Prince’s Court welcomed players from Boston (Connors & Stockton), New York (Ziatyk), and from parts unknown (Bender) to the USCTA Level Championships for players with a handicap of 40-49, The Burke Cup. It became quite clear from the first match of the tournament that William Connors (affectionately dubbed “The Boston Strong Boy” by Temple) routed a travel-weary Mike Ziatyk and sent notice to the rest of the field that he was on a mission and would not be denied. The question was, who would have the game to stop him? Through many highly competitive matches over the course of the weekend, a challenger emerged, a Prince’s Court dark horse by the name of Greg Lysko.
Connors began the Sunday Final with more of the same, hitting low direct laser forehands consistently at Lysko’s feet, not giving Greg enough time to react and ergo jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead which was then extended to a 5-3 lead and inevitably the first set, 6-3. I’ve seen Lysko play matches before in our League Pennant, he has a solid game and you can tell he is a student of what is happening on court. However, in this case, he just seemed to be playing a player who is slightly better, the difference between a 41 and a 47. All of that changed with the second set. More spectacular play pleased the onlookers as the players were equally trading blows and at 3-3 in the second set, it appeared that this see-saw set would continue until a 5-all deciding game. However, Lysko knew something we didn’t know. He had another gear. At 3-3 in the second set, Lysko went on a tear with incredible retrieving and defense, waiting until the right moment presented itself and then attacked with lethal consequence. This led him to take the second set, to the raised eyebrows of the gallery delighted at the drama being created.
The third and final set continued Lysko’s winning ways with Greg going up 4-2, however never count out a champion. Connors, a past USCTA Level champ I believe, was determined not to let this one get away, as he had traveled too far and played to many matches to just give up the title. There were points of the highest quality in the closing games and members who had just walked in were shocked to learn that these players had such a high handicap. The Boston Strong Boy fought in true Heavyweight Title Fight fashion – tooth and nail, with everything he had, but on this day the Dark Horse caught him with a surprise KO. Lysko wins 3-6 6-3 6-4.