Davey Woodland applied for the USTA Boys’ 18 National Clay Court Championships on a whim. He was encouraged to do so by a friend, but didn’t get his hopes up.
Woodland’s father forgot to check his email for a few days after, but when the West Ranch High tennis player logged on to the USTA website, he was met with a surprise.
“(I found out) four or five days after they made the selection,” Woodland said. “That was a very, very happy (moment) for me. I didn’t expect to get in. I signed up and I found out on accident.”
Woodland, who was the Foothill League individual tournament champion in singles this season, had to be one of the top 12 tennis players in Southern California in his age group to be selected for the tournament, which will take place July 16-23 in Delray Beach, Florida.
Typically competing on concrete courts, Woodland knows the challenges of making the switch to clay.
“Clay is like a wet baseball infield,” he said. “You’re sliding around a lot. But if you have the right balance, you can choose when you slide into shots and from there push off into other ones.”
“You can tell pretty early on if your opponent doesn’t know how to move on clay.”
A solid performance at the Racquet Club of Irvine Classic Clay Tournament is a good omen for what’s to come in the national tournament. Woodland made it to the finals after beating the No. 2 seed in straight sets in the semifinals.
Although the surface was similar to what he’ll face in Florida, the weather was much different.
To prepare for the tropical climate of the Sunshine State, Woodland has been training in the intense summer heat in California.
He’s also heading to Florida two days before the tournament begins to get acclimated and get ready to face some of the top tennis talent in the nation.
“I’m used to playing some of these guys in the latter stages of tournaments,” Woodland said. “Every single match I play will be against one of the best players in the nation.”
Murray takes golf tournament title
Gunnar Murray of West Ranch golf was the champion of the boys 16-18 division at the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour in La Quinta. He shot a 75 on July 1, then a 73 on July 2 at the Nicklaus Course.
Murray was the Foothill League Player of the Year this season.