Friday, January 31, 2014


Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson
There is a ton of great tennis on the horizon for this weekend, and it’ll be right in our backyard at Florida Gulf Coast University’s (FGCU) tennis courts. I hope the Australian Open merely whet your appetite for all the tennis that is to come in the very near future. Before I go any further and forget, let me thank Linwood Ferguson for the use of his fantastic photos (see more here)

Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson
“How near?” you might ask. Well how about tomorrow, and Sunday? The ladies play tomorrow (Sat. 2pm) against Florida International (FIU) and both the ladies and men toe the service line on Sunday (1pm), against Bethume Cookman (BC). I'm told that World No.22 Kevin Anderson will be on hand for Sunday's matches. The men are back in action at home next Friday against No.28 Auburn (7th at 5pm), and at home again on the 22nd (Sat. 5pm) against Florida A & M (FAMU).

Johanna Sterkel
Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson
What can you expect if you get down to FGCU’s courts this weekend…and every time out for that matter? Sizzling shots, gritty, gutsy grinding, and just tremendous tennis regardless of gender. The ladies gave us a taste of what to expect when they saved the day at the Naples-Fort Myers Challenge last fall, and so did the guys. So far this season, the guys have a little catching up to do, as the ladies are off to a really nice start.

Lady Eagles Soar
Coach Courtney Vernon- Fierce but not mean
Just recently at their Spring Invitational (Jan. 18-20), the Lady Eagles, under the direction of first-year coach Courtney Vernon, swept the singles competition. How did they do that? By any “Means” necessary. Sisters Sarah and Elizabeth Means won the A and B Singles competition, and Candela Munoz took the C Singles event.

Elizabeth "By Any" Means
Photo courtesy of Linwood
I did mention gritty, gutsy grinding above, didn’t I? What would you call pulling out an 18-16 match tiebreak? Uh huh, that’s what Elizabeth Means did in her final…by any means necessary! FGCU Athletics Communication AssistantSarah Roberts, is doing a superb job previewing and recapping both the Men’s and Women’s events, and she gave a better recap than I could of the event. Check it out here.

Sarah "By All" Means
Photo courtesy of Linwood
Sweeping the singles was no “mean” feat, as the Lady Eagles went up against Iowa State, Arkansas State, Florida Atlantic and Northwestern State University (Louisiana). 
The ladies didn’t have the same success in doubles, as Sarah and Elizabeth couldn’t find the means to come away with that title. Ok, ok, enough with the name thing. Just couldn’t resist :).

Breana Stamfli
Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson
Since that triumphantly soaring weekend for the Lady Eagles, they took out Louisiana Tech (5-2) at home on the 24th (see recap here), and dropped a close one to University of Central Florida (UCF), 3-4, on the 25th. That one came down to a nail-biter with freshman Breana Stampfli, my countrywoman from Trinidad, losing 8-10 in the match tiebreak (see Sarah’s recap here).

Gentlemen Eagles about to Launch
Jordi Vives & Dean Tsamas
Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson
It has been a turbulent start for the guys, who are sitting at 0-3 after facing some tough competition. But they have been getting better, losing a heartbreaker (3-4) against Southern Methodist (SMU) last Friday at home (view recap here). Even that loss was progress, as the Eagles fell 1-6 to SMU last season. They were within a few points of claiming victory this time around, and the Eagles were the epitome of effort despite the disappointment.

Lance Lvovsky & Tianyu Bao
Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson
The Eagles 0-3 start is not reflective of their team caliber nor their character on court. They lost 1-6 at the then undefeated, No.35 Florida State (FSU) in the season-opener (view recap here). But that loss, against a top-35 team which is 9-1 (loss to 3-4 to No.38 TCU), was a gain from last season when they lost 0-7. In their next match, the Eagles lost 2-5 to No.60 Nebraska, a team that also lost to FSU, winning just one more point than our Eagles.

Coach C.J. Weber
When the guys take to the courts on Sunday at FGCU, they will be looking to claim their first win of the season against BC, a team they beat 5-2 on the road last season. Their match against No.28 Auburn on the 7th will be challenging without doubt, but I expect the Eagles, under the indomitable spirit of Coach C. J. Weber, will battle the Tigers tooth and nail to pull off the upset.

Adrian Reid
Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson
Man! FGCU tennis is exciting! Two enthusiastic, young, but savvy coaches, really classy, gutsy players, outstanding competition, and a growing fan base…it doesn’t get much better than that combination folks. Come check out the new players and reunite with the veterans. I'll give you your money back if you don't enjoy it! I’ll be down there this weekend to enjoy the action and I hope to see you there. 

For Your Calendar
Oh, just in case I don’t get a chance to do another post in the near future, don’t forget to put the FineMark Tennis Classic at Bonita Bay, February 28 – March 1, and Madisen’s Match at The Landings, March 28 & 29 on your calendars. These are two of the primary charity events in the area and both feature former and current ATP and WTA professionals, including Grand Slam winners. Don’t want to miss these. Hopefully I can find the time and energy to go into more detail as the times draw nigh, but in case I don’t, but of the above links will fill you in nicely.

That’s it for me for now. Until next, game, set, match…T. A.


Hello Tennis Enthusiasts,

I hope your New Year is off to a good start! If you are new to the Hideaway or aren’t familiar with The Hideaway Tennis Program, I would like to welcome you. If you spend any time on the computer, the following link is one that will help keep you up to date on all things related to Hideaway tennis. The Tennis Member Handbook, Meeting Minutes, Team Home Match Schedules, and more can be found here:

For those who prefer social tennis, the Tennis Association 
Bill Dey- Round Robin
Coordinator most days
Round Robin, at least the men’s edition on Tuesday and Friday at 7:30am, is in full swing with the return of snow birds including Bill Holzeuer, John Moore, Gordon MacDonald, Phil Coffey and others. Speaking of the Association, the Annual Tennis Association Cookout will be held on Monday, February 24th at 5:00 pm at the Oakmont Village pool patio.

Linda Sisco & Rennie Bassett
For those interested in team play, at the start of 2014 The Hideaway went from zero opportunities for team play, to six teams currently playing in local leagues (3 women’s, 3, men’s). There have been inquiries about having 60-Plus and 80-Plus ladies teams as well. 

Paula & Vivian team up
Hideaway residents Paula Barry, Lee Cross, Vivian Landis, Michelle Paquette, and Linda Sisco are playing on Lee County Women’s Tennis League (LCWTL) teams for the second consecutive year, and representing The Hideaway in fine fashion.

Paula's missing from this one
The teams include a 50-Plus Bronze team (for women over 50 who are rated 3.0-Minus and below), a 50-plus Copper team (over 50 and rated 3.5-Minus to 3.0-Minus), and a 3.0 team for women 21 years old and older who are rated 3.0. USTA Florida league teams are also an option for those seeking competitive play.

Copper Co-Captain Terri Turner & Paula Barry
Our Hideaway teams are doing well, and I wanted to send kudos to our Hideaway residents who have embraced the team experience. Paula and Vivian have been holding their own on the Bronze team, each posting third-set tiebreak wins in recent matches. 

Bonnie Bogli, Bert Ann Haas, & Lee Cross
last season
Since their return, Lee, Linda and Michelle have bolstered the Copper team, led by Bert Ann Haas and Terri Turner, taking the team to its highest division standing (6th of 22 teams) to date. The Copper team will play at home next on Friday, February 21st at 10:30am.

Lynne Price- 3.0 Co-Captain
Our 3.0 Team, with Lynne Price and Rennie Bassett at the helm is 19th of 22 teams to this point. Last season we finished 12th of 22 with a strong push at the end. Another strong push at the end will be needed if we are to better our division standing from a year ago. The team will play next at home on Monday, February 10th, at 10:30 against Gulf Harbour.

Bronze Co-Captain Pat Ben-Dov & partner
Reggie Miskovish
New to the League this season is our Bronze team, co-captained by Pearle Warren and Pat Ben-Dov. Thus far our Bronze ladies are the 10th of 21 teams in the standings, and I expect them to remain in the top 

Bert Ann Haas & Pearle Warren
half of the standings through season’s end. You can see our Bronze ladies play at home next on Wednesday, February 19th at 10:30am.

Captain Mike Stern
On the men’s side of things, our Southwest Florida Team Tennis (SWFTT) team, led by Mike Stern, is holding its own, sitting in third among 10 teams. The SWFTT League was formed to offer players who age 50 and above, and rated 4.0 and above and opportunity for competitive play. Armor Persons, who maintains out tennis courts is on the team, and so am I. We will host Beachview, the top team in the League, on Friday, February 7th, at 2pm and the fourth-place team, Park Meadow, on the 14th at 2pm as well.  

Captain Ed Marcelo serves it up
Our men’s Lee County 70-Plus team, captained by Ed Marcelo, is struggling early in the season, sitting in 5th place, two points ahead of the 6th and last-place team. However, our guys are not daunted and will be battling through season’s end regardless of where we finish.  They next play at home on January 29th at 2pm.

Our Men’s USTA 65 and over 7.0 team will open their home stand on Friday, February 21st at 2pm. The team played its first match on January 24th, and will be looking to represent The Hideaway at Sectionals in Daytona.

Of course, where our teams finish in the standings isn’t the most important consideration. That our teams enjoy their time on court and represent themselves and The Hideaway with class are more important than results, and they all have certainly done both to date!

Peg Perry with Bill Cross, Tennis Association Pres.
In efforts to enhance participation, the Tennis Association has decided to move the monthly meeting to a day and time that may be more conducive to member attendance. Next month’s meeting will be Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:30pm.

As you may already know, tennis parking has been relegated to the east end of the parking lot, across from the golf practice net. Security guards, team captains, and all involved with the tennis program will do what we can to ensure that visiting players are aware of the new parking arrangements.
We hope your New Year has gotten off to a good start, and we will be back with a report from the courts next month.

T. A. Niles, USPTA Professional

Hideaway Tennis

Sunday, January 19, 2014


The New Year is already rolling along, but I hope you won’t mind reading the 2013 Year End Report for the Lee County Women’s Tennis League (LCWTL). As it did last year and the year before, the league boasts 200-plus teams and over 1800 women playing thousands of hours of tennis.

The LCWTL may have a new website and a few new rules, but it remains the league that provides more tennis activity and generates more tennis conversation than any other in the area. Although there is still plenty of time to make up ground in most of the divisions, some teams are already distancing themselves from the competition.

One such team is Gulf Harbour’s (GH) 2.5 team, which has been the dominant force in this Division since its inception two seasons ago. After 6 matches played (some teams in the Division have played seven), Gulf Harbour sits in first place, 43 points ahead of second-place Landings, and 52 points ahead of third-place Legends. The prospects for GH’s opponents don’t look very good, as GH has taken at least three of four courts in all but one match as of this writing.

The race is considerably closer in the 3.0-Minus Division with Paseo a mere 21 points ahead of second-place Heritage Palms (HP), and just 30 ahead of third-place Cape Coral Yacht Club (CCYC). Things promise to remain tight in this Division, as HP has been the only team to take three courts from Paseo, and appears to be hitting its stride.

CCYC and Gulf Harbour (105 & 103 points respectively) are well within reach of the top two teams, and with more than half the season yet to be played, several teams are likely to be in the mix for the top spot in this Division as the season winds down.

Perennially one of the largest divisions in the LCWTL, the 3.0 Division is also one of the most competitive. This time the twenty-two 3.0 teams represent a tie for the most in the LCWTL, and only 14 points separate the top eight teams in the Division.

Leading the way after nine matches is Gulf Harbour’s Racquettes with 168 points. A testament to the Division’s parity, GH has only recorded three sweeps to date, has split the four courts twice, and lost three of four once…oh, and that loss was to a team that is not currently among the top eight. Yes, a very tough division.

Second-place Heritage Palms (HP), which trails GH by four points, has taken three of four courts in six of its nine matches and has split the other three, Unlike GH, the ladies at HP can claim no losses on their record thus far.

Third place Verandah, trailing the leader by eight points, have just one loss on its record, and that was in the first match of the season to Judd Park, where they lost three of four courts. Since then, Verandah has posted three sweeps and posted splits in its other matches, scoring at least as much as its opponents in each match.

None of the top three has opposed another top-three team, and each has played a match in which they have posted fewer points than the opponent. As I suggested in the League Preview, the parity of this Division promises to make the end of this race one of the more exciting finishes of the season.

With 21 teams in the fray, the 3.5-Minus Division is another that will require consistent high level performance to conquer. Given their last-place finish last season, GH's 
SliceGirls have to be considered the surprise of the season thus far. Their four sweeps lead the Division and they have yet to post fewer points than an opponent. 

Another GH team the LoveLeeLadies are 17 points behind in second, and just three points ahead of third-place Cape Coral Racquet Club. The LoveLeeLadies are seeking to improve on their fourth-place finish last season, and CCRC is trying to make a splash as a new team that didn't play in the Division last season.

Given the start the Slice Girls have had, it’s tough to envision them falling from their current pedestal, but they have some matches against the other top teams yet to be played, so the Division is still up for grabs.

Defending Division Champion Judd Park and Gateway are locked in a tight battle for the division lead after 10 matches, with only four points separating the two. Judd has demonstrated high level consistency, posting three sweeps, four matches with wins on three courts, and three splits.

Gateway has been a bit more uneven in its performance, sweeping five of its 10 opponents, but also dropping three of four courts on two occasions. One of those losses was to a team that is not currently in the upper echelons of the Division and isn’t likely to be.

Both third-place Landings and fourth-place Heritage Palms (HP) are within reach of the top two, sitting 21 and 23 points respectively behind division-leading Judd. Cape Coral Yacht Club is just another four points back in fifth, and if performance to date is any indication, it appears that the division winner is likely to come from this group of five.

Fort Myers Racquet Club’s Ace Kickers and Gulf Harbour (GH) have separated themselves from the rest of the pack in the 4.0-Minus Division. The Ace Kickers have posted 183 points, with four sweeps and just two splits in their nine matches. Despite three sweeps of its own, GH is 19 points behind the leader, and has not been nearly as dominant, posting fewer points than an opponent twice thus far.

Another 18 points back in third place is Plantation with one sweep to its credit. With just 11 teams in the Division, it appears unlikely that another team will emerge from the back of the pack to overtake either of the top two. However, the season has a ways to go and one never knows how a team can change over the course of the season.

Among the rated divisions, one of the clearest case of division dominance can be seen in the 4.0 Division. Ordinarily one of the more competitive divisions in the LCWTL, Cypress Lake (4th last season) has jumped out to a 58-point-lead after eight matches. Cypress’ ladies have swept five of their matches, won three of four in two matches, and split the other.

The next six teams, in places second through seventh, are separated by a total of seven points. Landings Legends (127), Gulf Harbour (126), Dunes (125), Landings 4Love (123), Plantation (122) and Paseo (120) all appear to be fighting it out for second place. If Vegas is giving any odds on Cypress to take the Division, I’m definitely in, but the race for second is a “pick ’em” for sure.

The cream of the crop in the rated divisions, the Dynamo Division, fields its typical six teams, and Park Meadows’ Passing Shots appear destined to repeat as Division Champs. The Passing Shots have swept five of their eight matches, and split three. In one of those splits, they were outpointed (14-12) by second-place Paseo Poachers.

The Poachers got off to a slow start, splitting three and losing one of their first four matches. However, they have some on strong since then, posting two sweeps and taking three of four courts in the other three since outpointing the Passing Shots in match five.

Paseo Power sits in third place, 20 points behind the second-place Poachers, and it doesn’t appear likely that the Power will overtake the top two. Despite the Passing Shots 25-point lead, I suspect they will be in a close battle for league supremacy with the Poachers through the end of the season.

Senior Divisions
The 60-Plus Division is unique in the LCWTL as it is not impacted by player ratings. A player can hold any rating in this division and it makes for some interesting matches along the way.

Two Fort Myers Racquet Club teams are vying for division dominance, and only 11 points separate them. The GoodTimeGals have swept four of the seven matches they have played, won three of four in two others, and took 14 of the available 26 points in the one match that they split.

As you might have suspected, that one split took place against the other FMRC team, the CourtChix. After splitting two of their first three matches, the CourtChix have swept their last four, so the GoodTimeGals are going to have to work to stay ahead of them. The Landings Rackettes are in third place, but they are a considerable distance behind the CourtChix and aren’t likely to threaten the leaders.


Pelican Preserve Bronze Team
Almost halfway through their season, Pelican Preserve (PP) has taken the lead in the Bronze Division, 16 points ahead of second-place Breckenridge Racketeers. PP have won at least three of four courts in six of their nine contests thus far, with two sweeps to their credit.

The Racketeers have staked their position on consistency rather than dominance, splitting the four courts in five of their nine matches, and just one sweep to their credit. Third-place Del Tura appears to be the team to watch, because they are just two points behind the racketeers, have played one match fewer than the other teams in the top four, and have posted more sweeps (3) than any other team in the top five.

With 21 teams, the second most among the Senior Divisions, and almost half the season yet to be played, the Bronze Division race should be exciting all the way to the end.

Heritage Palms Hotshots edged The Forest to claim last season’s Copper Division Championship, and they appear poised for a repeat in the most populous of the Senior Divisions (22 teams). In eight matches the Hotshots have posted four sweeps, have won three of four in three others, and have split one match. Not a single opponent has scored more points than the leaders in a contest, with the 13-13 split coming against Gulf Harbour’s Copper Coins.

Lexington’s ladies, who finished third last season, are close on their heels, just three points behind with four sweeps of their own. Since splitting courts in their first two matches, Lexington has taken at least three courts in the subsequent six matches. The big matchup between these two teams will take place in Week 13, and that could very well decide the Division.

Well within reach, however, are the Pelican Landing Copper Pelicans and the Heritage Palms Ball Blasters, both of which are within one sweep of the top team. With 13 matches still to be played, this one is far too close to call, and will likely come down to the final week as it did last season when the Hotshots’ sweep clinched it.

After four matches of 15 matches played, Cape Coral Yacht Club (CCYC) is holding an 11-point lead over second-place Gulf Harbour (GH). In sweeping two and winning three of four courts in the other two, CCYC has won 14 of sixteen individual matches played thus far. GH has been consistently good, winning three of four courts in all four matches. The matchup between these two will come in Week 9 at CCYC.

Rutenberg, Gateway and Cape Coral Racquet Club (CCRC) are third through fifth respectively, all within six points of each other. With almost three quarters of the season yet to be played, and the league leaders still with the tough portion of their schedules to come, anyone in the top five of the Division could emerge on top.

The top three teams have opened a bit of separation from the rest in the Gold Division after the first eight matches, with GH clinging to a two-point lead over CCRC. Heritage Palms Golden Lovelies are sitting in third, 18 behind CCRC, but 17 ahead of fourth-place FMRC Ace Kickers. GH and CCRC battled for the top spot last season as well, with CCRC cruising to a 30-point division lead.

When the top two teams met in in Week 3, CCRC took Courts 1 and 2 and GH took Courts 3 and 4. GH has won three of four courts in all but one since that match and so has CCRC. After a strong start, sweeping one and taking three of four courts in their first three matches, the Golden Lovelies lost three of four in their fourth match, and have split three of the other four matches played.

The Ace Kickers were in the mix last season as well, finishing third in the standings, and as of this writing had played one match fewer than the other teams in the top five. From the looks of things, the Gold Division will come down to the same few teams again this season.

Last season, League Champion Park Meadow posted six sweeps and won three of four courts in in seven of the remaining eight matches. The one match in which they didn’t take at least three of four, they were swept by second-place finishers Paseo in Week 3. Park Meadow returned the favor in Week 10 and went on to win the Division by 35 points.

Things are certainly different this season. After eight matches, just over half the season, Paseo has jumped out to a 53-point lead over second-place Vasari, the fourth-place finisher last season. Park Meadow trails Vasari by three points.

Paseo looks unbeatable, as they swept in three matches and won three of four courts in the other five. Vasari on the other hand, have lost three of four courts twice and split courts two other times. Park Meadow has done no better, and both lost three of four courts to Paseo the first time around. It doesn’t look like any team in the Division is likely to pick up any ground on division-leading Paseo.

Well, I'll just say "better late than never" and sign off. Enjoy the season and I hope my next update will be more timely. Game, set, match...T. A.


Jeff Timmer (leeft) chatting with onlookers
Jeff Timmer and his staff at Colonial Country Club, with an assist from Armor Persons on the draws, did another nice job of hosting the opening event on the West Coast swing of the Super Senior Grand Prix. 

176 players from 29 states and a couple from Canada tossed em up at Colonial, and your local southwest Floridians represented themselves and you quite well in multiple divisions.

Men’s 55 Singles

Russell Porter and yours truly were the only two Fort Myers entries in the Men’s 55 Singles, and Russell downed Curt Ulliman of Naples 6-3, 6-0 in his first round match. Russell then ran into Pedro Camacho of Valrico, the No.3 Seed, who edged Russell in a first set tiebreak before closing it out 6-2.

As the No.2 Seed, I got a bye and played my first match in the quarters. I played as good a match as I have played in some time in taking down Tinsley Dozier of Albany, Georgia 6-1, 6-1. I made about as many unforced errors in that match as I usually make in three games. I faced No.4 Seed Hank Reams of Saint Simons Island in the semis, and I was up 5-0 before Hank figured out that movement was an issue for me. I eventually won the match 6-3, 6-4.

Jeff Winkler
At the top of the draw, No.1 Seed Jeff Winkler of St. Pete was doing what top seeds do. Into the quarters on a bye, Jeff downed Mats Sundstrom of Lakewood Ranch, 6-2, 6-0 in his first match, and then took on Camacho in the semis. I was finished with my match and out of the showers by the time these two very smooth racquet wielders had finished their second set.

Pedro Camacho
Camacho took the first 6-3, but the extended rallies on almost every point made it seem as though they had played a tiebreak. The proceeded the same way through the final two sets, and Jeff proved the stronger of the two, posting 6-2 in both sets.

Jeff Winkler
I came into the Final expecting a serious battle and hoping that my knee would hold up. I was puzzled throughout the match, as I kept waiting for the Jeff who played in the semis the day before to show up. He never did, and I won my inaugural super senior event, 6-1, 6-1. chalk one up for the good guys.

Men’s 60 Singles

Steve Shortridge
There were far too many entries in this draw to list everyone, but among the better known in the area would be Steve Shortridge, the second seed; Armor Persons of Breckenridge, a 

Willy Hoffmann
fixture in Fort Myers tennis for decades; Larry Gagnon, who has displayed his wizardry with a racquet in Pro League matches for the past several years; and Willy Hoffman of Pelican Landings in Bonita Springs by way of Dusseldorf, Germany.

Armor ran into a ringer in his first round match, losing to Kim Degner of Monroe, Michigan, 6-0, 6-2. 

Bob Davis
Larry withdrew from the Singles, but Willy took out Bob Davis, a buddy of mine from St. Pete, 6-3, 6-1. Willy ran into No.3 Seed Andy Bloom of Bonita Springs in his next match and fell 2-6, 3-6.

Bloom faced the ringer Degner in the quarters, and after dropping the first three games, decided to pack it in due to injury. Top-seeded Herb Feldmann of Carmel, Indiana worked his way through the draw routinely, dropping just nine games in taking out his first two opponents.

Herb Feldmann
He ran into Degner in the semis, and it looked a bit grim for the No.1 Seed after he lost the first set 3-6. But Herb was not daunted, and bounced back to take the next two 6-1, 6-4. And what about Steve Shortridge?

Steve Shortridge
Well Steve was rewarded for his clean living. As the No.2 Seed, he got a first round bye, then got two walkovers, before having to play his first match in the semis. Steve made short work of Harold Harder of Naples, the No.4 Seed, cruising to a 6-1, 6-2 victory. In the Final against Feldmann, Steve lost the first set, but Herb had to retire in the second, giving Fort Myers it’s second singles winner.

Men’s 65 Singles

Bob Green
The Fort Myers area fielded a few in the 65s as well. Bob Green of Pelican Preserve, the No.6 Seed, edged Helmut Peters of Sanibel in the first round 6-3, 7-6, before running into a ringer of his own. Unseeded Robert Wilkie of Sunapee, New Hampshire took Bob out, 6-2, 6-1. Bob shouldn’t feel bad at all, given that Wilkie ended up winning the event, dropping just 17 games in five matches.

Larry Albritton
No.4 Seed Larry Albritton of Heritage Palms, had a tough first match, downing David Brown of Flowery Branch, Georgia 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, then fell to No.5 Seed Cliff Vines, a pal of mine from Nokomis, 6-1, 6-2. Charles Van Middleswort (better known as Van) of Gateway won his first match easily, 6-2, 6-1, before falling to the No.2 Seed, John Welch of Earleville, Maryland, 4-6, 0-6.

Don Long
Top seeded Don Long of Fairport, New York, who Wilkie met in the Final, may have played one tough match too many. In his two matches prior to the Final, Long had to prevail in three-setters, and he had had to close out his first match in a tiebreak as well. Wilkie walked away with the honors, posting a 6-1, 6-3 victory.

Men’s 70 Singles

When you talk about Men’s 70s in this area, in fact across the amateur tennis world, you have to mention Fred Drilling of Estero, the top seed and Defending Champion. As a former World No.1, Fred is almost always a favorite, and that was the case again this time around. When you consider the fact that he won the 70 Singles last year, dropping just six games en route to the title, it’s no surprise that he was the favorite again this year.

Fred downed Glenn Gibson of Loveland, Colorado (6-3, 6-1) in his first match, then took out Steve Sudarsky of East Hartford, Connecticut, 6-2, 6-0...I wish I had time to tell the story of beating Steve’s nephew, Danny Goldberg, in a tournament in West Hartford when he was a hotshot at Michigan. Ah, the good old days…

In any event, playing in the largest draw of the tournament with 44 players, Fred marched through the top half of the draw, dropping more games (16) in reaching the semis than he did in the entire tournament last year.

Drilling entourage
Second seeded Peter Peczely of Cape Coral was far more impressive in mowing down the competition en route to punching his ticket to the Final. 

In his four matches prior to the Final, Peczely dropped just six games total. Given their international records (Peczely is a former No.3 in the ITF’s world rankings), the Final promised to be a tremendous battle…and it almost was. Fred took the first set 6-3, and edged Peczely 7-5 in the second to defend his singles title at Colonial.

Men’s 75 Singles

Virgil Graves
Virgil Graves of Cape Coral, Anthony Rasile of Bonita Springs, Robert Prange of Fort Myers, Robert Schmitz and No.2 Seed Paul Caldwell of Naples were the locals entered in the 75s. Only Caldwell remained after Match 1. Virgil had fourth-seed Richard Schultz of Sarasota on the ropes in the first set, but let him off the hook, dropping the match 6-7, 2-6.

Prange exited with less drama, dropping his match to No.3 Seed Vitalis Seputa of Troy, Michigan, 1-6, 1-6. Rasile fell to one of the three No.5 Seeds in the event, G. Peter Marshall of Ingramport, Nova Scotia 6-7, 1-6, and Schmitz also went down at the hands of a fifth seed, Leon Kennedy of St. Pete, retiring at 4-5 in the second set, after winning the first set 6-4.

Caldwell got to the semis after a close quarterfinal match with Bill Robertson of Bloomington, Minnesota (7-5, 7-5), but lost 6-3 6-3 to Seputa in the semis. No. 1 Seed Jim Curry of Waco, Texas outlasted Seputa in the Final, winning 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.

Men’s 80 Singles

King Van Nostrand of Vero Beach has started his 80s campaign after having great success in the younger age groups (former World No.1 in 70s), and it seems as though he’s as likely to succeed in this age group as well. Van Nostrand lost seven games in three matches en route to claiming the Division title.

Two locals participated in the 80s, including Gordon Hamme of Naples, who took five games from Van Nostrand in the Final (4-6, 1-6). Hame had lost just four games in his two matches prior to the Final. The other local entry, Rudolph Mayer of North Fort Myers, fell to Ronald Fenasci of Baton Rouge, Louisiana in his first match, 6-1, 6-2.

Men’s 85 Singles

Russell Fink
Lansing Brisbin of Naples was the only local entry in the 85s and he exited after his first match, losing 0-6, 2-6 to John Maurice of Jacksonville. 

Jan Lindstedt
Top Seed Russell Fink of Annapolis, Maryland downed No.2 Seed Jan Lindstedt of Falls Church, Virginina 6-2, 6-3 in the Final. I watched some of the Final, and I was amazed at how well these gentlemen got around the court! It humbled and inspired me.

Men’s 60 Doubles
It was almost like old home week in the 60 Doubles. Larry Gagnon and Terry See of Cypress Lake came in as the top seeded team and held their seeding, but it wasn’t easy. They started gangbusters in their first match, dropping a bagel on Walt Lewis of Naples and Bill Petrocco of Fort Myers in the first, but had a tussle in the second, taking it 7-5. They went to the super-tiebreak in their second match against George Dalphon of Elkton, Maryland and Robert Wilkie, who took the 65 Singles.

Meanwhile, at the bottom of the draw, Blair Neller of Winter Park and Clay Zyerveld of Columbia Falls, Montana were seeded No.2, but they ran into locals Willy Hoffman of Bonita Springs and Helmut Peters of Sanibel. Willy and Helmut posted a 7-5, 5-7, 1-0 upset and had to win another super-tiebreak match to make it to the Final. In the Final they scrapped their way to yet another 10-point match tiebreaker, but fell to eventual winners Gagnon and See, 2-6, 7-6, 1-0 (4).

Men’s 65 Doubles

Larry Albritton and Frank Bova of Erie, Pennsylvania came in as the No.1 Seeds and after their first-round bye, took out Jeff Boston and Paul Veltman 7-5, 6-2 in their first match. 

No.4 Seeds Spike Gonzalez of Naples and Joe McAleer of Bonita Springs ended Larry and Frank’s tourney in the semis, 6-2, 6-3, but they fell to the unseeded, eventual champions Richard Ferguson and Andre Marois of Sarasota.

Men’s 70 Doubles

Fred Drilling and Clive Kileff of Signal Mountain, Tennessee rode their No.1 seeding all the way to the Final without dropping a set, losing just 10 games in their first three matches. Third seeded Chuck Kinyon of Quechee, Vermont and 60 Singles winner Don Long had a tougher time of it as they made their way to the championship match.

Kinyon and Long had to survive a match tiebreak in their first match and another in their semifinal match against No.2 Seeds Joe Bachmann of Sarasota and Bill Plummer of University Park. They presented the only challenge that Fred and Clive faced in the event, losing the Final in another breaker, 4-6, 6-3, 1-0. Neither Fred nor I know how many double titles that makes for Fred at Colonial, but in his words, it’s “A bunch!”

Men’s 75 Doubles
Another local notched a win at Colonial in the 75 Doubles, when top-seeded Mathew Davie of Naples teamed with Robert Dilworth of Harwich Port, Massachusetts to claim victory. Davie and Dilworth downed No.2 Seeds Jim Curry of Waco, Texas and Leon Kennedy of St. Pete in the Final, 6-3, 6-4. 

When the last court had been brushed and the lines cleaned, locals had claimed three of the seven singles divisions, two of the four doubles divisions, and had finalists in another doubles division. Not bad with a field represented by more than half the states in the Union! Looks like we're doing something right in the Greater Fort Myers/Naples area! 

I'd just like to send out a personal thank you to Dave Rowat for helping me get ready to play, and to Virgil, Kim for their support. Game, set, match...T. A.