Walter Rapp/Shirley Frey Tournament had some Great Competition (and fun!)
The weather for the first three days of the Walter Rapp/Shirley Frey Senior Menís and Womenís Jubilee at the Hartford Tennis Club (HTC) in West Hartford, CT were absolutely perfect.† Blue skies, low to mid 80s with comfortable humidity gave players that feeling of what a great day to play tennis.† It also brought smiles to tournament director, Ben Bishop, as bad weather creates chaos and makes his life miserable.† Thursday saw the tournament kick off with a couple 70 singles matches as that age category had the biggest draw of 10 players.† Chris Bentley defeated Rob Chase 6-1, 6-3 while HTC member Hobey Hyde won over Hiroshi Furukawa 6-1, 6-2.
Most everybody who played singles saw action on Friday on 8 perfectly groomed courts thanks to groundskeeper Joe Martin and his staff.† Only two matches went to three sets and both were in the 75 singles where no. 1 seed George Lynch squeaked by Ernie True 6-3 in the third and no. 2 seed Roy Anderson had an easier battle in the third over Dick Canepa 6-1.† One close two setter was HTC member and no. 2 seed Lynn Kaufmann in the womenís 60 singles narrowly getting by Caroline Cormier of Sturbridge 6-3, 6-4.
On Saturday, the spectators were regaled with another excellent and close menís 55 singles final with great shot making and court coverage between no. 1 seed Wade Frame and no. 2 Jonathan Bates.† Wade won 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6 -2 after mentioning that he played a very shaky second set tie-breaker. Unfortunately for the spectators, a really tight 65 menís doubles match was played on court 6, too far away to be appreciated.† Peter Allen and Tommie George upset no. 1 seeds George Deptula and George Ulrich 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.† This reporter had a birdís eye view of some great volley exchanges at the net between these two teams as I was playing on the adjacent court 5.† All three sets were nail biters. There was plenty of lobbing, scurrying back, then up, more lobs, half volleys, cries of ďyoursĒ, ďmineĒ as each team charged the net with several long points for doubles play.† Peter and Tommie went on to win the tournament in this 3 team round robin.† They defeated two HTC members Peter Pasciucco and George Petrykevych in their other match 7-5, 6-3.
Men's 55 singles winner with finalist Jon Bates
Tournament helpers Brad Blanchard and Nancy Bacall with 55 doubles finalists Jon Bates & Harlan Stone and winners Chris Holmes & Wade Frame
Men's 65 singles finalist George Deptula with winner Rick Klaffky
Men's 65 doubles winners Tommie George & Pete Allen (Brad in the middle)
Women's 60 singles finalist Denise Brosseau with winner Lynn Kaufman (Nancy in the middle)
Women's 60 singles consolation winner with finalist Rollie Ernst (Brad in the middle)
In the menís 75 singles, both semi-finals were close.† No. 1 seed George Lynch outlasted Ray Brodeur 4-6, 7-5, 6-4.† George was a bulldog and refused to miss any shots when pressured by Ray on important points especially toward the end of the second and third sets.† In the other semis, Ken Miller gave it his all before succumbing to no. 2 seed Roy Anderson 6-4, 6-4.† In the 75 doubles, Roy and perennial partner Bob Dilworth, won the tournament defeating Miller and Mal Swanson 6-3, 7-5 and Dick Canepa and Lynch† 6-2, 6-1. †The consolation final was also a close one with Tom Larkin and Omer Menard defeating Miller and Swanson 7-6(5), 6-3.
In another tight semi-final, Denise Brosseau outlasted no. 1 seed Dorcas Miller 7-6 (6), 6-4 in the womenís 60 singles.† Compliments to Dorcas for her willingness to play down two age categories.††
On Sunday the dark clouds opened up just about a half hour before the final matches were to be played.† An initial short but heavy rain soaked the courts.† Joe Martin and his crew got out there as soon as the rain stopped and did their best to get the courts playable.† Joe announced that courts 9 and 10 would be playable in a few minutes but lo and behold, more rain came and this time steadily so Ben Bishop ordered all players to the Farmington Valley Tennis Center for indoor play.
It is rare when a player blitzes a tournament but that was what Paul Fein did in the menís 70 singles.† He bageled everybody.† Chris Bentley, Steve Sudarsky and Dan Wszolek all went down at love to Paulís marvelous racquet artistry.
Many finals were played indoors, where no. 1 65 menís singles seed and HTC member Rick Klaffky upheld his seed by defeating unseeded George Deptula in a close match 6-4, 7-5.† Roy Anderson, after losing a semi-final to George Lynch at the Clem Easton tournament in East Longmeadow a few weeks ago,† gained revenge winning the finals over† George 6-2, 7-6(3).† Wade Frame won again, this time in the 55 doubles with partner Chris Holmes, as they squeaked by Jon Bates and Harlan Stone 6-2, 7-6 (6).† Meanwhile, in the 70 doubles, Keith Butterfield and Dr. Mike Fenster crushed Hobey Hyde and Ray Brodeur 6-1, 6-1. The 80s singles saw no. 1 seed Bill Schmid fall to no. 2 Peter Reiss 6-3, 6-3 in a two hour match under very, very humid indoor conditions.† And finally in the only final to go three sets, in the womenís 60 singles HTC member Lynn Kaufman after dropping the first set in a tie breaker at 3, came back to defeat Denise Brosseau 6-3, 6-4.† In the womenís 60 singles consolation final, Liane Moses defeated Rollie Ernst 6-1, 6-4.
Men's 70 singles finalist Dan Wszolek with winner Paul Fein flanked by Brad and Nancy
Men's 70 doubles finalists Hobey Hyde & Ray Brodeur with winners Keith Butterfield & Mike Fenster flanked by Nancy and Brad
Men's 75 singles finalist George Lynch with winner Roy Anderson (Brad in middle)
Men's 75 doubles winners Bob Dilworth & Roy Anderson with finalists George Lynch & Dick Canepa (Brad in the middle)
Men's 75 doubles consolation finalists Mal Swanson & Ken Miller with winners Omer Menard and Tom Larkin
Men's 80 singles winner Peter Reiss with finalist Bill Schmid (Nancy in the middle)
There was one problem that prevailed throughout most age categories.† Far too many players failed to show up to play in the consolations.† Many first round losers want to play in the back-draw.† They want their moneyís worth, they want to earn some ranking points and most importantly they want to compete.† Unfortunately there are also many first round losers who ignore this part of the tournament.† In the 55 singles, only 2 of 5 players competed in the back-draw.† In the 65 singles, nobody played.† In the 70 singles, only one match.† In the 75s nobody played, same for the 80s.† In the womenís 60 singles, 3 out of 4 first round losers played consolation matches.† The 75 doubles was perfect.† Four teams signed up to play and both first round losers played a consolation finals.† Ben Bishop, the tournament director, did his best to entice first round losers to get involved but to no avail.† This problem needs to be addressed by USTA New England.
The sandwiches, various salads, the varieties of fruit, snacks, chocolate chip cookies, delicious cupcakes, crackers and cheese passed around to players and spectators from volunteers, soda, beer and wine made available throughout the tournament was most appreciated by the players. Kudos go out to the Hartford Tennis Club, its volunteers and staff for putting on an excellent tournament.
Watching the great play while eating snacks and having some drinks