Donny Young and Marty Salokas celebrate their Men’s Doubles title at the US Open of Beach Tennis championships in Chicago. Photo courtesy of Tricia Quan
Hermosa Beach residents Marty Salokas and Donny Young entered the history books recently when the duo became the first US Open of Beach Tennis champions in a tournament held at Chicago’s North Atlantic Beach.
The West Coast team defeated New Yorkers Devin Wakeford and David Sickmen 6-3, 6-4 to capture the Pro Men’s Doubles title. The tournament, sanctioned by Beach Tennis USA and the International Tennis Federation awarded the duo prize money, a trophy, and a trip to Aruba where an international championship, similar to tennis’ Fed Cup, will be held in November.
Salokas and Young have been invited to compete in the World Championships in Long Beach, NY on Aug. 20-21. The pair will then head west to Long Beach, CA where the teammates will participate in an ITF tournament at the Marina Green Park Summer Festival Aug. 27-28.
Salokas, an Ambassador and L.A. Licensee to Beach Tennis USA, said that Beach Tennis is growing rapidly as a sport in the Southland. “And because of this growth, L.A. County Beaches and Harbor Department recently passed an ordinance that has allowed Beach Tennis balls on all L.A. County beaches,” Salokas said. “This comes after three years of trying to get approval from this body that allows us, along with Beach Volleyball, to play our sport on any County beaches.
“Up to this point, we only played at Hermosa Beach, which is the official home of Beach Tennis in Southern California. The city has given us three permanent courts at 14th Street and The Strand, and has sponsored us along with Sharkeez and Super Sports of Manhattan Beach. We are so happy to be a part of this great sport which reflects the healthy lifestyle that we enjoy in Southern California. And it’s free.”
Beach Tennis is an established sport in Europe for the past 20 years and has been played in the U.S. for the past six years. Founded in Italy, the game is played on a beach volleyball court with the net slightly lower. Standard tennis racquets have given way to paddles with depressurized tennis balls, which are the latest international standards. Played as doubles only, rules are one serve, no ad score, and only volleys are played.
Young founded West Coast Beach Tennis after playing professionally on the ATP. He was named one of the top hard-court coaches in the world by Tennis Weekly Magazine in 1998 coaching three Grand Slam championship players.
Salokas has played tennis for more than 20 years and is co-founder of West Coast Beach Tennis, competing in the game since its inception in the United States in 2005. Salokas continues to teach hard-court tennis to many of the top junior players in Southern California.
The next local event sponsored by West Coast Beach Tennis will be “A Mid Summer’s Day” tournament Saturday and Sunday Aug. 6-7 in Hermosa Beach.