The NE Grass Senior Slam at Newport

Courtesy of Hurricane Earl

by Ken and Dorcas Miller

 

There was much angst at the start of the week leading into the grass Senior Slam at Newport. There were many entries (119) and that led to some panic if the hurricane came full force. Some even said the tournament should be cancelled! It was a good thing it wasnít as it turned out successful in the end as hurricane Earl did not quite live up to its billing. However, it did motivate a change in Thursdayís schedule of play so as to load up play for what was predicted to be a nice day. Menís age groups 60 and up were scheduled heavily on Thursday and one event even finished on Thursday! In 75 singles, John Clarno won over Bob Fougere in a close match, 6-4, 7-5 to win.

 

The Courts

A View from the East Porch

75 Singles Finalist Bob Fougere and Winner John Clarno

 

Friday started out hopeful. The weather report said that rain would hold off until 3-4PM allowing many matches to be played.Play started at about 9AM, but alas, instead of rain coming in the afternoon, it came at about 10:30AM! Before the rain came, however, the 65 singles was able to finish. Unseeded Bill Harrison had a great tournament knocking off 1st seed and triple Slam candidate Bob Dunlop in his 1st round on Thursday 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. Again on Thursday, he prevailed over Yoshi Akabane in another tough three setter 2-6, 6-4, 7-6. He then beat Curt Anderson in the finals Friday morning 7-6(7), 6-4 to win. In womens 60 singles matches, Sheila Weinstock bested Dorcas Miller 7-5, 6-2. In the other womens 60s, previous Slam womens 60s single winner Michelle Immler defeated Moy Burns 6-0, 6-1. In 70 mens singles semis, Roy Anderson overturned Jim Rauch from NJ, a regular national player, 6-4, 6-3. Whitey Joslin, most known for his doubles prowess, defeated John Babbitt from Ohio in the first round 6-2, 6-1 and then went on to beat 1st seed Bob Dilworth 6-3, 6-2. Both of these were played on grass on Thursday. In the semis on Friday, Joslin faced 4th seed George Lynch and prevailed 6-2, 3-6, 10-8 in a match started on the grass and finished indoors. Roy and Whitey then played their finals indoors and Roy was successful 6-2, 6-0. The 65 doubles final was also played indoors. Ted Underwood and David Boehk won their 2nd slam defeating Whitey Joslin and Tom Diehl 6-4, 6-4. Because of Earl, it was decided that for the rest of the tournament, all play would use regular scoring except a super tiebreaker in lieu of a 3rd set with the exception of final matches which play a full 3rd set.

 

Check-in volunteer Rich Heath chats with Carol Frame

 

65 doubles finalist Tom Diehl and winners Ted Underwood and David Boehk. Whitey Joslin had already left for home

Doubles action

 

 

After the rain came on Friday, the tournament only had three indoor courts creating a bottleneck. After much discussion, tournament umpire Tom Fayed in consultation with the Millers and Jim Purington from USTA/NE had the best idea: play through the first round of mens 50 and 55 singles (the largest draws) as well as any other matches that had been started. Have all the older age groupsreturn on Saturday to play on hard courts at Salva Regina University (as the grass would not be playable)†† The womens and mens 50 and 55 would continue play on Sunday on grass. The rationale was that the 60 and over men had already played some on grass on Thursday but the womens 50 and 60 age groups and mens 50 and 55 age groups had not. This worked out well as the weather cooperated on Sunday and Monday with beautiful weather.

 

Saturday started out well as Earl gave us a break and moved out quickly. The sunny day, combined with some heavy wind, also made it likely we could start on grass early on Sunday. Play commenced on the outdoor hard courts at Salva Regina, a very nice complex, with mostly doubles matches although the 60s singles semis went on at 9AM. George Deptula defeated doubles partner and 1st seed Laury Hammel in one semi. In the other, Ken Newman from Florida defeated George Ulrich 6-4, 6-4. George had upset 2nd seed Rich Klaffky to get into the semis. Deptula went on to win the 60 singles on Sunday over Newman on the grass 6-3, 6-3. In mens 60 doubles action, legends Bill Drake and John Mayotte defeated Rich Klaffky and George Ulrich in one semi and Deptula and Hammel overcame 2nd seeds Pete Allen and Tommie George in a tough 7-6(5), 3-6, 10-8 match in the other. The final went back on the grass on Sunday with Drake and Mayotte defeating Deptula and Hammel in a see-saw match 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

 

In the 70 doubles semis, 1st seeds Roy Anderson and Bob Dilworth defeated George Lynch and Mac Farmer in two tight 7-5, 7-5 sets. In the other semi, 2nd seeds Ray Brodeur and Ken Miller defeated the pickup team of John Babbitt (from Ohio) and Mal Swanson, 6-7(4), 6-1, 10-4. The final was also played on the hard courts Saturday afternoon amid some tough wind, and Anderson and Dilworth prevailed over Brodeur and Miller 6-3, 6-1.

 

70 doubles winners Bob Dilworth and Roy Anderson with finalists Ken Miller and Ray Brodeur

Bill Drake and John Mayotte in action against Laury Hammel and George Deptula in the 60 doubles finals

60 doubles winners John Mayotte and Bill Drake with finalists George Deptula and Laury Hammel. The sun was definitely going down when they finished!

 

Saturday night was the party, which had been switched from Friday night due to the hurricane. Ken Miller presided over the drawing of prizes and those participating enjoyed dinner and drinks on the top floor of the East Porch.

 

Early party socializers

Lining up for food and drink in the background

Eating, drinking and waiting for the drawing

 

As hoped, Earl was spent on Sunday and play was able to continue starting at 9AM on the grass. This day was mostly devoted to the women and 50 and 55 men as well as some consolation matches. In the most interesting womens 60 singles match, in the semis, top seed Judy Louie fell to Vicki McEvoy in a rollercoaster match 6-3, 3-6, 10-8. In the other semis, Sheila Weinstock defeated two time Slam 60 singles winner Michelle Immler, 6-3, 6-4.In the womens 50 singles, Vicki Hibbard easily prevailed over Lianne Moses 6-1, 6-0. Denise Brosseau similarly had an easy time with Leah Kadesch 6-2, 6-0.

 

Womens doubles also started on Sunday. In the 50 semis, first seeds Kristen Hartley and Jeanne Hulsen triumphed over Moy Burns and Lianne Mosely and Brosseau and Hibbard received a walkover due to injury. Hulsen and Hartley went on to win the 50 doubles over Brosseau and Hibbard 6-3, 6-0. In womens 60 doubles semis, 1st seeds Louie and Weinstock and 2nd seeds Allyson Bolduc and McEvoy had relatively easy wins.

 

There was much mens 50 and 55 action on Sunday. In 50 singles, 5th seed John Geilfuss had a great run to the finals, most significantly by beating 2nd seed Jeff Gola in the quarters in two close sets 7-6(5), 6-4. In the semis, he defeated Harrison Bowes from Texas. Harrison was a big time college player, having played John McEnroe and Billy Martin during his college career. 1st seed Robbins Tien had an easier time reaching the finals with all matches straight set wins. In the quarters, he defeated Bowes' doubles partner Jack McArdle from Illinois. Bowes and McArdle were high school buddies who lost track of each other until recently when they started to hook up as doubles partners.

 

In 55 singles, 1st seed Phil Kadesch and 2nd seed Wade Frame both cruised through the draw handily to set up a rematch of their final at the Yale Slam. In 50 doubles, the semis saw two hard fought matches. 1st seeds Wade Frame and Chris Holmes defeated the RI team of Dave Bedard and Steve Heath 6-3, 7-6(5) and in the other semi, John Geilfuss and Rob Pease prevailed over 2nd seeds Bowes and McArdle 6-4, 7-6(6). In 50 doubles, one semi was played with Robert Beaton and Fred King winning in a long hard fought three setter over 1st seeds Jack Daly and Mike Kliebhan 3-6, 6-4, 12-10.

 

60 singles winner George Deptula with Ken Miller and finalist Ken Newman

John Geilfuss in action against Harrison Bowes

Womens' 50 doubles finalists Vicki Hibbard and Denise Brosseau with winners Jeanne Hulsen and Kristn Hartley

 

Players reporting scores and waiting to go on for their match at tournament desk

 

 

Morning on Monday opened to another perfect day weatherwise. This was a day of finals with the exception of the 55 doubles semis which was won by the unseeded team of Tom Darby and Robert Milligan over 2nd seeds Kantner and Glenn 6-0, 6-3. In the 55 doubles final between two unseeded teams, Beaton and King bested Darby and Milligan, 7-5, 6-3. In the 50 doubles final, 1st seeds Frame and Holmes defeated the unseeded team of Geilfuss and Pease 6-4, 6-4.

 

In mens 50 singles, Robbins Tien defeated John Geilfuss in two tough sets 7-6(5), 6-4. In 55 singles, Phil Kadesch continued his mastery of Wade Frame 6-2, 6-3.

 

Now, on to the women who also had some very competitive finals. In womens 50 singles, 1st seed Vicki Hibbard defeated unseeded Denise Brosseau in two tough sets 7-6(3), 6-3. In 60 singles, unseeded Vicki McEvoy bested 2nd seed Sheila Weinstock 7-5, 7-5. In 60 doubles, 2nd seeds Bolduc and McEvoy defeated 1st seeds Louie and Weinstock 7-5, 6-2.

 

Mens' 50 doubles finalists John Geilfuss and Rob Pease with winners Chris Holmes and Wade Frame

Men's 55 doubles winners Fred King and Bob Beaton with finalists Robert Milligan and Tom Darby

Mens' 50 singles winner Robbins Tien with finalist John Geilfuss

Womens' 50 singles finalist Denise Brosseau with winner Vicki Hibbard

Womens' 60 doubles winners Vicki McEvoy and Allyson Bolduc with finalists Judy Louie and Sheila Weinstock

Womens' 60 singles winner Vicki McEvoy with finalist Sheila Weinstock

 

Perhaps the biggest win of all was that over hurricane Earl.For all of Earlís bombast, he was aced out and the tournament ended up a great success with 119 entries and many out of section players-- from Texas, Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio, Maryland, New York and several from Florida. The tournament brought out many players who had not played NE tournaments before. We give special thanks to Jim Purington from USTA/NE who was on the scene on Friday to help, to Rich Heath who manned the tournament desk all days of the tournament, to Tom Fayed and the other umpires who helped make the tournament run smoothly, and to the International Tennis Hall of Fame for their help in making this tournament a big success. The authors (the Millers) also worked hard on making this a success.

 

See you next year at the Slams! Stay tuned!