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University's Brymer is 2011 boys tennis player of the year
Gage Brymer isn't the picture of intimidation. He's friendly, usually smiling off the court. He's slim and he's awfully polite.
But if you're the unfortunate soul standing on the wrong side of the net, well, you might have a different opinion.
"You always know he can hit a winner at any time. That's a lot of pressure," Woodbridge senior Patrick Lipscomb said. "I don't really feel like myself when I play Gage because I know if I hit one short ball, the point is going to be over. He makes you try to play above your limits, and that doesn't usually work out so well. He just puts so much pressure on you.
"His shots – they're just all such good shots."
Brymer, a sophomore from University, is the Register's boys tennis player of the year because it had to be Brymer. He won the MVP at the All-American Tournament. He won the Easter Bowl. He won the Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament. He won the CIF-SS individual title. His team finished the season undefeated and won the CIF-SS team crown.
But despite doing those things, there's still one thing Brymer did that gets under his skin. He lost. Once.
"Going undefeated this season was definitely a goal, and it bothers me a little that I wasn't able to do it," Brymer said. "We had such a perfect a season with the team and everything, and that being the only glitch kind of bugs me.
"Definitely next year, that's going to be a major goal. I want us to have the same team success, and that goal is just an add-on."
That one loss, which came during incredibly windy conditions to Peninsula's Horea Porutiu during the CIF-SS team playoffs, ultimately could be a blessing. Instead of Brymer coming out of his sophomore season unblemished, there's enough kindling on the fire to keep him moving forwards.
"I'm always hungry," Brymer said. "I always want to win more matches. I always want to improve.
"People might say I'm playing pretty good tennis right now, but I see parts of my game that I could really step up and improve on. I can't wait to get back out there and start working on them."
The scary thing for Brymer's opponents moving forward is that he's nowhere near done. With each victory this season, Brymer gained a little more swagger, hitting more and more unbelievable shots, painting the lines as if he were standing right over them.
"Those kinds of wins and those kinds of tournaments and those kinds of experiences helped me a lot with my confidence in those matches that followed," Brymer said. "I knew that it was the kinds of tennis I could play all the time. It wasn't just one good match or one good tournament.
"I knew it wasn't just a fluke."