Two Bruin greats stop by at practice!

Hey everyone, sorry I did not blog after practice today as I had to run straight to a GRE Practice Test at Kaplan (I know, it’s crazy to think that this incredible experience with the tennis team will someday end!). Anyway, today was another a normal day of practice, with all the players going hard and working on things for their NCAA run. HOWEVER, we were paid a special visit by two Bruin greats today at practice as both Eric Taino and Justin Gimelstob stopped by LATC to play some doubles against our NCAA selected doubles team Nick Meister and Amit Inbar.

Eric Taino played #1 for Coach Martin during his years with the Bruins and went on to achieve a Top 100 world ranking on the ATP Tour and Top 50 ranking in doubles. In addition, for your loyal Bruin fans who remember Eric’s greatness, he also is now married with a newborn boy and we all congratulate him! It’s always great for the current players to meet some of UCLA’s best players from the past and it was a nice surprise at practice.

Also, Grand-Slam Champion Justin Gimelstob also was in the area and stopped by to hit a few balls with Eric (as they both played doubles together back in the late 1990′s). As most of you probably know, Justin had a successful career, reaching #63 in the world on ATP Tour before a distinguished doubles career, reaching a high ranking of #13, grabbing 9 career ATP Doubles titles, and winning two Mixed-Doubles Grand Slams at the Australian Open and French Open with partner Venus Williams.

As previously mentioned, Eric and Justin played doubles together during their years at UCLA and it was awesome to see them back out there over 12 years later! I know it was undoubtedly very rewarding for Coach Martin to see two of his greatest players return “home” after leading successful lives after UCLA.

Regardless, on to the match! Obviously, it was for fun and there was no real value in it; however, that didn’t stop the legends from absolutely dominating Nick and Amit 6-0. While Justin did not dive for any balls, on the first ball, he hits a big serve, where Nick rips a return right at his feet, where Justin stabs at it and picks it up for a sick volley winner. Right from the start, he sent a message he was ready to play! In all seriousness, Justin was of course doing his usual trash-talking and having a lot of fun during his return to LATC as did Eric, with his wife and son watching.

Anyway, it was a fun afternoon at LATC and in general, a good practice for the Bruins and one less day until our first round match against Sacramento State next weekend. GO BRUINS!!!!

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