Crimson netman Howard Sands spent the past summer touring on the junior amateur tennis circuit. The following is based on two conversations held yesterday. Paris, France
The French sure know how to treat a guy! Chauffeured Citroen limousines wherever you want to go (I hit the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower yesterday) and the food is really incredible. The tennis wasn't too bad either. I won my first match against an Argentine guy, but then lost in the second to an Australian in three sets. I played okay but final exams really tired me out, and its been less than a week since I finished. We're off to Spain tomorrow. I'll write soon.
Love from the French Junior Open, Howard London, England
Sorry I haven't written but it's been a busy couple of weeks. First was the tourney in Auiles, Spain, where I did pretty well but lost in the semi's. Along the way I whipped the third was the top-ranked Czech junior junior (don't ask me to remember what his name was, those Slovak names really blow my mind), and then beat the second ranked Canadian, a guy named Wostenholme, in the quarterfinals.
After that weflew to London, where I played in the Wimbledon warm-up tourney and,then, in the junior version of the granddaddy of all tennis tournaments, Wimledon. It was all really exciting, especially when Bjorn Borg was playing on the next court over. After his match ended, it seemed like the whole crowd came over to watch me. It was pretty cool.
Besides that, I even played some tennis. In the warm-up tournament, I reached the quarter s by beating the number two South African seed, Van Rensburg. Nobody even protested the match. In the real tournament I beat Matt Willander from Sweden, who was the number one 16-year-old in the world in '79, but then lost to a German named Zipfin the next round. I'll be home in the next few days. London is great, wish you were here. Howard Burlingame, California
Dear Mom and Dad,
I really enjoyed the one night at home. It should have been longer, but then, business is business. Meeting up with the Junior Davis Cup Team in Palo Alto was a little nerve-wracking, because I hadn't gone through the regular qualifying rounds and I felt that I had to prove myself to the rest of the guys. I think I did it in the first tournament, which was the Hard Court National in Burlingame.
You probably read about it in the papers, but I'll tell it to you myslef anyway. I was seeded number four in the tournament, and in the round of 16 I beat David Pate, another member of the Junior Davis Cup, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5. Then I breezed my way into the semis, where I met-you guessed it-Scott Davis, who was not only my teammate at Palisades High, but the number one ranked junior in the world.
I beat him, and that was definitely the high point of the summer so far. Throughout the whole match, I couldn't help thinking that I hadn't beaten him in singles in 25 straight matches, although I had beaten him in doubles-when I was twelve years old. He seemed a little nervous, and all of a sudden I had won the first set 6-2. Everybody was a little surprised, but I wasn't. Not really. Then he broke my serve to tie up the second set at 6-6, which he eventually won to tie up the match. But I never thought about losing, and in the third set I could do no wrong. I won the set 6-1, and the match. I lost in the finals to Tomm Warneke, but it was my first five set match ever. I was really hurting by the fifth set.
Tomorrow we're leaving on a long tour, and I just know that I'm going to be dead when its over. Louisville, Columbus, (or is it Cincinnati?) Kalamazoo, Indianapolis, and Rumson, N.J. I can't wait till it's all over. See you soon, Your loving son, Howard
Sands is now safely back at Harvard and recently won the fall challenges to reach number one on the Harvard tennis ladder.