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…)

07/18/14 11:00am
07/18/2014 11:00 AM

Liz Dwyer sealed a place in the women’s singles final of the Bob Wall Memorial Tournament with a pair of two-set wins. Dwyer took down Mary Beth Corrazini, 6-3, 6-1, and Elizabeth Silano, 6-4, 6-2. She will face the winner of a semifinal between Rosemary Krocke and Molly Kowalski. Krocke was a finalist last year, losing to Kate Freudenberg.  (more…)

06/11/14 6:00am
06/11/2014 6:00 AM
GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Chris Ujkic is seeking his seventh straight title in the Bob Wall Memorial Tennis Tournament.

Chris Ujkic has won seven straight titles in the Bob Wall Memorial Tennis Tournament. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)

Registrations are being accepted for the Bob Wall Memorial Tennis Tournament. The tournament, sponsored by Times/Review Newspapers of Mattituck, will be held over a six-week period this summer from the last weekend in June through the last weekend in July.  (more…)

04/23/14 4:00pm
04/23/2014 4:00 PM
SAINT MICHAEL'S ATHLETICS PHOTO  |  Mattituck grad Erica Bundrick

Mattituck grad Erica Bundrick. (Credit: Saint Michael’s College)

Erica Bundrick, a sophomore from Mattituck, is one of six Saint Michael’s College (Vt.) players who have landed All-Northeast 10 Conference honors. Bundrick was an all-conference choice and an all-rookie pick in 2012-13.

This year Bundrick and Alexandra Sulkin went 6-3 in league play at third doubles. Bundrick also went 16-19 as the first underclassman to serve as the Purple Knights’ primary No. 1 singles player since 2008.

03/29/14 10:00am
03/29/2014 10:00 AM
Chris Ujkic won last year's Bob Wall Tournament. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)

Chris Ujkic won last year’s Bob Wall Tournament. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)

Registrations for the Bob Wall Memorial Tennis Tournament are being accepted. The tournament, sponsored by Times/Review Newsgroup, will be held over a six-week period this summer from the last weekend in June through the last weekend in July. (more…)

02/25/14 12:00pm
02/25/2014 12:00 PM
SAINT MICHAEL'S ATHLETICS PHOTO  |  Mattituck grad Erica Bundrick

Mattituck grad Erica Bundrick. (Saint Michael’s Athletics photo)

Erica Bundrick, a sophomore from Mattituck, is 2-1 playing singles for St. Michael’s College (Vt.), which has opened the season 2-1. Bundrick also paired up with Alexandra Sulkin for a pair of doubles wins in the No. 1 spot during the first two matches. The duo lost Sunday in the their lastest match against Saint Lawrence University.  (more…)

08/31/13 8:00am
08/31/2013 8:00 AM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck High School graduate Kate Freudenberg won the women's singles final in the Bob Wall Memorial Tennis Tournament at Tasker Park in Peconic Saturday morning.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck High School graduate Kate Freudenberg won the women’s singles final in the Bob Wall Memorial Tennis Tournament at Tasker Park in Peconic earlier this month.

With the U.S. Open getting underway this week at Flushing Meadows on the opposite end of Long Island, perhaps this is an inopportune time to ask if tennis is, indeed, a dying sport. After all, the full attention of the wide world of sports will be on our national championships over the next fortnight, but still there are indicators that the sport is in eclipse, in these United States in general and on this North Fork in particular.

The indicators are numerous. Although American Serena Williams currently reigns supreme among women professionals, only one American man is in the world’s top 20 — John Isner, at No. 17. Long gone are the halcyon days of McEnroe, Agassi, Connors and Sampras. Europeans and South Americans have dominated the men’s game most recently and there appears to be no end in sight to this trend.

Locally, the tennis scene is in even more trouble. Earlier this month, three of the seven divisions of the 35-year-old Bob Wall Memorial Tennis Tournament — women’s doubles, mixed doubles, men’s open doubles — were not contested due to a lack of entries. Again this year, tournament director Jim Christy pretty much had to beg players to enter the mid-summer event. And that was not the case a decade or more ago, when upwards of 75 local players would enter the Wall Tournament.

So, what happened? First and foremost, the population of the North Fork is aging, which means there are fewer young people around to pick up the game. Then there is the reality of there being no tennis-only club, indoor or outdoor, between Quogue and Connecticut. Both private country clubs here, North Fork and Laurel Links, have two Har-Tru courts, but the tennis scenes at both clubs are modest by all accounts.

Old-timers may recall a local effort some 25 years ago to establish an indoor-outdoor tennis club on the Horton’s Lane, Southold, property now occupied by Lucas Ford, but that bid fell through when the Southold Town Planning Board required extensive and expensive landscape screening around the perimeter of the entire four-acre property. So, in the intervening 2 1/2 decades, if you live on the North Fork and want to play tennis in the winter, get ready for the one-hour round-trip drive to Quogue or Westhampton. (Note: When I used to play at the indoor courts in Westhampton during the wintertime, it seemed like every third player on the adjoining courts had driven over from the North Fork.)

There are some exceptions to this trend, of course, most notably the “drop-in” tennis scene at the Tasker Park courts in Peconic, where players of intermediate ability and up, sometimes up to 20 of them, show up daily for some round-robin play.

And then, of course, there is the so-far-under-the-radar bid, about which I am bound to a certain level of secrecy, to establish a South Fork-style indoor-outdoor tennis facility here on the North Fork. All I can say about it is that some legitimate players — in terms of both their tennis and business credentials — are involved in this effort.

And all I can do is cross my fingers.

The return of the U.S. Open also marks the anniversary of one of my most mortifying moments as a columnist, wherein I opined, in this space in 2002, that Pete Sampras was over the hill and should consider retirement. Two weeks later, he won his fifth U.S. Open championship.

I was reminded of the ignominy this week via a New York Times Sunday Magazine piece on Roger Federer, in which East Hampton’s own Paul Annacone, who coached both Sampras and Federer, was quoted as saying: “Betting against aberrations like Sampras, Federer — why do that? You are just setting yourself up to have your own foot rammed in your mouth.”

Yes, indeed: columnist opened mouth, inserted foot.

08/04/13 11:24am
08/04/2013 11:24 AM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Chris Ujkic is once again the Bob Wall Tournament champion.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Chris Ujkic is once again the Bob Wall Tournament champion.

Chris Ujkic has successfully defended his Bob Wall Memorial Tennis Tournament men’s open singles title, 6-3, 6-2, over Steve Paskiewicz in Peconic

Ujkic is a former Mattituck High School tennis star who now lives in NYC. He’s 24 and is ranked No. 1 in the east by the U.S. Tennis Association’s open division. He also recently won a national bodybuilding/fitness championship, which showed on the court today. He got to virtually everything Paskiewicz threw at him.

Paskiewicz is a former Riverhead High School star who now lives in East Moriches. He’s 40 and is also a past Bob Wall winner.

The women’s singles final and men’s 50+ doubles final were completed yesterday before the rains came.

The men’s 50+ singles final between Rich Chizever and John Czartosieski will be contested next Sunday at the Tasker Park courts in Peconic.

That match was postponed yesterday due to rain, and they could not play today because of previous commitments.

There were no men’s open doubles, women’s doubles or mixed doubles divisions this year.

The tournament is sponsored by Times/Review Newsgroup of Mattituck.

08/03/13 11:35am
08/03/2013 11:35 AM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck High School graduate Kate Freudenberg won the women’s singles final in the Bob Wall Memorial Tennis Tournament at Tasker Park in Peconic Saturday morning.

Rain interrupted play in the Bob Wall Memorial Tennis Tournament Saturday morning at Tasker Park in Peconic. Only two of the four scheduled matches were completed before tournament director Jim Christy called a weather-related time out. The courts were too wet to allow for safe play, he determined.

Before the rains came, recent Mattituck High School graduate Kate Freudenberg defeated Rosemary Krocke of Cutchogue, 6-2, 6-3, in the women’s singles final. Freudenberg, who will enter her freshman year at Villanova (Pa.) University this fall, was simply too steady for her older opponent.

The men’s 50 and over doubles final was hotly contested and featured numerous intense exchanges at the net. In the end, Tom Cahill and Ed Lee prevailed over Rich Chizever and Bob Lum, 6-4, 6-4. In Chizever’s estimation, the match slipped away “because we made for unforced errors than they did.”

Chizever’s men’s 50 and over singles finals versus John Czartosieski was postponed due to the rain, as was the men’s open singles final between six-time defending champion Chris Ujkic and seven-time past champion and last’s year’s runner up, Steve Paskiewicz. Weather permitting, those matches were to be contested at the Tasker Park courts later in the day Saturday or, failing that, Sunday morning.

The Wall Tournament is sponsored by Times/Review News Group of Mattituck. Proceeds from the event help fund a $1,000 tennis scholarship, which this year went to women’s singles champion Freudenberg.

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