Look who’s back! It’s the Green Machine!

The 6.5 Green Machine, playing its season opener after a season that saw it reach the  sectional semifinals, posted a 2-1 win over the Tampa Palms Racquets Saturday afternoon at Hunter’s Green.

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And if that wasn’t enough, three players from that team — 6.5 captain John Cotey, co-captain Erik Hajek and Larry Palombo — competed in the 7.5 combo opener, each winning their line with a 4.0 doubles player in a 3-0 win over Harbour Island.

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“It’s just how we do it,” said Cotey, who teamed with Chris Baker to narrowly eke out a 3-6, 7-5, 10-4 win. Hajek teamed with Mike Bitting to win at line 2, and at line 1, Palombo and Phil Kalafut won easily.

“We’ve got guys with offers from 8.5 teams, 9.5 teams, 10, 11 even 12.5 teams to play for them. They want some of that Green Fever. Heck, I had a 4.5 team with a bunch of 2.5s on the roster contact me, because they saw John Slatniske playing this week and thought he was a 2.0 and really thought he might be able to play line 3 for them.”


But enough about the 7.5 schmucks. Saturday also marked the first USTA victories for 3.0 stars James Hann and Scott Jankes.

Hann hadn’t played since losing a third-set tiebreaker after holding a 9-3 lead in one of the club’s most famous-because-someone-won’t-stop-blogging-about-it matches EVER.  But he teamed with wily veteran Peter Groer to post a win at line 3.

“Well, I’m not going to name names (Cotey), because who am I to (Cotey) single anyone out (Cotey), but playing with a different partner, especially one as kind, caring and sensitive to my needs as Mr. Groer was, well, it made all the difference. When you play with a dick, it’s sometimes hard to hold onto leads.”

Cotey, the second-year Green Machine captain, said he was happy for Hann but after hearing his comments suggested he might be playing line 4 in the future.

At line 1 doubles, the slowest left-handed player at the club, with years of wear and tear on his knees and with a style some liken to a fine northeastern tree sap gradually running down bark, picked up a win.

No, not Patrick Rairigh — Scott Jankes. Let’s give it up for his first USTA win. The double dose of southpaws posted their historic victory.


The only drop of the day occured at line 2, where Andy Ritter and Bob Schmidt lost.

Afterwards, Ritter confessed to being distracted by thoughts of hitting golf balls off a wave runner with his right arm while sipping a pina colada with his left, while circling an island green in Bermuda while his lovely wife popped open a nice Napa Valley 2009 Sequoia Grove Cambium and wrapped her arms tightly around him from behind as the sun set behind them while dolphins jumped over them to let the gentle wash of sea water cool their bodies.

Or, you know, last weekend.

“We never had a chance,” Schmidt said.


About johncotey

John was a sportswriter and columnist for the St. Petersburg/Tampa Bay Times for 25 years, before being pushed from the Titantic, and hopes all of you non-subscribers are happy reading your free news on the internets while his journalism brethren suffer. Not that he's not bitter or anything. His real true joys, however, are his wife, kids and tennis, though not necessarily in that order. Unless his wife is reading this. Then DEFINITELY in that order.
This entry was posted in 6.5/7.5 Combo, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Look who’s back! It’s the Green Machine!

  1. Andy Ritter says:

    You nailed it. We love Sequioa Grove wine!


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