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Tennis Is Definitely His Racket, Now

May 12, 1988|ADAM MARTIN

But Behrens charged on the ensuing two points and eventually broke Reichel's serve after Reichel had stymied him in the first two sets with a barrage of blistering passing shots.

In the finals, Behrens used Newberry's coaching to solve Quest's topspin lob and avenge a recent three-set loss to Quest in a Long Beach tournament.

Many envision similar performances for Behrens at UCLA and beyond.

"From what I've seen," said Bassett, UCLA's coach who hopes Behrens can play singles and doubles at Westwood, "he'll be a top college and pro player."

Rolling Hills Coach Tom Cox agrees: "He is asking for a challenge at UCLA, and it'll be great for him because you always rise to the level of your competition."

Added Newberry: "If he keeps improving at this rate, he could become one of the top players in the world."

Sampras, the 16-year-old boy wonder who turned pro two months ago and sometimes practices with Behrens, questions only Behrens' mettle.

"He has the potential to play pro tennis, but I don't know if has the mind," Sampras said from New York City, where he lost a first-round straight-set match to Mikael Pernfors in the recent Tournament of Champions. "In the pros, you have to take every game like it's your last, play every point like it's your final one. I'm not sure if Bill has the attitude for that."

Christine Behrens is sure. Sometimes, she said, she'll phone home to chat around 8 p.m. and have to do all the talking because Bill is drained from practicing all day.

"I'm an economics major," Christine said, "and I've made Bill promise that when he becomes famous through tennis, he'll make me his business manager."

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