Taco Bell tennis tourney begins
Mark Marini came to Grand Junction to visit his sister.
When the 17-year-old from Lancaster, Pa., discovered the Taco Bell Western Slope Open started Monday, he decided to play in the annual tennis tournament.
Marini, and two of his siblings, came out to visit their sister Joanna (Marini) Dindinger for a month, and they found out about the tournament from a family friend shortly after getting in town.
“I told him, ‘You should get signed up,’ ” Neil Bishop said.
“I said, ‘All right,’ ” Marini said.
Marini got off to a rousing start to the tourney, defeating Brian List of Grand Junction 6-0, 6-0 in the first round of the boys 18-under singles draw Monday morning. Marini plays Matt Harris of Grand Junction in the quarterfinals at 8 a.m. today. Most of the junior finals are scheduled for Thursday with the tournament continuing through Sunday.
This is Marini’s first tennis tournament, he said.
“I planned on playing in a tournament in Newport, Rhode Island, but it didn’t work out,” he said. “I was warming up for my first match and was disqualified. It was for 35-older only. I was really looking forward to it because it was on grass, but it rained so hard, we had to play indoors.”
The Newport, R.I., tournament was located at the Tennis Hall of Fame.
Marini has been playing tennis for two years.
“I remember going to the ATP Tour web site for some reason,” he said. “Some of my friends played.”
Since picking up the racket two years ago, Marini has played a lot of tennis. So much so, he was able to successfully hit a couple of balls between his legs and back over the net in play during his first-round match.
“That’s what we do in Pennsylvania,” he said with a smile. “I’ve watched Roger Federer doing that in the U.S. Open.”
Marini said he’s learned how to play on his own by playing with his brothers and friends.
“I took one lesson, and the instructor said my technique is not far off,” he said. “I should have more coaching.”
Marini is considering playing his senior year of high school.
Besides the the singles tournament, Marini is playing in the men’s 4.0 doubles with his 23-year-old brother Anthony.
“Anthony’s been working a lot and not playing as much,” Marini said.
Anthony works in the family business of making musical harps.