In nurturing his son the tennis player, Tom Rettenmaier sets no limitations--and will travel great distances in the process.
For instance, Tom took Travis to Cincinnati for the U.S. Tennis Assn. national father-son clay court doubles championships in August.
The Rettenmaiers lost in the first round of qualifying, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3, but not before surprising Paul and Kevin Vandersomme.
The Vandersommes of New York are aged 39 and 16. The Rettenmaiers of Camarillo are 42 and 10.
Travis, competing 10 days after his birthday, is the youngest player in the history of the event.
Hoping to capitalize on Travis' diminutive size, the Vandersommes tried to overpower their opponents. Bad strategy. Travis often returned their hard ground strokes and in-your-face volleys for winners.
The Rettenmaiers--with Travis holding up his end--not only won the first set, they led, 4-0, in the second before the Vandersommes changed their game plan.
"They tried to crush Travis," said Tom Rettenmaier, a former pro on satellite tours who played at Iowa State. "But Travis is used to that pace. So they started lobbing and chipping, and they finally got us."
If Travis Rettenmaier can compete at that level, one can imagine what he does against boys his age.
He wins championships, that's what.
It was Travis who led Cabrillo Racquet Club to the Gar Glenny Cup, the USTA-sponsored state team-tennis championship in boys' 12-under singles last month.
Rettenmaier won both of his singles and doubles matches as Cabrillo defeated Ross Valley, 6-3, at Sierra Racquet Club in Fresno. His performance drew raves from Coach Wayne Bryan.
"We're expecting big things from him in the future," Bryan said. "He's got a lot of potential. He's talented athletically and he's got a very clean game. He gets his ground strokes and he's an extremely strong volleyer for his age."
Bryan knew he had a promising player in Rettenmaier last year, when his 12-under team won the same event. Travis was then an 8-year-old beating boys four years his senior. He was innocent of the importance of his victories.
"I didn't know I was winning a state championship--I thought it was just a little thing," Travis said of the 1992 victory. "I was like Pete Sampras was when he won the U.S. Open the first time. He didn't realize how big it was. This time I was more pumped up. It was more important to me."
Who could blame Travis if his perspective was a little warped after playing national tournaments with his father? The Rettenmaiers are regulars at national father-son events. Travis made his debut at 9 last year at the USTA National Hard Courts in La Jolla.
"We never have won a round, but, by God, we enter them all," Tom Rettenmaier said.
Travis Rettenmaier already has won big in his age group. He finished 1992 ranked sixth in singles and No. 1 in doubles by the Southern California Tennis Assn. and reached the semifinal round of the 1993 SCTA sectional championships in boys' 12-under singles.
Tom Rettenmaier won't take credit for his son's success. He turns that over to Travis' mother, the former Karen Dawson, who was UCLA's No. 1 singles player in the early 1970s and later turned pro.
A whole lot of Cabrillo racket: Cabrillo's 12-under boys pulled off their second consecutive state team title thanks to the pressure play of their three doubles teams. Cabrillo and Ross Valley were tied, 3-3, after a singles round in which Rettenmaier, Dave Jones of Ventura and Dylan Tubelle of Agoura were victorious. Cabrillo then swept the doubles.
Rettenmaier and Nicholas Weiss of Tarzana won at No. 1, as did Jones and Ryan Pitek of Thousand Oaks at No. 2 and Tubelle and John Woodard of Camarillo at No. 3.
Not to be outdone, Cabrillo's 18-under boys scored a rousing victory in the same tournament, defeating Courtside Racquet Club, 5-4, in Los Gatos. Again, Cabrillo emerged after splitting six singles matches, R.J. Cutting, Steve Wong and Pete Webb (all from Ventura) picking up victories.
Cutting and Josh Deschamps and Ilya Chorny and Mike Hemmens then won in doubles to give Cabrillo the narrow victory. All of the victorious doubles players are from Camarillo.