This weekend there were two well-run tennis events in SW Florida … Saturday, the Naples/Ft. Myers Challenge was played in Bonita Bay and Sunday, a small doubles event in Pelican Bay. Tom McCune and I paired up for both.
The Naples/Ft. Myers Challenge is in the 31st year of friendly competition (the two mayors bet a breakfast on the outcome), with 20 matches played from the young guns in the Open Singles Division to doubles in the 70’s … and this one was recognized as “the best one ever”. From the venue, to the teams, to the volunteer organizations, and down to the dinner catered by Carrabba’s, it was all FIRST CLASS.
For the tennis, while Tom and I lost, the Naples team again came out victorious. Tom and I played ‘OK’, but the Ft. Myers team of big, lefty Paul Veltman and solid, teaching pro Larry Albritton played great. They both returned serve extremely well and may have made only four or five unforced errors the whole match.
Matt Davie and Dick Valentine cruised to victory in the 70’s for Naples; but Howie Ames and Tad Connerton lost in the 55s.
When the drinking and eating started at 6 p.m., Naples had an insurmountable 11-6 lead with two matches to go.
On Sunday, Tom and I again teamed up for a one-day doubles event in Pelican Bay. On a gorgeous afternoon, we played the team of Mike Griner and Bob Hayes, who both played very well. In a crowd-pleasing close two sets, Tom and I used Aussie formation, “Hybrid I,” poaching, faking and good pressure tennis to squeak out a 6-3, 7-5 victory.
PS Did you see how much Roger Federer really cared about finally winning the French Masters on Sunday?