Last updateWed, 20 Sep 2017 9am


Locals help tennis team net section crown

Courtesy of Bill Moniz
A senior men’s tennis team with two local residents recently captured its division at the USTA Northern California Sectional. Players, from left, include Tom Trankle, Larry Hayes (co-captain), Larry Namekata, Larry White, Bill Moniz (Los Altos), Jim Connor (Los Altos) and Po Chen. Not pictured: Merrill Clum, Shyamal Kanoo and Bob Ziegler.

A senior men’s tennis team with two Los Altos residents recently claimed its division of the United States Tennis Association’s Northern California Sectional.

The Sunnyvale-based team won the Men’s Adult 65-plus, 3.5 (skill level) section playoffs early this summer at Silverado Country Club in Napa.

The 10-man team features Los Altos residents Jim Connor and Bill Moniz, along with players from Mountain View, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto and San Jose.

The section playoffs were held over three days, with eliminations occurring after the opening day.

After losing its first match, the local team’s prospects of advancing appeared dim; the squad needed to win both of its second-day matches by 3-0 scores to stave off elimination.

When the team did just that, Moniz said it boosted the players’ spirits for the third day of competition.

Only an hour and a half after winning its semifinal match, the Sunnyvale team was back on the court to face the defending NorCal champions for the title. Moniz said the locals pulled out a “come-from-behind” victory over Gold River (Sacramento) in the final, decided by a third-set tiebreaker (10-8 score).

“This has been an extraordinary tennis season and a remarkable playoff,” Connor said. “Tennis is a wonderful sport that can be played by people of all ages and skills. This particular season and its dramatic playoff result is something I will never forget.”

Moniz added, “While I always hoped this would happen, I never thought we would get this far in the USTA tournament. It took several days for it to really sink in. Going to the nationals will be the biggest thrill for me in my 50-plus years of playing tennis.”

The local squad – which defeated district league champions from Monterey, Novato and Napa along the way – will represent Northern California in the national playoffs, scheduled March 2015 in Surprise, Ariz.

“I’ve been a USTA captain/player for 25 years managing 50 different teams,” team captain Larry Hayes said. “To finally get to the nationals after all these years at age 74 is amazing and a dream come true. Our guys are truly inspiring.”

The team plays out of the Sunnyvale Tennis Center. The squad won its section with an 11-1 record and is now 15-2 overall.

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