Starting on July 10th, the Boston Tennis and Racquet Club was delighted to host the Van Alen, Clothier and Limb Cups; international team junior competitions between the USA, UK and Australia.
This is only the second time that the three tournaments have been played concurrently at one location and the first time this format has been hosted in the USA. The idea makes a lot of sense in terms of travel between the countries and also makes for a week long spectacle of the best junior players from around the world.
The format for each tournament included four singles matches and four doubles matches (twenty-four between the three events). If one of the tournaments ended in a 4-4 tie then the #2 and #3 players from both teams would play a deciding doubles match.
The week started with the Van Alen Cup (UK vs. USA). Coming into the event the UK were clear favourites with the four Brits playing off single figure handicaps. This was a great experience for the Americans, whose handicaps were in the twenties, and allowed them to test their skills against strong opposition. Dylan Ward put in a notable performance in the Singles against Robert Shenkman, eventually losing in a tight 6-3 6-4 match. Although the Americans put up a good fight, the Brits took the day 5-0.
At the close of the day’s play, the players and spectators moved to the Hamlen Room for the “Welcoming Cocktail Party”. Dick Brickley opened the speeches, welcoming the players to Boston and the T&R. Howard McMorris then spoke to the history of the Clothier Cup; Jimmy Van Alen talked about his Great Uncle’s drive to start the Van Alen Cup; Greg Moran, the manager of the Australian team, then gave a history of the Limb Cup and George Limb’s contributions to Royal Tennis in Australia. Players and spectators alike then faced the four flags above the tennis court for the singing of the national anthems.
It was clear already that there was a strong bond between the players, both within their own teams and comradery with their opponents. This was useful, as most of the players were staying at a large AirBnb provided by the associations which slept twelve.
Day two saw the Aussies do battle with the Brits in the Limb Cup. The Australians faired similarly to the Americans, dropping the first day 5/0. The match of the day was the #1 singles between Ed Kay (UK, 1.2 h’cap) and Michael William (AUS, 7 h’cap). The quality of tennis was extremely high with both player retrieving exceptionally well. After splitting the opening two sets 6-4, 4-6, Michael took a 2-0 lead in the third; it looked like Australia may claim their first match of the day! Unfortunately for Michael, it wasn’t to be as Ed dug in his heels and started to find his targets more frequently, eventually taking the set 6-2.
Day three was the conclusion of both the Limb and the Van Alen with three doubles matches remaining in both events. The Brits continued to press on, taking down any and all challengers who stepped onto the court with them and took both the Van Alen and the Limb Cups in a clean 8-0 sweep.
The rest of the week was dedicated to the Clothier Cup between the USA and Australia. On paper, the teams were evenly matched. This held true in the opening singles of the tie as Dan Sternberg, USA Captain, entered into a thriller with Richard Pagone of Australia. After a slow start Dan found himself down a set, 6-2. He steadied the ship early in the second and started to play more positively and finding himself at the service end more often. The second set never looked in doubt for team USA as Dan leveled the score with a 6/1 and then found himself 5-1 up with a match point. This game would eventually work its way to deuce and Richard, cheered on by the rest of team Australia, snuck through the game to bring it to 2/5. And then 3/5. But enough was enough for the USA as Dan closed out the match and took a 1/0 lead in the Clothier Cup, 2-6 6-1 6-3.
Erik Barker (USA) continued this trend as he took down John Moran (AUS), 6-3 6-4. Erik’s strong retrieval skills and match toughness kept the Aussie at bay, never allowing his opponent to take a firm lead in either set. 2-0 USA.
Dylan Ward wasn’t about to let his compatriots out do him as he made short work of Will Hoskin 6-1 6-0. Dylan’s tight railroad serves and strong squash movement didn’t allow for any openings for Will. 3-0 USA.
Noah Motz (USA) faced a tough challenge in Michael Williams (AUS) who, at 25 years old and playing off 7, was the favourite on paper over the 18 year old American who currently holds a handicap of 23.7. Noah took his game to the Australian and proved himself a tough opponent eventually falling 6-3 6-1 in a match that was closer than the score line suggested. 3-1 USA.
This marked the end of the first day of the Clothier Cup and the start of the second social event of the week. Jeremy Wintersteen had obtained twenty two seats for players and tournament organizers to head to Fenway Park for the Red Sox / Yankees show down. Jeremy has the unfortunate burden of being a Yankees fan and donned a cap with that particular logo; a bold move at Fenway. It was an incredible game, which ended 5-4 Boston, thoroughly enjoyed by the Brits and Aussies, for whom most had not been to a live game previously.
Final day’s play: The USA, holding a 3-1 lead going into the doubles, just needed two more matches to secure victory. This became ever more likely after the opening doubles match saw an upset victory for the US team of Noah Motz and Erik Barker (combined 23 h’cap) over Michael Williams and Will Hoskin (combined 11 h’cap), 6-1 6-2. The accurate forcing and incredible reaction volleys from the USA team allowed them to win comfortably. 4-1 USA, dormie 3.
This deflated the Australian team who now faced an uphill battle, needing to win out just to get to a draw. On the flip side, the US boys could now see the light at the end of the tunnel and wasted no time in getting there. Dylan Ward and Dan Stenberg (USA) faced off against Richard Pagone and John Moran (AUS). Dan patrolled the net cutting off any loose ball that came his way as Dylan was solid at the back of the court. The USA boys secured a Clothier Cup victory taking a 5-1 lead; the first victory in a decade and it came in decisive fashion.
Although the final two matches were dead rubbers, they were hotly contested, both going three sets. The USA continued their good run of form, winning out to make the final Clothier Cup standings 7-1.
We were fortunate to have Jimmy Van Alen and Morris Clothier in attendance to witness this historic victory and present the trophies on behalf of their families.
After a quick visit to Court 4, the players and tournament organisers headed out to the closing dinner. Again proving the comradery between the players, they naturally sat down with the teams interspersed amongst one another. Jim Zug, USCTA President, and Jane Lippincott, USCTPF Treasurer and co-chair of the Junior Player Development Program, were both in attendance representing the two associations that made the week possible. Jim spoke to the wonderful week of tennis and the US’ first hosting of the new three tournament format. The three captains then each gave a nice speech, thanking the club, opponents, assocations, and Ryan for his excellent streaming. Jeremy Wintersteen, USCTA board member, tournament committee member and former USCTA President, then kicked off the award ceremony, handing out the USCTA Gold and Silver medals to the players.
With the tournament over, the players then descended onto Court 4, the T&R’s club bar, to continue competing on the pool table and backgammon board. There was no official score keeping for this particular event.
A big thanks to the T&R tournament chairs, Andrew Roberts and Arthur, Club President, Dick Brickley, and staff, Tom Dobbins, Janice Pearson and Thomas Pickin for helping host a fantastic week of tennis.
Ryan Carey, yet again, produced a great streaming product, allowing people from the three countries to easily follow the action and support their players. Thanks, Ryan!
Huge congratulations to Dan Sternberg, Erik Barker, Dylan Ward and Noah Motz on a historic victory. This is also a huge testament to the efforts of the USCTA and USCTPF with all of their player development initiatives. This is the collective effort of many and it is exciting to see the progress that has been made.
Next target: the Van Alen Cup!
Edmund Kay (Captain)
Michael Williams (Captain)
Dan Sternberg (Captain)
Follow us on Twitter (@USCTA) for the latest results
Van Alen Cup
UK vs. USA
#4 Singles – Mullan (UK) def. Sternberg (USA) – 6-1, 6-0
#3 Singles – Giddins (UK) def. Barker (USA) – 6-1, 6-0
#2 Singles – Shenkman (UK) def. Ward (USA) – 6-3, 6-4
#1 Singles – Kay (UK) def. Motz (USA) – 6-1, 6-0
#1 Doubles – Kay/Shenkman (UK) def. Motz/Barker 6-0, 6-0
#2 Doubles – Giddins/Mullan (US) def. Ward/Sternberg (USA) 6-0, 6-0
#3 Doubles – Shenkman/Mullan (UK) def. Barker/Sternberg (USA) 6-1, 6-4
#4 Doubles – Kay/Giddins (UK) def. Motz/Ward (USA) 6-5, 6-1
UK vs. AUS
#4 Singles – Mullan (UK) def. Pagone (AUS) 6-1, 6-1
#3 Singles – Giddins (UK) def. Moran (AUS) 6-0, 6-0
#2 Singles – Shenkman (UK) def. Hoskin (AUS) 6-0, 6-0
#1 Singles – Kay (UK) def. Williams (AUS) 6-4, 4-6, 6-2
#1 Doubles – Kay/Shenkman (UK) def. Williams/Hoskin 6-3, 6-3
#2 Doubles – Giddins/Mullan (UK) def. Moran/Brand 6-0, 6-1
#3 Doubles – Kay/Giddins (UK) def. Williams/Moran (AUS) 6-0, 6-4
#4 Doubles – Shenkman/Mullan (UK) def. Hoskin/Brand (AUS) 6-0, 6-0
USA vs. AUS
#4 Singles – Sternberg (USA) def. Pagone (AUS) 2-6, 6-1, 6-3
#3 Singles – Barker (USA) def. Moran (AUS) 6-3, 6-4
#2 Singles – Ward (USA) def. Hoskin (AUS) 6-2, 6-0
#1 Singles – Williams (AUS) def. Motz (USA) 6-3, 6-1
#1 Doubles – Motz/Barker (USA) def. Williams/Hoskin (AUS) 6-1, 6-2
#2 Doubles – Ward/Sternberg (USA) def. Moran/Pagone (AUS) 6-1, 6-4
#3 Doubles – Motz/Ward (USA) def. Williams/Brand (AUS) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
#4 Doubles – Barker/Sternberg (USA) def. Hoskin/Pagone (AUS) 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
|10:00 AM||Team USA Practice|
|1:00 PM||Team UK Practice|
|4:00 PM||Team AUS Practice|
|Tuesday||Van Alen (UK vs. USA)|
|11:00 AM||UK #4 Singles||vs.||USA #4 Singles|
|12:15 PM||UK #3 Singles||vs.||USA #3 Singles|
|1:30 PM||UK #2 Singles||vs.||USA #2 Singles|
|2:45 PM||UK #1 Singles||vs.||USA #1 Singles|
|4:00 PM||UK #1 & #2 Doubles||vs.||USA #1 & #2 Doubles|
|Wednesday||Limb Cup (UK vs. AUS)|
|11:00 AM||UK #4 Singles||vs.||AUS #4 Singles|
|12:15 PM||UK #3 Singles||vs.||AUS #3 Singles|
|1:30 PM||UK #2 Singles||vs.||AUS #2 Singles|
|2:45 PM||UK #1 Singles||vs.||AUS #1 Singles|
|4:00 PM||UK #1 & #2 Doubles||vs.||AUS #1 & #2 Doubles|
|Thursday||Van Alen & Limb|
|11:00 AM||UK #3 & #4 Doubles||vs.||USA #3 & #4 Doubles|
|12:15 PM||UK #1 & #3 Doubles||vs.||USA #1 & #3 Doubles|
|1:30 PM||UK #2 & #4 Doubles||vs.||USA #2 & #4 Doubles|
|2:45 PM||UK #3 & #4 Doubles||vs.||AUS #3 & #4 Doubles|
|4:00 PM||UK #1 & #3 Doubles||vs.||AUS #1 & #3 Doubles|
|5:15 PM||UK #2 & #4 Doubles||vs.||AUS #2 & #4 Doubles|
|Friday||Clothier Cup (USA vs. AUS)|
|11:00 AM||USA #4 Singles||vs.||AUS #4 Singles|
|12:15 PM||USA #3 Singles||vs.||AUS #3 Singles|
|1:30 PM||USA #2 Singles||vs.||AUS #2 Singles|
|2:45 PM||USA #1 Singles||vs.||AUS #1 Singles|
|Saturday||Clothier Cup (USA vs. AUS)|
|11:00 AM||USA #1 & #2 Doubles||vs.||AUS #1 & #2 Doubles|
|12:15 PM||USA #3 & #4 Doubles||vs.||AUS #3 & #4 Doubles|
|1:30 PM||USA #1 & #3 Doubles||vs.||AUS #1 & #3 Doubles|
|2:45 PM||USA #2 & #4 Doubles||vs.||AUS #2 & #4 Doubles|
VAN ALEN CUP