Saturday was the 32nd annual team challenge between Naples (Collier County) and Ft. Myers (Lee County), with 21 men’s and women’s matches being played from open singles and doubles to 65 doubles. Tom McCune and I were again honored to represent our team in the upper age bracket.
Captaining this year’s Ft. Myers team was Jeff Timmer, Director of Tennis at the Colonial Country Club. The Naples team was headed by Captain Pete Minarich, Director of Tennis at Pelican Marsh. The Bonita Bay Club hosted the day and the evening’s dinner – and did an incredibly great job.
Some of the players participating were:
Wimbledon Champion Joanne Russell and ATP Tour Player and world ranked, Jesse Witten. Tye Myers and Tyler Owens one of the top tier doubles teams in the area. Former Clemson Tiger and Barron Collier tennis coach Tyler Manring and former FGCU top player, Jose Pastrello. Terry See, singles and doubles winner of the USPTA Grand Master Tournament and partner Steve Shriner, USPTA National Champion, take on professional Tad Connerton and Doug Welsh, Quail Creek’s Tennis Director and USPTA professional.
Phil Landauer University of Arkansas star and winner of over 30 USTA singles and doubles championships will take on T. A. Niles, University of Hartford Hall of Fame and No. 1 singles player. University of Florida and member of the NCAA Champions team All-American Paula Scheb and doubles partner and former tennis coach at the University of Delaware Holly Chomyn, team up again this year trying to match their success of a year ago. Former World #1 Fred Drilling.
… and Tom and George!
We had a rematch from our 2010 outing vs. the tough team of Larry Albritton and Mike Melnik, who we beat two years ago in an incredible come-from-behind match in a third set Champions Tie breaker. This year’s match was equally close and as exciting (so say our wives).
Tom and I broke their serve at 4-5 to take the first set. Then they regained the MO and were serving 5-2 for the second set. We did the old “one point at a time” routine to break them and then to hold serve; as they served a critical close 5-4 game, which they won.
That brought us to another Champion’s Tiebreaker to decide the match. It was simply a matter of whoever got and kept the offense was winning the points. At 7-7, they pushed harder than we did and won the last three points and the match.
SPECIAL THANKS: To Brent Abel and his webtennis.com for last week’s free instruction videos on how and when to use the “I formation” (click HERE). We used it regularly to hold serve and, according to our opponents, “really confuse them on what to do.” I will do a separate post on that subject.
THE MATCH OF THE DAY: Naples was in need for someone to play men’s age 45 singles; so at the last minute, they recruited Fred Drilling (who is now playing in the 70s!). That is not four-point-five singles, but AGE 45. Fred played against a 49 year old tennis pro, Mark Davis and DISSECTED him with precision slice backhands, forehands down the line, and the senior’s-favorite award-winning drop shots. At the end of a close 6-4 first set, young Mark was huffing, puffing, and throwing his racquet.
We went to dinner at that point; and when Fred joined us later, I asked him if “the kid” got any games in the second set. One! 6-4, 6-1 for our Super Senior.
The final tally for the day was Naples 14 and Ft. Myers 7 matches.