The NE Grass Senior Slam at Essex: First Class in Many Ways!

 

The NE Grass Senior Slam was at Essex County Club in Manchester, MA this year for the first time. It was first class in many ways; it set a record for number of individual players in a slam at 148, in the welcoming the players received (there were 20 local volunteers working on the tournament courts were in superb condition, the party featured delicious food and drink on the porch under a tent overlooking the golf course, John Shane, the volunteers, umpire Sally Utiger and TD Paul Fairchild did a superb job of running the tournament, and the play was outstanding with many great players including members of the Essex County Club. Play, starting on Friday, was even preceded by Essex CC member Pam Mehlman singing the National Anthem! She has a great voice! And Ė she sang again before play started on Sunday!

 

Checking in at the tournament desk

The welcoming sign with "hangout spot" in background

The pristine grass courts

 

The weather was also mostly cooperative; except for rain on Friday night that pushed main draw matches onto the clay courts as the grass was still wet until Saturday afternoon. Some consolations went indoors at nearby Bass River Club on Saturday morning.

 

Going into the tournament, there were three candidates to win a triple Slam i.e. win an event in all three Slams on all three surfaces. They were Paul Shaw in menís 60 singles, George Ulrich and John Fournier for menís 65 doubles, and Whitey Joslin and Tom Deihl for menís 70 doubles.All three did not make it as Paul Shaw opted to play only doubles and Ulrich & Fournier and Joslin & Diehl both lost in their respective final!

 

The largest draw was the menís 50 singles at 22. In the semis, 1st seed David Cox defeated unseeded Essex CC member Kevin Barry 6-2, 7-5. In the other semi, 7th seed Joe Bouquin (a very good national player formerly from NE but now living in FL who is over 60) defeated 3rd seed Robbins Tien 6-4, 6-1. The final was a nail-biter as Bouquin defeated Cox 7-5, 5-7, 6-2. In the consolation final, 5th seed Chris Holmes was defeated by unseeded Dan McCormack 6-3, 5-7, 10-6 (consolations used supertiebreakers in lieu of a 3rd set).

 

Essex CC member Kevin Barry and 50 singles semifinalist with 50 singles finalist David Cox

50 singles winner Joe Bouquin with John Shane and finalist David Cox

50 singles consolation finalist Chris Holmes with John Shane and 50 consolation single winner Dan McCormack

 

In menís 55 singles, 1st seed Wade Frame had an easy time of it. He defeated unseeded Ed Lanphier from Ross, CA (yes, they even heard about this in CA!) in the semis 6-0, 6-3. 2nd seed Alan Turner defeated 3rd seed Bill Frost in the other semi 6-3, 7-5. Frame then easily defeated doubles partner Alan Turner in the final 6-0, 6-1. Wade really knows how to play on that grass!

 

Scott Anderson defeated Bob Rives in the consolation final 6-2, 6-0.

 

55 singles finalist Alan Turner with John Shane and 55 champion Wade Frame

There was always food and drinks available for players near the courts.

USTA offical Sally Utiger. She looks very focused. She did a great job.

 

In the menís 60 singles, both 1st seed John Mayotte (Timís brother and former New England Tennis Stars* player) and 2nd seed Alex Levichev cruised, each winning the semis 6-0, 6-0. They had a battle in the finals with Mayotte prevailing 6-2, 6-4 but it was tighter than the score indicated. In the consolation final, Stephen Sasson defeated Kevin OíNeil 7-5, 7-5.

 

In menís 65 singles, Ken Newman defeated 1st seed Wint Filipek 6-3, 6-1 in one semi and 2nd seed George Ulrich defeated Lee Herrington 6-3, 6-2 in the other semi. The final was a tough 3 setter with Ulrich prevailing over Newman 6-7, 6-3, 7-6.

 

60 singles winner John Mayotte with John Shane and 60 singles finalist Alex Levichev

The Tournament Desk manned by L-R John Shane, Henry Cook, Ann Cook and John Huss

Henry Tiberio giving George Ulrich advice on how to play in his next match?

 

In menís 70 singles, former NETS (New England Tennis Stars*) player and 1st seed Ted Hoehn won easily in the final against 3rd seed Walter Beatty 6-2, 6-0. Hoehn was tested in the 2nd set of the semis by 4th seed Ray Brodeur winning 6-1, 7-5. Beatty won a tough 3 setter in his win in the semis over 2nd seed Roy Anderson 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. In the consolation final, Ken Miller defeated Jim Hufford 6-3, 6-0.

 

70 singles winner Ted Hoehn with John Shane and 70 singles finalist Walter Beatty

70 singles semifinalists Ray Brodeur and Roy Anderson. Walt Beatty is in the background speaking with Debra Turner

Competition was great so there was always an attentive audience watching

 

In menís 75 singles, 1st seed Dave Lowry won by defeating Dick Canepa in three sets 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 and then went on to defeat Bob Fougere in the final 6-4, 6-4. Fougere upset 2nd seed Mal Swanson in the other semi 7-6, 7-5. In the consolation final, Dick Canepa defeated Swanson 10-7 in a 10 game pro set.

 

In menís 80 singles, 2nd seed Owen Landon defeated 1st seed Marvin Sears 7-6, 6-2. In the semis, Sears defeated Dick Bowker 6-4, 6-1 and Landon defeated Kobayashi 6-2, retired (injury). In the consolation final, Bowker defeated John Kielty 6-2, 6-2.

 

The menís 85 singles had only two entries and Steven Parson defeated Kobayashi (he played in the 80s as well) 6-2, 6-2.

 

75 singles winner Dave Lowry with John Shane and 75 singles finalist Bob Fougere

80 singles winner Owen Landon with John Shane and 80 singles finalist Marvin Sears

85 singles winner Steven Parson with John Shane and 85 singles finalist Yutaka Kobayashi (Koby)

 

On to womenís singles. In the womenís 50 singles, 2nd seed Pam Wolf easily won by defeating Steffani Lomax 6-0, 6-0 in the semis and then defeating 1st seed Carol Redden 6-0, 6-1 in the final. Pam knows how to play on grass! Redden defeated Denise Brosseau in the semis 6-3, 6-2 to make the final. In the consolation final, Lomax defeated Leah Kadesch 10-3.

 

In womenís 60 singles, 1st seed Vicky McEvoy also had an easy time, defeating Ruby Curtis in the semis 6-0, 6-1 and 2nd seed Dorcas Miller in the finals 6-0, 6-0. In the consolation final, Ruby Curtis defeated Lianne Moses 6-3, 6-2.

 

Women's 50 singles finalist Carol Redden with John Shane and 50 singles winner Pam Wolf

Some great women's doubles play. How about that service motion!

There is a great viewing balcony that allows you to see most of the grass courts from one spot.

 

There was great competition in the doubles as well. In menís 50 doubles, the Essex CC team of Kevin Barry and Hamilton Mehlman (the husband of Pam, the crooner) defeated 1st seed Joe Bouquin and Rich Wilson 4-6, 7-5, 6-2. This team was put together at the last minute as Wilsonís partner withdrew and picked up Bouquin who was looking for a partner. Barry and Mehlman won in a walkover against John MacNamara and Jeff Schumer in the final.

 

Menís 55 doubles had some outstanding matches. In the semis, 1st seeds Kimm Fisher and Dick Makepeace prevailed over Bob Beaton and Dan Kreiner 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.The other semis was just as close with 2nd seeds Wade Frame and Alan Turner defeating Howard Ames and Bill Frost 6-4, 6-7, 6-3. Frame and Turner then won the title over Fisher and Makepeace in another 3 setter 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. In the consolation final, Eliot Campbell and John Voikos defeated David Foster and Donald Sargent 6-2, 6-4.

 

In menís 60 doubles, unseeded Bill Busiek and Bob McKinley defeated 1st seeds George Deptula and Paul Shaw 6-3, 7-5 in the final. In the semis, Busiek and McKinley defeated 2nd seeds Pete Allen and Tommie George 6-4, 7-5. In the other semi, Deptula and Shaw defeated Clint Hart and Chris Sadkowski 4-5, retired (injury).

 

In menís 65 doubles, there were only two teams but a significant result as Pete Allen and Tommie George denied John Fournier and George Ulrich of a Triple Slam winning a tough three setter 6-7, 7-6, 6-4. You canít get much closer than that!

 

In menís 70 doubles, 1st seeds Whitey Joslin and Tom Diehl easily prevailed in the semis over Ray Brodeur and Ken Miller 6-0, 6-2. However, they were denied a triple Slam in the finals being upset by unseeded Walter Beatty and Gordon Aydelott 6-3, 3-6, 7-5. Beatty and Aydelott upset 2nd seeds Roy Anderson and Bob Dilworth in the second semi 6-2, 6-2 to get to the final.

 

Men's 55 doubles winners Wade Frame and Alan Turner with John Shane and finalists Dick Makepeace and Kimm Fisher

Men's 55 doubles consolation winners Eliot Campbell and John Voikos with John Shane

Men's 70 doubles finalists Whitey Joslin and Tom Diehl with John Shane and winners Gordon Aydelott and Walt Beatty

 

In menís 80 doubles, unseeded Owen Landon and Marvin Sears took the title by defeating 1st seeds Albert Gubbins and Richard Lawrence 6-3, 6-0. Landon and Sears upset 2nd seeds Harry Kirsch and Bob Leach 6-3, 6-3 to reach the final. Gubbins and Lawrence had a walkover from Stephen Parson and Henry Tiberio in the other semi.

 

The womenís 50 doubles had the biggest doubles draw. Unseeded Johanna Bickford and Jean Osachuk took the title by defeating 1st seeds Una Davis and Brenda Shaefer in the final 7-5, 6-3. Bickford and Osachuk had some tough matches to get to the final, prevailing over 2nd seeds Kristin Harley and Jeanne Hulsen in the quarters 0-6, 6-4, 6-4 and over Ann Knoblock and Pam Wolf 6-4, 6-4 in the semis. In the other semi, Davis and Osachuk defeated Vicki Hibbard and Carol Redden 6-1, 6-3.

 

Women's 50 doubles winners Johanna Bickford and Jean Osachuk with John Shane and finalists Una Davis and Brenda Shaefer. John must have told a funny joke to Una!

Women's doubles in action

 

 

Mixed doubles semfinalists Nancy and Ted Hoehn with finalist John Mayotte and TD Paul Fairchild

 

In womenís 60 doubles, 1st seeds Vicki McEvoy and Allyson Bolduc had an easy time winning, defeating Anne Beatty and Janet Burke in the semis 6-1, 6-2 and unseeded Lynn Miller and Gail Smith in the final 6-1, 6-1. Miller and Smith defeated 2nd seeds Ruby Curtis and Carolyn Fournier 6-2, 6-3 in the other semi.

 

Womenís 70 doubles had three entries and they played round-robin. Ann Murphy and Judy Smith won the title by winning their two matches, 6-2, 6-2 over Jessie von Hippel and Esther Williams and 6-3, 7-5 over Judy Aydelott and Anne Beatty 6-3, 7-5.

 

The mixed 55 doubles also had a big draw. This was a surprise as the Clay Slam had no entries at all and the hard court Slam at Yale only had two with a 3rd entry dug up at the last minute to gain more play.

 

The mixed doubles final did not get played as the brother and sister team and 2nd seeds John and Mary Mayotte defaulted as John Mayotte had to catch a plane back home to Maryland. 1st seeds George Deptula and Una Davis were declared winners in a walkover as a result. In the semis, Deptula and Davis defeated the husband and wife team of Ted and Nancy Hoehn 6-1, 6-1. In the other semi, the Mayottes easily defeated 4th seeds Dorcas Miller and Nick Orusoff 6-1, 6-0.

 

The party was held on Saturday night. There were about 100 attendees, probably a record number coming to a Slam party! Food was varied and terrific. There was a drawing of prizes to the party participants as is the custom at Slam parties. Brett Bothwell from startup Bolt (a tennis racquet company) was there and donated a racquet and other smaller items. Essex CC also donated some prizes. Everybody had a great time and the buzz about how great the tournament was high!

 

* For those who do not know who the New England Tennis Stars (NETS) are, it was a New England pro tour in the 1970s, during the boom years of tennis. People would pay to go and watch their tournament matches. Many of the NETS players got entries to the US Pro tournament at Longwood, a popular stop on the pro tour back then.