On January 12th, Mike Gooding and James Stout of New York Racquet & Tennis Club visited the Racquet Club of Philadelphia to complete the home and home series between these two USCTA National League teams. The Philadelphia team was looking to pick up some points on their home court after being defeated 5-2 in the match at NYR&T against the defending NL champs. With a slightly injured Rob Whitehouse marking, the first match had Mike Gooding facing off against Barney Tanfield. The first set was about close as it gets with neither player getting up by more than 2 games. Barney had a 5-4 lead but the experienced Gooding climbed back and took the set 6-5. Tanfield knew he was playing well and could still win and it showed in the 2nd set. Barney started hitting targets and stayed very consistent on the floor to take the second set 6-5. After a quick break between sets, the firing back and forth resumed. Both players were crushing shots into the dedans and taking advantage of any sitting ball they could. In the end, with the home crowd behind him, Barney continued his amazing play to win the match 5-6, 6-5, 6-2 to give the Philadelphia team the early points lead.

The second match was a battle of the # 1’s. James Stout of NY squared off against Steve Virgona. The home crowd was still buzzing from Tanfield’s victory and Steve did not disappoint to keep the energy alive. The speed, agility and racquet skills of these two amazing athletes made for a very entertaining match. The rests lasted for minutes on end and the shots these gentlemen were making seemed impossible to even the best amateur players watching. Stout could not quite figure out how to consistently win points against Virgona on his home court. The match felt a lot closer than the 6-1, 6-1 score.

The doubles action to close the night continued the strong play from the Philadelphia team. Virgona, getting ready to defend his World Doubles Championship, seemed ready for the practice and came out firing missiles into the targets. Tanfield kept up the momentum from his earlier win to assist Steve with the firepower. Gooding and Stout put up one heck of a fight but the home team was determined to sweep the match taking the doubles 8-3.

It was a fantastic night all around and the home crowd was very pleased to see such strong play. The enthusiasm for the team and sport continues to blossom and the buzz is continuing to grow leading up to the US Open this spring. We look forward to hosting the best players in the world and hope you can join us for an amazing week of tennis.

For up-to-date season standings