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Local teen gets birds-eye view of Davis Cup finals

by: Vern Uyetake, 
Lake Oswego’s Trevor Chase served as one of the ball boys for last weekend’s Davis Cup finals between the U.S. and Russia at Memorial Coliseum in Portland.

Most people's idea of an entertaining afternoon probably doesn't involve having tennis balls hit at them at 140 miles per hour. And most people certainly wouldn't volunteer to spend a weekend like that.

But for Lake Oswego High School senior Trevor Chase, it was a tremendous experience. Chase had the opportunity to work as a ball boy at the Davis Cup finals between the United States and Russia, held last weekend at Memorial Coliseum in Portland.

Chase, an avid tennis player who has competed for the Lakers since he was a freshman, was selected to be one of 19 ball boys out of a field of 120 candidates.

As a result, he had the best seat in the house at one of the premiere tennis events in the world. He just had to be on his toes at the same time.

Chase patrolled the back line during some of the premiere matches of the tournament which was occasionally a dangerous place to be… especially when American Andy Roddick was on the opposite side of the court.

During the event, Roddick topped out at 146 miles per hour with his serve, some of which were sent near Chase's position.

'There were a couple close calls, a couple balls hit a few inches away from me,' Chase said.

Before he was selected for one of the sought-after positions, Chase had to go through a number of intensive drills, which included running, match simulations and ball tosses to various targets.

But the biggest aspect a ball boy needs to perfect is his focus. It could be easy to get caught up with simply watching the tremendous tennis that is mere feet away, but even a slight lapse in concentration could get someone in trouble.

'They kind of jump on you if you're not completely in the match,' Chase said.

Still, Chase was able to enjoy the quality of play that he was witnessing.

'This was the first big event I've seen. To be that close was a great opportunity,' Chase said.

Not only did he get to see phenomenal tennis being played firsthand, he also got to be a part of something that hadn't happened in 12 years.

The United States team beat the Russian team to win the Davis Cup, leading some organizers to talk about a possible rebirth of American tennis.

'The (American) team played great. It was an amazing atmosphere,' Chase said.

Tennis in the United States seems to have taken a bit of a hit in popularity in the past few years with the lack of a truly dominant American player. But Chase said that sentiment didn't appear to be true from the way the crowds responded in Portland.

'Tennis is very well-appreciated here. The Coliseum was a great venue,' Chase said.

Chase had the opportunity to participate in the tournament's closing ceremonies as well.

Seeing players like Roddick and James Blake up close also gave Chase things to work on in his own game.

'I was watching their footwork and their racquet speed. They're very consistent and very mentally tough,' Chase said.

Chase will enter this coming spring as one of the Lakers' top players and may move from doubles to singles. Lake Oswego is coming off of a very successful season in which it won the Three Rivers League but they also lost the core of its team to graduation.

'We have some good freshman coming in. I think we're going to be pretty strong,' Chase said.

Chase hopes to continue playing tennis in college as well and is currently being looked at by Pacific University.

He also didn't rule out the possibility of working as a ball boy for upcoming tournaments as well. His friend who helped him land the position with the Davis Cup has worked at the U.S. Open and told him that there could be opportunities down the road.