17-year-old gets Classic experience Humphries loses, but wins, in D.C. TENNIS

July 20, 1993|By Brian Fishman | Brian Fishman,Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- Fans here this week just to see Andre Agassi and Ivan Lendl, the best known of the entrants at the Newsweek Tennis Classic, are overlooking some of the more intriguing stories among the other participants.

Take 17-year-old Scott Humphries, a rising American who tasted the professional circuit -- albeit for 71 minutes -- yesterday on Court Two. Humphries fell, 6-2, 6-2, to Alex Antonitsch, the 110th-ranked player in the world, in the opening round.

But Humphries wasn't expected to last long in this tournament. That kind of accomplishment might come in the next few years, when he's off at college improving his skills.

"Hopefully, my ultimate goal is to have people recognize me on the tour. They'll say, 'Didn't I see him in Washington that summer?' That's down the road," said Humphries, a native of Alamo, Calif.

For now, Humphries is enrolled at the Palmer Tennis Academy in Tampa, Fla., practicing six days a week and rising on the U.S. junior ladder. He has 11 USTA national juniors titles, some of which are doubles titles earned with B. J. Stearns. Humphries and Stearns were the No. 1-ranked junior doubles team in 1992.

This year, Humphries has played doubles with J. J. Jackson. The pair reached the doubles final at the Junior Australian Open and the quarterfinals in junior tournaments at the French Open and Wimbledon. Humphries also finished third at the Easter Bowl in Miami, one of the best USTA national junior tournaments.

But his success in juniors means little at professional events. Humphries came to Washington -- after being granted a wild card into the main draw -- without a clear report on Antonitsch and wishing to take some confidence back to Florida.

"I was just playing each point the way I was taught to," he said. "Overall I was happy with how I did.

"This was a lot tougher for me than most of the junior matches just because he was a much better player. I hit some shots that would usually win me the point and he dug them out and returned them for winners."

Humphries only won 49 percent of his service points and 20 percent of the return points -- indicating his inexperience. But this was Humphries' second try in an ATP Tour event, as he also competed in the AT&T Challenge in Atlanta earlier this year, and the nerves hurt him in the beginning when Antonitsch broke his serve twice. The talent margin became clear to the small crowd and the match went to the tour veteran without much of a struggle.

But Humphries' time might come. He said he plans to attend college, and probably will choose between Stanford, UCLA or USC.

Every chance he gets, Humphries watches how the older players conduct themselves in a tournament so that he can better prepare himself. Playing in junior events at the Grand Slam tournaments, Humphries has taken time to observe most of the world champions -- which can't be underestimated as he learns about a professional player's lifestyle.

"I think if I get some more chances like this, eventually I'll break through in a couple matches," he said.

And maybe in a few years, those spectators present for Humphries' lunchtime match will be watching him on television, listening to Bud Collins marvel over the newest American star and recall the day he was a shy newcomer.

YESTERDAY'S RESULTS

Singles

First round

Aaron Krickstein def. No. 12 Brett Steven, 6-4, 6-2; Sandon Stolle def. No. 10 Christian Bergstrom, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3; Shuzo Matsuoka def. John Roddick, 6-2, 6-3; Jeff Tarango def. Bryan Shelton, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3; Rickey Reneberg def. Neil Borwick, 6-1, 7-6 (2); Byron Black def. Vince Spadea, 6-3, 6-3; Rob Weiss def. Bret Garnett, 6-3, 6-2; Jakob Hlasek def. Markus Zoecke, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2; Jamie Morgan def. Luis Herrera, 7-6 (2), 6-2; Christo Van Rensburg def. Chris Garner, 6-3, 6-2; Mauricio Hadad def. Brad Pearce, 1-6, 6-2, 6-4; Alex Antonitsch def. Scott Humphries, 6-2, 6-2; Mark Knowles def. Mark Kaplan, 7-6 (9), 6-3.

Doubles

First round

Mercer and Sullivan def. Pate and Michibata, 6-4, 7-5.

TODAY'S MATCHES

Stadium Court

Patrick McEnroe vs. Michael Sell; Dave Randall vs. Brian MacPhie; Grant Stafford vs. Derrick Rostagno; Pearce/Randall vs. Korda/Lendl; Brad Gilbert vs. Joao Cunha-Silva; Mauricio Hadad vs. Todd Martin.

Grandstand Court

Ronald Acenor vs. Johan Carlsson; Jaime Yzaga vs. Jeremy Bates; Jones/David vs. A. Kratzmann/M. Kratzmann; Gilad Bloom vs. Chuck Adams.

Court One

David Nainkin vs. Kenny Thorne; Gianluca Pozzi vs. Martin Damm; Luiz Mattar vs. Tommy Ho; Borwick/Thorne vs. Damm/Holm; Ho/Pozzi & Stolle/Rafter.

Court Two

Finnberg/Zoecke vs. Keil/Van Rensburg; Christian Saceanu vs. Patrick Baur; Herrera/Spadea vs. Shelton/Witsken; Baur/Saceanu vs. Knowles/Deppe; Antonitsch/Bates vs. Briggs/Garnett.

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