Then he fired a shot that skimmed off the top of the net and yelled out, "I did it."
Nicholas was one of 77 participants who took part in the Jensen-Schmidt Tennis Academy for individuals with Down syndrome. The academy was established and is designed to meet the sport-specific needs of children and adults with the affliction.
The event was free and the academy also provided equipment for the participants at no cost.
Nicholas, a Los Angeles resident, took part in the event for the second consecutive year. The academy, which will next move to Washington, began Monday and will conclude today.
"I'm trying to like tennis more and more," Nicholas said. "I want to be more active and do other things.
"I like swimming and football, but I like to hit forehand shots more."
Nicholas certainly wasn't alone.
On other courts around the center, other individuals from Glendale to Burbank and parts of the San Fernando Valley practiced various exercises and drills before being greeted by Burbank Mayor Marsha Ramos.
Eleven-year-old William Kenney of Redondo Beach and his younger sister, Julia, competed in a practice session that focused on backhand shots.
William, who attended the academy for the third consecutive year, said he wants to become a better tennis player.
"It's fun [because] I've been here before," he said. "Basketball, football and tennis are my favorite sports."
Vince Schmidt, who has served as a professional near St. Louis for more than 10 years, joined with former French Open doubles champions Murphy and Luke Jensen to form the nonprofit academy.
Schmidt said the academy plans to travel around the United States and might even move into Canada in the future.
"We've been getting calls twice a month about going to different places," said Schmidt, who is the director of tennis at Glen Echo Country Club in Normandy, Mo. "We've gotten a lot of new faces here in Burbank.
"The thing that makes it work is that we are not beating them over the head with tennis. There's so much cool stuff to do."
The Jensen brothers, who couldn't attend the Burbank sessions because they are covering Wimbledon as journalists, were ranked as high as fourth in doubles and won the French Open doubles championship in 1993.
Schmidt said the academy will also likely make stops later this year in Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin and New York.
CHARLES RICH covers sports. He can be reached at (818) 637-3228 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.