A wild-card entry into the main draw of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic was up for grabs yesterday in the final of the USTA National Boys' 18 Clay Court Championships, and Alexander Clayton grabbed it.
Clayton, the No. 3 seed, picked a good time to win his first national singles tournament, defeating No. 9 Attila Bucko, 6-4, 6-3, at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville.
Just weeks ago the 17-year-old from Florida was thinking about not playing -- he was tired from a schedule that had included tournaments in Europe -- but the temptation of the prize was too much.
"It feels great to win this tournament," Clayton said. "I came here to win it, to try to get that wild card in the Legg Mason and I achieved my goal, so it couldn't be better,"
Bucko didn't win, but he was still pleased because by making it to the final, he earned a wild-card slot into the Legg Mason singles qualifier.
Bucko, who lives in Florida, came to the United States four years ago from Serbia and Montenegro. He and his father -- who offered encouragement in their native language -- gave the tournament a bit of an international feel.
In the 16 singles final, the blue rubber bracelet reading "No Compromise" on Tyler Hochwalt's wrist was not meant to represent his play on the court, but it could have.
Hochwalt, the No. 9 seed from Scottsdale, Ariz., overpowered No. 17 Waylon Chin, 6-0, 6-3.
The tournament was kind to Hochwalt, who collected his only two titles at Woodmont, the singles yesterday and the doubles Saturday; like Bucko, he earned a slot in the Legg Mason qualifying event.
"To be able to execute under probably some of the bigger pressure situations he's ever been in, that's what's exciting moving on in the future," said John Roddick, Hochwalt's coach and brother of tennis star Andy Roddick. "It's not about winning one tournament and that's it. It's about carrying momentum tournament after tournament, year after year, and so for him, that's a start of something bigger, hopefully."
Churchill junior Jared Pinsky took third place in the boys' 16 singles, beating Houston's Christopher Price, 6-2, 6-3.
"I played much smarter, played well and just had fun out there," Pinsky said.