PETALUMA - About 15 spectators were lined up in chairs along the baseline of Court 1 at Casa Grande High School, some holding signs. When Casa’s No 2-ranked player, freshman Shreyas Kompalli, playing up at No. 1 on this day, made a good hit or scored the rare point, the small crowd erupted.
The bursts of cheers were enthusiastic. And relatively rare, for Kompalli was playing Rancho Cotate senior Alec Wong, an ace who finished second in the North Bay League his freshman and junior years, and won it as a sophomore. He’s a strong contender to take the title again this season.
“Do you guys always have this many people out here?” Wong said to Kompalli as he took a swig from his water bottle between games.
“It’s because you’re playing,” Kompalli said.
“They want to see you,” Kompalli said before heading back onto the court where he would eventually succumb to Wong 6-1, 6-0.
“It was insane,” Kompalli said after the match. “He spins the ball a lot. It’s pure power, to be honest. When I hit the ball it doesn’t come off the racket like anyone else I’ve played.”
Casa fans may have thought this was their last chance to see the likes of Wong suiting up in a Cougars uniform, but one court over there was another spectacle unfolding.
Josh Wong, Rancho’s No. 2 player, was posting a 6-0, 6-0 win against his Casa opponent, continuing his string of undefeated matches.
Courtside, Rancho assistant coach Blain Wong, offers the occasional bit of advice to his sons.
Wongs are everywhere in Rancho tennis and that’s bad news for everyone else.
It seems tennis is in the Wong family gene pool. The family owned The Competitor tennis shop in Santa Rosa for years. Everyone in the family plays and plays well.
“My mom is definitely a better singles player than my dad,” Alec Wong said.
But the double dose of Wong means trouble for NBL foes. It seems the Wongs make each other better.
“It’s the only year we get to play with each other and against each other at practice every single day,” Alec said.
Clearly older brother has the upper hand, but young Josh knows how to push his brother. And as a lefty, Josh poses unique challenges for his brother — something Alec welcomes.
“We’ll play and it’s one sided. Right now. But three or four years down the road he’s going to be scary,” Alec said.
There’s some feeling out there that Josh is plenty scary now.
Josh Wong doesn’t play with the power of his more muscular older brother but the fluidity and smarts are there.
And as good as he is now, he’s open to instruction.
Mid-match, Alec could be heard telling his younger brother to make minor adjustments. In a match in which the kid didn’t drop a set, mind you.
“I kind of noticed that he was dropping his head when he was serving and when you do that you are missing into the net,” Alec said.
“I know I’m doing things wrong but I don’t know what it is,” Josh said.
Such is the benefit of having an additional set of eyes and ears on the court next to you.