HERE WE GO AGAIN...
It had to be the hottest day of 2022 with an almost certain washout forecast for Sunday to set the stage for perhaps the most dramatic day of ST CLASSIC history on Saturday July 23, 2022. With temperatures soaring to the mid 30's and not a stitch of wind and oppressive humidity this years competitors battled more than each other as conditions proved to be extremely formidable. Ryan Baumann of Angus, capped a long day of playing double duty (singles and doubles with Anton Matienko) with a 8-6 win in the consolation final over Paul Ciccone. Ryan dug extra deep after playing many matches that required him to cover long distances on the court. Perhaps the most commendable aspect of this years consolation was the fact that Eric Koehli of Orillia actually defeated Ryan in the Semi-Finals when the day was at its absolute peak hottest. Eric offered his position in the final to Ryan. When Ryan was presented with this option his response pretty much summed up the essence of competition; "I would love the chance to compete again, but only if my opponent in the final is ok with this decision.". His opponent; Paul Ciccone (former singles and doubles champion) confirmed the sentiment of THE SPIRIT OF COMPETITION by accepting the unorthodox final saying; "We just want the chance to compete against quality competition." As a tournament coordinator I could not have been prouder to present Paul and Ryan their rewards for an incredible effort.
In the Doubles division Adrian Sumajadi and Mike Shriqui upset defending champions Bryson Tye and Max Gillespie Hewitt 8-6. Adrian and Mike displayed some of the best sportsmanship the classic has witnessed with dogged determination to take out the defending champs. They played this final, only hours after battling each other in the singles quarter-final. Mike is still alive in the singles after he beat his doubles partner Adrian 2-6, 6-0, 12-10. Mike plays tennis with the kind of passion you'd hope every person who ever picked up a racket would compete with. It was not just once that Mike would compliment his opponent when they played a great point. His ability to express authentic appreciation for his opponents quality play was inspirational. When the teams accepted their awards Mike made a point to mention what a privilege and honour it was to compete against such good people at the event. Mike, more than once, pinpointed the over arching essence of tennis, and how this sport, like no other has the potential to bring out the absolute best in human spirit. He made a point in each instance that the aspect of competition that held the greatest weight was the human factor. The Simcoe Tennis tagline of CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT THROUGH SPORT was on full display Saturday July 23rd.
Anton Matienko came to Canada just four months ago. And on this day he more than cemented his presence in The Great White North. Currently spending his time as a coach who had not competed for a long time and had told his friends "I think I miss the feeling of competing" he decided to enter this years tournament. After plowing through his section of the draw Anton played Bryson Tye in the quarterfinals. No player has won more ST CLASSIC titles then Bryson. Anton survived the match of the day when the temperature soared by beating Bryson 6-4, 6-4. Anton was also using sublime mechanics and a monster serve to team up with Consolation Winner Ryan Baumann in the doubles all the way to the doubles semi finals. Then the wheels fell off, literally. Anton suffered severe thigh cramps. For over an hour he was laid out beside the courts ingesting salt and water to try and repair his condition. As a consequence he had no choice but to forfeit the doubles with the hopes he will recover well enough to play on Sunday. Anton plays Mike Shriqui, with the winner to play 13 year old Judah McEachern Brown.
Judah played one of the most notable ST CLASSIC matches in the tournaments history in 2021 at age 12, when he lost an epic 3 set battle to Tim Griffin aged 71. One year later Judah is positioned to win the tournament to become the youngest ever champion. With two matches remaining to play on a day predicted to rain, The 2022 ST CLASSIC is literally up in the air.
Let's hope the weather holds up and Anton recovers. We could be in for one of the most dramatic endings in ST CLASSIC history.