Adult News

FLEX Finale Closes Summer Calendar; Fall Registration Now Open

Darryl Nash / USTASoCal

Wed 2nd, Sep, 2020

The summer’s first round of FLEX tournaments have concluded, marking the first time since early in the year that adult players have competed on the USTA Southern California circuit. Thanks to a unique schedule format, FLEX events were held in Beach Cities, San Diego, San Gabriel Valley, and Ventura.

The return to play – and the convenient format allowing players to schedule matches on their own time – was much anticipated for all the participants, and for a variety of reasons. Whether for sport or simply for much needed exercise and socializing, players remained eager to participate and advance over a two-month period, culminating at the FLEX finale in San Diego (see tournament champions below).

Registration is now open for FLEX fall events.

“It’s so easy to weave the tennis into your daily routine,” said Beach Cities player Larry Vance. “A lot of my friends in the senior competition class don’t like to play tournaments because you have to play two matches in a day.” Vance believes that more seniors will join the FLEX tournaments simply due to the scheduling. At a standard tournament, players may be asked to complete two matches on Saturday, only to return with minimal recovery for two more matches on Sunday. With FLEX, single matches are spread over weeks instead of hours. “FLEX invites you to play instead of dissuading you to play,” he said.

Another benefit of the extended format is the convenience of scheduling, and in some cases, rescheduling. When Kumi Kanai was unable to keep her commitment to opponent Samantha Kadera, the pair simply picked an alternate date. At a standard tournament, Kanai would have been forced to withdraw.

“We are both mothers,” Kanai said of she and her opponent, “and we have to schedule the tennis match around our families. So I love this format.”

Kadera agreed.

“As a mom, this is ‘me’ time, and for my mental health I really appreciate being back out here,” Kadera said. “Finding women who like to play at a high level and who like singles is kinda hard and challenging, so I enjoy this kind of set-up.” Kadera also hopes they can connect and get together in the future to play outside of a competitive setting, a social perk of the FLEX experience.

Returning to court was even more crucial for Dan Castillo. Recovering from a torn Achilles late last year, Castillo anticipated a gradual return to tennis this spring. Instead, the stoppage of play due to COVID-19 delayed his return. In the meantime, Castillo was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, and returning to the court became an even more crucial priority.

“For me literally it was a life or death situation,” he said. “When you get diabetes, you have to increase the level of activity and exercise… Once tennis (resumed), it increased my motivation. Tennis, and playing this tournament, has been a lifesaver for me.”

Playing his very first USTA event, Castillo was able to return to competitive play thanks to USTA Southern California’s FLEX format, and looks forward to returning for the next round this fall.

“I’m normally a doubles player, not really a singles player,’ he said. “But that’s all we can have right now. It was either (singles), or no tennis. I’ve never played any tournaments before but I did enjoy the flexibility of it… pun intended.”

CHAMPIONS - SUMMER 2020

Beach Cities

NTRP Men's 4.0: (2) JJ Fuller d. (1) Borann Heam

NTRP Men's 3.5: Andre Grinberg d. (3) Roger Navarro

NTRP Women's 3.5:  (1) Robin Freni d. (2) Tara Aviel

Women’s 4.5 RR: Karina Kraines d. Allison Doyle

Women’s 3.5: Robin Freni d. Tara Aviel

Men’s 4.5 RR: Jon Tringale d. Tim Claar

San Gabriel Valley

Women’s 3.5 RR: Rebecca Stokes d. Irina Abadzheva

Women’s 4.0 RR: Brittany Whyte d. Briseida Jazmin Rubio

Women’s 4.5 RR: Jennifer Avila d. Monica Georgescu

Men’s 3.5 RR: John Choi d. Scott Lee

Men’s 4.0 RR: Joseph Widman d. Matthew Levine

Men’s 4.5 RR: Ulises Lorenzo d. Francesco Nguyen

San Diego

NTRP Men's 4.0: Tommy West d. Chris Prokop

NTRP Men's 4.5: (2) Ken Johnson d. Karl Rivard

NTRP Women's 3.5: (1) Sharon Meredith d. (3) Kathy Valdez

NTRP Women's 4.0: (1) Claris Oas d. Lisa Davidson

Men’s 3.5 RR: Joseph Barraquio

Ventura

NTRP Men's 3.5: John Choi d. (1) Vipin Gupta

Men’s 4.0 RR: Tim Ryan d. Richard Park

Men’s 4.5 RR: Rob Stone d. Craig Myers

Women’s 3.5 RR: Sheri Kanongataa d. Didi Sowul

Women’s 4.0 RR: Sherith Lewis d. Bridget Going