The north and south came together this year to represent the US for the 53rd Bathurst Cup in February at the Holyport Real Tennis Club. Aiken’s Ben Cook and Rakesh Jasani and Boston’s Jeremy Wintersteen traveled to England to play in the tournament, which is now a bi-annual men’s amateur team competition between the Unites States, England, France, and Australia. The Bathurst Cup dates back to 1922 and sixteen players represented their countries this year. The tournament format is Davis Cup style – two singles matches followed by a doubles match and then reverse singles. The first to win three matches advances. The US has been in a little bit of a drought lately as we last won the Bathurst Cup in 1969 when some brothers named Bostwick wore the stars and stripes. Unfortunately, the American drought continues.
The US drew Australia in the first round. Ben Cook took the first game of the 2013 Bathurst Cup against the world’s top ranked amateur Kieran Booth but unfortunately that would be his last. Jeremy Wintersteen then faced off against Bret Richardson but also lost in straight sets. In the doubles, Rakesh Jasani and Cook squared off in an elimination match against Booth and Richardson. The Aiken duo got stronger as the match went on and almost took the third set but the US lost in straight sets. Australia prevailed in both of the reverse singles so won 5-0. On the other side of the bracket, England defeated France 5-0, setting up an Australia – England final, a repeat of the 2011 Bathurst Cup in New York.
The US – France consolation round was an exciting one. Wintersteen and Cook both lost their first two sets but fought back to even the matches at two sets all. Wintersteen tired at the end of his contest and Cook made some unforced errors so the French prevailed in two five setters. The doubles featured Cook & Jasani vs. Peio Sarlangue (Bordeaux) and Florian Reinaud (Paris). Like the singles, this would also go the distance but would be even closer. Both teams traded match balls in the fifth set but the French managed to covert their third match ball. In the rubber match of the consolation (ouch), the US split their matches so the French won 4-1 and took third place. If there was to be any solace for the third place contestants, the long US –
France matches made a total mess of the schedule!
The England – Australia final was a good one and spectators were treated to fantastic tennis. The first two matches were split as Aussie Kieran Booth came from behind to beat Conor Medlow and Jamie Douglas beat Australian Bathurst veteran Mike Happell who retired at the end of the fourth set after nearly converting a match point in the third set. The doubles was exciting and featured Richardson & Booth vs. Peter Wright & Medlow. The Australians got better as the match went on and Booth’s floor and forcing game along with Richardson’s volleys were too strong for the Brits. The following reverse singles match featured a great contest between Douglas and Booth. Douglas fought hard and pushed Booth but Australia again got better as the match progressed. With a victory yell at match point to his cheering teammates in the dedans, Booth closed it out three sets to one for Australia’s successful Bathurst Cup defense.
Holyport did a great job as the Tennis & Rackets Association’s host club. All players enjoyed their time and Holyport professionals and members were welcoming and friendly throughout the week. Holyport members billeted players and it was great to see players and spectators watching the various matches and rooting on their fellow players. Good sportsmanship was prevalent and a nice tournament dinner took place on the last night at a local watering hole.
40, 9, 4, 0. What do these numbers mean? Forty Bathurst Cups for England, nine for the US, four for Australia, and zero for the French. The US has won in 1924, 1926, 1927, 1948, 1949, 1958, 1960, 1966, and 1969. When will the US get to double digits? Using the current state of international amateur competition as a barometer, we have A LOT of work to do. In addition, the French have improved considerably so that makes our quest more challenging. How’s this for a newsflash? Dateline: 2019 Bathurst Cup from Court Tennis Charleston – US squad consisting of new players from Chicago and Charleston takes the eleventh Bathurst Cup for the USA!
The Bathurst Cup is a great competition with a lot of tradition. It embodies the best qualities of our sport. We were honored to represent the United States and many thanks to the USCTA for sponsoring this year’s team. Australia is hosting the 2015 Bathurst Cup. Will the Aussies threepeat? Training has begun.
2013 Bathurst Cup Match Results
Holyport Real Tennis Club – Holyport, England
February 15-22, 2013
USA vs. Australia
Kieran Booth def. Ben Cook 6/1, 6/0, 6,1
Bret Richardson def. Jeremy Wintersteen 6/2, 6/1, 6/1
Booth & Richardson def. Cook & Rakesh Jasani 6/3, 6/0, 6/5
Mike Happell def. Ben Cook 6/1, 6/2
Mike Williams def. Jeremy Wintersteen 6/1, 6/2
Australia wins 5-0
England vs. France
Jamie Douglas def. Peio Sarlangue 6/1, 6/1, 6/1
Conor Medlow def. Tim Batten 6/0, 6/2, 6/4
Peter Wright & Alistair Lumsden def. Sarlangue & Florian Renaud 6/4, 6/0, 6/1
Douglas def. Antoine Debrulle 6/0, 6/1
Wright def. Eduard Petitcollot 6/0, 6/1
England wins 5-0
Third Place Match – USA vs. France
Renaud def. Wintersteen 6/3, 6/5, 4/6, 2/6, 6/3
Sarlangue def. Cook 6/5 6/4, 4/6, 5/6, 6/2
Sarlangue & Renaud def. Cook & Jasani 6/4, 3/6, 4/6, 6/2, 6/5
Wintersteen def. Dubrulle 6/1, 6/5
Renaud def. Jasani 6/3, 6/1
France wins 4-1
Final Match – Australia vs. England
Douglas def. Happell 4/6, 5/6, 6/5, 6/5, retired
Booth def. Medlow 6/2, 2/6, 6/5, 6/1
Booth & Richardson def. Wright & Medlow 6/2, 5/6, 6/2, 6/5
Booth def. Douglas 6/5, 3/6, 6/3, 6/4
Medlow def. Williams 6/2, 6/4