The No. 41 Stanford men’s tennis team will be on the road again this weekend, traveling to La Jolla, Calif., for the 124th Annual Pacific Coast Men’s Doubles Championships.
The event, which runs from Thursday to Sunday, is held at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. According to the United States Tennis Association (USTA), the tournament is the second oldest in the United States. It is open to the nation’s top collegiate doubles teams, though players of all ages can register independently.
After suffering four straight losses, the Cardinal is hoping to regain momentum with a strong showing in La Jolla. The Stanford team of Bradley Klahn and Ryan Thacher, who graduated in 2012, took the event’s top title in the past two years. The team’s younger players are now looking to take their place.
“We’ve had pretty good success and hopefully we can have success this year again,” sophomore Robert Stineman said. “It’s been a good tournament for the Cardinal, for sure.”
However, the tournament will provide plenty of competition from both collegiate players and players who registered independently.
According to tournament director Bill Kellogg, teaching professionals, former tour players, college coaches and even junior players have registered as independent players in the past. Previous tournament champions include John McEnroe, Bobby Riggs, Ted Schroeder and Arthur Ashe.
Stanford graduates, including KC Corkery ’06 and Blake Muller ’09 will be competing together as independent players. Corkery, who won the tournament in 2005, was a three-time All-American, an NCAA doubles champion and 2003’s Pac 10 Freshman of the Year during his time at Stanford. Muller, who made it to the finals of the tournament in 2007, was an ITA Regional Doubles champion.
Doubles teams from colleges across the country, including UC-Berkeley, University of San Diego, Villanova, USC, UCLA and Pepperdine, are also registered to play in the event.
“It’s got the best teams in California playing in it, so the competition is definitely very, very high in terms of the doubles teams,” said Stineman, who played in the tournament last year with sophomore John Morrissey.
Stineman and Morrissey were defeated in the round of 32 last year, while junior Jamin Ball and senior Walker Kehrer fell in the fourth round of the consolations. Seniors Matt Kandath and Denis Lin, who were a ninth seed, fell in the round of 64.
Stineman said that although the tournament is “great competition,” it’s also a nice break from the dual matches that characterize the rest of the season.
“There are a lot of cool amenities that you have,” Stineman said. “You get to stay at the La Jolla Country Club, which is right on the beach. You get to use their facilities and everything, and that country club is really nice to spend the rest of your days at when you’re not playing tennis.”
Current Stanford players registered for the event are freshmen Nolan Paige, Trey Strobel, Maciek Romanowicz and Anthony Tsodikov, sophomores John Morrissey and Robert Stineman, juniors Daniel Ho and Jamin Ball and seniors Matthew Kandath and Denis Lin.
Stineman, who expects to play with Romanowicz, said that although all of the teams will be trying to play their best tennis, there is less pressure on each individual team because their matches are not contributing to a team total.
“There’s not one team winner of the tournament, it’s more individual,” Stineman said. “You’re still representing your school, but you’re playing in an individualized format.”
Stineman said that the team is looking forward to heading down to La Jolla, where they plan to have dinner with a local family and enjoy time on the beach in between matches.
“I think everyone’s really excited because it is such a unique thing for college tennis and it’s a really cool venue to play at,” Stineman said. “You don’t get to play at these nice clubs as much during college tennis, so I think everyone is very excited to go down there.”
Contact Justine Moore at jmoore94 “at” stanford.edu.