Jorge Leal and son Alec at the 3.0 Adult Nationals in Tucson, AZ.
© ANDREW ONG PHOTOGRAPHY
By Adam Kempa, Special to USTA.com
TUCSON, Ariz. – Jorge Leal has always had a lifelong passion for tennis, and he instilled that love into his son Alec and taught him the game at a young age. Now, several years later, they have the opportunity to compete together for the first time as a doubles team at the USTA Adult National Championship in Tucson.
Alec, 23, never played tennis in high school, but when he told his father that he wanted to play competitively two years ago they decided to join up and play together. They joined a team in El Paso, just to have fun and enjoy the game and each other’s company. They did more than just have fun, as their team won districts in El Paso, and then the Southwest sectional to qualify for the National Championships.
The road to Tucson has not been without it’s setbacks for the father-son duo. After their team won Sectionals, Alec had to go back to school at the University of Texas, taking away the opportunity for them to practice together and prepare for Nationals. Alec flew in separately from San Antonio to rendezvous with his father and teammates for the tournament. Shortly after returning to school, Alec tore a ligament in his thumb playing soccer, eliminating any chance he had to practice at all, let along with his father. Just six weeks after the injury Alec is back on the courts and ready to compete again. He said that this is the first time he has played any sport since the injury occurred, and it will be put to quite the test as he is playing singles for his team as well as doubles with his father.
Jorge said that the best thing about playing with his son is that he brings the youth and athleticism to the team that he needs. Alec said that the one thing his dad has stressed to him the most is whether you win or lose, always have fun. Even though they lost their first match together on Friday, they were still upbeat afterwards and happy to be playing together again.