When the US Open gave wild cards out for its Mixed Doubles tournament, it was smart enough to put two local products together.
Noah Rubin from Merrick and Rockville Center and Jamie Loeb from Ossining took the new Grandstand yesterday, playing together for the first time.
“We never played mixed before,” Loeb said. “This was a first experience and I know he had a great time as well. It’s refreshing. It’s different and I really enjoyed.”
The 21 year-old Loeb and the 20 year-old Rubin are the first major products of the John McEnroe Academy in New York City. Two years ago Rubin made the main draw and last year Loeb did, losing to Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets in the first round.
Loeb sings the praises of her school, believing that it made her the player that she is today.
“It definitely helped,” she said. “I was there for the past five years now. I had some solid training and good coaching. Their fitness program developed over the years. It’s a place I can go back to and train when I was in school, I could go there on my breaks. They are very welcoming about that. It’s my home base.”
It’s funny, because you see these tennis players on television and you think they are a different animal, but Loeb is literally the girl next door. She’s a Yankee, Giants, Rangers, and Knicks fan – yes one of those – but that could be forgiven, because she is from Westchester. She has a New Yorker’s savvy and that will help in the world of tennis.
She is giving tennis a go for now and stopped matriculating at the University of North Carolina for now, but says she will go back, because “education is important” to her.
The local team didn’t fair too well yesterday. They dropped the first round to the doubles team of Gabriela Dabrowski and Rohan Bopanna.
“I was expecting (Bopanna) to have good hands and big serve,” she said. “They are a solid team. I think he was No. 3 in the world at one point. We did better than we expected and we learned from the key moments.”
Next up for the young Loeb is the WTA tournament in Quebec City, right after the Open and she will have some challengers to enter into the fall.
And like her partner, she’s just getting started, so we haven’t heard the last of Jamie Loeb.