Veteran Stars and Contemporary Pros Come Together At a Clinic and Benefit to Raise Money for Academy

The historic Jack Kramer Club in Rolling Hills Estates plays host to this year’s Los Angeles Tennis Bash on the morning of Saturday, December 9, with a series of clinics and games for juniors and adults to raise money for SoCal-based First Break Academy.

Both veteran Hall of Fame stars and top-ranked contemporary names will be on hand for the event. The lineup includes 22-time Grand Slam champion and First Break benefactor Pam Shriver, and two-time US Open women’s singles champion and former world No. 1 Tracy Austin, as well as current WTA pros Shelby Rogers and Nicole Gibbs and current ATP pros Steve Johnson, Jared Donaldson, Taylor Fritz and Bradley Klahn. Other players involved: Wimbledon mixed doubles champion Kimberly Po, former top 10 doubles player and current Kramer Club director of tennis Jeff Tarango and former WTA pro and current Pepperdine women’s assistant coach Lauren Embree.

As its name suggests, First Break Academy gives children an initial experience with tennis while also allowing for other forms of play. “For the past few years, First Break Academy has brought children to tennis who might otherwise not have been exposed to the sport,” says Shriver. “Multi-sport play like basketball is merged into early tennis instruction with great success. it’s a win-win model.”

In addition to competitive tennis games for all levels of play, Los Angeles Tennis Bash also features a Hard Racquet Demo Court, MultiSport Kid Zone, lunch and a silent auction.

First Break Academy’s Executive Director Peggy Bott is grateful for the contributions of this year’s renowned volunteers, and she has her eye on the organization’s future. “We have made tremendous strides in a short time,” she says, “and wish to build and continue to fund scholarships for dedicated youth who attend our tennis and learning programs.”

To register for LA Tennis Bash 2017, go to Tickets are $75 for adults and $40 for juniors (17 and under) and spectators are $35, which includes lunch and the silent auction access. Levels of sponsorships include: Champion ($1,500), Finalist ($750), Semifinalist ($500), Quarterfinalist ($250) and Friend ($50), and auction items exceeding $100 are also being accepted.



After 40 competitive seasons as the Head Women’s Tennis Coach at Loyola Marymount University, Jamie Sanchez is taking his wealth of experience and everlasting passion for the game to its sister institution, Marymount California University.

Since 2006, both the men’s and women’s tennis programs at MCU have been inactive. Enter Sanchez, who will rebuild these programs and take over as the head coach for both teams. “I am really excited about starting two tennis programs at such a great university,” he says. “I hope the part I take in establishing these programs in the greatest sport ever can mirror the growth and insight that the University has for lifelong learning.”

Ironically, this role comes full circle to Sanchez as he implemented the women’s tennis program at LMU those many years ago. The 2017-2018 season at MCU will be dedicated to recruiting, with the official launch of both programs in the fall of 2018. “I’m actively reaching out to all the junior colleges,” says Sanchez. “My emphasis is on connecting with the tennis community in Southern California and more prominently the Catholic schools and any and all high schools in the 30-mile radius, without excluding anyone else. Community colleges in SoCal are part of the outreach.

“I’m also going through the channels of the SCTA, reaching out to the players through that conduit – all of the tennis families, and kids that are involved in tennis in general. It’s a combined effort – we’re trying to start two programs, but we also need to inform people that Marymount California is starting a tennis program. People are still finding that out.”

Embracing that “growth is a part of change,” Sanchez is an ideal figure for this type of outreach because his love for tennis runs so deep. “Here’s the thing about tennis – I’ve always had a passion for the sport itself,” he says. “I’m an unlikely candidate for the sport because I played football all four years of high school and didn’t play tennis until senior year, I was a late arrival to the game. I played college football and tennis all four years of college. It’s a lifelong sport – at no matter what level you partake, it’s enjoyable and rewarding. That’s been the catalyst and I find it very exciting to be doing it here.”

Sanchez is looking forward to forging new connections, both in and out of the new programs, and he welcomes hearing from all those who are interested. “There are so many ways to reach out and make sure the word is spread,” he says. “I’m open to and I’m really looking forward to people contacting me. They may not end up coming here and that’s ok. Just reaching out and making the communication is of utmost importance for all those who have a common bond, and that’s the game.”