08/03/14 7:52pm
08/03/2014 7:52 PM
Chris Ujkic delivered 17 winners on Sunday when he won his eighth straight men's singles title in the Bob Wall Memorial Tennis Tournament. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Chris Ujkic delivered 17 winners on Sunday when he won his eighth straight men’s singles title in the Bob Wall Memorial Tennis Tournament. (Credit: Garret Meade)

BOB WALL MEMORIAL TENNIS TOURNAMENT

Will Clemans hit some fantastic shots. He pulled out every trick in his book and played quite well in the Bob Wall Memorial Tennis Tournament men’s singles final. Afterward, he acknowledged that he had done just about everything he could. It was a performance he could feel good about.

And he lost, 6-2, 6-1, to Chris Ujkic.

The top-seeded Ujkic’s potent mix of athleticism, superb conditioning and tennis know-how enabled him to walk off with the men’s singles title for the eighth consecutive year on Sunday afternoon at Mattituck High School. (more…)

07/27/14 2:15pm
07/27/2014 2:15 PM
Kieran Corcoran returning a shot Sunday morning when he and Chris Ujkic won their eighth straight men's doubles title in the Bob Wall Memorial Tournament. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Kieran Corcoran returning a shot Sunday when he and Chris Ujkic won their eighth straight men’s doubles title in the Bob Wall Memorial Tournament. (Credit: Garret Meade)

BOB WALL MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT

It takes two tennis players to form a doubles team, but Kieran Corcoran and Chris Ujkic play as one.

They share a great understanding, talking, flashing signals and encouraging each other on the court. (more…)

07/31/13 10:00am
07/31/2013 10:00 AM

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Chris Ujkic is seeking his seventh straight title in the Bob Wall Memorial Tennis Tournament.

Steve Paskiewicz earned a place in the men’s singles final of the Bob Wall Memorial Tennis Tournament with a 6-0, 6-1 semifinal defeat of No. 3 seed Richard Anderson. Paskiewicz will play the No. 1 seed Chris Ujkic in Saturday’s final at Robert W. Tasker Park in Peconic. Ujkic is seeking his seventh straight men’s singles championship and 19th title overall in the tournament.

The women’s singles final will pit Rosemary Krocke against Kate Freudenberg.

Richard Chizever will get a chance to defend his title in the men’s 50-plus singles division thanks to his 6-0, 6-0 semifinal win over No. 3 Tom Cahill. No. 4 John Czartosieski recovered to take down Andrezej Kopala in a three-setter, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.

Saturday will be a busy day for Chizever. He will also play in the men’s 50-plus doubles final along with his partner, Bob Lum. The top-seeded pair will be matched against No. 2 Tom Cahill and Ed Lee. Chizever and Lum beat No. 4 Richard Brooks and Mark McDuffy, 6-0, 6-0, in the semifinals.

All of Saturday’s finals will be played at Robert W. Tasker Park, starting with the women’s singles final and the men’s 50-plus doubles match at 8 a.m. The men’s singles final is set for 10 a.m., with the men’s 50-plus singles contest to go at 11 a.m.

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07/24/13 8:00pm
07/24/2013 8:00 PM
GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Chris Ujkic has been the No. 1-ranked men's open singles player in the United States Tennis Association's eastern section for nearly two years.

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Chris Ujkic is two wins away from yet another singles title at the Bob Wall Memorial Tennis Tournament.

TENNIS: Chris Ujkic, the winner of six straight men’s singles titles in the Bob Wall Memorial Tournament, is two wins away from making it seven straight championships.

The top-seeded Ujkic has a semifinal opponent awaiting him in John Czartosieski. Ujkic advanced by virtue of a 6-0, 6-0 quarterfinal defeat of Greg Quist.

Czartosieski triumphed in three-setters in his last two matches, including a third-set tiebreaker over his quarterfinal opponent, fourth-seeded Eric Digons, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7-2). Prior to that, Czartosieski topped Richard Chizever, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.

The other semifinal will pit No. 2 seed Steve Paskiewicz against No. 3 Richard Anderson. They both scored two-set quarterfinal victories. Paskiewicz, an eight-time tournament champion and runner-up last year, blanked Southold High School standout Josh Robinson, 6-0, 6-0. Anderson was a 6-1, 6-4 winner over Jim Christy Jr.

Kate Freudenberg and Rosemary Krocke have a date to play in the women’s singles final. In the semifinals, Freudenberg beat Mary Beth Corazzini, 6-2, 6-0, and Krocke ousted Melissa Hickox, 6-2, 6-2.

Corazzini had reached the semifinals through an 8-10, 6-4, 6-4 defeat of Dina Rose.

The defending men’s 50-plus singles champion, Richard Chizever, secured a semifinal place thanks to his 6-0, 6-0 defeat of John Rosselli. Chizever has a tough task ahead of him, though. His semifinal opponent will be the fourth-seeded Czartosieski, a 6-0, 6-1 quarterfinal winner over Myron Kaplan.

The two other quarterfinals were two-set affairs as well. The No. 1 seed, Andrzej Kopala, proved too much for David Newmark, winning by 6-0, 6-0. No. 3 Tom Cahill got the better of Mike Greene, 6-2, 6-2.

One half of the men’s 50-plus doubles final has been booked. The second-seeded Tom Cahill and Ed Lee have claimed that spot with their 6-4, 7-5 victory over the No. 3 pair of John Gregory and Richard Suter.

The finals of the tournament, which is sponsored by TimesReview Newsgroup, are scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 3, at Robert W. Tasker Park in Peconic.

RUNNING: 5K run in Cutchogue The Fleet’s Neck Property Owners Association will sponsor a 5K run in Cutchogue on Saturday, Aug. 17. The run will begin at 9 a.m. A family 5K run/walk will kick off at 9:05 a.m. at Pequash Park, tucked away at the end of Pequash Avenue and West Road in Cutchogue. The course offers scenic views of Peconic Bay, creeks and wetlands. The event will help support the maintenance and restoration of the Fleet’s Neck Beach.

The registration deadline is Friday, Aug. 9. Pre-registration fees are $25 for runners ages 16 to 65 and $15 for runners under 16 or over 65. The day of race registration is $30.

For online registration, go to www.islandrunning.net. For more information, e-mail [email protected] or phone (631) 734-8027.

GIRLS LACROSSE: Carrera comes up big for LI Carolyn Carrera played for Team Long Island at the Brine Classic National Championships in Boyds, Md., earlier this month. Carrera, who will be entering her senior year at Riverhead High School, had 2 goals, 1 assist, 6 draw controls, 2 ground balls, 3 takeaways and won 8 of 10 draws in a 9-3 championship game win over New Jersey.

05/08/13 8:00am
05/08/2013 8:00 AM
GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Chris Ujkic has been the No. 1-ranked men's open singles player in the United States Tennis Association's eastern section for nearly two years.

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Chris Ujkic has been the No. 1-ranked men’s open singles player in the United States Tennis Association’s eastern section for nearly two years.

Say this about Chris Ujkic, he is a man of surprises.

Ujkic said he was only an average student when he attended Mattituck High School. He went on to graduate at the top of his class at Sacred Heart University (Conn.), summa cum laude. He has since scored in the 96 percentile on the law school admissions test and will attend New York Law this fall on a rare full scholarship. He currently works for the Manhattan law firm of Lackey, Hershman LLP.

As hard as it is to believe now, Ujkic, 24, said he was overweight when he was younger. A couple of months ago, he entered his first bodybuilding competition — and took first place!

As busy as Ujkic is, one might naturally assume that he sleeps like a log. Not true. “My sleep is horrendous,” he said, estimating that he gets only between four and a half to six hours of shut-eye a night.

And then there is something that is not nearly so surprising, but impressive nonetheless.

Ujkic was recognized last Wednesday as the No. 1 ranked men’s open singles player in the United States Tennis Association’s eastern section. He was presented with a trophy bearing his name and ranking at an awards ceremony at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Westbury. It is not the first time that Ujkic has been the section’s top-ranked player, but he said this is the longest he has held the ranking, nearly two years.

Fitness has been a part of Ujkic’s game ever since he reigned on Mattituck High School’s courts and then starred for Sacred Heart. He said he is fitter than ever and, as a result, unafraid to go for winners, knowing he can rely on his legs to outlast opponents should he fall behind.

“Fitness used to be my number one weapon, the speed around the court, my defense,” he said last week during a 71-minute phone interview. “Now I’m even fitter. I can fall back on fitness even more, can defend until those guys’ legs fall off.”

Ujkic’s life is a busy mix of tennis, law, nutrition and bodybuilding. All require hard work and commitment, and he is afraid of neither.

Last summer Ujkic’s tennis playing took a back seat to studying. He spent months with his head buried in law books, preparing for the biggest academic challenge of his life, the law school admissions test. He was undeterred by the difficulty. Ujkic describes his attitude as: “I can do whatever I want. There’s nothing that’s going to stop me.”

After passing the test, he applied to over 20 law schools before gaining the full scholarship from New York Law.

COURTESY PHOTO | Chris Ujkic posing with the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge in the background after grabbing first place in his first bodybuilding competition.

COURTESY PHOTO | Chris Ujkic posing with the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge in the background after grabbing first place in his first bodybuilding competition.

Ujkic, who lives in Astoria Park, undoubtedly knows more than most people about nutrition. He has read over 40 books on the subject and, referring to his younger days when he was overweight, “I’ve tried every diet under the sun.”

Ujkic said he eats a lot, but he eats healthy. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t allow himself a treat like ice cream every now and then. He does make room in his diet for one weakness: popcorn.

“I’m a popcorn addict,” he said.

Popcorn, he said, gives him energy. “That’s what I keep on telling myself at least,” he said.

Coupled with the dieting are the punishing, “masochistic” workouts Ujkic puts himself through.

Recently, Ujkic has tried bodybuilding, and enjoyed virtually immediate results. He entered a competition in March and, after two and half hours, walked away with the first-place trophy. “I happened to look like the judges wanted that day,” he said.

Ujkic is looking forward to another bodybuilding competition next month. He said he will be in the best condition of his life for that one.

“I’m kind of pushing myself so much harder in the gym,” he said. “I’m a little bit bigger and little bit more cut than I was the previous show.”

With all his activity, Ujkic keeps others updated on his latest developments through social media. He said he has 21,000 people following him on Twitter.

Ujkic said he keeps in mind the sacrifices family and friends have made for him as he tries to get the most out of life. He does have one complaint, though, a result of all his workouts and tennis matches. “My laundry sucks,” he said.

When he played for Mattituck, Ujkic was known for his enthusiasm for tennis and always being on the lookout for an opponent to play against. He said that enthusiasm remains.

Ujkic came within two matches of qualifying for the U.S. Open last year. In a United States Tennis Association qualifying tournament for the U.S. Open, Ujkic won three matches before being narrowly defeated by professional journeyman Mehdy Karbid of Morocco, 6-4, 7-5.

Undeterred, Ujkic said he will enter the qualifying tournament for the U.S. Open once again this year.

Many may know Ujkic as a standout tennis player, but there is much more to Ujkic than tennis. He is friendly, generous with his time and happy to dispense advice on nutrition and other matters.

“He’s one of a kind,” said Kieran Corcoran, a tennis player from Tenafly, N.J., and a lawyer who is Ujkic’s boss at Lackey, Hershman LLP and a friend. “He’s got a lot of bandwidth.”

Corcoran, who is 20 years Ujkic’s senior, has known him for about 11 years. He said Ujkic has self-confidence mixed with an eagerness to learn from others.

“He has a desire to be excellent, and that’s a genuine desire,” Corcoran said. “He has a fierce determination to do well.”

And, oh yeah, there is one more quality about Ujkic that stands out: He is relentless. “You can’t teach relentless,” said Corcoran.

Ujkic’s manner is conducive to making friends. “He’s a really nice guy and he’s very friendly without being obsequious or fake,” Corcoran said. “So people are attracted to him. People want to be around him and share in his sunshine.”

In the meantime, life is good for Ujkic. He said he will once again play in the Bob Wall Memorial Tennis Tournament this summer. He has won six straight men’s open singles championships and 18 titles overall (including men’s doubles and mixed doubles) in the tournament, which is sponsored by TimesReview Newsgroup.

“I’m playing a lot of tennis,” he said, “I’m eating a lot of food, and I’m very excited about eating popcorn tonight.”

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07/18/12 8:00pm
07/18/2012 8:00 PM

TENNIS: Ujkic rolls in opener Chris Ujkic, the defending men’s singles champion in the Bob Wall Memorial Tennis Tournament, opened the tournament with a routine 6-0, 6-0 defeat of Andrew Young recently. Earlier, Young had dispatched Josh Robinson, 6-0, 7-6. Two-set wins were also recorded by Richard Anderson (6-0, 6-2 over Keith Young) and Steve Paskiewicz (6-0, 6-2 over Ian Morris).

Dahlia Aman marked the return of women’s singles to the tournament with a 6-0, 6-1 result against Kate Freudenberg.

In men’s 50-plus singles play, Richard Chizever and Ed Yakabowski won their opening matches. Chizever beat Charles Spitiele, 6-1, 6-2. Yakabowski triumphed in three sets, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, over Jerry Duvall.

12/25/11 5:00pm
12/25/2011 5:00 PM

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | On a busy Saturday in August, Chris Ujkic won three titles in the Bob Wall Memorial Tennis Tournament, bringing his Bob Wall title count to 15.

Three titles in one day. Talk about putting in a full day’s play.

It’s hard to beat that, just as it has been hard for anyone to beat Chris Ujkic.

The former Mattituck High School and Sacred Heart University standout was his dominant self in the Bob Wall Memorial Tennis Tournament this past summer. On one Saturday at Tasker Park in Peconic, he captured three tournament titles.

Ujkic defeated his former Mattituck teammate, Matt Brisotti, in the men’s singles final, 6-3, 6-2, for the third year in a row; teamed up with Kieran Corcoran to repeat as the men’s doubles champions, 6-4, 6-2, over Brisotti and Chris Garner; and joined a new mixed doubles partner, Liz Lurie, to defeat Bob Lum and Wen Hu, 6-0, 6-3.

It would have been understandable if the Brisotti-Ujkic match gave spectators a sense of déjà vu all over again. Not only was it the third year in a row they faced each other in the final but, by Brisotti’s conservative estimate, the former high school teammates and childhood neighbors have played “thousands” of sets against one another over the years. They know each other’s games inside out. That made for a spirited final of dueling, left-handed, topspin forehands, and plenty of side-to-side action. As he has in capturing five consecutive men’s singles titles, Ujkic’s quickness and heady shot-making repertoire proved decisive.

And if Ujkic’s five straight men’s singles titles aren’t enough, how about six straight men’s doubles titles, which is how many he and Corcoran have won since 2006? And it seems likely that their partnership will endure, especially now that Ujkic has taken a post-graduate business development position with Corcoran’s New York City law firm.

Ujkic’s partnership with Lurie may be embryonic by comparison, but they were no less dominant in their straight-set victory over Hu and Lum. Ujkic and Lurie won the first set at love and prevailed in the second, 6-3, even though Lum made a game effort after turning his ankle and tumbling to the court midway through the second set.

With his mixed doubles victory, Ujkic raised to 15 the total number of titles he has won since he was a 17-year-old high school student in 2006. And with no signs of slowing down at age 22, don’t bet against him winning 15 more.