– By Jeremy Wintersteen, USCTA Club Representative & Eliminator Match Committee member

With over 130 people in attendance, Tim Chisholm and Ruaraidh Gunn squared off at the Tennis & Racquet Club in Boston, Massachusetts on February 16, 2006 for the First Eliminator Match of the 2006 World Championship series.  The record-setting tennis crowd wondered how T&R member Tim Chisholm would make out. 

Gunn, a senior professional at the Royal Melbourne Tennis Club in Australia was the higher seed and was favored after having beaten both Steve Virgona and World Champion Rob Fahey to win the Australian Open and also winning the Victorian Open.  Chisholm had lost several matches in prior contests and, being out of the day-to-day professional playing ranks; people wondered how he’d fare.  Additionally, Gunn showed up in Boston a week prior to the match with Rob Fahey as his practice partner.  Odds makers had a tough time calling this one but the word on the street gave the edge to Gunn.  Would Chisholm regain his old form or would Gunn continue his recent streak of big wins and improved world ranking?    

The first set saw a slightly tight and nervous Chisholm, who made a number of unforced errors.  The two exchanged games to three-all.  Gunn retrieved very well and played a consistent floor game while some of Chisholm’s forces missed their mark or hit the net cord.  After a long exchange, Chisholm hit the grille to go up 5/3.  He then went up 40/15 but Gunn was able to claw back to deuce.  After two successful tambour defenses by Gunn, Chisholm’s third shot to the tambour clinched the first set 6/3.

After Gunn took the first game of the second set, Chisholm seemed to find his groove and won the next 4 games.  As the set wore on, Chisholm got more and more comfortable and gained control of the match.  He more than matched Gunn’s floor game, consistency, and retrieving and then brought offense, forces, severe cut, and pace when needed.  The T&R crowd cheered loudly when Chisholm won the second set 6/2 on a backhand winner to the base of the tambour.

With Chisholm picking up momentum and feeding off the boisterous home crowd behind him, Gunn began to make more errors.  Not able to exploit any weaknesses, Gunn began forcing more and his body language showed that the tide of the match had turned.  Chisholm got stronger and at one stretch won three out of four points on return of serve winners.  Chisholm won the third and final set 6/2 with a shot to the grille and a yell and clenched fist to the delight of the home crowd.

              Chisholm and Gunn put on a fantastic display of tennis and the T&R crowd was not disappointed.  Chisholm’s vastly improved fitness level was clearly evident and was due to his training and fitness program with practice partner Josh Bainton.  Thanks go Jimmy Burke as Match Marker, Ken Jacobs as International Real Tennis Professional Association Representative and Match Referee, and to all at the Tennis & Racquet Club who helped to successfully host the Eliminator Match First Leg.

Match Statistics

1 hour and 31 minutes (7:52pm start – 9:26pm finish)

1st Set (36 minutes):

Grilles – RG 3, TC 5

Winning Galleries – RG 0, TC 1

Dedans – RG 2, TC 3

2nd Set (33 minutes):

Grilles – RG 5, TC 3

Winning Galleries – RG 0, TC 0

Dedans – RG 3, TC 9

3rd Set (22 minutes):

Grilles – RG 0, TC 2

Winning Galleries – RG 0, TC 0

Dedans – RG 6, TC 2


Grilles – RG 8, TC 10

Winning Galleries – RG 0, TC 1

Dedans – RG 11, TC 14