The Tennis and Racquet Club of Boston hosted the first annual Sears Cup Tournament in honor of Richard Dudley “Dick” Sears (October 16, 1861 – April 8, 1943). Sears started his career in “Lawn Tennis.” There he was undefeated in the U.S. Championships. He won the first of his seven consecutive titles in 1881 while still a student at Harvard. In those days, the previous year’s winner had an automatic bye into the final. Thus, in 1881, beginning with the first round, he went on an 18-match unbeaten streak that would take him through to the 1887 championships, after which he retired from the game. It wasn’t until 1921 that his record was ever beaten in “Lawners.” After giving up playing “lawn tennis,” Sears focused on the court tennis court. In 1892, he won the U.S. Court Tennis singles title, making him the first U.S. Champion in both Lawn Tennis and Court Tennis.
The festivities kicked off on Friday Night with a BBQ held in the courtyard of the club (more affectionately known as the parking lot in the back alley) and in Court Four (also known as The Members’ Bar). On Saturday, the Board of Governors hosted a delightful cocktail party, where we had the privilege to host John Sears, the grandson of our tournament namesake. John brought with him the 1892 U.S. Court Tennis Championship trophy, a silver pitcher, which his grandfather won. We all heard a little bit more about R.D. Sears and had the pleasure of drinking champagne poured from the pitcher.
Coupled with the social events, the level of play was quite impressive making this weekend a memorable one. 56 players representing 4 cities travelled to Boston: D.C., Philadelphia, Newport, and Detroit. There were 5 draws (Levels A, B, C, D, and E) made up of doubles teams, playing best of 3 sets. Play began Thursday night for a few local teams, but the tournament began in earnest on Friday afternoon and ran well into Sunday. The Team of T. Ashmore and Satake were just too tough to beat, winning the E draw over the very determined duo of Malak and Hamilton (in matching outfits, no less!). Paskerian and Verhave (a new player who played “lawners” at Kenyon College) took the D level trophy. In a surprise turn of events, Paskerian and Clancy took the C level division – I think Paskerian’s handicap might need a small adjustment. In an exciting three set final, the “Boston Strong Boys,”—Connors and Ursprung—defeated Breuer and Hoang, 6-2, 2-6, 6-5. And finally, in the A division, Gates and Spence parted with their forces and opted for a touch game which included many shots aimed at the galleries. This strategy proved too tough for the team of Winthrop and Curren.
Thanks to all who traveled to play in the Sears Cup and a big thanks to Tony, Camden, the Tennis committee, and The Board of Governors for everything they did to make the weekend a special one. We hope to see more people and friendly faces at next year’s Sears Cup in September. For now, Boston looks towards the Jimmy Knott and the Amateur Mixed Doubles Championships, Oct 12th-14th. Welcome back to the scene, Boston!