The last couple of days, I had the pleasure and honor to join the New England 75s team playing in the annual Atlantic Coast Cup, this year at the fantastic Kenwood Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland.
Four tennis regions send teams in the 65-74 and 75+ age groups to play a two-day event of two singles and three doubles matches on each of the two days. On Monday, our New England team faced off against the eight players from the Eastern region (New York and northern New Jersey) and the host Middle States region (PA, DE and southern NJ) played the Mid-Atlantic region (DC, MD and VA).
Day 1 Matches
I was teamed with someone I just met, a very nice player (and nice guy) Jerry Whitlock from Connecticut and Cape Cod, at #2 doubles, deferring top dog status to the veteran team of Ted Underwood and “Swanny” Swan, who played at #1. At #3 we had the strong team of George Lynch and Roy Anderson (both 80+).
Our #1 singles player was Connecticut’s Walt Beatty, who faced New York’s top player Henry Steinglass, and our team Captain Ray Brodeur (who I played with on the Connecticut Mutual Life tennis team nearly 50 years ago!) played #2 singles.
Jerry Whitlock and I meshed perfectly and cruised to an easy 6-0,6-1 victory, as did Lynch and Anderson at #3. Underwood and Swanny made their match much more interesting, coming back to win 3-6,7-5,10-8.
In singles, Captain Brodeur won a straight-set match; but Walter Beatty kept everyone roasting in the nearly 100 degree temperature for a comeback victory that saw him save two match points in the second set and win it in the Match Tiebreaker.
Day 2 Matches
Winners play winners for the championship, so both our 75 and 65 teams won their separate divisions and faced off against the host Mid-Atlantic team, who also won in both age groups. For Captain Ray Brodeur, it was the fifth year in a row that he had brought his team to the finals; but hadn’t completed the final-day victory.
Jerry and I played the very tough team of teaching pro and team captain Bob Anderman and veteran tournament player Don Mathias … again in 99 degree temperatures!
We squeaked out the long first set 6-4, but found ourselves down a break in the second set. When our opponents controlled the net, they won the points on their excellent volleys; so we had to take the net away from them.
We did and worked our way back to be serving for the match at 5-4; but didn’t get it done. By this time (two hours into the match) the rest of our team was done and watching us drag around the court. We were able to break them again and served for the match at 6-5. It was a long game, but we did get it done. 6-4, 7-5 (2 hours and 15 minutes).
Our 75s team won the Cup 4-1 … and our 65s team was made up of mostly “younger players” who I didn’t know – except for good Naples friend Howie Ames; and they prevailed 3-2… and we brought TWO cups back to New England.
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