Bears head to San Francisco for Battle in the Bay Classic

Having begun on Thursday and continuing through Sunday afternoon, the Cal men’s tennis team will be participating in the annual Battle in the Bay Classic, making the homecoming game not the only Cal sporting event taking place in San Francisco this week.

The tournament is hosted by USF and will be played at the California Tennis Club which is, as the name suggests, in the Bay.

As opposed to the majority of the other preseason tournaments the Bears have played in thus far, the Battle in the Bay contains a smaller draw, despite the fact that it has actually expanded in recent years.

Originally, the Classic included only Bay Area schools, but it has now grown to include teams such as USC, UCSD, Pepperdine and others. Nonetheless, there are still only 32 players competing in total and the majority of these contestants are from Bay Area schools, making the tournament’s title all the more relevant.

Junior Rikki McLachlan will be playing both singles and doubles in this weekend’s classic. Last year, he fought in the Battle, reaching the singles semifinals and the doubles finals with his younger brother, Ben.

This Battle in the Bay veteran just plans on trying to get in as many matches as he can and it “should be good fun.”

Junior Tommie Murphy will join McLachlan at the tournament, but will be participating in solely doubles play. Senior Ahmed Ismail and freshmen Chase Melton and Andrew Scholnick will also be in attendance.

“I’m excited to get to see the other guys play; particularly Tommie Murphy should be fun to watch,” Rikki McLachlan said.

Like other preseason activities, the Battle in the Bay Classic is yet another opportunity for Cal to get in some practice and prepare for the regular season, which is rapidly approaching.

Including this weekend, there are three more tournaments left in preseason play leading up to the fall’s ultimate contest, the USTA/ITA National Indoor Collegiate Championship held in New York City.

This weekend’s Bay Area competition is a great way to gear up for the Indoor Championships, although only some wins in next weeks’ Northwest Regional Championship will allow the Bears to qualify in the highly selective and competitive field.

Despite small numbers, the quality of the Battle in the Bay competition is fairly strong and should prove to be an exciting challenge for Cal that can help them gain the prowess and confidence needed to succeed at regionals and at the National Indoors.

Luckily for the Bears, they will not have to travel far to compete in the Classic, which allowed the team to still attend the much-anticipated homecoming football  game.

“I think the USC football game may be a bigger Cal event but it is nice to have two Cal sporting events in San Francisco at the same time,” Wright said.