Blue Gray Nation Tennis Classic Bonus Coverage: Q&A with Hugh Clarke
March 3, 2011
Pepperdine Athletics caught up with junior Hugh Clarke to find out more about his experience at the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic in Montgomery, Ala. The annual event brings together eight men’s and eight women’s teams together for a weekend of community involvement and, of course, tennis.
Pepperdine Athletics: The accommodations are a bit different at this tournament than your typical road trip. Explain to us what staying with a host family was like.
Hugh Clarke: Staying with a host family was much more fun and enjoyable than a hotel room. It reminded me of home (Brisbane, Australia) every time I saw their big front yard -- something every Aussie home has!
PA: Besides playing some outstanding tennis, what sorts of things did the team participate in?
HC: Outside of the Blue Gray Classic, half of our team helped with a tennis clinic for local kids at the Lagoon Park Tennis Center (also where the tournament was held), which was a great experience for both our players and the youngsters.
The other half supported Henry (who was a boy from my host family) in his local junior basketball game. He was quite nervous at first to see us all there, but once he sunk a few baskets he really appreciated the extra crowd support!
PA: Explain to us how the town of Montgomery rallies around this particular tournament.
HC: The whole town of Montgomery gets behind this tournament every year. The atmosphere and crowds were amazing all three days we played. It was incredible and much appreciated that our host families (all major Alabama fans!) would cheer for the Pepperdine Waves even when playing against their own Crimson Tide.
PA: The men’s field at the Blue Gray featured eight ranked programs. Describe what it was like to win this prestigious event.
HC: Winning the Blue Gray was one of our goals this year as a team. Our top goal, however, is to be #1 but we aren’t there just yet. We felt we had a point to prove to all the other teams out there that Pepperdine is a major contender this season. To win it in the convincing fashion that we did, without losing a single match, was just the icing on the cake.
We played amazing all three days and our coaches were very happy with the way we competed and the way things are shaping up for the rest of the season.
PA: What’s next for the Waves?
HC: This weekend a good portion of the team is competing at the 122nd Pacific Coast Doubles Championship in La Jolla, Calif. I’ll be partnering with Finn Tearney. It’s a very large and challenging tournament, so it’s a perfect way to work even more on our doubles play.
PA: When can fans see you in action in Malibu?
HC: We’re home next week Tuesday (March 8) against Hawai’i at 2 p.m. Then we play Duke on Friday (March 11, 1 p.m.) and Cal on Sunday (March 13, 1 p.m.). We lost to Duke 4-3 earlier this season, and Cal always has a strong team so it should be a couple of great matches to watch!