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BOYS' TENNIS

Ball Bouncing Back After Bout With Illness

April 24, 2001|DAVE McKIBBEN

Corona del Mar junior Cameron Ball may be the most rested player for this week's Ojai Valley tennis tournament. But he wouldn't recommend his routine as an optimum training method for one of the year's biggest and most prestigious events.

Ball spent the last 3 1/2 weeks "strapped" to his bed after contracting mononucleosis from teammate Garrett Snyder, who shared Ball's water bottle before either knew Snyder was infected.

"I usually wake up at 6 in the morning, but I was getting up at nine every day," he said. "Once I was up, I'd want to go straight back to bed. My eyes were glassy. I had wrinkles under my eyes like I hadn't slept in days. I was totally drained. It felt like I was carrying weights on my shoulders."

Ball missed 2 1/2 weeks of school, the Easter Bowl tournament in Palm Springs and training for Ojai.

What did he do all day? "Nothing. I was watching movies, reading books and hanging around the house. My big excitement was answering the phone."

While Ball was hanging around the house, his 13-year-old brother Carsten was making news in Palm Springs--reaching the quarterfinals of the boys' 14s.

"That was a big surprise," Cameron Ball said. "There was a lot of excitement around here for a while."

When he wasn't sleeping, catching up on school work or watching television, Ball thought about getting back on the court.

"This made me think I need to work harder when I'm out there," he said. "That I should treasure my time out there. I just kept thinking this 'mono' was the biggest waste of time."

But Ball didn't waste all of his time moping around the house. In the early stages of mononucleosis, Ballplayed three high school matches. He played singles against University and Troy and doubles against Palos Verdes Peninsula. Ball and Ryan Stockwell's three points against Peninsula provided the difference in a 10-8 victory.

Later in the week, Ball won two of three singles sets against fifth-ranked Troy. But he nearly passed out doing so.

"That was the worst I've ever felt," he said. "I almost collapsed on the court."

When he stepped onto the court a few days ago, Ball still wasn't feeling strong.

"I was pretty rusty and I got winded pretty easily," he said.

That doesn't give Ball a lot of confidence going into Ojai on Thursday.

"I'm getting better, but that's a big level of competition to step up to," he said. "That's a possible two matches a day and six sets a day. I'm kind of anxious about that. I don't know what to expect."

Last year, Ball went to Ojai without much fanfare and upset second-seeded Nicholas Weiss of Calabasas in the second round of the boys' 16 division. This year, he enters the boys' interscholastic division of Ojai as the Pacific Coast League singles champion and the 14th-ranked 18-year-old in Southern California. He also is coming off a second consecutive undefeated record at the National High School tournament.

MORE OJAI

Other county players entered in the boys' interscholastic singles draw are Eric Aarnaes of Irvine, Patrick Buchanan of Servite, Daniel Chang of Sunny Hills, Brian Manning of San Clemente, Sumil Menon of Dana Hills, John Nguyen of Canyon, Matthew Ozurovich of Santa Margarita, Kyle Roybal of Foothill, Bret Van Linge of Woodbridge and Jason Wood of Los Alamitos.

Snyder and teammate Brian Morton figure to be one of the top-seeded teams in the boys' interscholastic doubles. Other top doubles teams are Brian Bassel and Travis Kula of Canyon, Marcus Martinez and Richard Mauban of Servite and Logan Johnson and Robbie Lamour of Capistrano Valley.

If you have an item or idea for the boys' tennis report, you can fax us at (714) 966-5663 or e-mail us at david.mckibben@latimes.com

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

BOYS' TENNIS TOP 10

Orange County Sportswriters' Poll

*--*

Pos. School League Rec 1. Corona del Mar (1) Pacific Coast 15-0 2. Los Alamitos (2) Sunset 13-2 3. Servite (3) Serra 16-0 4. Woodbridge (4) Sea View 13-4 5. Capistrano Valley (6) South Coast 10-0 6. Troy (5) Freeway 13-3 7. Dana Hills (7) South Coast 8-4 8. University (8) Pacific Coast 12-6 9. Canyon (9) Century 13-3 10. Sunny Hills (10) Freeway 11-4

*--*

Others: Los Amigos (16-1), Irvine (11-4), Santa Margarita (11-6), Mater Dei (14-3), Esperanza (12-2).

Last week's rankings in parentheses

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