By Carolyn Nichols
Nine of the 40 players who will represent the United States a t the 31st ITF Seniors World Team Championships in New Zealand are from Southern California. They will join the other top American tennis players (men and women) in age divisions 35-55 to compete February 21-26 in Christchurch, Ashburton and Timaru, New Zealand.
The ITF Seniors/Super-Seniors World Team Championships is the most coveted team event on the ITF Seniors circuit. Since its inception in 1981, the number of competitors attracted to this event has increased year by year. In 1993, the ITF took the decision to divide the Seniors World Championships into two groups — Seniors (35-55) and Super-Seniors (60-80 for men and 60-75 for women).
The SoCal players representing the USA in New Zealand are: William Quest, Ventura; Rick Leach, Newport Beach; Leland Rolling, Ramona; Mike Fedderly, Palm Desert; Amy Alcini, Malibu; Gretchen Magers, San Diego; Joanne Russell, Calabasas; Tina Karwasky, Glendale and Carolyn Nichols, Rancho Santa Fe.
All 10 Cups will be played on hard courts this year. The men’s Italia (35), Dubler (45) and Fred Perry (50) and women’s Margaret Court (45) Cups will be played in Christchurch. The men’s Austria (55) and women’s Maria Bueno (50) and Maureen Connolly (55) Cups will be played in Ashburton, an hour south of Christchurch. The men’s Tony Trabert (40s) and women’s Suzanne Lenglen (35) and Young (40) Cups will be played in the port city of Timaru, about two hours south of Christchurch.
Quest will be playing on the Trabert Cup team. His teammates are Eoin Collins, Houston, TX; Rick Witskin, Zionsville, IN and Mickey Maule, Wayzata, MN, (playing captain). Quest dominated play in SoCal this year, winning the 40 singles at the Pacific Southwest, Babolat and the SoCal sectionals. He placed fifth at the 40 Hardcourts and ended the year ranked #4 in the nation in 40 singles. The Trabert Cup team placed second in 2010 in Mexico City.
Leach and Rolling are members of the Dubler Cup team. Their teammates are Mario Tabares, Miami, FL and Andy Stoner, Cave Creek, AZ. Leach had a fantastic year on the senior circuit, winning two men’s 45 singles titles (Clay and Hard) and the 45 Hard doubles title, with Greg Washer, Laguna Beach. He was a finalist at the Indoors to World 40s Champion Mario Tabares. Miami, FL, (whom he beat in the Clay final) and with Washer, reached the Clay doubles final. Leach ended the year ranked #1 in singles and doubles (with Washer). He finished the year winning the 40 Hard with Roger Mills over defending champions Jeff Tarango/Peter Smith. Leach is a former world #1 ranked doubles player, and was ranked as high as 113 in singles on the ATP tour. While on the ATP Tour, he won four Grand Slam titles and was a finalist at five others. He reached the final in doubles of every Grand Slam during his career. Rolling is playing on his first Cup team. Like Quest he dominated the SoCal scene, when he didn’t have to face Leach. He won the Babolat, Pacific Southwest, SoCal Sectionals and reached the final of the 45 Hard, losing to Leach in the final.
Fedderly was named to the Fred Perry Cup team for men over 50, for the third straight year. His teammates are Val Wilder, Fort Worth, TX; Mike Tammen, Portland, OR; and Peter Markes, Austin, TX. In 2010 Fedderly played #1 singles in the Perry Cup team which won the Cup in Mexico City. In 2011 he will again play #1 singles. Though Fedderly didn’t win a Gold Slam this year, it was perhaps his finest year. He won three singles titles in the 50s, the Hard, Clay and Indoor and three doubles titles, the Clay, Indoor and Grass. He was a doubles finalist at the Hard, stopped from winning a Gold Slam by Neil Levinson, Santa Barbara and Eric Lehto, NorCal, 7-5 in the third set! He finished the year ranked #1 in singles and doubles.
Alcini was named to the Young Cup for women 40 and over and will be the playing captain. She captained the winning Young Cup team in 2010 in Mexico City. Her teammates are Julie Cass, Austin, TX; Vesna McKenna, Hollywood, FL; and Rebecca Stapp, Olympia, WA. This year she is the #1 player on the team, having beaten Cass, the 2010 World Champion, to win the 40 Indoors. She was a doubles finalist at the 40 Indoors (with Tracie Currie); won the 35 Hard (with Page Bartelt); and 40 Hard (with Currie) doubles.
Magers will return to the Margaret Court Cup team for women 45+ for a third year. She will be joined by Fran Chandler, Jackson, TN; Rhona Kaczmarczk, Denver, CO and Mariana Hollman, Winston-Salem, NC. In 2010 the USA Court Cup team won the championship in Mexico City. Magers won pretty much every match she played in 2010, winning the 45 Indoor singles and doubles (with Lori Zacharias-Verd (MO), the 40 Hard Court singles, over San Diego’s Jennifer Dawson and the Open Hard Court doubles with Roz Niedeffer, San Diego. She was the #1 player on the Margaret Court Cup team which won the Cup in Mexico City. Magers played on the WTA tour in the 1980s, winning several singles and doubles titles, and reaching the final of the mixed at Wimbledon. She was ranked in the top 15 in singles.
Russell was named to the Maria Esther Bueno Cup team. She will be joined by Diane Fishburne, Charleston, SC; Susan Wright, Grand Junction, CO; and Kathy Vick, Lubbock, TX. The USA Bueno Cup team was victorious in Mexico City in 2010. Russell, a former Wimbledon doubles winner, won the 50 Indoor doubles with Wright and was a finalist in the 50 Indoor and 55 Hard singles. She is the 2009 ITF World Singles Champion.
Karwasky and Nichols were named to the Maureen Connolly Cup team for women 55 and over. They will be joined by Sherri Bronson, Scottsdale, AZ and Mary Ginnard, Fort Lauderdale, FL. This will be Karwasky’s fifth straight year as a member of the Connolly Cup team. The USA Connolly Cup team won the competition the past four years, including a win in Mexico City in 2010. Karwasky won the 55 singles and doubles at the Indoors, and the 55 Hard and 50 Grass doubles titles. However, her biggest win was in Mexico where she conquered the altitude and the slippery clay courts to win the ITF World 55 Singles. Karwasky finished the year ranked #1 in the world in 55 singles and #1 in individual doubles in the US. Nichols has been named the playing captain of this team. She won the 55 Hard and Clay singles in 2010 was a finalist at the 50 Hard in singles and doubles in 2009 and a doubles finalist at the Clay. She won the ITF World Doubles championship in Mexico (with Lyn Mortimer, Australia). Nichols ended the year ranked #1 in the USA in singles.
A list of all 40 players selected to the senior teams can be found here: http://www.usta.com/2011_senior_international_senior_teams/
Photos of these players can be found here: http://picasaweb.google.com/CarolynANichols/SeniorTeamsNZ#