Stanford Men Play San Quentin Inmates; LSU Team Gets Media Training; Abanda Barely Misses Upset in Toronto
Six members of the men's tennis team at Stanford spent last Saturday morning just an hour north of Palo Alto, but it might as well have been a moon of Jupiter, so alien their destination would be to student-athletes on The Farm. Alex Clayton, Greg Hirshman, Matt Kandath, Bradley Klahn, Denis Lin and Ryan Thacher, along with head coach John Whitlinger, played tennis with inmates at San Quentin, the state prison housing California's death row.
The Stanford Daily spoke with Whitlinger and several of the players for this story, and the descriptions of their initial fears and the subsequent reality demonstrate the value of the experience. For more on how the tennis program got started, and the inmates and Marin Tennis Club members who also regularly participate in it, see this February 2009 story from espn.com.
While it wouldn't equate with entering a death row prison, the LSU men's tennis team had an opportunity Tuesday to learn more about the occasionally uncomfortable task of dealing with the media, according to this story from lsusports.net. I've always found the vast majority of college tennis players to be cooperative, candid and articulate, win or lose, but I applaud LSU for instructing their student-athletes in what's expected of them. I would love to see this training at all colleges, and at the USTA's National and Regional Training Centers too.
The $50,000 Tevlin Challenger in Toronto is getting more coverage than some WTA tour events with both Stephanie Myles and Tom Tebbutt keeping a close eye on the action. Tebbutt reports, in his Globe and Mail blog "Match Tough,", that 15-year-old Canadian Elisabeth Abanda had a match point on No. 7 seed Madison Brengle of the U.S. but didn't convert it, losing 6-2, 5-7, 7-5. The first round is now complete, with 2008 Orange Bowl finalists Christina McHale and Julia Boserup of the U.S. both advancing.
Myles, in her Montreal Gazette blog "Open Court," is very diligent about recognizing all tennis birthdays, and about following the Canadians on the tour.