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TENNIS: Travis Parrott's swan song; Mike Tammen's national title quest; an award for Gundars Tilmanis; Portland misses opportunity to host ATP event
Knocking it around on the tennis beat ...
Travis Parrott hopes an appearance at the U.S. Open next week will be his swan song on the ATP Tour.
The former University of Portland standout and current Portland resident, who is retiring from pro tennis, has applied for wild-card entry at Flushing Meadows.
Parrott, 32, would play mens doubles with Robert Kendrick and mixed doubles with Yasmin Schnak.
Id put my chances at getting in at 50-50, says Parrott, who won the 2009 U.S. Open mixed doubles championship with Carly Gullickson. Id love to finish my career at the Open, especially after winning mixed. So many good memories. Im hoping to be able to play that tournament as my last one.
Parrott reached as high as No. 25 in the world in mens doubles in 2009. He is grateful for the time he spent on the tour.
I played for 10 years, he says. I competed in more than 50 countries. I got to travel to so many places around the world and had experiences Ill never forget.
Now I want to transition into the business world and settle down in Portland.
Parrott already has started a job selling commercial real estate for Kidder Mathews.
Im getting an opportunity to learn the business from two senior brokers (Josh Schweitz and Kevin Joshi) who have done it for a long time and been successful, Parrott says. Its a good time to do this.
Even if he doesnt gain entry into the U.S. Open, Parrott has one more item of tennis business. A four-year veteran of World Team Tennis, he is a member of the Orange County (Calif.) Breakers team that won the Western Conference and will match up with Sacramento in the WTT semifinals Sept. 14 at Charleston, S.C. His mixed doubles partner is Lindsay Davenport, formerly ranked No. 1 in the world in womens singles.
Parrott has an even more important item of business on his plate. In December, his wife, Kristin, is expecting twin boys.
Its not that surprising, says Parrotts father, Brian, the tennis impresario who played a key role in bringing three Davis Cup ties to Portland. After all, Travis is a doubles specialist.
Portlands Mike Tammen goes after national masters championship No. 16 beginning Monday in the mens 50 singles division of the USTA National Grasscourts at Philadelphia.
Tammen, 54, won the mens 50 singles title in the USTA National Hardcourts at Santa Barbara, Calif., in July and is ranked No. 2 nationally. The No. 1-ranked player, Val Wilder of Dallas, is injured and wont compete at Philadelphia. If Tammen were to reach the finals, he would likely move ahead of Wilder into the No. 1 spot, which he occupied at the end of last year.
A teaching pro at The Racquet Club, Tammen won his first age-group title at 35, then took about 10 years off before resuming his quest for national crowns four years ago. He has won nine national tournaments since turning 50 in 2008.
Its fun, I like the competition and its a good challenge, Tammen says.
Tammen, with Brian Joelson one of the top two open players on the Northwest circuit through the 1980s and 90s, has worked around back problems to continue his career.
Im feeling pretty good now, knock on wood, he says. I see my chiropractor once a week. He pops me back into place and Im good to go.
How much longer does Tammen into to play at the national level?
Forever, he says. Until my body wont let me.
Local tennis legend Gundars Tilmanis will receive the faculty emeritus award at the USTA Tennis Teachers Conference in New York on Monday.
Tilmanis, 68, is a regular lecturer at the event that is held just prior to the U.S. Open each year. He will receive a prestigious honor that has been previously given to tennis notables Dennis Van Der Meer, Peter Burwash and Jim Loehr.
I lucked out, said Tilmanis, who retired after 20 years as Lewis & Clarks coach last year. I thought an emeritus award is for old people. Im not old people.
Tilmanis says he works about 25 hours a week teaching tennis, and is writing a tennis book. After a battle with prostate cancer two years ago, my health is good, he says. About an 8.7 out of 10.
Portland missed out on another opportunity for a major-league sporting event. The SAP Open, held for many years at San Jose, was sold in April to a group in Memphis which runs another ATP event. The SAP Open will take place one more year in San Jose, then move to Memphis, which in turn relinquishes its event to a calendar slot in Rio de Janeiro.
A mens tour event could have gone over well at the Rose Garden, with the Memorial Coliseum as an alternate site for early rounds. If the citys politicians had a clue how valuable big-time sporting events can be both culturally and financially, it might have happened.