Tournament Photographers Wanted!

Hello LATA Members!

As you may know, the LA Open is fast approaching — it kicks off next Friday, March 29 and will go through the weekend to the 31st. If anyone who’s playing or just attending would be willing to take some photographs of the actions — using an actual camera rather than a cell phone is preferred but not required — it’d be a great help. The tournament is going to be spread over four locations in the early rounds, which means the more people we can get to take photos, the better. If you think you’d be able to help us out in any capacity, big or small, please email me at newsletter@lataweb.com. Thanks, and see you out on the courts!

John Ramos

Editor, The Score


Draw Party For Winter Team Tennis!

Hello LATA Members!

We’re kicking off Team Tennis with our first social event of the season! Here are the details:

WHAT: Draw party for Winter Team Tennis
WHEN: January 25th 2013 – 7PM to 10PM
WHERE: MJs in Silver Lake, 2810 Hyperion Ave., LA CA 90027

It’s a draw party for the Winter League, at which the team lineups will be announced. Get a first look at who’s going to be playing who while meeting new and returning players, and have a friendly drink with them before the time comes to do battle on the court!

There will be happy hour drinks and snacks, plus a raffle. And whether we’re talking about the raffle or the league, you gotta be in it to win it! Hope to see you all there!

LATA Member Interview: Tim Hughes

Wrapping the PS interviews up, but look for more content soon!

Where are you from originally?

I was born and raised in Fullerton, Orange County.

How long have you been in LA? What brought you here?

I have lived in LA since 1987, as I came to work for an IT firm as a project manager. I wanted to live in LA, as I wanted a rich cultural experience. Orange County was too white. LOL…

How long have you been playing tennis? How did you get started?

I have been playing tennis consistently for the past 3 years. A friend invited me to play in a more social tournament 6 years ago, and I was very nervous. I didn’t play well, but have always been a tough competitor in other sports. I was a pitcher in little league baseball for 2 years and played 7 years of water polo in high school and college. As a pitcher in baseball and shooter in water polo, my hard serve was my first strength in tennis that came with no effort.

How long have you been in LATA? How did you find it? What were you rated when you first joined?

I joined LATA for sporadic play 6 years ago, but really got focused 3 years ago. I was ranked an F, and moved up the ranks to B over time.

How often do you play? Do you play leagues? Do you practice with any other LATAers? Have you played a lot of tournaments?

I currently play 2-3 times per week, and credit LATA for my being more consistent in tournaments. I played Cheviot Hills over the summer, and Burbank many seasons. I play doubles with a group of guys on Monday nights. This year I have played in Palm Springs Doubles, Long Beach Doubles (as an A and won 2 and lost 2 matches), LA Open (B Doubles semifinalist with Wil Contreras from San Diego), SD Open (won the B doubles title with Michael Vasquez), PAC Cup (won both my singles and doubles matches), Centre Court and just recently the Palm Springs Open (I made it to semis in B singles and then twisted my ankle and had to forfeit both singles and doubles matches).

Tell me about the tournament. What was your toughest match? What was the difference?

I had great energy and felt alive at this tournament. It is one of my favorite tournaments, as I get to see old friends and make new ones. The tournament is run very well. My toughest match was the doubles match against Harold Boger and Richard Podolsky, as they were constantly jumping out to a huge lead over Russell Doe (my partner) and me. I really feel the thing that made a difference was to focus on each point of every match and not get ahead of myself. If I made a bad or good shot or got behind in points, I didn’t care. I always believe I can win (and want to win).  I probably played my best match against the #2 seed (Martin Abbott from Brisbane, Australia), where I won 4-6, 6-2, 6-0. I mixed the shots up like never before, and I felt like I was in a zone.

How was the tournament otherwise?

I was obviously disappointed when I rolled my ankle walking off the court after qualifying for the semi’s. But, I have to say, everyone was so helpful and supportive. That is the reason I play tennis. It is a great bonding experience.

Tennis is spiritual for me. You have to be in the moment, or you will lose the point.

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LATA Member Interview: Loc Van Nguyen

Happy New Year! I took a break while everyone was on vacation, but I’m finishing publishing the Palm Springs interviews this week.

Where are you from originally?

I was originally from Vietnam, born in Pleiku. My mom was on a business trip.

How long have you been in LA? What brought you here?

I came to the USA since I was 4 years old and have been living in Southern California ever since. Now I am 38 years old. My mom took her kids and left Vietnam for a better life for her children which include freedom and education.

How long have you been playing tennis? How did you get started?

I’ve been playing for about a little over 13 years. Gosh, time sure does fly by. I got started with being bored of going out, and my ex and I had 2 tennis rackets. His was given by a friend that was never touched and I had an old metal racket that was given to me by my older sister. One day, we headed to the tennis court in West Hollywood and started playing. Since then, I fell IN LOVE with the game and never looked back. I have been playing ever since when I can with my friends (Dean Buth, Tatsuya Ogawa, Vy Hoang, Nick Truong, Lam Ly, Bryan Nguyen, Mark Love, Richard Podolski, Kevin Kim, Ray Cherry, Michael Sengmanigong, etc.). Each and every one of them has helped me tremendously, more than they ever know, and have inspired me to play even better and love the game even more.

How long have you been in LATA? How did you find it? What were you rated when you first joined?

I think I have been with LATA since 2001. We met some friends, and I think it was Marco Tarantino who mentioned that there was a gay tennis club and we should check it out. We did and signed up, then went to ranking day and met Eric Dodson and other great LATA members. During ranking day, I was rated as a C player. I was really nervous during the ranking process; my serve was terrible, my forehand was horrendous, but I was glad that my backhand was working that day. 😉

How often do you play? Do you play leagues? Do you practice with any other LATAers? Have you played a lot of tournaments?

I haven’t played league for about 9 years now. This is partly due to my work schedule—it’s hard to commit to a weekly schedule. Also, when I play tennis, I like to play for hours nonstop. That’s why recently, within the past 2+ years, I’ve just been hitting at Plummer Park with some of my very good friends (names above). As a matter of fact, some of them got started because they know how much I love tennis and kept raving how much fun it was and got them started too. I play tennis at least 2-3 times a week. For me, it’s a GREAT form of exercise and also therapeutic, almost yoga-like. Since my friends (Ian, Lam, Nick, and Bryan) are new to LATA and just started to play tournaments, they got me playing again too.

Tell me about the tournament. What was your toughest match? What was the difference?

Palm Springs Open 19 was SO MUCH FUN!… Not because I won, but because all of my AWESOME friends were there to support me and cheer me on. All of us play at Plummer Park for fun at nighttime, and I hit with Tatsuya sometimes on the weekend when I can, but it turns out that by playing with so many types of games and different levels, it has really helped me and has elevated my game. I think that’s probably why I did so well because I was able to adapt to my opponent’s game but still stay true to my game. Although every match was tough in its own way, overall, I think my toughest was the semifinal against Vince from San Diego. I got there at 7:40 AM and saw that Vince was already warming up on the court. I didn’t think anything of it because I will have my 5 minutes of warmup too, but when we started our match he was serving really well and mixing his game up with drop shots, slices, and heavy forehands. Next thing you know it, I lost the first set 6-3 within 20-25 minutes. I really think by playing with so many different types of games, although I lost the first set, I was determined and still believed that I can win this match. Truly, at one point of the match, I said to myself that if I can handle Tatsuya Ogawa backhand slices, his should not be a problem. Just stay really aggressive on the return, keep the ball deep, and keep attacking. That’s exactly what I did and luckily I was able to turn the match around with a 3-6, 6-0, 6-3 win. Even if I had lost that match, honestly, I would have been disappointed but OK with the results too, only because I knew that I really fought out there and gave it my all.

How was the tournament otherwise?

The last time I played Palm Springs Open, it was about 6 years ago. I am so glad that my friends (Ian, Lam, Bryan, Richard, etc.) wanted to play and made me registered too. I really wanted to thank Jim Kloes, Nabil Najjar, and all the great volunteers on putting such a phenomenal tournament together. It’s a lot of hard work, dedication, preparation, and time to have this caliber of a tournament to run so smoothly. It’s one of the best that I’ve been to and I have played quite a few in my tennis career. Personally, I am so grateful for Ian Huynh, my acoustic guitar player and my very best friend, all my awesome friends, and everyone at the banquet for making one of my wishes come true and accomplishing one of the items from my “bucket list.” It really means a lot to me to have everyone there to share the moment with me. This was really an AMAZING weekend for me. There were so many things to be grateful for and for all the wonderful memories with my BFFs. I got a text from a friend from San Francisco just before the tournament and it said to “Just try your very best, LIVE the MOMENT, and take it all in!” I sure did whether it was performing to Adele “Someone Like You” or playing my matches. The payoff has way exceeded ALL EXPECTATIONS and SO MUCH MORE!!!

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LATA Member Interview: Jim Novak

I apologize for the delay in getting this up, but here’s our second interview from LATAers who rocked the Palm Springs tournament.

Where are you from originally?

I’m originally from Warren, Michigan . . . a suburb of Detroit.  Warren is where Eminem grew up . . . really the only big claim to fame for my hometown.

How long have you been in LA? What brought you here?

I moved from Michigan to San Francisco in 2001, then to Palm Springs in 2004, and in 2011 to Long Beach.  I moved from Michigan for a variety of reasons . . . escaping the brutal winters probably tops the list.  I moved to Long Beach for work . . . I was appointed the Chief Business and Financial Officer for Long Beach Unified School District in July 2011.

How long have you been playing tennis? How did you get started?

I started playing tennis for my high school tennis team.  That was such a great time for me . . . I really enjoyed playing individually, but also for a team.  I have only played here and there since high school, and really wanted to start playing more regularly again.  This past April, I got back into the swing of things by working with Andrew Toprak, one of the pros at El Dorado Park in Long Beach.

How long have you been in LATA? How did you find it? What were you rated when you first joined?

After taking lessons for a month or so, I realized that I wanted to get back into more competitive matches.  I went to Google to see if I could find a group that played on a regular basis, and found LATA.  My timing was perfect, as Team Tennis was just getting organized for the summer session.  I went to the Ranking Day, and was rated as a “C” player.

How often do you play? Do you play leagues? Do you practice with any other LATAers? Have you played a lot of tournaments?

I have lessons once per week, for the most part.  In addition, I play doubles with a great group of guys at El Dorado Park.  We have 6 doubles teams, and rotate partners and opponents each week.  All the guys are great, which makes it really fun, but the matches are competitive and a great way to practice.  I played in the Wednesday Night Team Tennis this past summer, and will probably do so next summer.  It would be great if there was enough interest for LATA to add a Team Tennis in Long Beach . . . I would join that group in a heartbeat!

I played in the San Diego tournament and Center Court tournament this year.  I have had fun, so I am now on the lookout for additional tournaments to enter throughout the year.

Tell me about the tournament. What was your toughest match? What was the difference?

I was really happy with how things worked out at the Palm Springs Open.  Unfortunately, I lost my first round matches at the two other tournaments I entered this year, so I was thrilled that I won a few matches and made the semifinals in [Men’s B Over 40 — Ed.] singles and the quarterfinals in doubles.  Each of the matches were so competitive, and to be honest, could have gone either way.  In singles, I lost to the #1 seed [Roger Lowe — Ed.] in the semis.  My opponent was really good . . . but what made him so tough was how smart he played.  He always seem to take the perfect angle, or anticipate my every shot.  I enjoyed playing him, even though I lost, as I think I learned a lot playing someone with his skills.

How was the tournament otherwise?

Overall, the Palm Springs Open was an incredible tournament.  Everything was incredibly organized, and they made everyone feel good about participating in the tournament.  In addition, the weather in Palm Springs was absolutely perfect.  I’m sure that the organization of the tournament, combined with incredible weather, is a big reason why there are so many quality players that enter the PS Open.  I most certainly will play at this tournament next year!

LATA Member Interview: Lee Winterstein

Hello LATA Members!

This is the first in a series of interviews with LATA members who turned in great performances in the recent Palm Springs tournament. We start with Lee Winterstein, who won the C Singles Tournament.

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Where are you from originally?
Fountain Valley CA – in the OC, about 3 miles from Los Caballeros tennis club. I played there often as a kid in camps and leagues.
How long have you been in LA?
About 15 years – been with my partner Nidal for 12.
What brought you here?
Lived in SF for 12 years after college at UOP in Stockton. Moved back to LA to be closer (but not too close) to the family in OC and warmer weather + beach…dude!
How long have you been playing tennis?
Played since I was 10 years old until about 16 – then took time off to pursue other things. Picked in up again as an adult – I was tired of jogging and getting shin splints!
How did you get started?
Through Los Cab and my family. As a kid there were many drills, classes, leagues, tourneys, and was on the Los Cab team. We played against the other OC clubs like Balboa Bay and John Wayne. My younger brother and Dad played too. A great way to learn competition and discipline.
How long have you been in LATA?
Since 2007. I had a back injury so took a few of years . Came back in 2010. Only after West Coast Cup and the Ladder this year have I been able to improve.
How did you find it?
Somoene at La Cienega Tennis Center mentioned it to me.
What were you rated when you first joined?
D – Self-rated.
How often do you play?
3-4 ladder challenge matches a week + leagues. I usually 8-12 hours of play a week. I was the point leader for the ladder with over 900 points. Challenges are a great workout for me physically and mentally. Playing against different players helps to improve my match skills and endurance.
Do you play leagues?
I play in the Wednesday La Cienega league and also sub for some others.
Do you practice with any other LATAers?
Yes – many from the Ladder like Luis Melo, Eddie Arnez, Michael Sengmanivong, Abhijeet Golwelkar. And also, I play the doubles with Craig Rogers’ group. Also, I still play with many from West Coast Cup like Ramsey Fong, Jason Loualhati and James Patacsil, my doubles partner (with whom Lee also made the semis in doubles in PS — Ed.).
Have you played a lot of tournaments?
PS was my third.
Tell me about the tournament. What was your toughest match?
Toughest was the 3rd round for singles against the number one seed Andrew McKelvy, 7-5 6-4.
What was the difference?
The difference probably was my serve – it was working well and I rarely lost serve. I also mixed up the tempo to keep him off balance by attacking the net and bringing him in.
How was the tournament otherwise?
Great – seemed like everyone had fun. The weather was beautiful and everything was well organized. It was also fun seeing Loc Van Nguyen sing Adele with Ian Huynh at the talent show…:)

Volunteers Still Needed For Holiday Party!

Hello LATA Members!

We’re just about set for the holiday party tomorrow, but we could use a couple more volunteers. Nothing super-demanding but it will help our preparation and cleanup to have a few more strapping bodies helping out. If you can spare an hour before, during, or after the party and would like to help out, please email Indiana Jerry here. Thanks and we look forward to seeing all of you tomorrow!


LATA Holiday Party This Sunday! Don’t Miss It!

Hello LATA Members!

Here’s another reminder that the LATA annual holiday party is this Sunday, December 2, from 4-7 PM. Weather permitting, we’ll be at least partially outdoors, but there is plenty of indoor space, so please don’t let a little rain keep you away! Here is the address:

The Village – Ed Gould Plaza
1125 N McCadden Place
Los Angeles CA 90038

Members and a guest are invited.  Also, please remember to bring a unwrapped gift for the Center — something you think the Gay and Lesbian street kids can use, like clothing, socks, and gift cards for things like food or soft goods at places like Target or Domino’s.  No cash cards please.

One last thing — if you’ve gotten the party Evite in the mail from party planner and Social Director Indiana Jerry, please respond to it so we have an approximate head count. Thanks, and looking forward to seeing all of you!

John Ramos

Editor, The Score


Palm Springs Open Results

Hello LATA Members!

As many of you know, the GLTA Palm Springs Open 19 was played over Thanksgiving weekend at several venues in Palm Springs. Almost 300 players in all participated, and LATA was well represented both in attendance and results. The following is a list of LATA members who reached the semifinals or better in their respective divisions:

Open Singles

Semifinalist – Nabil Najjar

Open Doubles

Winner — Steve Sax

Semi finalist — Matt O’Clarit

A Singles

Winner — Loc Nguyen

Runner-up — Jeff Sheng

A Doubles

Runners-up — Eric Geiger/Chris Tomlin

Semifinalists — John Ramos/Jeff Sheng

B Singles

Winner — Todd Amoroso

Semifinalist — Tim Hughes

B Doubles

Semifinalist — Jesus Salcedo

B Over 40 Singles

Runner-up — Harold Boger

Semifinalist — Jim Novak

C Singles

Winner — Lee Winterstein

C Doubles

Semifinalists — Lee Winterstein/James Patacsil

D Singles

Runner-up — Jon Marinas

D Doubles

Runners-up — Daniel Walkup/Jongo Yuk

Semifinalist — Rob Schwartz

Congrats to everyone who played, and stay tuned for interviews with some of the people listed!

John Ramos

Editor, The Score


2013 Winter Team Tennis Leagues Set! Sign Up Now!

Hello LATA Members!

The following is from Paul Yates, our Team Tennis Director. League signups are open as of today — please note that you have to renew your membership to be eligible. And don’t wait — spots are going to go fast!

LATA Winter Team Tennis 2013

Signups will be open starting November 28th, 2012

Go to Team Tennis Signups on your Member Home Page

PLEASE NOTE:  Payment MUST be made to guarantee a spot – it is first come, first served.  Quickest and easiest way is to pay by credit card – LATA pays for the transaction charge so it’s no extra charge to you.  If you are mailing a check, your spot will not be guaranteed until that check is received.  

 

What’s New for 2013…

Shorter season (10 weeks)

Lower price ($95 for most leagues)

Trophies for winning teams and individual singles/doubles season winners

 

Here are the available leagues for Winter 2013…

Sundays 2pm to 5pm – starting February 3rd

Burbank Tennis Center

FORMAT:  Traditional Team Tennis – 1 doubles set/1 singles set

$95

 

Mondays 7pm to 9pm – starting February 4th

Weddington Tennis/Studio City

FORMAT:  Traditional Team Tennis – 1 doubles set/1 singles set

$95

 

Wednesdays 7pm to 10pm – starting February 6th

La Cienaga/Beverly Hills

FORMAT:  Traditional Team Tennis – 1 doubles set/1 singles set

$95

 

Thursdays 7pm to 9pm – starting February 7th

Weddington Tennis/Studio City

FORMAT:  Doubles Only – 3 sets

$95

 

Saturdays 4pm to 6pm – starting MARCH 2nd (late start due to court availability)

Cheviot Hills Tennis/West LA

FORMAT:  Singles Only/Full Matches – Open/A/B/C Tiers ONLY

OPEN ONLY TO Open/A/B/C Tiers – if you are new to LATA and do not have a ranking, contact me before signing up.  Do not sign up if you are not one of the above tiers.

$125