Page 5 - 2018 Challenger Program
P. 5

 THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
Young American Seascape Alums in the News and on the Rise
Taylor Fritz and Mackenzie McDonald Hit the Big Time at Wimbledon
By: Brooke Cohan
Seeing tomorrow’s tennis stars up close and personal is one of the most exciting aspects of attending an ATP/USTA Challenger event, such as the Seascape Challenger — now in its 31st year. In Aptos, the past several years have provided just that, as lucky fans were able to witness the star power of two fast rising young American players — Taylor Fritz and Mackenzie “Mackie” McDonald. Both fresh off stellar performances at Wimbledon, Taylor and Mackie are steadily climbing up the rankings and making the transition into the bigger ATP tournaments and Grand Slams.
Paul Kepler, longtime Seascape Sports Club owner and current tournament director and Judy Welsh, former Seascape Sports Club owner and current sponsorship coordinator, have been observing young players in Aptos since the Club held its first challenger event in 1987. “I always look to see if the young guys have any serious weapons — not just a good player who can
  Mackenzie “Mackie” McDonald at the Nordic Naturals Challenger
  Taylor Fritz at the Nordic Naturals Challenger
cover the court, but a special talent. I saw that in both Taylor and Mackie,” said Kepler.
Taylor, 20 years old, currently ranked No. 65 in the world, left his mark on the Seascape Challenger with his play in 2015 and again last year where he made it to the semifinals against Liam Broady — losing 7-6, 6-3. “I learned how to win in challengers and the Seascape event stood out to me because of how nice the people were there,” he said.
A native of Southern California, the 6-foot, 6-inch slammer turned pro at age 17 and was named the ATP Star of Tomorrow in 2016 for being the youngest player to finish in the Top 100. He says his most memorable match and biggest win was against Top
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