One could say that Gabe hails from a tennis family. His dad introduced him to tennis while he was growing up in Alaska. (But summer is very short there, and there was no indoor court in his hometown, so his skills would atrophy every winter.) Gabe’s dad still plays these days—in fact, he just beat Gabe a few weeks ago in a singles game and hasn’t stopped gloating ever since. Gabe’s wife is also a good player and reliable hitting partner. Even the latest addition to the family, their 21-month-old son, is showing some interest in tennis already!
He has two of those to share with you: Back in Los Angeles, he played against Jayjay Siazon in the Spring 2011 playoffs, and he was trailing 1-5, 0-40 in the first set. Up to that point, Gabe had been playing very tentatively, struggling with his first serve and relying too heavily on a weak second serve. Jayjay was playing very well, hitting the ball deep and applying consistent pressure. At that critical juncture, with the match hanging in the balance, Gabe switched to a more aggressive style of play. Instead of hanging back at the baseline, Gabe started to serve and volley, and won several points in a row at the net. Miraculously, Gabe won his service game and was back in the match. The rest of the match was competitive, but Gabe pulled out a narrow victory: 7-5 6-3.
This year, Gabe’s goal is to make the finals in at least one playoff season. He was on the right track in the Spring, but as fate would have it, Gabe had to face Dave Allderdice again in the quarterfinals, and this time Dave got his payback and won 6-3, 7-5. Gabe is now shaking off this heartbreak and focusing on the summer season. One player he keeps his eyes on is Munjal Shaw, whom he considers the best player in the league this year.