Two South Bay Players Take the Court in a Quest to Become the next Tennis Superstars

Down the line.

  • Category
    People
  • Written & photographed by
    Kat Monk

Tennis greats Tracy Austin and Pete Sampras both grew up in Palos Verdes, giving the South Bay a special connection to the international tennis world. Now two new prospects—Kimmi Hance, 18, from Torrance and Quin Brady, 16, from Hermosa Beach—hope to follow in those prestigious footsteps.

Quin, a junior at Da Vinci High School, recently qualified for the finals of the 2021 Manhattan Beach Open for singles and doubles. Kimmi, a college freshman, just started a new journey playing for the second-ranked team in the nation, the University of California, Los Angeles.

It would not be a stretch to say the girls learned how to play tennis roughly around the time they learned how to walk. It was a natural progression, as both were born to families with deep tennis roots. In fact, both families were good friends long before the girls were even born. Courtney, Kimmi’s mom, donned a suit and proudly served as a groomsman in the wedding of Kevin, Quin’s father.

The girls might not know each other well now, but a look back at old photo albums shows their younger versions laughing and hugging. Each in different age brackets and at different phases of their careers, the young women’s paths don’t cross much. Not yet.

The Hances own and operate South Bay Tennis Center in Torrance, where both parents are top-notch tennis pros. The Bradys operate Brady Tennis Camps, offering adult and junior weekend and weeklong tennis camps locally and around southern California. Although both girls became young tennis students of their families, their tennis careers are on slightly different trajectories.

When Kimmi walks on the court, she exudes power and confidence. “My mom is super competitive, yet she never carries that attitude off the court,” she explains. “My goal is to be like her.” As the third of four children, she is a bit of a peacemaker with her competitive siblings.

Kimmi Hance

Kenadi Hance, 24, played tennis for the University of Washington, and Connor Hance, 22, just graduated from the UCLA tennis team. Both Kenadi and Connor have decided to move on to different avenues in life after COVID-19 seriously impacted their opportunities.

Keaton, the youngest at 13, might be the most competitive of all four children. “Right now, I can still beat Keaton,” says Kimmi. But Keaton is a force to be reckoned with, and she is cognizant that her heyday in dominating against her younger brother might be ending soon.

“I got my one win, and I will never play him again,” shares Allen Yap, the Mira Costa girls tennis coach, who does not like to lose. Having built-in tennis partners makes for golden opportunities because they already know your strengths and weaknesses.

Kimmi quit tennis temporarily at 10 to pursue a passion for soccer. The individuality of tennis became unappealing, and she purposely sabotaged a match so she wouldn’t be late for her soccer game. Not amused, her coach and father vowed he would not take her to any more tournaments. For the next three years, she focused on soccer. But after a few concussions in seventh grade, she stopped playing.

Quin Brady

The United States Tennis Association (USTA), which runs an elite camp for junior players in Carson, called South Bay Tennis Center after a young female player was injured and couldn’t play. They were looking for a young female player who could even out their numbers by temporarily replacing the highly ranked player in their camp. With nothing to lose, Kimmi showed up, and much to everyone’s surprise, she outperformed many of the other players. The USTA took notice and has embraced her ever since.

At 15, Kimmi played in the U.S. Open Junior tourney. And following in her older brother’s footsteps as a blue-chip player, she received a full scholarship to play tennis at UCLA. “Kimmi is such a huge asset to our team because she is showing incredible leadership qualities,” explains Stella Sampras, Pete’s sister. “She has an all-court game, and we are looking forward to her being a huge contribution to our team for the next four years.”

On the other side of the court, Quin brings a poise and height that grab your attention. She has one older sister, Kiana, 20, who is currently playing tennis at the University of Redlands in Riverside. Her cousin Kai is currently playing at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Quin recently had her first days back at school due to the pandemic. “Team Quin” has a few coaches besides her father to help her have a well-rounded game. “She’s one of the rare players I coach that can take what I verbalize and put it into action on the court almost instantly and flawlessly,” says Allen Yap.

Quin recently made it to the finals in both the Women’s singles and the Women’s Open doubles divisions of the 54th Annual Manhattan Beach Open tennis tournament held at Manhattan Country Club. It was the first time Quin played in front of a large crowd of more than 100 people. She lost to Tricia Mar of Seal Beach (6-4, 4-6, 6-2). “It was definitely nerve-racking because of how many people were watching me, and I’ve never played in front of that many people before,” shares Quin. “But it made me feel really special because the majority of the people were cheering for me. A lot of my friends came out also to support me.”

She narrowly lost with sister Kiana as her open doubles partner in a marathon match to Palos Verdes Estates’ Katelyn Hart and Kacey Feng (5-7, 6-4, 10-8). But taking home $1,000 at the Mason Zisette Memorial Tournament and a second-place ranking created a memorable moment.

Quin is just on the verge of researching her college opportunities. The one thing she knows is that she wants to stay in California. Maybe one day these two will become teammates at UCLA and future competitors at the U.S. Open—where they both hope to play one day.

“The support of the fans at the U.S. Open is one-of-a-kind—they are so supportive,” says Kimmi. Will we see these two South Bay prospects on opposite sides of the court in New York one day? Maybe so, but it will be difficult to take sides with two such extraordinary hometown players living their dream.

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