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Florida Blog: USTA 6.0 Super Sr. League Nationals Tennis

April 26, 2013 08:58 AM
60-super-senior-champs-nationals-for-2012-webDaytona Beach 6.0 Super Senior team captain Bruce Cotten blogged during his team's championship effort at the USTA League 6.0 Super Senior National Championships, held April 19-21, 2013 at the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex in Surprise, Ariz.
 
This tournament began in 2012 with local and sectional competition. This is why it is called a 2012 Championship even though the National Tournament was held April 19-21, 2013. This is the last of the Super Senior level for 60 and over. From now on the oldest level that goes to a National Tournament will be 55 and over. So this Tournament was special.
 
It was held in Surprise, Az., which is a great suburb in West Phoenix where the Arizona Diamondbacks play. The facility has the same number of courts as the FTC with a sunken Championship Court in front of a nice clubhouse. They are hard like all the other courts where Nationals are held. I think most of the Nationals this year are going to be held there.
 
This is my fourth trip to Nationals, once with a Super Senior team in 2007 that Dan Carter captained and held in Mobile, Al. On the final day it rained all day and finals were played in a 3 court indoor facility and we came in second. I think that was probably the last time they held Nationals other than in the desert. Bob Allen and Dave Gallant were on that team and got bumped up to 3.5. I learned a lot from Dan.
 
Two other times we have had teams that qualified for the Super Senior Nationals, but for one reason or another did not go. We did go to two Senior Tournaments, 50 and over, including last October. With the exception of Jamie Boyle, all of our players were over 60 and I thought we still had a shot at it.
 
This year I knew we had a great team and I really would have been disappointed if we did not win it all. We qualified 10 players, including Ken Gaines and Jim Zeisler, who could not make the trip. That left us with eight really experienced players and I think it is the perfect number to go because normally if you do not win your flight you only play three matches. That is what happened to us in October.
 
This tournament we got a big break, the number of teams scheduled to qualify was eight and the team from the Southern region had a problem and could not get the 6 required players to make the trip. That meant each team had to play all of the other six teams and naturally the team with the best record would be the winner. If there was a tie it would be individual wins, next would be least sets lost, next least games lost. If still tied a vote by officials. This also meant we would have to play two matches a day for three days with temperatures in the low 90s on hard courts.
 
Before each trip I got Dave Brown, I got this from Dan, or John Hudson to work out with us on hard courts. Our last two trips John worked out with us and he set it up with JJ, Jaquelin Johnson, who runs the show over at the courts on Nova at the Ormond facility. She runs a great exercise program that I had my daughter, Amy, attend and she gets great results. John uses her too.
 
John is tops in preparing a team to make a trip. All of the players thought it was worth the effort. He's great with the juniors, so why not the seniors. He is now the coach for Father Lopez's tennis team and I bet he will develop some great players.
 
I had three great teams and each were capable of winning #1, but this is how I lined them up. Remember a win in the #3 spot counts equal to a win in the #1 spot. It's not like in the GVTL (Greater Volusia Tennis League). In #1 I had Ron Vedova and Bill Shea. When I first met them they were playing for Halifax Plantation and they are now moving to Plantation Bay. They have playing together for years with the lefty, Bill, on the add side and Ron the deuce side. Ron is the leader and considering one leg is bone-on-bone, he moves unbelievably quick. He probably has the hardest hitting shots on our team. Bill likes to serve and volley and is a great poacher.
 
I consider the #2 spot the most important spot and feel if I can count on a win here I can easily win a match. I had our own Ned Rowley here with Garry Lane. Ned is probably the strongest player around. I captain 3 GVTL teams and believe he has played in every match we have had and noticed he has played in a total of 39 GVTL matches. As you can guess, Ned is the leader here and it sometimes takes a special player to compliment his game. Garry Lane is a special player who always tries to lift you up and a pleasure to play with. He plays at Plantation Bay and works out with Dave Brown and knows the game well.
 
In #3 I had Bill Masters from Ormond and Claude Bigot from Brandywine. I guess I will have to say Bill is the leader since he is a retired Rear Admiral, but Claude gets his two cents in too. I call Bill my money player because he seems to always come through on the big points. I have played with Claude for years and know when he gets on roll he is hard to stop.
 
The other two players were Roger King and me. Roger is another player that is a pleasure to play with and has made great strides in his play the last few years. He is another lefty and can play both sides. He has good wheels and I told him he has played his last match as a 3.0 in USTA.
 
Here are the results of our matches:
 
Friday - 7:30 a.m. Texas (Antonio)
#1 Ron and Bill S. - Won 2&0
#2 Ned and Garry - Won 0&0
#3 Bill M. and Claude - Won 1&1
 
I did not know what to expect, but expected more opposition from Texas as they normally have a good team. I did not get to see the matches as was watching other teams play. When I shook Ned's hand and congratulated him, he said I did not even see him play. I told him, "I didn't have to, besides Stephanie, who taught you all you know."
 
Friday - 12:00 p.m. Middle States (Hershey, Pa.)
#1 Ned and Garry - Won - 3&2
#2 Bill M. and Claude - Won -1-6, 6-2 Tie Breaker
#3 Bill S. and Roger - Won 3&0
 
Wanted to take it easy on Ron's leg so put Bill S. with Roger figuring two lefties would give them fits in #3. Watched Ned and Garry until felt they had things under control and went to #2 to see Bill M. and Claude and was surprised to see them down 5-1. Claude was serving from the sunny side and could not handle it. They switched sides for serving and Bill M. handled it well. In the hundreds of times I have seen Bill serve I cannot remember seeing him double fault. They had a big win, but were pretty tired so I told them to sleep late and show up at 1:30 p.m. for the 2:00 p.m. match Saturday.
 
Saturday - 7:30 a.m. - Intermountain (Boise, Id.)
#1 Ron and Bill S. - Won 3&0
#2 Ned and Garry - Won 0&1
#3 Roger and Bruce - Won 4&2
 
Had watched them play and knew would not be hard match, after all how good can a team be that has to play indoors all the time?
 
Saturday - 2:00 p.m. Pacific NW wild card (Eugene, Or.)
#1 Ron and Bill S. - Won - 7-5 and 6-4
#2 Ned and Garry - Won 2&3
#3 Bill M. and Claude - Won 1&0
 
Felt this was a critical match because the two Pacific teams looked strong and only had one loss each. Thought had one advantage because they had a close match with each other in a match just before this one. All three of their matches were close and their #2 team had won in a tie-breaker. It was a windy day and both of their players hit good top-spin lobs. Ned and Garry handled them well though and won easily.
 
The match I thought would be easy though was #1 and it was on an outside court where the windscreens did not block the wind because the fences were about double the distance from a normal court. Thinking back, although their team may have been tired they were use to playing in the wind that day since they had just played. We were behind in the first set, but managed to pull it out. The officials did a good job in setting up our matches so you could watch all three matches from one location.
 
Sunday - 7:00 a.m. Midwest (Indianapolis, In.)
#1 Ron and Bill S. - Won 7-6 and 6-4
#2 Ned and Garry - Lost - 6-3, 5-7 Tie-Breaker
#3 Bill M. and Claude - Won 2&3
 
This was our most critical match. They only had one loss and our next opponent only had one loss, so if we lost this one the pressure would really be on and our #1 team as it turns out would really be hurting.
 
Bill M. and Claude won relatively easily in #3, but Ned and Garry really ran into a hot and steady team. Both of our players had played in all the matches and it was taking its toll on Garry. It could have gone either way, but we lost in a tie-breaker. In the #1 match Bill S. was getting leg cramps and starting to struggle. He had trouble with cramps before and asked for mustard, of all things. His wife headed for McDonalds and everyone looked at each other.
 
We were behind and I forgot exactly when it happened, but Bill fell in one of their close range exchanges and everyone was concerned that he hurt himself. Everyone, but Ron. He yelled in a demanding manner, "Get up, get up, and Bill struggled putting on his hat while Ron managed to keep the rally going while Bill was looking for the ball. Amazingly they kept hitting the ball at Ron and he finally put the ball away winning the point. After letting Bill gather himself we finally won the match. You really had to be there to appreciate how it all happened.
 
That night we all laughed for about half an hour describing how it all looked. For years those two will probably talk about it when they get together. This win set us up so that even if we lost all of our matches with Pacific NW we would win the tournament, because we were way ahead of them in matches won and Midwest now had two team losses.
 
Sunday -12:30p.m. Pacific NW (Tacoma, Wa)
#1 - Garry and Bruce - Lost 1&2
#2 - Bill M. and Claude - Won 2-6,6-2 Tie-breaker
3# - Ned and Roger - Won 3&4
 
Even though we had won the tournament I wanted to win the match, so I set our lineup at three, one and two. Hoping they would set theirs at the regular one, two and three. When we played I thought they set their lineup the same way because their #1 team looked pretty bad even though they beat us 1 and 2. But when I looked at their record they had started as #1 three times and won twice.
 
The match came down to the #2 match and they had a player that was close to a 4.0 player that dominated our players in the first match, but I really think the experience of our players came through as the other team started choking and making critical errors as the match went on.
 
Five of the wives came and we all had been together in October so it was fun getting together again. Judy with Ron, Diane with Bill S., Grace with Bill M, Stephie with Ned and Liz with Roger.
 
Bruce Cotten
 
 
 

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