2010-06-24 / Sports

Welcome wagon for Ware

Tennis star Savannah Ware eager to join TOHS
By Eliav Appelbaum

SERVING UP AN ACE—On Sunday evening at the Los Caballeros Racquet & Sports Club in Fountain Valley, Thousand Oaks resident Savannah Ware, 15, will receive a sportsmanship award from the Southern California Junior Tennis Council. IRIS SMOOT/Acorn Newspapers SERVING UP AN ACE—On Sunday evening at the Los Caballeros Racquet & Sports Club in Fountain Valley, Thousand Oaks resident Savannah Ware, 15, will receive a sportsmanship award from the Southern California Junior Tennis Council. IRIS SMOOT/Acorn Newspapers Savannah Ware has been cementing her name in the junior tennis circuit for years.

The teenager will find out in August if she’ll ply her trade at Thousand Oaks High.

Ware, who has been homeschooled since the sixth grade, is thinking about taking at least two classes at TOHS and joining the girls’ tennis team this fall.

“We’re thrilled about it,” said Lancer head coach Dave Assorson. “We hope it will all work out somehow. Nothing is for sure.

“She’s a really tremendous talent. She’s outstanding.”

That’s no exaggeration.

The Thousand Oaks youngster is on par with Westlake’s Sivan Krems, who throttled Marmonte League competition as a freshman. Both players are ranked among the United States Tennis Association’s top 100 female players 16 and younger nationally.

Ware takes pride in her masterful backstroke.

She has a solid forehand and is perfecting a dangerous second serve. Her father, Paul, said the young player has improved her footwork in the past six months.

“I’m definitely aggressive,” Savannah Ware said. “I’m always looking to attack and get to the net. I like going forward when the opportunity’s there.”

Her private coach, Diego Acuna, was an All-American star at Pepperdine.

Acuna works as an actor but has spent the past year and a half working regularly with Ware.

“Savannah is a really smart player,” Acuna said. “She really knows how to use the court, and that’s a strength in itself. She’s developing weapons and she’s becoming a student of the game.

“She’s a great girl—she’s extremely polite. When I go watch her compete, I’m always proud of the way she conducts herself on the court.”

Fittingly, Ware will be honored with a Sportsmanship Award for her age group by the Southern California Junior Tennis Council on Sunday at the Los Caballeros Racquet & Sports Club in Fountain Valley.

The award is one of the highest honors given to SCTA junior tennis players.

Marcos Giron, a reigning section champ for the Lancer boys’ tennis team, is also being honored with a sportsmanship award that night.

Ware would like to play in a team setting.

“I think it would be fun,” she said.

If Ware suits up for the Lancers and Krems continues her run with the Warriors, the scenario could set up epic duals between the two best local players.

“Sivan was so dominant in league last year,” Assorson said. “Savannah would give us a person like that. I think it would be wonderful her coming over. She could really help us out this year.”

Ware would also solidify a potent lineup for the Lancers, the defending Marmonte champs. Alison Ho and Melissa Baker are expected to star at singles for Thousand Oaks this fall.

Beyond competing for her local school, a transition to TOHS would provide a sense of normalcy.

Like most tennis players of her caliber, Ware travels every other weekend for tournaments.

“I joked that we might have to drive around in an RV,” Paul Ware said.

“It’s tennis, tennis, tennis,” said her mother, Michele. “We want more balance in her life.”

Savannah Ware dabbled in softball when she was 7 and 8 years old, but she’s always enjoyed tennis. A passion for the game was influenced by Ware’s grandmother, Jean Williams, who formed and captained a USTA senior national championship team.

“I love playing,” said Ware, whose brother Donovan, 12, plays baseball. “I’ve always loved playing. I like the competitiveness on the court. Winning’s the best part.”

Acuna foresees Ware potentially forging a career path similar to Australian Samantha Stosur.

Stosur reached this year’s French Open finals and is ranked among the top-10 female singles players in the world.

“She’s not like (Maria) Sharapova or the Williams sisters (Venus and Serena) in terms of height,” Acuna said of Ware. “She has to grow and put on muscle and keep developing.”

Becoming a professional player is Ware’s goal.

“It’s a huge dream,” she said. “I watch all the Grand Slams. It would just be an amazing experience to do that.”

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