,” Querrey said. “I never had a big check before, so the trophy and check will stay in my living room for the holidays.”


The crowning of the California Champion title was sponsored by Oracle, which presented the $30,000 Men’s California Championships at the Jack Kramer Club, 11 Montecillo Dr, Rolling Hills Estates, CA. The tournament was open to players of all ages and levels, with starting placement and seeding based on the player’s Universal Tennis Rating.


The California Championships tournament used a staggered entry draw format, which allows more players to play in the same tournament and enter at their appropriate level for competitive play.


Players were placed in their leveled draw based on their UTR. As players advance through their leveled draw, the competition gets stronger, and top seeded players have less days and rounds to play in.


Jeff Bearup, tournament supervisor; Jeffrey Tarango, tournament director; and Stephen Amritraj, CTO UTR, came up with this tournament idea for American tennis and organized the event.


Brian Teacher, Paul Annacone, Tracy Austin, Tony Graham, Christina McHale, John Laffnie De Jager, Tracy Austin, David Nainkin, Kimberly Po and other former professionals and elite coaches attended the tournament throughout the week.


Thousands of spectators attended the eight-day event and had over 40,000 viewers on three days on Facebook Live Streaming. University of Southern California tennis Coach Peter Smith and UCLA’s Head Coach, Billy Martin came to visit Jack Kramer Club.


“It is my chance to see how these top high school players stack up with top varsity players, before I have to decide who I want,” Martin said. “This is a great tournament for scouting and watching my current players at the same time.”


The tournament started with 128 matches on the first day of the competition, with the lowest UTR being 2.96. After 272 matches, the highest UTR level was up to 15.46 by Sam Querrey, according to the UTR seeding.


The reverse feed in style allowed players to enter at their level and play two matches before advancing to the next level, that feeds into them.


On the first Saturday, December 15, Robert Calendar won six matches that were played to four, No Ad, with a nine point tiebreaker at 3-3. In the event, sets split at 1-1, and the players played a 12 point tiebreaker to decide who advances.


The other standout was a former University of California Los Angeles No. 1, Mile Mkrtchian, who entered because his younger brother wanted to play. Mkrtchian left during his third year of law school to battle at the 11-14 UTR level, and he won seven matches over two days and was the loudest “c’mon-er”in the event.


“This event is so motivational and inspiring,” Mkrtchian said. “I want to test against the top pros and see where I am or could have been if I didn’t decide to do law school instead of the ATP Tour.”


The draw came down to 32 players and scoring switched to two full sets no ad with a tiebreaker to decide the third set. Steve Johnson pulled out with a shoulder strain injury and Tommy Haas withdrew with a stomach pull. Thus, from the quarterfinals and on, to help with preparation for Australia, the event went to two sets with regular ad scoring and a tiebreaker to decide a third set.


Parents, spouses, children, and grandparents watched players ranging from the ages of 13 to 57 years old play. Parents and players from Florida, Utah, Arizona, Washington, Nevada, Minnesota, Oregon, Texas, Idaho, Great Britain and California gave testimonials.


The mother of Andreas Gibbons, talked about how her son performed and how the tournament helped him become a better player.


“My son came in and played at his level and had tough matches to start and they got tougher,” Mrs. Gibbons said. “He lost and got lucky loser into the next round and won and proved to himself he could play at another level higher and he is a better player because of this event. Thank you California Championships.”


As Tracy Austin, former No.1 in the world and US Open Champion, gave her first Sportsmanship Award to Carlos Cruz Aedo and son Andras Cruz Aedo at the award ceremony. Austin grew up playing on the stadium court. The stadium crowd appreciated her kind words and suggestion about family tennis standards as did the stage across the country via Facebook Live.


“The California Championships is a groundbreaking event that I am proud to help bring to life,” Austin said.


Austin was also honorary chair and umpire for the exhibition with Jon Lovitz, Steve Weissman, Gavin Rossdale, Sandor Nozaly and Jeff Tarango.


While rock n’ roll and holiday music played in the background, Gavin Rossdale smashed overheads and ripped forehands, while his partner Sandor Nozaly hit so many lobs and drop shots that Jon Lovitz, Jeff Tarango and Steve Weissman had to play three on two to cover the shots and came back from 4-0 to lose 6-3.


Head Racket Sports held a demo day, which was well received with prizes and gifts for players and spectators, Tarango said. The new head racket Instinct Graphene 360, was excitingly dawned, and many participants wanted to buy it right away.


Sophia Bott the West Tech Representative for Head was pleased with the reviews and reception. There was also a raffle contest with new and old memorabilia up for grabs for three different winning families.


Thank you 10sBalls for all the Kramer rackets And Gussy Panties as well as other treasure from your museum. The one Sam Querrey show was awesome especially with his winning our inaugural event. Everything did well in the auctions.


With the ITF Transitional Tour around the corner and the question looming about who will have a chance, it was fitting that Stephen Armitraj and Tarango collaborated at a time when American Tennis struggles for answers, Tarango said. The California Championships has given a solution to scouting and performing for coaches, agents, players and federations to challenge and search out talanted players.


“Pete Sampras used to always say, ‘There are millions of great hitters of the ball, and very few great players…’” Tarango said. “This format, the reverse feed in draw, gets players seeing a higher goal and aspiration thereby challenges them against levels higher than they saw possible in any other tennis event.”


“The California Championships and UTR brought the entire tennis community together at all levels and inspires and motivates everyone involved,” Armitraj said.


The Crowned California Champion, Querrey said he wish he had an experience like this tournament when he was younger.


“I wish I had a chance to play in an event like this when I was younger and been able to test my skills against players of all ages and levels and game styles,” Querrey said. “It would have been fantastic for my development and given me a better understanding of the game.”


Overall, the tournament was a success and will happen in again next year or in the future?, Tarango said.


“Congratulations Sam Querrey, Thomas Laurent, Brandon Holt, Bradley Klahn, Taylor Fritz, Mardy Fish, Reilly Opelka, Steve Johnson, Tommy Haas and all the other participants for pioneering and starting a wonderful way to play a tennis tournament,” Tarango said.


Editor’s note: We jumped in as a sponsor for this event. Jeff Tarango did an amazing job as as a Tourney Director. Especially that he squeezed “geezer” for money at this time of year. But.. We 10sBalls got great exposure on site with our banners. Thank you Jeff for the great placement. And take note that the banners were hung straight and returned and already on the way to AUSTRALIA. We  all  loved the live feed on Facebook. It was great to see Gavin Rossdale, Jon Lovitz and Tracy Austin involved and playing in the event. Bravo Jeff and your team.

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