Editor’s note: This summer, Star columnist Greg Hansen is counting down the top 10 of just about everything related to Tucson sports.
Today’s list: The top 10 boys high school tennis players from Tucson:
Eric Evett got his tennis genes from a good source: his father, Arthur Evett, was a standout tennis player at Washington State who continued to win age-group competitions after moving to Tucson to become a physics instructor at the UA.
Those genes were passed along to Eric’s younger brother, Rand Evett, who went on to win Western Athletic Conference singles championships at Arizona in 1971 and 1972.
You could make a strong case that the Evett’s are Tucson’s No. 1 tennis family, although the Hardy brothers, Mark and Craig, should be considered. And also the Bermudez family – Dom, Rita and Carlos – as well as the Lee’s, the McGeorge’s, the Pothoff’s and the Sufi’s, among others.
Eric Evett won back-to-back state championships at Catalina High School in 1964 and 1965, putting together a 54-match winning streak until losing the state title in 1966 to Scottsdale’s Butch Palmer, then ranked No. 5 in world 18U rankings.
Evett himself was ranked as high as No 35, and later became the captain of Arizona’s then-powerful men’s tennis program, which included a victory over No. 1 Trinity College of Texas.
After his UA days, Evett was awarded an NCAA Post-Graduate scholarship for his work in math/physics. He had a 3.96 GPA as a Wildcat and went on to be on the breaking edge of computer technologies at Hewlett-Packard and Texas Instruments before returning to Tucson 12 years ago.
Tennis hasn’t been a high-profile sport in Tucson for several decades, but from the ‘50s to the ‘80s it carried both clout and style. Here are my rankings of the 10 leading boys tennis players from Tucson: