Sunday was the final day of the 38th annual New Year Classic, a Tennis BC sanctioned tournament running from Jan. 8 to 14 at Oak Bay Recreation Centre. Newly installed LED lights illuminated 172 players in 226 matches during the two-week tournament that featured singles and doubles in a range of age and skill-determined categories.
“We have such a range,” said Simon Vickers, tennis program supervisor at Recreation Oak Bay. “We have the varsity players, the competitive players, the junior players, as well as the different age categories. It is a great community event. We have such strong local talent here.”
In one of the final matches of the tournament, Patrick Flint and Matthew Davis faced off in the Men’s Open Doubles against Adam Guenter, winner of the Men’s 5.0 Singles, and coach Art Hobbs.
Flint and Davis took the match and the trophy wearing shirts that read EAT MORE COOKIES.
Vickers was the victor in the Men’s 35 category, having his young son step forward in his place to accept the award.
“It was fun to get back into competitive tennis,” said Vickers. “It was great getting to play against James McCullough, as we played together in the Times Colonist Final 20 years ago. It is neat 20 years later to be back on court with him.”
Vickers, in his role as tennis program supervisor, pushes the social, friends and family aspects of tennis. His focus is on encouraging all ages and abilities to get involved. Having the variety of categories allows it to be a fun event for everyone.
“With the draws, it is set up so that you are going to have good matches,” said Vickers. “You want close matches. In a competitive play you never want a blowout.”
George Morfitt, who has been ranked No. 1 in Canada in tennis, squash and racquetball, played eight games over the tournament in both singles and doubles in the 65 and 75 age categories.
Vickers said Shalin Gehlet is someone to watch as he trains really hard, he’s dedicated and he has really improved over the last year or two. Gehlet played 11 games over the tournament in the men’s singles and doubles open divisions as well as the mixed doubles where he won with Camille Hemond, who used to play NCAA but is now back in Victoria attending UVic.
Elly Mckeague won the women’s 55 singles and is ranked No. 3 nationally in women’s 60+ singles and doubles.
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