Bay Area tennis is something to behold. Home to some of the best collegiate tennis programs in the country, the Bay loves tennis, and tennis loves it back.
And so, as Cal men’s tennis gears up to begin its fall season, five players donning the blue and gold will step out onto their home courts Friday to fight to qualify for the Battle in the Bay tournament held in San Francisco next weekend.
The field is stacked: 30 players will be fighting for just two singles and one doubles spot at the tournament. Players from eight other schools will travel to Berkeley to partake in the qualifier, including athletes from Stanford, UC Santa Cruz and UNLV.
A new addition to the Cal team features on the list. John Kim, a California local from Sunnyvale, won’t have traveled far to play for the Bears for the first time. Joining the team alongside fellow freshmen Siddhant Banthia and Ryder Jackson, Kim shows promise as the only first-year cub to make the roster for the qualifier this weekend.
This weekend’s qualifier will also feature Alex Chang and Mikey Wright, two sophomores and graduates of Berkeley High School. Hailing from across the waters, Derrick Chen from Cambridge, England will be joining Lucas Magnaudet from Paris, France, to complete the roster for this weekend’s play.
The Bears that advance to the Battle in the Bay will play at the California Tennis Club in San Francisco, starting Sept. 23.
This will be an opportunity for Cal’s home tennis fans to experience a rare bout of fall play at home. Whereas the spring tennis seasons are stacked with conference and dual match play for the blue and gold to host, Cal is less frequent to host in the fall.
After this qualifying tournament, the only other time Cal men’s tennis will hear the roar of its home crowd will be in early October at the ITA Northwest Regional Championships. Action on the blue and gold home turf, the Hellman Tennis Complex, resumes in a more frequent fashion beginning with a match against Saint Mary’s in January.
With the tournament being so local, this is a great opportunity for all the players to have fans come out to support them. While the Bears may have home-court advantage, crowds will be traveling to see the first tournament of the season.
Whether Cal will snatch this opportunity for a strong start to its fall season is to be seen. But what is for sure is that the Bay Area’s finest tennis will certainly be on display this weekend.