At first glance, Dan Goldie appears to be yet another in a long line of look-alike tennis players--the requisite long, lithe, tanned body, blond hair and matinee-idol looks.
Goldie looks the part of the Stanford star he is. But this is no California golden boy. He's a McLean native and a 1982 graduate of the Bullis School.
Washington is not a prime breeding ground for world-class tennis players. Fred McNair IV of Chevy Chase excelled in doubles for a few years, and the Potomac Delaney brothers, Chris and Jim, did reasonably well on the pro circuit. But since Harold Solomon of Silver Spring showed up in 1970 with his moon-ball base line shots, Washington hasn't produced a top singles player.
Goldie may be one. Fresh from a silver medal in the World University Games in Edmonton, Goldie, 19, fared reasonably well in his first professional nonqualifying match in the D.C. National Bank Classic. Playing on clay for the first time in a year, Goldie battled 15th-seed Mario Martinez, a clay specialist, to a second-set tie breaker before losing, 6-3, 7-6.
"It's tough to change to clay," said Goldie, who played No. 3 singles as a Stanford freshman in 1983. "I knew he would stay back and hit ground strokes, so I wanted to get to net and make him play my game. I was more successful in the second set coming in on his second serves. It was a great opportunity; I just wish I had played better."
Ground strokes were the foundation of Goldie's game while he was leading Bullis to the National Interscholastic Championship in 1982. Goldie was ranked third nationally in the 18-and-under division that year and played Junior Davis Cup. But he blossomed further under Stanford Coach Dick Gould, developing a good serve-and-volley game to go with his ground game.
"It happened so fast," Goldie said. Fast enough that during winter vacation, Goldie won the Regency Holiday Club Invitational and then scored his first major success with a victory in the National Indoor Amateur.
Goldie, seeded 14th, upset second-seeded Norm Schellenger in the second round. Then, after trailing Phil Tuckniss, 2-6, 2-4, in the semifinals, Goldie's passing shots began working and he won seven straight games to take control. Goldie faced John Zahurak's booming serve in the final, and rallied from 3-4 in the first set and 1-2 in the second to win, 6-4, 6-2.
"His ground strokes are exceptional," Gould said. "On hard courts, though, you want to make the other guy beat you. It's a natural evolution to serve and volley in college and he came pretty close to putting it all together. He had an outstanding year. He's also extremely coachable. He's well-liked at school. He even sent thank-you notes to the equipment people."
Gould may want to send Goldie a thank-you note after his 23-match winning streak for Stanford's freshman-laden team. The Cardinals won the NCAA title for the seventh time in Gould's 17 years. Goldie did well in the NCAA tournament, advancing to the semifinals in doubles and losing to D.C. National Bank semifinalist Eric Korita in the singles. Goldie's only regular-season loss was to Pepperdine's Rich Gallien, who also beat Goldie in the World Games final.
Goldie is also doing well as an economics major with an emphasis on industrial engineering, despite 2 1/2 hours of tennis and either running or weightlifting every afternoon. "School was harder than I expected, but it's important. I won't turn pro until I graduate."
Not that he's ready yet. "Last year, we worked on a more aggressive style, getting him up at the net more," Gould said. "He's doing a good job, but he still has a way to go. First, his serve has to become more consistent and his volleys need work. He also needs to work on his footwork; set up better. But he works very hard. He'll be a world-class player."