This is an annual event to pits Floridaâ€™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 â€œa Davis Cup Format,â€ with two singles and doubles on Saturday, and reverse singles on Sunday. Which means they â€œteamâ€ could be just two guys â€“ which is what is was going to be in the 60â€™s.
The 60â€™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 60â€™s!). I had played him last year; played well and lost 7-5, 6-2.
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 5-6â€¦ 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. Donâ€™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 5-5â€¦ he held serve to go 6-5â€¦ 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, â€œThis was about as much fun as having a root canal.â€
Gee, I dunno, I had a good time!
And when I left, our Florida West team had an insurmountable 28-20 match lead.