NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 07: Nicole Gibbs of the United States lines up a shot during her juniors match against Magda Linette of Poland during day eight of the 2009 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 7, 2009 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Nicole Gibbs (photo by Photo Courtesy Nick Laham)

NEW YORK — Local product and Stanford University freshman Nicole Gibbs will be playing in the National Intercollegiate Indoor Tennis Championships this week. The tournament starts today and is held at the United States Tennis Association’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, NY.

Gibbs, who graduated from Crossroads High School last June, will be competing in the 32-woman singles field. She will attempt to become the best indoor college tennis player in the country at the very place where Rafael Nadal and Kim Clijsters won the U.S. Open this past summer.

“There’s going to be a lot of competition because it’s mostly upperclassmen playing in the tournament and only a handful of freshman,” admits Gibbs. “I think each match will be really challenging and winning rounds will be an accomplishment in and of itself. Hopefully, I won’t have to play anyone from my team until late in the tournament, but that all depends on how the draw pans out.”

Gibbs will be competing in New York with three other players from Stanford and will also represent the Cardinal along with fellow freshman Kristie Ahn in the 16-team doubles field. The two have been consistently paired together since the beginning of the summer after they won the doubles title at the USTA Pro Circuit $50,000 event in Carson, Calif. in May.

“I would say the Cardinal have some of the best players in the draw, we are hoping at least,” said Gibbs. “I think we will be some of each other’s biggest competition but there are a lot of really excellent players from other schools as well. Hopefully, the girls from Stanford can all make it late in the week and force the issue and have to play each other.”

Gibbs grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and moved with her family to Manhattan Beach before starting high school. She transferred to Crossroads her junior year and now calls Santa Monica her home. Her first professional title win was at an International Tennis Federation Professional Circuit event in Mexico City in 2007. In August, she reached the final of the 2010 USTA 18-year-old National Championships that was held in San Diego and now trains full-time at the USTA Training Center-West in Carson.

“You always represent where you come from and where your home is,” said Gibbs. “For me, Santa Monica was the happiest part of my high school career. For sure I had the most fun while living in Santa Monica and that is where the majority of my friends are. And I plan to be spending a lot of time here in the summers and years to come.”

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