The Florida Cup

This is an annual event to pits Florida’s east coast players against west coast players: there are 10 age brackets from 35-80 years old and bring out some of the best players around (Hank Irvine, Joe Bachman, Rudi Hernando, King Van Nostrand, etc).

Last year they had a larger team per age bracket; but this year they had decided to cut it back to “a Davis Cup Format,” with two singles and doubles on Saturday, and reverse singles on Sunday. Which means they “team” could be just two guys – which is what is was going to be in the 60’s.

The 60’s captain, Fred Drilling (former #1 in the US) just had knee surgery; so he had Hank Irvine (former Rhodesian Davis Cup and tour player) as #1 and Joe McAlleer (#13 in the US) as #2. But Joe hurt his back and I was recruited to fill in for the final singles match on Sunday.

I was to play Glenn Chancellor, who is #8 in the state of Florida (I am now ranked #31 in Florida 60’s!). I had played him last year; played well and lost 7-5, 6-2.

Match Analyis

His strengths are his strong and well-placed lefty serve, strong slice backhand deep to the corners, and well-disguised drop shot. His weaknesses as I remembered were his mobility and perhaps conditioning.

So my objective was to get a lot of balls back and try to move him around (and not let him setup in the middle of the court, where he is usually deadly). And if I could play well enough to bring it to three sets, my conditioning could be an advantage.

Nearly two and half hours later, I was still trying to do that!

In the first set, we exchanged early breaks of serve; then he broke me at 3-4 and was serving for the first set at 5-3. I was able to run a lot of balls down and forced him into making some errors and I broke back.

I held. He held. And I served a long game at 5-6… saved two set points; but lost the third one and the set at 7-5.

The Second Set

In the second set, I got out to an early lead and was running down most everything he could throw at me. It appeared he was tiring and I was looking forward to getting him into a third set; and was serving at 5-4 to do just that.

I was playing confidently and raced to a 40-love lead, with three set points. Don’t ask me what happened; because I do not remember; but all of a sudden it was deuce and I was struggling!

Well, he broke me to go to 5-5… he held serve to go 6-5… and had a match point on my service game. It was a long game and I was able to survive and bring us to a tie breaker. Unfortunately, I did not play a great tie break and lost the match, 7-5, 7-6.

I commented to him, that if we get to play next year, our score progressions should have us play a three-set match. He said to his wife, “This was about as much fun as having a root canal.”

Gee, I dunno, I had a good time!

And when I left, our Florida West team had an insurmountable 28-20 match lead.