By Jeffrey Seals
Most people come to Las Vegas for the nightlife, the shows and the gambling but for Jose Zea his purpose involves a little bit of tennis. Zea is making his second trip to Sin City in less than three weeks to play at another USTA League National Championship, this time in the 9.0 mixed division.
Zea came to Las Vegas at the end of October with his 4.5 men’s squad. The team from Key Biscayne, Fla., went 2-1 in its group although they were hampered by only having six players. They won two matches despite having to give up one point from the beginning.
Including this current trip to Las Vegas, Zea has participated in three USTA League National Championships within the last 12 months. His 9.0 mixed squad participated in the championship in Orlando last year going 2-1.
This current 9.0 team has played together for three years, but has had to jump back and forth in divisions due to the longevity of the squad. For the most part the team has stayed intact with only a few new members replacing a couple that have since left and play out of the Calusa Club Village.
Zea began playing tennis back when he was 10 years old. He primarily played on his own up until he attended Georgia Southern University. During his freshman season, he began to suffer ankle issues and was forced to “retire” from the game until six years ago.
With help from heavy tapings and ankle braces, Zea has returned to the court. It only took him two years to get back to form, as he helped his team earn a championship in 2005 at the USTA 4.0 League National Championship in Indian Wells, Calif.
Hopefully, with a little luck on his side, Zea hopes that the third time is a charm and he captures his second career national championship.