Travis Parrott's immediate goal is to become one of the top doubles players in the world. His long-range goal is to make his mark on the ATP Tour in singles, too.
Aaron Gross, who was Parrott's coach during his time at the University of Portland, says it might happen.
'Travis could be a world-class doubles player,' Gross said after the 22-year-old ex-Pilot star spent the last week in Portland, visiting friends and taking a break from the circuit. 'If you get to the top 20 in the world, you can make a pretty good living, and Travis can get there.
'This is the best I have seen him play. The pro circuit can be overwhelming, but he has gotten over the hump where it is now a benefit to him to play against great players every day. He has raised his level of play. He is not intimidated anymore.'
Parrott, son of former Portland tennis pro and promoter Brian Parrott, spent his early years in Portland before moving to Atlanta. He was a member of two NCAA championship teams and won a doubles title at the University of Georgia before transferring to UP to work with Gross on his singles game as a senior last season.
Parrott reached the round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament and earned All-American acclaim, then turned pro.
Recent doubles results on the Futures Tour Ñ the lowest of three pro circuits Ñ have been impressive. Parrott has teamed with Atlanta native Josh Goffi to win doubles titles in four of the last six events and reached the finals in a fifth. Parrott is ranked 283rd on the world doubles list, a jump of more than 1,100 spots from where he started last year.
'I bet that's the highest climb of anybody in the world, in either singles or doubles,' Gross says.
Parrott says he is ranked in the 700s in singles but feels improvement there, too.
'The last month, my singles play has improved dramatically,' says Parrott, who lives in Atlanta but spends a good deal of his time off tour in Portland. 'I am really excited about where things are going. I have my confidence back and am looking forward to moving up (in singles), too.'
Parrott and Goffi will play doubles on the Challenger Circuit Ñ the middle of three levels in men's pro tennis Ñ the next couple of weeks.
'I am at that level in doubles but still at the Futures level in singles,' Parrott says. 'I'll probably be going back and forth between tours for a while.'
Local players Pat Galbraith (Tacoma) and Jonathan Stark (Medford) both reached No. 1 in the world in doubles but never made much of a splash on the world singles scene.
'Jonathan never reached his full potential in singles. Pat's game was perfectly tailored for doubles,' Gross says. 'Travis' doubles play is exceptional, but I would put him somewhere between Jonathan and Pat in singles. I think Travis will eventually do pretty well (in singles), too.'
• The late Phil Neer has become the fifth player from the state of Oregon selected for induction into the USTA/PNW Tennis Hall of Fame.
Neer, a native Portlander who was an NCAA singles champion at Stanford in 1921 and a doubles titlist in 1922, joins Walter Goss, Emery Neale, Sam Lee and Doris Popple representing the state in the Hall.
Neer's nephew, Jack Neer, is considered one of the top players in the state's long tennis history.
• Rose Garden fans might have noticed the advertisement for Smith & Wollensky steakhouse on the rotating courtside billboard during the March 28 ESPN-televised game between the Trail Blazers and Dallas, but it doesn't mean the national restaurant chain is coming to Portland.
The game was televised back to Dallas, 'and the thinking was that Mavs fans would see the game on TV and notice the sign,' says Allen Stillman, chief executive officer of Smith & Wollensky. The company has employed the away-game strategy for four years in each of its NBA cities, including New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Miami and Philadelphia.
'It is an odd kind of advertising program, but it has worked very, very well,' Stillman says.
• Ex-Oregon quarterback Bill Musgrave is back in the NFL. Musgrave, who was offensive coordinator at the University of Virginia the last two years, is the new offensive coordinator of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Musgrave, who spent six seasons as a backup QB with San Francisco and Denver from 1991-96, served as offensive coordinator under George Seifert at Carolina in 2000 before a series of conflicts with Seifert caused him to resign.
•ÊFirst impressions of the new pass-catch team in Detroit are positive; fans of the Lions will be expecting to see a lot of Joey Harrington-to-Charles Rogers.
'Obviously, he's the kind of target that you love to throw to,' Harrington says after minicamp workouts with Rogers, the rookie wide receiver from Michigan State picked No. 2 overall in the draft by Detroit.
'From what I've seen,' Harrington adds, 'I would love to have a long career here with him.'
Harrington says Rogers has 'a lot of energy, a lot of speed É definitely a lot of talent. But just like everybody else, and I remember when I was in the situation last year, there is a lot to learn.'