It has become an annual rite of summer on the North Fork, along with fund-raising galas, ferry traffic and low-flying helicopters. When July turns into August, you can bank on Chris Ujkic dominating the annual Bob Wall Memorial Tennis Tournament.
On Saturday at Tasker Park in Peconic, the former Mattituck High School and Sacred Heart University standout once again vanquished all comers. He defeated his former MHS teammate Matt Brisotti in men’s open singles, 6-3, 6-2, for the third year in a row; teamed with Kieran Corcoran to repeat as men’s open 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.
Hu, a 24-year-old who hails from mainland China and works as an au pair in Westhampton, gained some consolation with a 6-4, 6-0 victory over the defending women’s single champion, Mattituck High School senior Erica Bundrick.
In the other finals contested Saturday, Andrezej Kopala of Southold outlasted last year’s men’s 50-and-older singles runner-up, Tom Cahill, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, in a grueling two-hour match; and Lum and his partner, Rich Chizever, successfully defended their men’s 50-and-older doubles crown, 6-4, 6-4, over Rick Suter and Joe Gregory.
If the Ujkic-Brisotti match gave spectators a sense of déjà vu all over again, it’s not just because they were facing one another in the finals for the third year in a row. By Brisotti’s conservative estimate, the former high school teammates and childhood neighbors have played “thousands” of sets against one another over the years. And this summer has been no different, as both have joined their former high school coach, Mike Huey, as assistants at the East Hampton Tennis Club. Which is to say, they know each other’s games like their own. That made for a spirited final of dueling left-handed, top-spin forehands, and enough side-to-side action to power a video game. As he has in capturing five consecutive men’s open singles titles, Ujkic’s quickness and heady shot-making repertoire proved decisive.
But don’t feel too sorry for Brisotti. He will return this fall for his senior year at Drew University in Madison, N.J., where he has been a two-time all-conference player on a men’s varsity tennis team that has won more than 90 consecutive matches.
And if Ujkic’s five straight men’s singles titles aren’t enough for you, 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 — they hooked up this summer at the tennis club in East Hampton, where Lurie is visiting from her home in Boulder, Colo. — 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 Mattituck High School student in 2006. And with no signs of slowing down at age 22, don’t bet against him winning 15 more.
TOURNAMENT NOTES Due to a lack of entries, there was no women’s doubles competition this year.
The 2011 Bob Wall Memorial Tennis Tournament was sponsored by Times/Review News Group of Mattituck and directed, on a volunteer basis, by Mattituck High School’s longtime girls tennis coach, Jim Christy. Proceeds from this year’s event will help support the Robert Wall Jr. Fund, which was established after the son of the tournament’s founder was paralyzed in a 2005 boating/diving accident.