© Joe Murphy
By J. Fred Sidhu, USTA.com
When you think of La Jolla, Calif. you may imagine palm trees and a gentle ocean breeze blowing along the pristine beaches.
But when you mention La Jolla to a tennis player, the rich tennis tradition and history of the picturesque community comes to mind.
La Jolla is home to the world famous La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, which holds numerous tennis events and the La Jolla Tennis Club, which has been home of the annual La Jolla tennis championships since 1917.
It is also the home of the Men’s 5.0 USTA Southern California team which plays out of La Jolla High School.
The team, nicknamed the Vikings, won their league to advance to the Southern California Sectionals where they had to defeat a tough Orange County team twice to advance to this weekend’s USTA League National Championships at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
“We just got a group of guys together from the area to play,” said team captain Eric Basart. “We really didn’t have any set goals.”
Unfortunately for Basart and his team, they dropped their opening match to the USTA men’s 5.0 Intermountain team from Las Vegas in a closely-contested 2-1 decision.
Basart and his partner Brett Buffington dropped the number one doubles match to Igor Santana and Ken Bang, 6-4, 5-7, 1-0.
The Southern California men did get on the scoreboard when Andrew Wakefield defeated Benjamin Cousins of the Intermountain team, 2-6, 7-6, 1-0.
“We’ve had some real close matches all year long, even in our league. All of our matches have been pretty close,” Basart said.
Despite the loss, Basart still held hope they could advance to Sunday’s semifinals for a chance to win the USTA National Championship.
“It would be awesome. We would love to do that,” Basart said. “Obviously it’s going to be tough now. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”