Akash, a member of the 3.0 Adult Norcal team.
© ANDREW ONG PHOTOGRAPHY
By Matt Birch, Special to USTA.com
TUCSON, Ariz. --- Just about anything can be found on Craigslist, including houses, cars, jobs and even tennis teammates.
Last year, Max Kwok put an ad on Craigslist in search of teammates for his 4.0 Adult League team in San Francisco. The response to the ad was overwhelming. Not only did Kwok fill out his 4.0 roster with tennis players from all over the Bay Area, but he was also able to find players who could compete at other levels of the USTA League.
One of the teams that Kwok has built from Craigslist responses is the men’s team representing the Northern California section at this weekend’s 3.0 National Championships.
"Originally, I had no plans for starting a 3.0 team," Kwok explained. "It just happened that I met all these guys on Craigslist, and most of them were just starting out and wanted to join a team. So that was how we put the team together."
Kwok also explained that while most Adult League teams are based out of private clubs, his teams are one of the only ones from the region that play out of public parks. The team’s "home" courts are at Golden Gate Park, but they often practice at various public parks throughout the city.
Akash Zaveri is the team’s co-captain, and originally met Kwok after he responded to the online ad and tried out for the 4.0 team.
"Our team has a bunch of different characters," Zaveri said. "We have a lot of fun playing together, and I almost enjoy our practices more than the matches, because it’s more relaxed and fun."
Max and Akash use Facebook and email to coordinate practices and the response and turnout is always strong.
Team member Brian Wood explained that he often uses Cragislist, and was excited when he came across the ad for the tennis team.
"I didn’t know anyone when we got started," he said. "But I really like all of these guys and this has been a fun experience."
All of the team members agreed that Max has served as a great mentor for the team, and they enjoy practicing with the players from the higher levels that Max also works with. They also plan to compete together later in the year in mixed level combo leagues.
Having fun remains the main theme for this group, and competing at Nationals is a great bonus experience for these men.
From what started as a simple Craigslist ad, has developed into many new friendships, experiences and a trip to the National Championships.