Tennis is serious sport in San Quentin Prison
About 20 inmates — lifers and 'three strikers' — play for the Inside Tennis Team, created by recreation director Don DeNevi, 72. Competition comes from outsiders. The only rule: Resolve all arguments on the court.
LEFT PHOTO: Henry Montgomery, who has served 23 years in prison for homicide, serves the ball during a match at San Quentin State Prison.
RIGHT PHOTO: Guards stand watch over inmates in San Quentin's recreational yard, which now includes a tennis court.
LEFT: With the task fulfilled of getting a court built in the yard, there's now the matter of keeping the team supplied with rackets and tennis balls.
RIGHT: Razor wire adorns the walls and fences at San Quentin State Prison, which houses more than 5,000 inmates.
LEFT: A San Quentin inmate serves during a tennis game in the middle of the notorious prison's recreation yard.
RIGHT: San Quentin is the state's oldest prison and has a reputation of being one of its toughest.
LEFT: Chris Schuhmacher, 37, has served 10 years in prison for murder in the second degree. Schuhmacher regularly plays tennis with other inmates.
RIGHT: At San Quentin, there's always a fence -- or a set of bars -- to look through.
LEFT: Henry Montgomery, 43, center, laughs with other inmates during a break in play.
RIGHT: Raphael Calix watches the activity on one of the blocks at San Quentin. Calix is a regular on the tennis court.
LEFT: The tennis court at San Quentin is one of the few places in the prison where men of different races regularly mix together.
RIGHT: Inmates congregate in the hall on one of the blocks.
LEFT: Raphael Calix stretches before a tennis match.
RIGHT: Ronnie Mohamed stands in his cell, which was designed for one person but now holds two people because of overcrowding in the state's prison system. On the wall hangs a poster of women's tennis champion Serena Williams.
LEFT: James "Mac" McCartney leaps for a ball.
RIGHT: Razor wire lines the walls of San Quentin, which houses California's death row inmates.
LEFT: James "Mac" McCartney strings up a new net over the tennis court.
RIGHT: James Taylor, a tennis regular, emerges from his cell at San Quentin.
LEFT: Inmates watch a baseball game being played on the field next to the prison's tennis court.
RIGHT: High walls surround the prison, which was built in 1852 overlooking San Francisco Bay.
Rick Loomis | Los Angeles Times