By J. Fred Sidhu
Surprise, Ariz. – When it comes to senior league tennis, you could call the coastal community of Corpus Christi, Texas a sleepy kind of town.
Despite having a population over 250,000 residents, it can be a challenge to find enough players to field a USTA Super Senior League team.
However, Martin Davis, a senior tennis player who lives in Corpus Christi, would not be deterred and did his best to find enough players to field a team.
Davis, who serves as team captain, was rewarded as his team became the first Corpus
Christi team to reach the USTA League Super Senior National Championships.
“In Corpus Christi because it’s a smaller community, we have very few 4.0 over 60 players, so I got the complete list of over 60 players from the local coordinator,” Davis said. “We just went through the entire list of people who could be 4.0. We threw together a team of about nine people.” The team even used a 4.5 and 3.5 combination to complete the roster.
Despite injuries to several players, the Corpus Christi team advanced to the Texas USTA Super Senior Sectionals, which historically had been dominated by teams from San Antonio, Fort Worth and Houston.
“We really didn’t expect to win,” Davis said as he recounted how one of his players pulled a hamstring when warming up for a match and couldn’t play.
The situation did not look good as Corpus Christi was down to seven players. But a funny thing happened as the team won five consecutive matches by 2-1 scores, with each victory being decided in a third-set match tie-break to win the Texas Sectional Championship.
“Oh man, we were excited (after winning Sectionals),” said Davis. “We were hugging. We were unbelievably excited. We couldn’t believe it.”
Even as the seven-player team arrived at the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex, it might have looked like a walking MASH-unit.
Team member Ronnie Liedeker is scheduled to undergo knee and hip surgery following the Championships. Another team member, Dan Boone, went against doctors’ orders and is playing with a strangulated hernia. He faces surgery immediately following his appearance here.
“We were so excited to be here. Win or lose, we’re winners because we got to come here. Our Corpus team has never ever been to Nationals, ever. A lot of these teams have been here before,” Davis said.
The Corpus Christi men’s Super Senior 8.0 team got off to an impressive start on Monday as they defeated the Middle States team 3-0 and Hawaii, 2-1 to finish the day with a 2-0 record. They are one victory away from advancing to the semifinals.
In celebration of making Corpus Christi’s first appearance at the USTA Super Seniors National Championships, the team wore personalized shirts for their matches which appropriately had printed on the back, “Don’t Mess With Texas.”
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