When Washington Kastles coach Murphy Jensen speaks about Treat Huey’s ability to serve and volley he sounds as if he’s describing John McEnroe.
“It’s probably the biggest serve in tennis right now. He’s got the most deadly kick serve I’ve ever seen,” Jensen said. “He just has a cannon for a serve and the softest hands at the net.”
Fifteen years ago, Jensen won a doubles title at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, teaming with brother Luke. Sunday in the Citi Open doubles finals, Huey has a chance to match the accomplishment of his Kastles’ coach.
On Saturday Huey used his kick serve at the most opportune moment, dealing an unhittable ace on match point, sealing a doubles victory at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center in Rock Creek Park. Huey, a graduate of St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes who grew up in Alexandria, and partner Dominic Inglot, defeated Steve Johnson and Fairfax-native Drew Courtney 6-4, 6-4.
The former University of Virginia teammates take on a sizable challenge in the finals against 6-foot-8 South African Kevin Anderson and 6-6 American Sam Querrey. The 6-4 Inglot and 5-10 Huey, both 26, are seeking their first ATP doubles title.
“I got a little pop in the serve, so I don’t feel too short out there,” Huey joked after winning all five of his service games and 20 of 26 service points.
Huey and Inglot had few anxious moments on Saturday. After breaking serve in the opening game, they yielded a combined two points in their five service games of the set.
They opened the second set the same way, breaking Courtney, a spring graduate of Virginia. Late in the set, Courtney and Johnson broke serve for the first time. But Huey and Inglot broke right back.
Huey and Inglot, teammates for three years in Charlottesville, are fast emerging as a doubles force. In April, they reached the finals in an ATP event in Houston, losing on clay to James Blake and Querrey. In June, they won a Challenger event in Nottingham, England.
Huey demonstrated his doubles expertise with the Kastles last month, teaming with Raquel Kops-Jones and going 4-0 as replacement players for Olympians Leander Paes and Anastasia Rodionova, helping Washington extend its World TeamTennis record of consecutive match wins to 30.
Jensen admitted that he knew little about Huey before he joined the Kastles.
“I was just shocked. He’s a college guy. He looks like an actor out of the movie “Wall Street.” He wears polo shirts. He doesn’t look anything like a tennis grinder,” Jensen said. “But this guy’s stuff, he’s like the junkyard dog of serving and volleying in doubles.”
Huey struggled as a singles player, never getting inside the world’s top 500, and realized in the last few years that his potential in the sport was in doubles. He currently ranks No. 32 in the world in doubles.
“He’s this raw, raw super raw talent,” Jensen said. “In my opinion if he works with some good coaching and has some time to practice with Leander, he could be No. 1 in the world in doubles, 100 percent. He’s beyond talented.”