Monday, November 29, 2010

Player Profile: Carolyn Nichols

Carolyn Nichols
Carolyn Nichols is the queen of the senior circuit. She has a passion for seniors tennis that is unparalleled, and a true love for competition. She has been playing seriously since her 30's, and wants to pursue her career even further. She is currently ranked #1 in the U.S. for 55's and up, and #2 in the world!

Racket- Volkl Power Bridge 4
String- VS17
Tension- 52 lbs.

Why did you start playing tennis?
My parents played all the time, and actually built a court on our farm. There was nothing else to do, so I started playing with them!

What are some advantages of being ranked #1 in the U.S. and #2 in the World for 55's?
I have been privileged enough to travel the world! I have played tennis everywhere from Argentina to south Africa. I have made so many great friends on my travels, and have really taken the time to give back to the game as much as I can. 

What was the changing point in your tennis career?
I started to really take tennis seriously in my early 30's. I took the time to really gear up for the 35's, so I could start playing Nationals. My game was much better suited for seniors play.

What was your proudest tennis moment?
Honestly, 2010 has been an amazing year for me! I beat two players in National Finals that I had never beat before, and won World Doubles! It has been a great year, and it is only my first year in the 55's!

What are you doing in the tennis community now?
I am chair of several committees, including the Senior International, Adult Senior Competition, and ITF Senior Committee. I am also on on the board of the San Diego District and the National Womens Tennis Association. I contribute to Inside Tennis, and keep a website, Carolyn Nichols Tennis.

Player Profile: Nelson Alapi

Nelson Alapi
Nelson Alapi is a tennis pro here at La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. I have had the pleasure of knowing Nelson for quite some time, and I can personally say that he is a great tennis player with a megawatt personality.  Growing up in Buenos Aires with clay courts, he had a different experience playing tennis then most do. He has been playing tennis for most of his life, and it shows in his game!

Racket- Wilson BLX Pro Tour FX Team 
String- Luxilon Adrenaline 
Tension- 61 lbs.

How far did you get in your tennis career?
I played satellite professional tennis as part of the ATP Tour. It was a lot of fun, but tough. It required a lot of physical hard work, and that was difficult. I did take a lot away from the experience. I learned a lot about self-reliance and resilience under pressure. 

What was a changing point in your tennis career?
I got an offer to teach tennis at Club Med, and it really changed my life! I was given the opportunity to teach what I love in a great place! I worked there for about four years.

Who is someone you are not looking forward to playing in this tournament.
I don't want to have to play Jeff Greenwald. He won the tournament last year, and is great competitor!

What was your proudest tennis moment?
I took a fifteen year hiatus from tennis. Being able to start playing tournaments again after such a long time away was very rewarding. 

What is your advice for fellow tennis players?
Go out there and play! Don't think too much about technique, just hit lots of balls!

Player Profile: Jennifer Dawson

Jennifer Dawson
Jennifer Dawson is the #2 seed for the Women's 40's National Hard Court Championship, and another local of San Diego. She did quite well in the first round, and is well on her way to being a tough competitor this year. Her opponents had nothing but compliments and good things to say about her. She is definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with this year.
Racket- Babolat Pure Drive
String- Prince Synthetic Gut
Tension- 60 lbs.
Location- Carlsbad, CA
When was a changing point in your tennis career, when you really began to take it seriously?
I would have to say that playing college tennis really altered the way I approached tennis. In high school, I didn't take tennis too seriously. On a college team, you realize you are representing your school. I really wanted to play well for my school, so I started to take it more seriously.

What was the farthest you got in your tennis career?
I played at University of San Diego, as the #1 player for four years. Also, I played in the pro circuit, and was ranked #400.

How was your experience as a professional?
It is a tough life to play professionally. There is a lot of traveling and being away from home for long periods of time involved. You have to really enjoy it, or else it will be really tough on you.

What was your proudest tennis moment?
When USD was ranked #14 in the country. I knew that I had helped the team get to that spot, and I was really proud of what we had accomplished. 

What are you doing in the tennis community now?
I am teaching tennis at La Jolla Recreation Center. I also play in some ladies leagues and some tournaments here and there. 

What is one piece of advice you would give to fellow tennis players?
Always try your hardest. Whatever happens, happens, but you have to give 100%!

Player Profile: Carol Gay

Carol Gay
Carol Gay is a local player, who has an obvious love for the sport, and La Jolla Beach and Tennis Player. Gay has a lot of history with Sothern California tennis and LJBTC. Her parents used to bring her to the club all the time, and it holds a special place in her heart. Her passion for tennis exudes through her constant involvement in the community and love for the game.
Why do you have a connection to La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club?
My parents played here all the time. They were both nationally ranked players, and my mother actually won this tournament a while back. I remember learning lots of skills as a junior on these courts. 

I heard you had experience in the Professional circuit?
Yes! I teamed up with Peggy Micheal, who was a Wimbledon Doubles Winner, and we did pretty well. I also played in Forrest Hills, which is now the U.S. Open.

Did you learn anything from your time on the circuit?
I was disappointed with my mental game. My nerves really got the best of me, and it held me back. I would lose to girls that I had beat in college because I was so nervous! I actually decided not to play in Wimbledon, and returned the money to my sponsors. I don't regret it.

How are you involved in the tennis community now?
I am playing in National Tournaments and also did a lot of volunteer work in Phoenix. I ran a pilot program for Collegiate USTA, basically aimed for recreational tennis on college campuses. I also am really enjoying the tournament community, the demeanor in the senior circuit is a lot different. We're always injured, and have to focus on the condition of our bodies so much more.

Player Profile: Matthias Mueller-Steele

Matthias Mueller-Steele
Matthias Mueller-Steele traveled the longest length to take part of the Men's 40's Hard Court National Championships, and we are excited to have such a great player! Matthias lives in Germany, but has a lot of great tennis experience here in the states. He was #1 on the tennis team at the University of Nebraska, and also played in the First Division back home in Germany.  He has been playing for 39 years, and has a true passion for tennis. 
Racket- Dunlop 100
Tension- 53 lbs.
Location- Germany

Why did you start playing tennis?
My parents played a lot at the club in Germany, and I hung out there everyday. Eventually, I started to play with them.

How was your experience at the University of Nebraska?
Well, no one ever wanted to travel to Nebraska to play us, so we got to travel a lot of great places. It was hard to adjust being from another country, but it was a great experience. 

How was it adjusting when you moved to America for school?
It was tough for a few months, especially missing classes for tennis. But luckily, there were a few other foreigners on the team with me that were going through the same thing.

What was a changing moment in your tennis career?
A big moment in my career was when I was 20 years-old. I was playing in the First Division in Germany during the summer, and then would head back to America to play with University of Nebraska. I really took my tennis to the next level. 

Let the Games Begin!

It's that time of the year again! The 2010 National Hardcourt Championships are back at La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. Get ready for amazing tennis, and some fierce competitors. La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club has transformed into tennis central, and I am going to be reporting on all of it!

I will be featuring some stand-out players, and finding out more about their love for the game. I hope you enjoy getting to learn more about the players behind the tournament that has built quite the tradition at La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club.