On December 2, 2013, that long awaited day finally came: the return of pro tournaments to the Tennis & Racquet Club in Boston. Of course, as most of you know, for the last few years the T&R has been unable to host tournaments due to the possibility of rain or snow which used to find its way onto our court, sometimes forming Lake Tambour. Those days are clearly over for us now. The court was tight as a drum and, in fact, was a bit warmer than it used to be. Thanks again to all those involved in the roof project!
The National Open is a tournament for USA-based pros and top-ranking amateurs. This year, most of the more talented pros were in attendance. Two glaring exceptions were Tim Chisholm, who had been away recently at the British Open, and James Stout, who is focusing on his racquets game (he is the world champion, after all). Nonetheless, we still had the #1 and #3 world ranked players, Camden Riviere and Steve Virgona. Other pros participating were third-seeded Barney Tanfield, fourth-seeded John Lumley, T&R pro Tony Hollins, Tuxedo’s Josh Dodgson, and Newport’s Rich Smith. Several T&R amateurs stepped up to the plate, as well: Andy Roberts, George Bell, Shawn Herlihy, Jeff Horine, Matt Porter, and Jeremy Wintersteen.
Play commenced on the afternoon of December 2 and proceeded largely as expected until the Hollins/Wintersteen match. Although Tony won it, Jeremy put up a serious fight with a number of games going to multiple deuces. The Porter/Horine match was also a crowd pleaser at 3/6, 6/0, 6/1. The next day, when the quarter-finals were played, the club hosted a wonderful dinner while all the pros were still in town. Cam and Steve won their quarters conceding only one game each to their respective opponents. The Lumley/Smith match was a close one at 6/5, 6/3 with Lumley prevailing. Rich has really stepped up his play this past year. And, in a T&R pleasing upset, Hollins defeated third seed Tanfield 5/6, 6/4, 6/3. Tony seemed pretty dejected after the first set but ramped up his play in the second and fought his way to win it. In the third set, it looked like Tanfield injured himself and had resulting mobility issues. Too bad, as this match saw both men dig deep.
In the semis on Wednesday, Cam defeated John Lumley pretty soundly, though Lumley shows much promise and has many years to improve his game. As expected, Virgona advanced against Hollins, but not without exerting great effort. Tony’s game has improved quite a bit since last year!
The final night pitted the number one player in the world, Camden Riviere, against the number three player, Steve Virgona. The match start was a bit of a surprise. Cam blazed through the first set in around twenty minutes, not allowing Steve a game. Tony Hollins’s match reporting follows:
“A confident Steve was fresh off a British Open singles victory at the Queens Club, London where he had defeated world #4 Bryn Sayers in the final. The match was set to be a good one!
“Camden came out on fire, soaking up all of the pace Steve was bringing at him. His precise floor game and anticipation took Cam to a 6/0, 2/0 lead. Steve responded and we found the match at 4/4. After two tight games Cam closed out the set 6/4.
“The third set was nip and tuck. Steve started to hit his targets and took a 5/4 lead . . . it looked like we could be heading to a fourth set. After a long deuce/ad game, Cam tied it up at 5/5. Cam started this game at the service end. He was zoned in and quickly took a 40/0 lead. Steve set a chase better than 1 and regained the service end. But it wasn’t enough . . . Cam closed out the match at 30/40 winning the National Open 6/0, 6/4, 6/5.”
On behalf of the entire T&R, I would again like to thank those who contributed to the roof project and the return of serious tennis to the Club. Thanks also to Tony Hollins, Jimmy Burke, Tom Dobbins, Janice Pearson and the rest of the T&R staff. Also a special thanks to Jeremy Wintersteen for organizing the tournament.
T&R Tennis Co