Most senior players dream of winning a single gold ball; some become accustomed to winning them fairly often; but winning all four nationals, on four different surfaces, in one calendar year, a senior “Gold Slam” is an amazing feat, in singles or in doubles, and is one that should be celebrated! . Here are this year’s Men’s, Women’s and Family Gold Slam Champions:
In the Father/Son 80+ division (the father has to be 80 in 2016), Ron Tonidandel (FL) and Jeff Tonidandel (NC) won the Hard, Grass and Clay titles. (This event is not offered at the Indoors).
Brenda Carter (SC)/Betty Wachob (FL), had their share of three setters but won all four nationals this year in the women’s 70+ division. Brenda also won the 70 Clay, Hard and Indoor singles titles but was stopped (a bit ironically) by her doubles partner at the Grass in the final. Betty won the 70 singles Gold Slam in 2015. Carter also won the 70 mixed and doubles at the ITF World Championships.
Dori DeVries (NV) isn’t even 80 yet as of this writing (her birthday is in December), but she won the Gold Slam in 80+ singles. The toughest match all year for Dori was the final of the Hard Courts where she defeated her long time rival Dorothy Matthiessen in the final in a terrific three-setter. She also won the 80 Hard and Grass with Carol Wood (MD), correction: the 80 Indoors with Mary John Lynch, TX, and 75 Grass (with Wood). Inge Weber (CAN)/Judith Smith (MA) beat DeVries/Wood at the Clay in three sets.
Jane Lutz (FL), is the rare player for whom failing to win a Gold Slam is a shock! She won the 85 singles Gold Slam again in 2016 at age 89, which makes it even more remarkable. She also won the 85 Hard (with Wiedemann) and 85 Indoors (with Price).
Rita Price (CO) is a dancing, singing 90 year old whose love of life is infectious. She danced her way past all opposition in the 90s this year, winning the Clay, Hard and Indoors (the Grass was not held in this division) in singles and doubles (with Joyce Vanderpool (WA) and Betty Cookson (CA)).
George McCabe (FL) turned 85 this year and made the division his hunting ground. He ran past his opposition on all surfaces in singles and in doubles (with Joe Russell (OH) and Clem Hopp (FL)) to win both the 85 singles and doubles gold slams.
Tony Franco (NY) won the 90 Gold Slam in singles and doubles for the second year and again didn’t lose a set in singles or doubles. He won the doubles with Graydon Nichols (CA) for the second straight year. (Note, Graydon is my my father.) Tony has had two knee replacements (one right, one left) and does not run like any other 90 year old.
Congratulations to all.