Learning the Royal Wave as taught by our tour guide, in a charming and believable imitation of Netherlands Queen Beatrix.
Americans Strike Gold on the Red Clay
Victories Plentiful in Friendly Netherlands
A recent-record 27 Americans journeyed to scenic Rotterdam, Netherlands in late July to compete against 218 tennis-playing physicians from 28 participating countries in the 45th Annual World Medical Tennis Society Congress. After two days spent exploring the scenic canals and windmills of Amsterdam and the bustling harbor of Rotterdam – Europe’s largest – the US contingent picked up their rackets and readied for some tournament tennis. By the end of the five-day event, the American team had dodged raindrops, language barriers and the gritty, slow surface to come away with a total of 14 gold medals. Between the excellent competition and plenty of international camaraderie reconnecting with WMTS friends from around the world, highlights were many.
- The solid gold trifecta of perennial winners Bonnie Sidoff and ironman Hugh Burris, once again finishing first in their respective age groups in singles, men’s or women’s doubles and mixed doubles. BRAVO!
- The agonizing finish to a very well-played and memorable 55 mixed doubles final match between Bruce and Monika Dalkin and a Czech-German pair; Bruce also teamed with Mitchell Strauss to clinch a Nation’s Cup quarter-final victory over the Swedes, and Monika brought home gold with Bonnie Sidoff in 55 women’s doubles.
- Saundra Ardrey’s all-American fist pump following a sizzling overhead, as she and husband William battled incoming Czech WMTS president Jan Kirchner and his wife in a hard-fought 60 mixed doubles consolation final.
- The inspired introduction to WMTS competition of newcomer Ovidiu Adam, who weathered a near international kerfuffle over an opponent’s default to notch an impressive win over a younger Hungarian in singles, then teamed with fellow Portlander Mitchell Strauss for two great doubles wins over a favored Latvian and then an Italian pair in the 45 doubles round robin.
- The impromptu Dutch folk dance performed by a game Mitchell Strauss and our tour guide, Ingrid, on the rough wooden floor of a Delft cheese-making factory.The cheerful, hard-working and competent tournament staff.
- The many contributions of everyone’s favorite scorekeeper, cheerleader and occasional ball-boy, the timeless Frank Sladkovic, who also helped the team by warming up Kris Vadlamudi for his matches.
- The beer, friendly handshake and apology that a surprised Bruce Dalkin received from his victorious German opponent, who expressed regret and loss of sleep over how his questionable line calls had affected the outcome of their previous day’s match.
- The solid doubles play of Mitchell Strauss, who teamed with Bonnie Sidoff to win the 50 mixed doubles, with Ovidiu Adam in the 45 men’s doubles, and with Bruce Dalkin in the deciding victory over a veteran Swedish pair, sending our Nations Cup team to the semi-finals for the first time in many years.
- The first international gold for John Kirkpatrick, teaming with Hugh Burris to win the 65 men’s doubles.
- The American team’s impressive third place Nation’s Cup finish, featuring wins over Hungary and Sweden, before losing to the ultimate winner, Germany.
- The unanimous vote of the WMTS governing group in electing Bonnie Sidoff as its next Vice-President; Bonnie will take over as WMTS President in 2017.
- The unexpected gold victory of cheerful Amorn Salyapongse and Bob Ouwendijk over the perennial champion Italians in the 75 doubles. Bob’s daughter Danielle warmed them up for their matches, clearly showing that she’s also “got game”!
- Jacqui Davis’ admirable composure when her Italian singles opponent chose to take a water break just as Jacqui was serving at 40-30.
- The surprisingly strong showing of Bruce Dalkin and his Indonesian partner in a 60s doubles match against a former Czech Davis Cupper.
Overall, the American women won the most gold medals of any country in women’s doubles; the American team tied Italy for the most gold medals in mixed doubles; and the American men tied Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic for the most gold medals in men’s doubles. Most important, a wonderful time was had by all! GO USA!