|High Desert Tennis Association|
Sunday, May 26, 2002
DCB draws top talent
As purse money has increased so has the level of play at local tennis tourney
By CLINT HAVER/Special to the Daily Press
VICTORVILLE — It hasn't been sanctioned as a Grand Slam event for the ATP Tour yet, but for High Desert tennis enthusiasts it definitely will do.
In its 14th year, the Desert Community Bank Open has finally risen from virtual obscurity to become one of Southern California’s most popular and fastest growing tournaments.
After 12 years of drawing merely mediocre talent, the last two years have been somewhat of a coming-out party for the annual Memorial Day weekend tournament. It is no coincidence that as the prize money has increased the last two years, so has the level of talent.
"There’s never been this level of tennis up here," said Hassan Humayan, the tennis director at Spring Valley Lake Country Club and the tournament organizer. "In the past tournaments, you knew before the tourney even started who would be in the finals. Now, it’s wide open, and that is because there’s so much talent in this tournament."
Previous DCB Opens have had purses ranging around $1,000, causing the higher-rated players to snub their noses at it. But it’s amazing what happens when a $5,000 purse gets waved in their direction, which is the amount to be split between participants at this year’s Open.
"A lot of these guys play tennis for a living," Humayan said. "They don't have jobs like some of us. So, as we've been able to get more sponsors, we've been able to get more prize money, which in turn leads to a better level of talent.
"And when word gets out that there are good players playing in the tournament, it coincidentally draws better players who are looking to beat better talent. And for the spectators, you can't beat it. Where else can you go and see this kind of talent for free?"
Although the 14th annual DCB Open didn't attract names that would catch the eye of the casual tennis fan, it did draw some competition from people who have played in ATP tournaments before.
Israel’s Oren Motevassal, the tournament’s No. 1 seed in the DCB Open division, is Southern California’s No. 1-ranked player in the open division and is ranked No. 161 in the ATP tour. He has also played on Israel’s Davis Cup team.
The tournament also drew Adrianno Biasella, the top junior college player in the country from College of the Desert.
Although they're not household names, they do provide the tournament a bit of prestige while giving the High Desert youth something to shoot for.