Sunday, January 19, 2014


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.

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