Aaron Krickstein and Dan Goldie are young still. Their day will come, but not this week.
Krickstein is 15, the country's top junior, and has a forehand that should be patented. At the Italian Open in May, he became the youngest man to qualify for a Grand Prix event. "When they're doing that introduction thing, 'He's 15 and won 10 national (junior) titles,' they're building him up," said Eric Korita. "It hit me. You just try and block it out."
He did and won 6-4, 6-2, in the first round of the D.C. National Bank Classic yesterday.
Goldie, who is from McLean and plays for Stanford, lost his first professional match, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) to 15th-seeded Mario Martinez, a clay court specialist from Bolivia who now lives in Potomac. Goldie, who had not played a clay court match in a year, never looked at home despite the hometown crowd.
"I didn't feel nervous but I was a little uncomfortable on clay," said Goldie, the former No. 1 player at Bullis Prep in Potomac. "I play on clay one week a year."
He made too many unforced errors, missed too many first serves (a double fault gave Martinez match point in the tie breaker) and failed to put enough pressure on Martinez, who got to too many balls.
The tournament, which has already lost many name players, lost 10th-seeded Manuel Orantes and Vince Van Patten, the 16th seed. Orantes lost to Brad Drewett, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, with Drewett winning the final three points of the tie breaker. Thierry Tulasne defeated Van Patten, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, with the aid of two controversial calls in the third set. But Harold Solomon, formerly of Silver Spring, breezed by Jorge Arrese, 6-0, 6-3.
Van Patten may be better known for his acting than his playing, but he is known and there were lots of appreciative squeals from the crowd. "I pay them off," he said.
With Van Patten serving at 2-3, advantage Tulasne, he served a ball that was first called good, then overruled and called a fault after Tulasne pointed out the mark. Van Patten double-faulted to give him the break.
At 0-30 in the next game, Van Patten hit a forehand that hit near the base line and was called good. Again the call was overruled. Tulasne went on to win the game. "I don't like this overruling thing," Van Patten said. "There are linesmen. You should respect their call even if it's five feet out."
Linesman were also prominent in the Drewett-Orantes match; they were replaced during the second set at Drewett's request.
Five years ago, when Korita was Krickstein's age, his serve was timed at 121 miles per hour. The humidity of Washington and the clay at Rock Creek Stadium may have conspired to slow Korita a bit, but not much. Korita, a member of the U.S. junior Davis Cup team, had four aces and countless service winners.
"I moved it around so well, he never knew where it was coming," said Korita, who just finished his sophomore year at Southern Methodist. "It looked like he was scrounging just to get his returns back."
Krickstein moved up to take it early, then moved back to take it late. Neither worked. "I was never really in it because of his serve," Krickstein said. "If he can get his first serve in, he can play with anyone."
Krickstein was in it through the first eight games of the first set thanks largely to his forehand. It comes over the top, seemingly out of nowhere. The shot is his greatest strength and, according to his coach, Nick Bollettieri, "should be the one he uses to put people to sleep."
Like Jimmy Arias, the No. 2 seed and another of Bollettieri's prodigies, Krickstein is a base liner with a forehand that seems too big for his frame. Bollettieri compares them often and without prompting, perhaps because he is trying to make a point.
"Footwork and anticipation, Arias (who is 18) is an 11, Aaron a 6," Bollettieri said. "Aaron could be an 8 if he wanted to be. Forehand: Arias 11, Aaron 9. His backhand is far better at 15 than Jimmy's was. His serve and his volley are well above where Jimmy's were."
For the first four games, Krickstein served well. But in the ninth game, he was broken at love. "On the first point, he hit a backhand and I was slow moving to it," he said.
On the second, he netted another backhand. He double-faulted to give Korita a break point and hit an off-balance backhand long to give him the game.
"What he (Krickstein) needs is the will to win every time," said Bollettieri. "Winning isn't everything but the will to win should be there all the time. That's the difference in Jimmy . . . Aaron really needs to believe he can do it the way Jimmy can . . . He has a tendency to put himself down. He can get down on himself."
Krickstein said, "I get discouraged and lose everything. I lose four, five, six games in a row. I just lose it. I'm going to have to fix that."
After being broken at 4-4, Krickstein lost the next four games, including the first game of the second set. He was up, 30-0, then lost the next four points. "I don't play good in the first game of the second set," Krickstein said. "I sort of lost concentration."
After playing in the junior claycourt championships, and the National 18s this summer, Krickstein will move to Bradenton, Fla., to attend Bollettieri's academy, where he will live with his older sister Kathy, who works there. Until now, he has commuted from his Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., home.
"We've fought this for a couple of years," said his mother Evelyn. "I hope it's the right thing. Herb and I have some mixed emotions and we wonder whether we're doing the right thing sending him down there. But if you want to be a tennis player, it's such a short span, you have to take advantage of the opportunities as they come to you."
Bollettieri, who is not known for coddling his players, says maybe Krickstein needs a push. "Maybe Doc is too obliging to Aaron," he said, referring to Krickstein's father Herb, a pathologist. "Doc's been too good to him. Spoiled? No. But they've done a lot of things for Aaron."
Herb Krickstein said, "His life has been mostly tennis. He hasn't done the things most boys his age do, like mow the lawn. Everything is taken care of for him. When you're the last child after three girls, you get spoiled . . . and picked on, too."
Korita, who lost a tough five-set match to Yannick Noah at the 1982 U.S. Open, had a similar match this year at Wimbledon against Paul McNamee.
"I lost, 9-7, in the fifth," he said. "I'm coming close. I just have to get over that barrier."
He has not decided whether to return to college for his junior year. It depends how he does this summer--and perhaps this week.