The key component to dominance on the Southern California doubles scene for the past year has been Kai Brady.
Into the doubles final on Saturday at the 117th USTA Southern California Junior Sectionals with good friend Nabeel Khan of Rolling Hills, Brady of Redondo Beach is attempting to win the Triple Crown of junior doubles in SoCal after winning The Ojai Boys’ CIF Interscholastic division and CIF-Southern Section Individuals, both with his Palos Verdes High partner Sean Holt.
A year ago, Brady teamed with yet another partner Sundeep Chakladar as the Redondo Union High pairing made it to the 2018 Ojai doubles final in Brady’s sophomore year.
The top-seeded team of Brady and Khan will face Tim Dzhurinskiy of Manhattan Beach and Bryan Kulikov of Los Angeles Saturday in the 18s doubles final at Los Caballeros.
The 17-year-old Brady laughed when asked why he was the key ingredient when it came to all the recent doubles success. “I mean, I have always played team sports and I just love being part of a team,” said Brady, moments before he entered the courts Thursday for his second-round Sectionals 18s singles match against Matthew Feng of Arcadia in which he won easily dropping just one game. “Doubles is perfect for me.”
Brady has kept on winning in singles and meets No. 5-seeded Matthew Mu of La Jolla on Sunday morning in the semifinals at 8:30 a.m. The 18s singles final is set for 1:30 p.m.
He continued, praising his partners. “It’s not that different because we and all such good friends and belong to the same club and train together,” Brady said of Khan and Holt. “They are my best friends and so it’s like playing with the same partner. I play the deuce court and they both play the ad side so that’s the same. Nabeel has a little better serve, and Sean a better return. It’s been fun to play with both guys and have success with both of them.”
The Brady Bunch in tennis circles terms consists of Kai’s father Kip, aunt Kara and uncle Kevin, who for years they have run the popular Brady Tennis Camps during the summer out of Hermosa Beach. Kip played his college tennis at UC Santa Barbara and Kevin at the University of Kansas. Kai’s cousins Kiana and Quin Brady are also competing in the girls’ 16s and 14s, respectively.
Kai and Kip made the finals of the USTA National Father and Son Tournament earlier this year in La Jolla, losing in three sets in the final to Andrew and Thomas Lake from Florida.
Kip and Kai actually spent last year on opposite sides of the net as Kai was attending and playing for Redondo Union High while during Kip was named the coach at Palos Verdes the summer before Kai’s sophomore year.
“I have been to Redondo schools since elementary school so it was hard to transfer,” Kai said. “It made sense for my dad to go coach at Palos Verdes because he already works with a lot of juniors who play there. It was funny playing against him, but once I decided to transfer and play for him, I was glad I did. It’s turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made.”
— Steve Pratt