By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Alejandro Serrano Osoba was a clear choice for All-Empire Player of the Year, but don’t expect the Cardinal Newman freshman to win the award in 2016.
A Spanish exchange student, he informed school officials he won’t be returning to the Cardinals’ campus in September. Instead, he will enroll at a high school in Newport Beach near Los Angeles.
Osoba, whose goal is to become a professional player, has signed an agreement with Sean Abdali to train with the Gran Slam Institute for the next two years.
“This is my dream and that’s why my parents and I made this decision,” Osoba said in an e-mail sent from his family home in Marbella, Spain.
“I made great friends at Cardinal Newman and will miss them. I’ll especially miss my tennis teammates and coach Tony Greco. He’s a fantastic person.”
Osoba earned the All-Empire top honor by defeating reigning Player of the Year Alec Wong of Rancho Cotate in two of the three matches they played.
Osoba also did well in the postseason. He advanced to the NC
S Division 2 championship before losing to Salesian’s Dominic Tu.
“My game definitely improved while I was at Cardinal Newman,” said Ochoa, 14. “My speed on the court and strength on my shots are two areas where I’ve improved.”
Greco said Osoba’s dream isn’t far-fetched.
“He has the tools,” Greco said when asked if his former player could one day become a professional. “Along with the tools, a top player has to have the work ethic.
“He showed improvement while at Newman. His tennis mentality definitely improved.”
While in Southern California, Osoba will be reunited with his personal coach Amarit Sanchez.
Sanchez recently left a teaching position near Santa Rosa for a similar job in Newport Beach.
While Greco is sorry to lose his No. 1 player with three years of eligibility remaining, he’s realistic.
“There’s definitely more competition for him in Southern California,” Greco said. “He’ll need that.”