This weekâ€™s tourney was at Naplesâ€™ Cambier Park.
In my first round singles match Tuesday, I drew my doubles partner, Tom McCune! And how would YOU like to play a real retriever: on a hot and humid day, on a very slow (underground watering) court, with the balls fuzzing up after the warmup?!
I had myself steeled for long points, long games, and being out there a looong time, which we were. The match lasted just over two hours! Tom won â€˜the number of shirt changesâ€™ (his five to my three; but I had to change my soaked sox).
Tom got so many balls back in play, we both were dragging in the end. I was serving 5-3 in the second set for the match, had an angle volley to go up 30-0 but pushed it just wide; and proceeded to lose that game. Tom then served at 4-5 and I did NOT want to have to play a third set (I really donâ€™t think he did either) and I was able to break back for the victory.
That outcome allowed Tom to play in the consolation and me to play #1 seed (and #1 in the world) Hugh Thompson on Wednesday (followed by our first round doubles match)!
Playing someone as good as Hugh Thompson (on one of the show courts with 25+ people watching), my objectives were:
â€¢ Stay loose
â€¢ Go for my shots
â€¢ Have fun
â€¢ Keep him out there for at least one hour
â€¢ Take a game or two
And I did all those things! He beat me 6-1, 6-2; but I was very happy with the experienceâ€¦ and he was very complimentary at the end, saying, I was â€˜as good as anyone out here.â€™ Recognizing he meant other than the likes of him, Fred Drilling, and the other top seeds, I concurred, saying â€˜Yes, I was the smartest kid in the dumb rowâ€™!
Then Tom and I played our first round doubles match against a team that just got matched up at the tournament (one Naples player, Gordon Rama + Bob Tilley from Weymouth MA). They were a good team, but we prevailed 6-3, 6-2.
Then on Thursday, we played against the very strong #2 seeds: Fred Drilling (former #1 in the US) and Don McCormick from Canada (who beat me handily in singles the week before). Tom and I tried to be as aggressive as possible and go for our shots; but the â€˜opportunitiesâ€™ were limitedâ€¦ they kept us on the defense most of the time and beat us 6-1, 6-2.
Next week: the last of the January tournies back at Naples Bath & Tennis.