This past weekend the tennis community lost Ajay Patel, a great tennis player and an even better man. He will be sorely missed by his family and the entire tennis community.
Ajay will always hold a special place in my heart as his ability to compete
and compete well at an advanced age was spectacular. He was a man of
great integrity and loyalty.
Tennis League Network will be forever blessed to have his name inscribed on multiple record pages.
The legacy wins page is hereafter renamed Ajay Patel Legacy Wins Page.
of this program had the pleasure of meeting him twice over the years.
(Once at the 2011 East Coast National Tournament in Miami and last time
at a Los Angeles West Coast National Tournament. He won that tournament
in dramatic fashion https://www.tennislosangeles.com/3172/tournament_report ).
His passion for tennis was inspiring and will always leave a mark on this community. Ajay the tennis courts are going to be a bit more lonely without you.
We reached out to a bunch of his former TennisOC.com opponents and it's simply amazing how Ajay affected other players well beyond the tennis courts. Here's some of their memories:
always described Ajay to people who did not know him as a tennis
"savant". No one could anticipate where you would hit the ball better
than Ajay. No one could use the angles of a tennis court with more
effectiveness. He was a savant at architecting a point using his
combination of consistency, creativity and athleticism. On big points
he could always place his serve in the perfect spot to make sure he won
the point. No one was more frustrating to play or more satisfying to
beat (rare as that was).
our last match at Lower Peters (court 7 always) we had one of the most
amazing points I have played in my life. It was a 15 ball rally before I
finally got the advantage and was at the net....Ajay lobbed me but I
was ready and hit a clean smash overhead....Ajay anticipated where I
would hit it (I never figured out how he could do that) and hit me
another classic Ajay lob that landed on the baseline. I was able to
run back and another 15 ball rally ensued before the point finally
ended. To our surprise there were 4 people that had stopped to watch
this point and were clapping for us. It was our final point we ever
played. Will miss the local legend Ajay and it was my pleasure to
share a tennis court with him.
I was one of the few who took a few matches away from Ajay. We was the Roger Federer of OCTennis league,
smooth and sharp. A great competitor, gentle spirit and humble person….he will be missed.
So so sad and sudden. I played tennis with AJ almost 10 years, he always
played with amazing enthusiasm. Caring Dad who talked about his family
and was a thoughtful and giving player on the court.
Bless you AJ
Ajay was one of the kindest tennis players that I had the good
fortune of meeting. We started playing in the league back in 2009 and
always held a special place in my mind and heart. He left quite a
legacy with us as he pulled everybody’s game up and encouraged us (by
example) to play more frequently.
He will be missed dearly.
Ajay was the definition of a true champion, his character and always
happy demeanor was as true on the court as off of it. Ajay's exceptional
game was a genuine credit to his approach of tennis, not as a hobby,
but a lifestyle choice. This is also why so many of us in our time
playing in TennisOC, knew when it came time to play AJay, the epic
record holder, "3-peat Player of The Year, First-ever West Coast Year
End Men's Elite Champion, Infinite Legacy Match Winner, once you get
passed those intimidating statistics realized why he had achieved them.
However, his truly exceptional personality made losing to him the most
fun and positive experience losing can possibly have, even for the most
competitive of players--- everyone knows its fun to play AJay,
regardless of knowing, the more likely outcome that he would prevail.
love of the game is apparent when reviewing his career statistics and
record in TennisOC, but what is not shown is how many lives he touched
through playing tennis and how his experience and years of playing also
taught us players something new and never seen before they played him
and aimed to improve do it the "Ajay Way!"
personal note, I will never play an TennisOC or West Coast Year End
Tournament without smiling and thinking of Ajay and his positive spirit
and love of the game and appreciate just getting to play every chance we
get as he did! Thank you for always bringing such light and joy to the
game we all love beyond what would call a hobby-- you will be missed.
Sad to hear. I remember losing to him countless times and finally
breaking through with a win in a grueling three set match. Of course I
was elated to win against such a champion but it was his kind words in
defeat that I remember most. He told me that part of his enjoyment in
playing tennis is to help players get better and reach their full
potential. What a great sport and true champion! He will be missed.
When I first moved out to southern California and competed in my
first tournament, I did not make the finals but watched the match and
observed the beautiful serve and volley net game of Ajay that made him
take the title. Though I did not get to play Ajay in the finals in that
tournament, I was very impressed with his game style and would hope
someday we would cross paths to play. Sure enough when I joined the
local tennisoc league Ajay was the first person to contact me to play a
match. Making my first drive through southern orange county to play him
in Irvine started a rivalry of numerous matches of us battling back and
It was always fun and exciting to step
on the court with Ajay and I will always remember the great matches we
had. He always pushed me to play my best and if I wasnt playing my best
he wouldnt hesistate to make me pay dearly. During our matches we had
our fair share of of grueling long rallies, but after the point was over
he was already standing on the baseline ready to play the next point.
That always got me thinking to myself "man for an old guy he is VERY
fit". I can only hope at his age I will be able to compete at singles
the level he was able to.
If I didnt play Ajay
as much as I did I would not have made the decision to live in Irvine in
order to stay close to the strong tennis community it has. So you can
say that Ajay was the link of starting my new life in California and the
place I chose to call home today in Irvine. I only hope when I grow
older I will still have the drive, commitment and passion for the sport
like he did. We certainly lost a valuable member in the tennis community
and he will be missed greatly.
never forget playing Ajay. He always made playing tennis look easy -
almost too easy! He was graceful on the court and was in command most
of the time. He was a humble guy and always gave me good advice to get
better. He's the only guy I've ever played that would hit my out
balls on purpose to keep rallies going and give me more of a chance to
win - who does that! He will be sorely missed.
My condolences to his family.
I have had the good fortune to play Ajay many times during the last few
years. He always was a true gentleman and a great sportsman. He embodied
the "old school" sportsmanship, and his love of tennis and good
competition was evident. I am shocked that he is not with us anymore,
and he will be missed.