The Pacific Northwest Open tennis tournament will start Monday at the Tacoma Lawn Tennis Club, and entered is former University of Washington All-American and Wimbledon competitor Robert Kendrick.
The 35-year-old will play men’s singles and doubles, and is expected to put on a show.
“He’s exciting to watch,” Tacoma Lawn Tennis Club professional Nicholas Moxley said. “He’s sort of brash, but he backs it up with his play.”
Moxley described Kendrick as a serve-and-volley player. He noted that Kendrick’s serve can reach up to 140 mph and that his forehand is really strong.
Kendrick was born and raised in Fresno, California. His tennis career took shape in high school and he ended up at the University of Washington on a scholarship.
At UW, he earned All-American honors in singles and doubles as a sophomore. At one point that season, Kendrick was ranked as the third-best collegiate singles player.
After his sophomore year, he transferred to Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, and gained All-American status again.
“It’ll be good to be back in the Seattle area,” Kendrick said. “I actually haven’t been back since I left after my sophomore year, so almost 16 years.”
After college, he made his first appearance in the top 100 list of professionals. His highest career ranking was 69th in 2009.
Kendrick made six Grand Slam appearances, including two Australian Opens and U.S. Opens. In 2006, he qualified for Wimbledon and beat his first-round opponent to next face Rafael Nadal, then the world’s second-ranked player.
Up two sets and two points away from a win, Kendrick couldn’t pull off the upset and Nadal rallied.
“That was kind of a good and bad thing,” Kendrick said. “Bad because I was so close to winning, but good because everyone remembers the match and it was a good performance for the crowd.”
Kendrick continued playing in Grand Slam tournaments after Wimbledon, but in 2011 he was suspended for eight months after testing positive for a banned substance, methylhexanamine, at the French Open.
He defended himself, saying that he took the substance because of jet lag and did not know it wasbanned. But the suspension stood.
Kendrick said he hasn’t played competitively since the 2014 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California.
Kendrick will be competing in singles and doubles at the PNW Open. His doubles partner will be University of Washington All-American alum Kyle McMorrow.
Kendrick considers himself retired when it comes to playing professional tennis. He lives in Orlando, Florida, with his wife and two children, a 4-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son.
“I’m definitely retired at this point,” Kendrick said. “There is no comeback. I’ve got kids and now I teach.”
Kendrick coaches tennis in Orlando, and said he is using the PNW Open as a vacation for himself and his family.
“There are no goals for the PNW tournament,” Kendrick said. “This is a vacation where I’ll also play a bit of tennis.”
The PNW men’s and women’s qualifying rounds start at 4 p.m. Monday.