Monday, November 9, 2015


Vivian Landis & Paula Barry:
Hideaway Residents on Bronze & 3.0-Minus teams
Hello all and welcome to the first report of the 2015-16 season. This season we have 34 non-resident tennis members, 31 of them are ladies on our four Lee County Women’s Tennis League teams. We also have two men and one woman who don’t play on teams, but who have been looking forward to the men’s doubles and mixed doubles round robins. They may be happy to note that we had the first mixed doubles outing this past Saturday (11/7), and I hope we’ll have the men going soon.

Captain "Calamity Jane" Hill and Sheri Marks
playing on our 3.0-Minus team
Rick Walker showed for the men’s round robin this past Friday (11/6) but he was the only one to make an appearance. I know that Jim Larva, Bill Dey and Bob Ostrom are around, so hopefully they will come out to join David Ullum and Zdenek Fiala in the near future.  As for the ladies, I think they are pretty much getting all the tennis they can handle with team matches and mixed doubles round robin.

3.0-Minus Co-captain Terri Turner and Ann Stevens
who play on both Bronze & 3.0-Minus teams
Our tennis activity currently revolves around ladies’ team play, and although it’s a bit early to be too concerned with where we are in the standings, two of our ladies teams are off to a good start while the other two have had it rough in the early going. I’m afraid I’m going to have to take some of the responsibility for the rough start, because even though our teams have been competitive in many of the early losses, we haven’t had the tiebreaks go our way. The coach has to take some responsibility for that, no?

Tina Willard and 3.5-minus Captain Debbie Vollrath
fight for the W...and get it
Before going any further, I’d like to send out a sincere note of thanks to our team captains: Linda Sisco, Donna McVety, and Gutte Carr (Silver); Pat BenDov and Rennie Bassett (Bronze); Jane Hill and Terri Turner (3.0-Minus); and Debbie Vollrath and Jami McCormick (3.5-Minus). These ladies have a tough and often thankless job, so I just want to make sure they know that I am grateful for their efforts!

Angela Middleton & Lynne Price in foreground
Vivian & Paula in background
That acknowledged, of the four Hideaway teams in action, our Bronze team is off to the best start as far as wins and losses go. Our Bronze ladies have won one and tied the other in the two team matches played thus far. They have won six of the eight individual matches played, including a sweep of all four individual matches in their most recent match against Legends on 11/4/15.

Our Bronze players have played two tiebreaks (one set tiebreak, the other a match tiebreak) and have lost them both. Those tiebreak losses resulted in one of the two individual match losses the team has recorded. , However, Hideaway Bronze currently sits in a tie for 3rd-place, and the next home match is Wednesday December 2 at 9:30am.

Hideaway resident Michelle Paquette teams
with Betsy Barnwell to claim victory
in 3.5-Minus match
Our 3.5-Minus team is also off to a good start, sitting in 6th-place after two team matches, and winning four of the eight individual matches played. Of the four matches we have lost, we have played three tiebreaks (two seven-pointers, one 10-pointer) and have lost them all. If you are counting, that adds up to five tiebreaks played and five tiebreaks lost! Betsy Barnwell and Tina Willard have led the way thus far for the 3.5-Minus team with two wins each. Our 3.5-Minus team plays at home next on Wednesday, November 18, at 9:30am.

Barb Saling & Gwen Burdzy in 3.5-Minus match
Our 3.0-Minus team has come up a bit short in three of our first four matches, but things are looking up as we took two of the four individual matches in our most recent match (11/5/15) against Cape Coral Yacht Club on hard courts, definitely not our favorite surface. As with our 3.5-Minus team, we have been competitive in many of the matches we have lost, but have lost five of the seven tiebreaks played (that’s a total of 10 losses in 12 tiebreaks!). 

Co-captain Terri Turner claimed one match tiebreak win with Lawanna Hulfeld against CCYC, and Lynne Price and Maria Mosco closed out a win against Lexington with a second-set-tiebreak win. Our next 3.0-Minus home match takes place this coming Thursday, November 12, at 10:30am.

3.5-Minus team member and Tommy Carlisle watch first
3.5-Minus home match
The going has been rough for our shorthanded Silver team in the early going, losing our first three matches and having won just two of the 12 individual matches played. Playing two top-ten teams hasn’t helped our cause either, especially playing the No.2 team on their home hard courts. Despite the difficult start, our Silver ladies still approach each match with enthusiasm and give it all they have…

Kathy O'Rourke & Laurie Stanley support
their 3.5-Minus teammates
Oh, and they have a .500 record in tiebreaks, having won one and lost one. Martha Carlisle and Agi Keleman posted a match-tiebreak win against Rutenberg Aces on their hard courts in the second match of the season.  We should have a good shot at doing well in our next match, although it too is on hard courts and we won’t field a full team as a result. Our next Silver home match is Friday, December 11, at 10:30am. In support of their efforts, I can only ask that they keep the faith and continue to enjoy playing the game regardless of outcomes.

Before I close, let me remind you that you can reserve court time at and can access Hideaway information such as team rosters and match schedules, meeting minutes, Tennis Handbook etc. with the following link (  If you don’t have or know your login information for please let me know and I’ll do what I can to assist. Until next, welcome to the 2015-16 Hideaway Tennis season, and I’ll see you around the courts.  

Monday, March 23, 2015


Note: I'm Hoping to get some photos from the champs, so check back in a couple days if interested.
Larry Blohm, Nile Evans, Steve Romaine, Captain Ed
Marcelo, Masa Kumamoto, Tim McClary, Richard Fell,
& Bob Bachula
Winning a national championship is no easy feat. I’ve only contended for one once, and I was not successful. There are so many USTA leagues, divisions and teams across the country, that if you can get past your local league, win at the sectional level, and then conquer the contenders from the 15 USTA sections around the 50 states, you’ve really accomplished something.

Well, that is precisely what Captain Ed Marcelo and his USTA Florida 65 and Over 7.0 Sectional Champion teammates have done! The team, which represented the Hideaway Country Club, Lee and Charlotte Counties when they won the Sectional Championships in Daytona last April, gave Southwest Florida something to be proud at the national event this past weekend (March 20 - 22) in Surprise, Arizona.

The team started strong in flight play on Friday, sweeping the Mid-Atlantic Section 3-0 without dropping a set. Captain Ed Marcelo teamed with one of my most improved students, Masa Kumamoto, on Court 1; Nile Evans and Larry Blohm cruised on Court 2; and Steve Romaine and Richard Fell cleaned up on Court 3.

In the second match of flight play on Friday against Missouri Valley, Masa teamed with Steve on Court 1 to down their opponents in straight sets. Nile and Larry took care of business on Court 2 in straight sets as well, but the team suffered its only match loss of the competition, as Tim McClary (another outstanding student of mine) and Bob Bachula lost to 5-7 sets. In all fairness, Tim wasn't in the best of health when he took the court.

Although our guys swept Intermountain in the first match on Saturday, they had a spot of difficulty on Court 3, as Eddie and Masa had to go to the match tiebreak after delivering a fresh bagel to their opponents in the first set. Masa and Eddie got the job done though, and so did their teammates. Nile and Larry took their court-1 match in straights, and Steve and Richard did the same on Court 2.

That last match must have been enough of a scare for the soon-to-be National Champs, because they didn’t lose more than three games in any of the six sets they won in the final match of flight-play. Nile and Larry combined for a commanding win on Court 1, Tim and Steve handled their responsibility on Court 2 (serving up a hot bagel in the first set), and Masa and Bob dropped just four games in their win on Court 3.

Today (Sunday March 22), the team went 6-0, sweeping all the three matches in, both, the Semi-Final and Championship matches. In the semis, they topped the men from Southern Section without dropping a set. Nile and Larry teamed on Court 1 again, Masa and Eddie manned Court 2, and Tim and Steve anchored the squad on Court 3. Again, no court lost more than three games.

Against the Southwest Section in the final, Captain Ed shuffled his lineup yet again, putting Tim and Richard on Court 1, Nile and Larry in Court 2, Masa and Steve on Court 3. It was a strategic lineup that proved to be a National Championship lineup. Courts 2 and three finished their matches early to secure the win, while Tim and Richard’s match was conceded by the opposition.

I’m not sure when Lee County produced its last National Champion (if ever- Susie Bessire couldn't think if one and she's been around a while), but we’re awfully proud of Ed Marcelo, Steve Romaine, Bob Bachula, Richard Fell, Masa Kumamoto, Tim McClary, Nile Evans, Larry Blohm, and Tom Martin (who didn’t play at Sectionals or in AZ), for capturing the USTA League 65 and Over- Men’s 7.0 National Championship. Way to go guys, wish we could stage you a parade. 

Speaking of Susie Bessire, the smiling face that is synonymous with USTA league tennis in our area, she is undergoing her second round of chemo this week, and if you can, let her know you are pulling for her. Anyone who knows Susie knows that we couldn't have a better Local League Coordinator. We got your back Susie! Make sure those MDs got your front :). Game, set, match, National Championship! T. A.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Ready for another tiebreak?
Well the season is really off to an exciting start for our ladies teams! Last Wednesday, the first LCWTL match at home for our Bronze team ended in a thriller, with Hideaway resident Vivian Landis and Nina Carpenter 
Vivian & Nina last week
closing out the final match of the day with a hard fought win in a match-tiebreak. The following day, also at home, Rennie Bassett (new co-captain of the Bronze team and co-captain of the 3.0-Minus team) and Jane Hill lost a heartbreaker in a match-tiebreak to close out our first 3.0-Minus match.

The Hideaway emerged with more points than the other team on both occasions, despite splitting the four courts in the 3.0-Minus match. That was also the story today, as our ladies captured 14 points to 12 for the Landings in our second home match for the Bronze team.

Court 1 Heroines Diane Russ & Fran Negin
We jumped out to early leads on Courts 1 and 2, but what may have seemed likely to be relatively easy wins early on, turned out to be anything but! On Court 1, Diane Russ and Fran Negin cruised to a 6-2 first set, but their opponents were determined not to go gently into that good night, and fought back to take the second set 6-3.

The match-tiebreak was drama-filled to say the least, with both teams having match points. However, Fran served for the match at 11-10, put her second serve in, moved forward and hit a splendid cross-court forehand that the opponents couldn’t handle. Game, set match, Hideaway!

Pat & Reggie together again
On Court 2, I don’t know that Pat Ben-Dov and Reggie Mishkovish could have played any better early in their match. It was good to have Reggie’s pinpoint accuracy on hand and Pat was firing darts of her own. Our ladies went up 4-2, but I could see that it was going to be a very tough match to close out.

Just too much running!
The two ladies that Pat and Reggie played were probably as good as we are going to see all year at the Bronze level, and they got to just about everything, and forced Pat and Reggie to work really hard for just about every point. The effort took its toll and Reggie and Pat lost the first set 4-6, and the second 1-6. The team they played could easily have been on first court.

Calamity Jane & Resilient Rennie
Rennie and Jane represented us on Court 3, and boy did they ever! The match was relatively close early, but the opponents jumped out to a 5-2 lead and took that first set 6-3. I suspect that when I left for lunch our ladies relaxed, because Jane and Rennie returned the favor in the second set, taking that 6-3, and won the ensuing match-tiebreak as well. I’m sorry I missed that comeback, but if my absence is what it takes, then so be it.

Court 4 featured Hideaway resident Paula Barry (in her return to the courts after considerable absence) and Nina Carpenter. Our ladies showed a resilience that is fast becoming our trademark, because they bounced back from a 2-5 deficit as well, to push the first set to a tiebreak. Alas, they lost that tiebreak and the second set 3-6, but they battled valiantly to the very end.

All in all, it was another inspired and inspiring effort from all the ladies on the courts today, and I was pleased to be a part of it! Tomorrow (Thursday the 23rd) the 3.0-Minus team will travel to Heritage Palms for their first away match. Let’s continue to give it our best and enjoy our time on court. There are so many things that are more important than winning or losing a tennis match; right? We miss you already Pearle, and thanks for assuming the mantle Ren! Have fun ladies! 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


The Hideaway’s Bronze team opened its 2014-15 season with a bang today, taking three of four courts to outscore Legends 18-8. There weren’t many spectators, but it was great to see Co-captain Pearle Warren, Susan Macintire and husband Charles in attendance, along with Dave Russ and Barb, a potential new teammate. Surely all who attended were treated to some fun matches to watch!

On Court one, it took Lynne Price (Co-Captain of our 3.0-Minus team), and Fran Negin a while to get going against the strong duo of Jackie DeVita and Carol Sarosik, and that resulted in a 2-6 first set. I’m not sure what happened, because it was 2-2, and next thing I knew the set was over.

Lynne and Fran started strong in the second set, jumping out to an early lead, but Jackie and Carol stormed back with very solid play and took the second set 6-4. I’m sure Lynne and Fran aren’t happy about losing the match, but it was a much more competitive match than the score indicated, and I thought our ladies played well.

On Court 2, Diane Russ and Pat Ben-Dov (Co-Captain of the Bronze team) also started a bit slowly and faced an uphill battle early against Tanya Johnson and Julie Grabiec. I think the nerves of the first match took their toll on everyone today.

Diane and Pat fell behind early (I believe it was 2-4) in the first set, but they stormed back to take the set 7-5. They didn’t let go of the momentum when they took the court for the second set, and they emerged victorious, taking the final set 6-1.

Rennie Bassett (Co-Captain of the 3.0-Minus team) and Jane Hill played a really tough first set against Sue Ann Fahnenstiel and Linda Kollar on Court 3. Again the nerves showed early, and Rennie and Jane faced a 2-5 deficit in the first set.

Ah, but Hideaway women are resilient, and Rennie and Jane chipped away at the lead, coming back to take the first set 7-5. Like their teammates on Court 2, they held their momentum for the rest of the match and claimed the second 6-2.

Our ladies on Court 4 were not to be outdone when it came to comebacks. Nina Carpenter and Vivian Landis (one of two octogenarians on our team, Paula Barry, the other, was on injured reserved but present) came up well short in the first set, losing it 2-6 to Mary Ann Hight and Linda Lowery. But you don’t find yourself closing in on age 90 by giving up when times get tough.

Nina and Vivian fought back to take a hard-fought second set, eventually taking it 7-5 to reach the match-tiebreak. The match-tiebreak was no piece of cake either, as Nina and Vivian edged the competition 10-7 in the tiebreak. It was a tremendous comeback, and I hope Vivian can walk tomorrow. I think she ran a marathon today!

All in all I was really proud of the way our team played today, from top to bottom. I was a little concerned when we started, but all lifted their games once they had warmed up and the nerves had settled. I suspect we will have an even tougher match tomorrow, but I know our team will give it their very best and represent The Hideaway with the utmost class and sportsmanship!

Sunday, May 18, 2014


Paul D'Amico & Mike Baldwin
Where does the time go? It has been a week already since the final ball was tossed up, and the champions were crowned at the USPTA Clay Court Championships at The Landings Yacht, Golf & Tennis Club in Fort Myers. As always Paul D’Amico, his staff, and The Landings facility proved exemplary hosts for one of the USPTA’s National surface events.
Robyn George of News-Press with
Sam & Hannah in the crowd
Several professionals distinguished themselves at the event by winning multiple divisions, including two who took home three titles, winning each event they entered. Let me start with the heroic efforts of the individual who completed the triple with the most difficulty. No, the fact that she toppled me and my partner has nothing…well maybe a little…to do with it.

Triple Title Winner Trish Riddell
Trish Riddell
Trish Riddell of Lakeland won the Women’s 40 Singles and Doubles, and the 40 Mixed Doubles as well. In the 40 Singles, she downed Susie Evans of Marco Island 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 in a heated battle. I guess given the weather last weekend, every battle was heated.

Susie Evans & Trish 
In the Doubles Final, Trish teamed with Evans to post a comeback victory over Erica Cossairt of Cape Coral and Kerry Kendrick of Fort Myers. Riddell and Evans dropped the first set 3-6, came back to take the second 6-3, and then dominated the breaker 10-3.  

Trish & Jack Steyn
I’m sure Erica saw more than she wanted to of Trish last weekend, because Erica and I faced Trish and her partner Jack Steyn of Bradenton in the 40 Mixed semis, and we bit the dust in a full three sets. Trish and Jack jumped out to a 5-0 lead before Erica and I got on the scoreboard and made it a respectable 6-3 set. We took the second by the same score, and lost the final set 3-6 as well.

Triple Title Winner Franco Mata
Franco Mata
Courtney Vernon & Franco
The other triple-crown winner was Franco Mata of Naples, who took the Men’s Open Singles, Doubles, and Open Mixed titles. In the Doubles, Franco partnered with Ryan Sherry of Fort Myers, 
his opponent in the

Singles Final, to down Milos Vasovic and Jared Kalpin 6-1, 6-3. The Mixed event was claimed with little more difficulty, as Mata teamed with Courtney Vernon to defeat Sherry and Kendrick 6-1, 6-4 in the Final.

As is often the case, the Men’s Open Singles proved to be a high-level contest with both Finalists displaying both skill and resolve. Although the opponents appeared to be evenly matched on the skill dimension, Mata’s recent competitive efforts may have lent him the edge.

Ryan Sherry
Franco won the first set in a grueling 6-4 set, but Ryan showed no signs of going away, as he battled back to take the second set by the identical score. But Franco isn’t affectionately called “a beast” simply for his physique, the moniker also fits his ability to grind in the heat, point after point. In this instance, Ryan thought discretion to be the better part of valor and retired with Franco up 3-0 in the third.

Double Title Winners
Courtney & Jana Wilks
There were four other players who claimed victories in two events. Courtney Vernon, Coach of Florida Gulf Coast University’s Women’s Tennis team; Kam Kuchta of Boynton Beach; Mike Barnes of Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club, and Patricio Madariaga, Head Pro at Williams Island.

Women’s Open Singles & Mixed Open Doubles
Courtney Vernon, fresh off leading the FGCU Lady Eagles to their best season in their Division I history, easily captured the Open Singles by eclipsing Jana Wilks of Palm Beach Gardens 6-1, 6-0 in the Final. As mentioned above, Courtney then partnered with Franco Mata to upend Ryan Sherry and Kerry Kendrick 6-1, 6-4 in the Mixed Open Doubles.

Men’s 65 Singles & 60 Doubles
Mike Barnes
Mike Barnes, who  plies his trade primarily at Miromar Lakes, is proving to be a dominant force in both the 60 and 65 Divisions. In the 65 Singles, Barnes outdueled the legendary Fred Drilling of in the Final, posting a 6-3, 6-4 victory that was more difficult than the score indicates. In the 60 Doubles, Mike joined Larry Gagnon to defeat Drilling and Rick Flach 6-0, 6-2 and downed Armor Persons and Gewan Maharaj 6-3, 6-2 to claim that title.

Men’s 45 Singles & 40 Doubles
Kam Kuchta
Kam Kuchta continued to display the tremendous grit he always shows every time he takes the court. In the Final, Kam faced top seed Frank Vermeer of Jacksonville, who was coming off a recent finalist-finish in the Men’s 45 Singles at the ITF Seniors World Individual Championships in Palm Beach Gardens. 

The first set was all anyone could ask for, with Kam taking it 7-6. I suspect the grind of the previous few weeks, along with Kam’s indomitable will, took its toll on Frank. The second and final set was 6-1.

Frank Vermeer & Kam
Kam and Frank put their racquets together in the Men’s 40 Doubles Final against two local heroes in Mike Curran and Scott Harrington of Fort Myers. Mike and Scott have been a top-ranked USPTA doubles team in the past, but neither had seen much competition in the recent past.

Mike Curran & Scott Harrington
Both teams showed their grit in the first set, which was a see-saw battle that Mike and Scott won 7-6. Like Kam’s singles match, the second set was not nearly as hotly contested, at least as far as the score was concerned, as Kam and Frank took that set 6-1. The match-tiebreak was an anti-climactic 10-3 win for Kam and Frank.

Men’s 50 Doubles & Mixed 50 Doubles
Patricio Madariaga & Susie Brown
Last, but certainly not least, of the two-time division winners, Patricio Madariaga, emerged as a doubles specialist, taking home two doubles crowns in the 50s. Patricio dropped his opening singles match to John Jerome of Wildcat Run, he bounced back to take the 50 Doubles with Carlos Triana of Williams Island.

Carlos Triana & Patricio
Patricio and Carlos had little trouble downing Paul D’Amico and me 6-3, 6-4, and joined Susie Brown to post a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Fred Drilling and Kim Jones in the Mixed 50 Doubles Final.

Men’s 35 Singles
Milos Vasovic
Milos Vasovic of Melbourne has been one of the top performers in the USPTA’s 35s Division for the past few years, and this event was no exception. After a relatively routine victory in the semis, 6-0, 6-3 over Nate Griffin of Bradenton, Milos ran into tough local player, Dave Rowat of Cape Coral.

Dave Rowat
Dave had already fought one tough battle in the semis against No.2 Seed Mark Palus of Tampa, emerging with the three-set win (6-2, 1-6, 6-3). Dave made a fight of it in the Final against Milos as well, but Milos was too tough, claiming the title that barely escaped him the previous year, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.

Men’s 50 Singles
Steve Brady
My hero of the tournament came from the Men’s 50 Division. In the Men’s Singles, Steve Brady  (my newest tennis hero) battled Carlos Triana for three and a half hours before claiming the 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 victory. 

Why is Steve my new hero? Well, I think he played serve-volley or chip and charge for every single point of that match! I quit doing that some years ago because my body couldn’t handle it…and Steve is two years older than I am. Hat's off to you big guy!

Men's 60 Singles
Gewan Maharaj
Gewan Maharaj of Tampa did what he has done so often in the Men's 60 Singles: Win. Gewan played two matches, lost five games, and pocketed yet another USPTA title.  Armor Persons of Breckenridge in Fort Myers took four games in the semis (1, 3), and Steve Shortridge of Colonial in Fort Myers got a total of one game in the second set.

Women’s 50 Singles & Doubles 
Ruth Hessert
In a feat certainly worthy of accolades, Ruth Hessert of Dillsburg, Pennsylvania came back in the Final of the Women’s 50 Singles from a 6-7 first-set deficit, to outlast Carolyn Franca of Tampa, 6-4, 7-5 in the final two sets. Anyone who knows Carolyn knows that is worthy of a raised glass.

Cindy LePrevost & Susie Brown
Landings Head Pro Kimberly Jones and Christie Bradley, Director of Tennis at The Sanctuary, also showed true grit in claiming the 50 Doubles title. In their first match against Sabita Maharaj of Rockledge and Carolyn, the locals went 6-4, 4-6, 10-5 in claiming victory.

Kim Jones & Christie Bradley
Things got no easier in their second and final match against the Defending National Champions, Susie Brown of S. Palm Beach and Cindy LePrevost of Fort Lauderdale. In what might just have been the match of these championships, Susie and Cindy took the first set 6-7. Kim and Christie charged back to take the second set 7-5, and the battle had just begun. When Kim and Christie hugged in triumph, it had taken them 13-11 to dethrone the gutsy defenders.  

Final Thoughts
Reflecting on the event, I was initially saddened by the small draw sizes, but the quality of competition was high, and if the noise level was any indication, the spectators seemed to enjoy the event as well. The Landings is one of the best venues to play and to view a tennis event, so hopefully Paul can make it happen again next year.

As always, an event like the USPTA Clay Court Championships can only be successful with the support of sponsors, and our thanks go out to our event sponsors. They include Fast Dry Courts, 10-S Tennis Supply, Welch Tennis Courts, Stan Oley Tennis Equipment, Giliberti, Inc.,  USTA Florida, and Cigar Cutters

In closing, I'd like to thank Steph for all that she does to make this blog happen. Without her talent and efforts on the camera we wouldn't have the photographic record of the event. Thanks Sweet Girl!!! Game, set, match...