Northwest power duo gets in the swings
Travis Parrott has an eye on a spot in the U.S. Open after a break-out week on the ATP Circuit earlier this month.
The former University of Portland standout teamed with Jan-Michael Gambill to win the doubles championship at the Mercedes-Benz Cup in Los Angeles.
It was Parrott's debut on the Association of Tennis Professionals tour. He had spent most of the year playing on the lower-level Challengers Circuit. And it was his first event with Gambill, the Colbert, Wash., resident who is ranked 49th in the world in singles and has been one of the top U.S. players for several years.
Parrott and Gambill were hooked up by Pilot coach Aaron Gross, who e-mailed Gambill last week with the offer, 'If you are ever looking for a doubles partner, Travis is playing really well.' A few days later, Gambill e-mailed back, 'Let's give it a try.'
Gambill was entered in singles in L.A. but didn't have a doubles partner. They earned a wild-card entry and rolled to the finals, where they beat Charlton Eagle and Sjeng Schalken 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.
'It a bit of a surreal feeling,' says Parrott, 22, who maintains his home in Portland. 'We jelled pretty quickly. He returns serve extremely well and has a big serve, and I play well at the net. We clicked as a team. It was a dream week.'
Now it appears that Gambill and Parrott who has moved up to 123rd in the ATP doubles rankings will team up at the U.S. Open later this month. Parrott will pair with old partner Josh Goffi in a Challenger event this week in the Bronx, then team with Gambill in an ATP event in Long Island. The next week, Parrott hopes, he will be making his U.S. Open debut.
'The best thing out of all of this,' says Gross, who watched the L.A. event, 'is that Gambill wants to keep playing with Travis. He played great. Some of the matches, he was the best player on the court.'
• Robbie Knievel, Evel's son, will look for a little one-upmanship on his father when he attempts to jump over 15 Pepsi trucks on a motorcycle Aug. 23 at Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln City.
In 1971, Evel attempted to clear 13 Pepsi trucks in Yakima, Wash., 'and had one of the most spectacular wipeouts of his career,' says Robbie's agent, Dan Zucker. 'He broke both of his femurs.'
Robbie, 41, hopes to have more luck than his pop at Chinook Winds on both the daredevil and health fronts. With nearly 35 years in the business, the younger Knievel may be working his way to something big. In September 1974, Evel made his much-celebrated attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon. Maybe Junior will re-create the jump on the 30th anniversary of the event. Maybe will even make it without a mishap, unlike Senior.
• Beaverton native Jud Blakely is writing a screenplay based on the 1967 Oregon State 'Giant-Killers' football team and the activist-movement campus scene of the '60s.
Blakely, 60, was a quarterback and a member of Sunset High's first graduating class ('61) who played freshman baseball at Oregon State and was cut from the school's freshman basketball team ('my life as I knew it ended that day,' he says).
Blakely later served as OSU's student body president and, after graduation in '65, was a Marine platoon leader who served in Vietnam. He knew many of the players on the OSU football teams through the late '60s and was moved by the effect that coach Dee Andros has had on his players.
'I want to reconnect my idea of Oregon State, and Dee and his players exemplify what I want Oregon State to be, and a little bit of what I think it was when I was there in the '60s,' says Blakely, who lives in Mobile, Ala. 'A central theme will be the values and virtues the Giant-Killer team personified. They played to the limit of their capabilities, and they had a lot of underweight overachievers who never gave up.
'Dee is revered by just about all those guys, and I came to appreciate the depth and respect and love there. That pushed me into being dedicated to doing this. It's about them, and it's about that period of time.'
Blakely, who says his first screenplay, 'The Streets of Heaven,' is currently being produced, will visit Corvallis next month to meet with players and continue to develop ideas.
'I have a producer,' Blakely says. 'The screenplay is going to get done. You never know if it will become a movie, but I feel pretty confident it's going to be a good product.'
• The latest People magazine contains a photo of Winona Ryder and her new squeeze, rock star Page Hamilton. In the picture, Hamilton sports a Nike cap with the Trail Blazer logo. Guess Steve Patterson's new-image movement is working.