Grass Slam at Newport Starts with Rain, but Ends Up Successful

(but, no hurricane like last year)


The 2011 Grass NE Senior Slam at Newport started with rain and all play on Thursday was cancelled, as there were no backup courts available then. Weather cleared on Friday and remained good for the rest of the weekend but Friday and half of Saturday saw the grass courts too wet for play. Unfortunately, the prospect of playing on hard courts instead of grass caused some who entered the tournament to withdraw, but most of the players soldiered on.


Friday play on hard courts commenced in the morning at Carey Mansion (3 courts) and Salva Regina University (6 courts), both close by. Carey Mansion was not a venue used last year and there are some interesting stories associated with it.  It apparently is thought to be a haunted house – a tourist bus came by in the morning and its guide made a point of telling the tourists it was haunted and had been on television a couple of weeks before on a program highlighting haunted houses. Also, during play in the morning, a woman and man came up to volunteer Rollie Ernst who helped at Carey and asked her who the players were and who owned the tennis courts. The woman was a private investigator hired by the neighbors of the Carey Mansion as they all disliked the woman owner. Apparently, she regularly had “wild” parties at the mansion with 40 cars clogging the narrow street. She also went out nude in the night at times and sometimes slept outside in the nude! Maybe she comes out to commune with ghosts?


Back to tennis. In mens 50 singles, John Geilfuss had a long hard fought singles win in the finals (on grass) over Yale Slam singles winner Russ Strong 6-3, 0-6, 7-5. Mens 50 doubles had three teams and they played round robin. Mark Lueders and Rich Wilson won a tough three setter over John Geilfuss and Rob Pease 6-4, 3-6, 10-6 to give them two Slam 50 doubles wins as they also won the Clay Slam. All matches except finals where the draw was four or more played a supertiebreaker in lieu of a 3rd set to make up time due to the loss of the first day.


On the left: 50 singles winner John Geilfuss shaking hands with finalist Russ Strong after their hard fought match.


On the right: Finalist Russ Strong with winner John Geilfuss


















Mens 50 singles finalist Russ Strong in action


Mens 50 doubles winners Rich Wilson and Mark Lueders


Womens 50 singles finalist Lynn Kaufman with winner Pam Wolf


In womens 50 singles, unseeded Pam Wolf defeated 1st seed and doubles partner Vicki Hibbard 6-1, 6-4 in the semis and then defeated 2nd seed Lynn Kaufman 6-0, 6-3 in the finals. The womens 50 doubles draw was the largest doubles draw in the tournament with seven teams entered.  At the Clay Slam, the CT team of Barbara Clarke and Holly Shaefer had so much fun that they said they were going to recruit their league team players for the Grass Slam and they delivered. Holly and Barbara made it to the finals but then lost to winners Vicki Hibbard and Pam Wolf 6-2, 6-3.



Womens 50 doubles winners Vicki Hibbard and Pam Wolf


Womens 50 doubles finalists Barbara Clarke and Holly Schaefer

Mens 55 singles winner Wade Frame with finalist Bregham Metcalfe


In mens 55 singles, 1st seed Wade Frame defeated unseeded Brigham Metcalfe 6-1, 6-4 in the final. Brigham had a very tight semis match defeating 2nd seed Hany Teylouni 2-6, 6-2, 10-5. In mens 55 doubles, 1st seeds Wade Frame and Phil Kadesch won the round robin (there were three teams) to take the title.


In mens 60 singles, 1st seed Alex Levichev defeated 4th seed George Ulrich in the finals 6-4, 6-3. Both had tough semis matches with Alex prevailing over Stephen Sasson 6-7(10), 6-2, 10-4 and George defeating 2nd seed George Deptula 6-4, 6-4. In mens 60 doubles, the final between 1st seeds George Deptula and Laury Hammel and unseeded George Ulrich and Bill Busiek was played on 9/24 as it was the only match not able to be completed on Sunday. It was about as close as it could be with 1st seeds George Deptula and Laury Hammel winning the title 7-6(1), 6-7(4), 6-4.



Mens 55 doubles winners Phil Kadesch and Wade Frame with finalists Brigham Metcalfe and Peter Macpartland

Mens 60 singles winner Alex Levichev with finalist George Ulrich


Womens 60 singles winner Eszter Chase with finalist Dorcas Miller


In womens 60 singles, 1st seed Dorcas Miller was upset by Eszter Chase in the finals 6-3, 6-1. Womens 60 doubles saw Ruby Curtis and Carolyn Fournier win both matches in the round robin (three teams entered) with one a nailbiter against Eszter Chase and Dale Walker 2-6, 7-6(3), 10-5 to not only win the Grass Slam title but they became the first to win a TRIPLE SLAM! A Triple Slam is the winning of all three Slam tournaments in the same year. BIG CONGRATULATIONS TO RUBY AND CAROLYN!


Womens 60 doubles finalists Eszter Chase and Dale Walker

Womens 60 doubles winners Carolyn Fournier and Ruby Curtis and the first TRIPLE SLAM WINNERS


In mens 65 singles, Yoshi Akabane got to the finals with a default from injured 1st seed Rick Klaffky so he did not have to put on a spectacular run like he did at the Clay Slam. However, 2nd seed Ken Newman defeated Yoshi 6-4, 6-3 in the final. In 65 doubles, the two Bills, White and Ruth (1st seeds) defeated Pete Allen and Ken Newman in a tight final 1-6, 6-3, 6-3.


Mens 70 singles saw an upset in the finals. 2nd seed Ray Brodeur defeated 1st seed George Lynch for the first time after many tries 7-6(5), 6-4. His cry of joy at winning could be heard throughout the courts. Ray teamed with partner Ken Miller to win two matches in the round robin play, 6-2, 6-2 against Lynch and partner Mac Farmer and a very tight 6-2, 5-7, 10-7 win against Mal Swanson and John Bradbury to take the title.


Mens 65 singles finalist Yoshi Akabane with winner Ken Newman

Mens 70 singles winner Ray Brodeur with finalist George Lynch

Mens 70 doubles winners Ken Miller and Ray Brodeur


In mens 75 singles, there was again a round robin between three entries. Larry Sears won the title with very convincing wins over Mal Swanson and Bob Fougere. Mens 75 doubles did not happen as there were originally two other teams both of which dropped out due to the weather and the prospect of playing on hard courts.


In mens 80 singles, Marvin Sears took the title with wins over Harry Kirsch and Dick Morse. Marvin had a tough time with Dick, prevailing 6-1, 5-7, 10-7.


Mens 75 singles winner Larry Sears with finalist Mal Swanson

Mixed 65 finalists John Kielty and Judy Schmid with winners Frances Ferguson and John Bradbury

Mens 80 singles winner Marvin Sears



In mixed 65 doubles, there were only two teams. The New York husband and wife duo of John Bradbury and Frances Ferguson defeated John Kielty and Judy Schmid 6-1, 6-3 to take the title.


The party was held on Saturday at 6PM and was a great success. Those who had been at the grass slam party last year agreed this caterer provided better food and drink than the one from last year. Ken and Dorcas Miller presided over the drawing with some great prizes won.


The 2nd floor porch, scene of the party

Tom Fayed doing his official's duty. He does a great job.

View of play from the 2nd floor porch


After the possibility of a disaster due to weather, all turned out well. Special thanks to volunteers Rich Heath and Rollie Ernst that helped with the tournament, Jim Purington from USTA/NE who came down on Friday to help, and to official Tom Fayed who again provided great wisdom and help in making the tournament run smoothly.