Drew Robinson (left) and Captain David Basten of the Mid-Atlantic Men's 5.0 team.
© Garrett Ellwood
By J. Fred Sidhu, special to USTA.com
Indian Wells, Calif. -- David Basten, the 33-year-old captain of the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section men's 5.0 team playing in the USTA League National Championships at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden this weekend, clearly remembers his first tennis lesson.
When he was six years old, his mother dropped him and his two younger brothers off for a tennis clinic at the Boonsboro Country Club in Lynchburg, VA. However, there was one problem. There was no clinic scheduled at the club that day.
Drew Robinson, the club's tennis pro did something that day that would result in a friendship based on mutual admiration and respect. "Instead of sending us home, Drew had a lesson with us," Basten said. "He told me he thought I could be pretty good at the sport. So I took up tennis, went after it and really had a lot of fun."
Basten credits Robinson for igniting his passion for tennis and says Robinson played a "huge" part in his development as a player. "I really got into the sport when I was ten. I would not have gotten the love for the sport without him," Basten recollects.
The 52-year-old Robinson, a USPTA teaching professional who serves as Director of Tennis at the Boonsboro Country Club, has fond memories of coaching Basten as a youngster for a period over ten years.
"He's a real hard worker. He's the type of person to motivate himself and he likes the challenge," Robinson said. "He has a real passion for tennis."
After reaching the USTA League Nationals in 2006 and 2008 at the 4.5 level, Basten decided earlier this year to form a 5.0 team. Guess who was the first player he called?
"He (Drew) was the first guy I called. He's a solid player. He's well liked and well respected. He taught me how to play, so it meant a lot to me to have him on the team," Basten said. "He wanted to be part of it. He's one of our best players. Once he joined the team, everyone else wanted to join as well, so everything fell into place."
Playing on the team has been quite an experience for Robinson, a veteran tournament player. "It's been fun. I've enjoyed it. It got me back in a competitive mode," Robinson said.
"It wouldn't be the same without him. He's been a good mentor to all of us as well. He was big on academics and playing the sport with integrity," said Basten. "The goal of the USTA is to grow and promote the sport of tennis and they couldn't do it without guys like Drew."