Smoke Tree Ranch 2016

Team Tennis and STMS Spark Success of AMTA’s 2016 Return to Smoke Tree Ranch

A new Team Tennis format stole the competitive show in the warm desert ambiance of Smoke Tree Ranch at the AMTA meeting March 13 to 18.  Visiting lecturers from the Society for Tennis Medicine and Science – physicians responsible for the medical care of ATP and WTA tour players – highlighted a CME program that also featured talks on the latest human microbiome research and orthopedic injuries in tennis players.  And we once again savored dinner under the stars, happy hours by the pool, and a superstar lineup of Djokovic, Nadal and Serena from the comfort of the AMTA suite during our day at the BNP Paribas tourney.  What a meeting it was!


Tennis-playing attendees were divided into four equal teams of players ranging from 3.5 to 5.0 and ages ranging from 28 to 87.  Team matches featured numerous combinations of ages and abilities.  The goal of lots of good competition featuring friendly and fun tennis for all, was well-achieved with close, hard-fought matches and a final result that underscored the even makeup of the teams.  Between the savvy senior players and the impressive young docs with collegiate tennis pedigrees, there was some impressive tennis!


At the Awards Banquet, 1st place medals were given to the “Wimbledon” team captained by veteran Hugh BurrisCarol Burris, Ed and Roxanne Breaux, Randy and Dawn Eckert, Green Hsueh and KK Hsu, Ryan Caldeiro Doug Bell,  Emmie Ko and Frank Sladkovic.  Second place finisher by the thinnest of margins was the “U.S. Open” team captained by Bruce Dalkin: Monika Dalkin, Britt Feldhausen, Igor Sister, Petter Stromme, John and Cori Kirkpatrick, Kurt and Martha Neumann, John Ryan, Jennifer Brunsdon, Bob and Mimi Combs, and Karen Beaudry.


Somehow time was also made in the schedule for three flights of mixed doubles, and a separate men’s doubles round robin.  Winners are listed below.  Between the enthusiasm of the new attendees, a high level tennis challenge with visiting STMS players that began the meeting, and two clever and inspiring CME lectures open to all on the history of medicine and third world medical care in rural Nepal, highlights were numerous …



  • Competitive whirlwhind Emmie Ko, whose photographic skills were as superb as her poaching ability; thank you, Emmie!
  • The enthusiasm of newcomers Mike and Linda Goodrick, whose only expressed disappointment was that “we didn’t know about this organization ten years ago!”
  • The return of June and John Wendell after a decade-long absence, fresh from their semi-final showing in the USTA’s National Husband-and-Wife Grass Court Championships/Combined Age 140 at Mission Hills the previous week;
  • A trifecta of unforgettable sound effects: Amorn Salyapongse’s laugh, Luis Cespedes’ jokes and Kris Vadlamudi’s grunts;
  • The clever use of the English language by first-time attendee John Ryan in his lecture incorporating primitive 19th century surgical technology and presidential campaigns in a unique and memorable presentation;
  • The perpetual, energetic grin of Phong Nguyen, who managed the tennis competitions with patience and good humor, then headlined the awards banquet with an a capella rendition of “Hallelujah” before presenting the Craig Broome Award to Hugh Burris for his too-many-to-count contributions to the AMTA over the years;
[karma_builder_imagebox_2 type=”entypo” icon_entypo=”entypo-icon entypo-icon-help” box_bg_color=”#ffffff” icon_bg_color=”#dd3333″ icon_color=”#ffffff”]From Martha Neumann

The 2016 AMTA meeting at Smoke Tree sure left me with a lot of questions.

Were there a lot more smiling faces at Smoke Tree this year, or was it just my imagination?

Was there a heightened appreciation for the esteemed senior players on the court demonstrating a thing or two about placement and spin, juxtaposed with two new young stars from Minnesota who displayed superior shotmaking with such grace and style? Did we actually span ages 28 to 87?

Was there an excitement for the recruitment of fresh faces from all over the world who raised the bar on the court and on knowledge in the conference room?

Was there a delight in learning about James Polk’s bladder stones, as well as microbes, hips and Mind Diets this year?

Did Phong’s fun format for team tennis make more meaningful matchups? (And should we all adopt John Ryan’s love of alliteration?)

Did two delectable dinners under the moon and stars create a little bit of unexpected magic at this medical/tennis gathering in the desert?

Did anyone else feel a huge letdown after arriving home?

And last question: How can we ever wait a full 12 months to meet again at Smoke Tree?[/karma_builder_imagebox_2]

  • The continually-improving skill level of Liz Rutledge, who is applying the same drive and determination to her tennis game that she did to her urology career;
  • The presence of an esteemed and inspirational group of octegenarians — Betty (almost) and Lon Olsen, Bob and Mimi Combs, Jack Jacobson, Tawfik and Dorothy Girgis, Frank Sladkovic, Richard and Rita Sall, Mike and Linda Goodrick and Simon Myint — whose savvy court skills still impress and whose history with the AMTA goes back to its origins 50 years ago;
  • The tastier-than-anticipated turmeric concoction reportedly fueling Roger Federer’s longevity, that Jill Feldhausen prepared as an addendum to her excellent nutrition lecture;
  • The attendance of WMTS regular Jacqui Davis at a medical/tennis meeting on American soil.  Welcome!
  • The successful addition of participants from the Society for Tennis Medicine and Science – Tony and Tin-Yee Chang and Richard Gayle – who gave two excellent lectures and kicked off the tennis competition with their excellent play;
  • The compelling photographs and lecture by the amazing Simon Myint who, at 87, continues to make annual visits to treat needy patients in rural Nepal;
  • The positive contribution of all of the newcomers – from Karen Beaudry to Ryan and Lynn Caldeiro, Peter Sefton and Judy Neldham, Jennifer Brunsdon and her guest Heather Whitaker, Bonnie Sidoff’s guest Peter Monsantofils, John Ryan and Jody Foster and the Goodricks – who enhanced the cordial atmosphere with their academic contributions, tennis skills and genuine friendliness; 
  •  The serious court accomplishments of newcomers Christin Tiegs-Heiden and Josh Heiden – 2010 USTA National Husband-and-Wife winners in the Open Division – topped off with an excellent lecture on imaging of musculoskeletal infections given by Christin;
  • The youthful presence and helpful addition of twenty-somethings Catherine Waszak (daughter of ace AMTA recruiters Steve and Jan Waszak) and Lexi Sall (granddaughter of Richard and Rita Sall) to the team tennis lineup when teams were short-handed;
  • The determined tennis game of uber fit visiting Norwegian Petter Stromme, who with his wife Sigrun Braekken are frequent attendees at World Medical Tennis Society meetings; we’ll look forward to seeing both of them again in Lima in October;
  • The friendly participation of Update in Internal Medicine members Derek and Barb Lowe and Craig and Marie Kimmel, along with their guests Marc and Sara Bertino – proving they play excellent tennis in the New England area!
  • The thoughtful expertise provided by newcomer Ryan Caldeiro, a psychiatrist and addiction medicine specialist, to a visiting lecturer’s talk on the treatment of addictions in a family medicine practice;
  • The pro set victory of our veterans, Hugh Burris and Bruce Dalkin, over the young gun ex-collegians Christin and Josh, in a just-for-fun match that was very entertaining tennis to conclude the week!

Smoke Tree Winners 2016 Team Tennis

1st Place Team Tennis

Hugh Burris, Carol Burris, Ed Breaux, Roxanne Breaux, Randy Eckert, Dawn Eckert, Green Hsueh, KK Hsu, Ryan Caldeiro, Doug Bell, Emmie Ko, Frank Sladkovic

2nd Place Team Tennis

Bruce Dalkin, Monika Dalkin, Britt Feldhausen, Igor Sister, Petter Stromme, John Kirkpatrick, Cori Kirkpatrick, Kurt Neumann, Martha Neumann, John Ryan, Jennifer Brunsdon, Bob Combs, Mimi Combs, Karen Beaudry

Mixed Doubles – Flight 1

Winners   Bruce and Monika Dalkin
Runners Up   Hugh and Carol Burris
Consolation Winners   Ed and Roxanne Breaux

Mixed Doubles – Flight 2

Winners   Jim and Kay Coghlan
Runners Up   Emmie Ko and Britt Feldhausen
Consolation Winners   Martha and Kurt Neumann

Mixed Doubles – Flight 3

Winners   Peter Sefton and Judy Neldham
Runners Up   Vitt and Sai Leng
Consolation Winners   Steve and Jan Waszak

Men’s Doubles Round Robin

Winners   Richard and Randy Sall