Missing that friendly competition that is at the heart of the Long Island tennis community, players came out to Sportime Quogue on a beautiful Saturday afternoon to participate in the 2020 Long Island Tennis Challenge. For the seventh straight year, the tournament featured a sold-out, full draw of doubles teams across four different divisions.
The vast landscape of the club allowed for the tournament to happen while abiding by all proper safely protocols and precautions, with matches spread out across the 22 outdoor courts. Each division featured round-robin play that filtered into the playoff rounds.
“It was good to get out and see friends that you haven’t seen in awhile, to see everyone happy and knowing that tennis is the bond that brings everyone together,” said Keith Lopez. “Everyone was wearing masks while walking around and each court had their own balls. It wasn’t that hard of a process to follow in order to be safe. It was a gorgeous day at a really nice place, what more could you want.”
Lopez partnered with Casey Schnabel to win the Men’s A Division (4.0-4.5), coming back from 2-3 down in the championship match to claim victory 6-4 over Christopher Wolfe and Tomas Kukla.
“We just had to dig deep, it was a long day,” Lopez added. “It’s tough to maintain your focus and concentration throughout the day, but sometimes falling behind makes you reassess what you’re doing and helps you get back to basics.”
The partnership of Jackie Clark and Liz Ingrassia proved to be too much for the competition as the pairing captured the title in the Women’s A division (4.0-4.5), beating Liz Harvey and Gina Hagadorn in the finals.
“We’re so used to playing in a lot of leagues and for a lot of teams, and it’s been such a crazy time with all the leagues being canceled. So just to have this competition again was such an amazing feeling,” said Clark. “Being able to be part of the tennis community again felt good. Liz and I love playing together and we practiced a little over these last few weeks. I’m the crazy one on the court, making a lot of errors, and going for a lot of shots I probably shouldn’t, and Liz is the steady one who keeps the ball in play and sets me up. She’s the setter and I’m the spiker.”
“This format made it friendly yet competitive, so it was a ton of fun to be able to feel some of that adrenaline again. I think we went with the flow. Every opponent we played had a very different game, so there was an adjustment period, but we figured it out and kept a good temperament throughout.”
Not every team entered the tournament with that much chemistry as Scott Weinstein and Greg Albert teamed up for the first time. The duo quickly developed a rapport together and went on to win the Men’s B Division (3.0-3.5). Avenging a 2-6 loss to Kevin Stanis and Brett Verini in round-robin play, Weinstein and Albert defeated that same team 8-6 in a tightly-contested championship match (pro-set).
“We know each other from the Zone classes that Sportime does, but this was our first time playing together, so we had to figure it out a bit,” said Weinstein. “We had fun today; it was a really good time.”
In the Women’s B division (3.0-3.5), Nancy Halpern and Danielle Rosen played consistent throughout the day and outlasted the competition to win the title, earning a win against Lisa Arniotes and Marilyn Sloan in the division’s championship.
“The key to our success was being patient and just staying focused,” said Halpern. “It was really fun. We’re normally just friends, and this was the first time we ever played together, but it worked out.”
Throughout the day, players were treated to lunch provided by Town Bagel. At the conclusion of the tournament, players and guests enjoyed the summer evening with a happy hour courtesy of Westhampton Brewing Company. Long Island Tennis Magazine would also like to thank our clothing sponsor inPhorm, and the tournament hosts Sportime Quogue and the John McEnroe Tennis Academy.
The next Long Island Tennis Magazine Challenge is set for Saturday, September 12. Location and format to be announced. Continue checking LITennisMag.com and NYTennisMag.com, and be sure to follow us on social media.