Ojai Tournament features area’s best of prep, collegiate, adult players

Starting today, over 1500 players will compete for USTA and PAC-10 titles at the 110th Ojai Tennis Tournament in Ojai.

Due to the tournament’s proximity to Santa Barbara, many top locals will be making the trip over the hill to compete, including Rachel Decker-Sadowski, Chase Melton, Lauren Stratman, Blake Mackall and Alexander Gryaznov.

While the girls will be competing for individual USTA titles, the boys will be competing for team titles for their high school.

Despite the 64 top high school teams from Southern California competing in the tournament, Santa Barbara High head coach Steve Geremia says that the Dons are the team to beat.

“No other high school team has one more than two straight Ojai titles in a row, except for Santa Barbara High,” Geremia said. “Our team has won five straight… I think Chase (Melton) has a good chance of winning the boy’s draw despite his back injury.”

The team draws in both the high school tournament as well as the NCAA tournament are different than how a traditional tennis tournament is played. Instead of registering individual players for separate events, each team selects a few of its players to compete in the draw. For every match won in the singles or doubles draw, the winning player earns one point for their whole team.

In addition to the junior events, adults will also be competing in USTA singles and doubles draws. There is tough competition in both the women’s and men’s open draws; Lester Cook from Marina Del Ray is the No.1 seed in the men’s draw and Olga Puchkova is the No.1 seed in the women’s draw.

While the tournament draws some of the country’s top juniors and adults, the highly anticipated NCAA PAC-10 tournament is also scheduled to determine the best men’s and women’s collegiate team in the west, including UCLA, Cal, Stanford, and USC.

This year, Santa Barbara local and tennis standout, Daniel Nguyen is the No. 8 seed for USC in the men’s draw. In the women’s draw, UCLA and Stanford are the one’s to look out for. Yasmin Schnack (UCLA) is the No. 1 seed and Hilary Barte (Stanford) is the No. 2 seed.

With the countries best juniors, adults, and collegiate players competing this week, the Ojai isn’t something you want to miss.

Tournament play begins April 22nd at 8 a.m. at The Ojai Valley Athletic Club and at Libby Park.


For more information, visit the tournament site http://www.ojaitourney.org/

For court locations,  http://www.ojaitourney.org/locations.shtml

For the tournament schedule, http://www.ojaitourney.org/schedule.shtml

For tickets,  http://www.ojaitourney.org/tickets.shtml