Hard Court Senior Slam at Yale Continues Slam Fun and Competition for a Second Year


The Hard Court NE Senior Slam at the site of the adult tournament of the year for 2010 at Yale was the first Slam event in 2011. The Yale facility cannot be beat with 22 outdoor courts and 8 great indoor courts, which had to be used on Saturday and Sunday (see picture at left).  There were a total of 105 entries, about the same as last year. Play started on Thursday June 9 with age categories 70 and over. Thursday was the hottest day of the tournament with temperatures in the 90s with high humidity but these super seniors coped very well. This was especially true in a mens 80 singles match, with Marvin Sears losing a long three setter to Henry Blodgett 2-6, 6-1, 6-3.


Friday saw the start of the rest of the age groups. Mens 60 singles had the largest draw, with 19 entries. 1st seed Laurie Hammel won the singles but not without being tested – he had three 3 set matches on the way to the finals where he then defeated doubles partner George Deptula 6-2, 6-4. Some moaning was heard from Laurie about how hard it was go get through to the finals – too many three setters! One of these three setters was with George Ulrich who also had a long three setter in doubles against Laurie and George Deptula. George was playing very well but succumbed in both matches. There were also upsets as well. In the mens 50 singles, unseeded (but new 50) Russ Strong won a tough 3 set final against 1st seed David Cox 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. In the womens 50 singles, Carol Redden (aka Lipnick) dominated a greatly improved Leah Kadesch in the semis and went on to defeat Vicki Hibbard 6-1, 6-2 in an exciting final that seemed much closer than the score would suggest.


Leah Kadesh hitting a forehand

50 womens singles winner Carol Redden and finalist Vicki Hibbard

Leah after her loss to Carol Redden in the semis

50s mens singles finalist David Cox with winner Russ Strong

David Cox hitting a forehand

60 mens singles winner Laurie Hammel and finalist George Deptula


Mens 55 singles also saw upsets. Unseeded Robins Tien defeated 1st seed Phil Kadesch and then 2nd seed Wade Frame in the final 6-2, 7-6. In womens 70 singles, Dorcas Miller defeated Marjorie Bride, only to meet her again in the first round of the Women’s 60 singles.  Dorcas went on to win the 60 singles by defeating 2nd seed Nancy Aronson from NY.


55 mens singles finalist Wade Frame with winner Robins Tien

Robins Tien showing his stuff

60 womens singles finalist Nancy Aronson with winner Dorcas Miller


In mens 65 singles, 2nd seed Rick Klaffky defeated 1st seed Bob Dunlop 6-2, 6-3 in the final. In mens 70 singles, 3rd seed Wally Weld continued his recent tournament success by defeating Dag Williamson and George Lynch (a 3 setter) to get to the finals against 1st seed Roy Anderson. Roy stopped his run to win the 70 singles 6-2, 6-4. In mens 75 singles, 1st seed Bill Schmid defeated new 75 Mal Swanson 6-2, 7-5 to win. In 80 singles, there were three entries that played round robin and Henry Blodgett won his two matches to take the winners prize.


65 mens singles winner Rick Klaffky with finalist Bob Dunlop

70 mens singles winner Roy Anderson with finalist Wally Weld

75 mens singles finalist Mal Swanson with winner Bill Schmid




There was also a great human interest story at the tournament. Steve Campbell and Amjd Sheikh found each other again after 40 years. They played college tennis together at Columbia College. See picture – Steve Campbell is on the left and Amid Sheikh is on the right.





Friday night, there was a great party using the same caterers as last year. Again, Matt Fraenza was a great “master of ceremonies” for the drawing of door prizes donated by Wilson, Babalot, New Haven Open and USTA/NE. He first had the Millers come up and give some words as the originators of the Slam series for which they received Family of the Year in 2010 from USTA/NE. Ken spoke and mentioned that the it is planned to submit the 50, 60, and 70 age groups in both men and women at this tournament as a category II national next year. The other age groups would remain as NE tournaments and would be held again at Yale and at the same time at the NE hard court Slam.


The Party!


Doubles competition started on Saturday indoors due to bad weather.  Most matches on Sunday were also played indoors. However, no problem -- we played indoors in probably the best indoor tennis facility in New England.


In 50 doubles, 1st seeds Harlan Stone and Jonathan Bates successfully defended their win in 2010 defeating the unseeded team of Stewart Hudson and Carl Norbeck 7-5, 6-2. Hudson and Norbeck beat 2nd seeds Robins Tien and Jeff Gola in the semis. The 55 doubles final was reminiscent of last year as 1st seeds Wade Frame and Phil Kadesch again had a long three setter and prevailed over Kimm Fisher and Richard Makepeace on the same indoor court as last year, this time 0-6, 6-2, 6-4. This year Fisher and Makepeace were known and were the 2nd seeds whereas last year they were unseeded.


In mens 60 doubles, 1st seeds Laurie Hammel and George Deptula prevailed over 2nd seeds John Fournier and Derek Lowe 6-4, 6-4 after Hammel and Deptula prevailed in the semis in the aforementioned tough 3 setter with George Ulrich and his partner Bill Busiek.  There were only three mens 65 doubles teams and they played round robin. The long time team of Ken Wall and Dave Fuller won their two matches to win the 65 doubles crown.


Mens 50 double winners Harlan Stone and Jonathon Bates with finalists Stewart Hudson and Carl Norbeck

Mens 55 doubles finalists Kimm Fisher and Richard Makepeace with winners Wade Frame and Phil Kadesch

Mens 60 doubles winners Laurie Hammel and George Deptula with finalists John Fournier and Derek Lowe


In mens 70 doubles, unseeded team Mal Swanson and Ken Miller survived a 2 ½ hour three setter over 70 singles finalist Wally Weld and Mac Farmer 6-7, 6-2, 6-3.  Two hours later, they played Miller’s long time doubles partner Ray Brodeur and his club doubles partner Hobie Hyde. Ray and Hobie won their semis by default (so were rested) and defeated Swanson and Miller in the final 7-5, 6-2. There were only two mens 75 doubles teams and Biltz and Easton won by a default over Blodgett and Schneider.


In womens 50 doubles, Carol Redden continued her dominance winning the doubles with partner Debra Turner over Leah Kadesh and Nancy Hamilton 6-2, 6-0. In womens 60 doubles, there were three teams and the long time team of Ruby Curtis and Carolyn Fournier won their two matches to take the prize – however, they struggled in their match against Janet Clay and Sharon Edwards in a tough three setter 6-7, 6-1, 6-4.




Thanks to all that made the tournament a success – but special thanks to TD Todd Nicholson who ran a very smooth tournament and also to referee Tom Fayed who again showed his professionalism. See picture at left – from left to right, Matt Fraenza, Tom Fayed and Todd Nicholson. Tom provided a report about the tournament which is printed below.








Tom Fayed’s Referee Report


Once again, it was a pleasure to have worked with all of you last week at Yale. Here are my observations regarding this event.


The overwhelming tone over the four days of this event was one of congeniality and respect amongst the players. This is not to take anything away from their serious competition during the matches.


Regrettably, there was one incident of player misconduct that resulted in a default. The remaining players exhibited the highest level of sportsmanship.


To everyone's credit, in over four days of play there were no overrules. The competitors were generous with their line-calls, often playing close balls that were out.


My biggest challenge was in the area of foot faults. As an official required to call foot faults as they occur, I was met with several cases of denial and at least one case of downright anger.


The Tennis Rule Book describes a foot fault as follows:

 When does a foot fault occur?

A player commits a foot fault if, after the player's feet are at rest but before the player strikes the ball, either foot touches:

It has been said that of all the strokes that challenge a tennis player, correcting a foot fault is by far the easiest.  Players need to position themselves far enough behind the baseline to allow for movement of their feet.


Why then do many players refuse to adjust? 


Vic Braden has been quoted as saying that a player knowingly commiting a foot fault is the same as that player calling an "in" ball "out". 


Earlier I reported about the high degree of sportsmanship within this group of senior players.  Fortunately, those who were observed foot faulting represent a minority within the group. Nevertheless, I am convinced that they can do a better job here. But it has to start with the player and not the official. It is time that they move past anger & denial to acceptance & adjustment.


My final observation has to do with use of the Coman Tiebreak.  It is identical to the regular 7-Point Tiebreak except that the players change ends after the first point, then after every four points and at the conclusion of the tiebreak. For Doubles, it guarantees that each player will serve from the same end as they served from throughout the set.

For both Doubles & Singles, if the prevailing outdoor conditions of sun and wind are severe at one end of the court, it results in each team spending no more than 4 points at that 'bad' end instead of the traditional 6.

One down side is that, until players get used to Coman, they sometimes forget to change ends when they should. If adopted for Newport, I would be happy to assist the players transition to Coman. Regarding implementing Coman at a future event, you should be aware of USTA Regs E.c:


Any Tournament electing to use the Coman Tiebreak Procedure must announce the election before the start of tournament play. The Coman Tiebreak Procedure may be used with any Tiebreak.


I believe that this group of players is ready for Coman.


The NE Senior Slams have quickly become amongst my favorite tournaments to officiate. I look forward to working with everyone again at the NE Senior Grass Slam at Newport in September. 




Tom Fayed