San Quentin’s tennis squad, Inside Tennis Team, played matches with and against two local tennis players on a warm Saturday morning.
“In a sport that does not discriminate, Saturdays are special days for the Inside Tennis Team,” said team member Raphael Calix.
It was the first time Jim Humes and Katharine Fisher played tennis inside a prison.
“We enjoy interacting with the community on this level,” said commissioner James Taylor. “The entire community, inside and outside, is welcomed to watch and or play this fun game any time during the week.”
“We used to scramble over rocks
and gravel just to play tennis”
He is a USTA Team player who competes against tennis teams throughout the state. “He came to San Quentin and made us feel like USTA Team players,” said Calix.
Taylor restarted his tennis career about five years ago. He said after playing sports all his life, getting tennis back into his life was a natural fit.
Inside the Line players Paul Oliver and Calix played against the newcomers, Jim and Katharine, in the first game. Inside the Line won, 4-2.
In the second game, Ngoc Nguyen and Duong Nguyen played against Jim and Katharine; Inside the Line won, 4-2. The third game was Jason McGinnis and Raekubian Borel versus Dianna and Jim, where the outside guests won, 4-2. The last match was a mixed double, where Taylor and Katharine met Calix and Dianna; Dianna’s team won 4-3 in a tiebreaker.
Every Saturday during the season, sponsor Dianna finds tennis players from around the area to play against the San Quentin team. The season began March 9.
Inside the Lines is having its best start with a record of 3-0-1 against outside players and teams.
“We haven’t played against any college teams yet,” said Taylor. “We are expecting a harder road ahead us.”
Taylor has been commissioner since 2011, and has been playing with the team since 2005.
Team Captain Ronnie Mohamed has been playing on the Inside the Lines team since 2003.
“We used to play tennis on an uneven court,” Mohamed said. “We used to scramble over rocks and gravel just to play tennis, but we had fun doing it.” The court has since been improved.
Every Saturday morning, Coach DeNevi brings in outside tennis players.