Team Tennis, the latest venture by Green Machine, Inc. to bring fun, frivolity and drunkedness to the game we all love, will serve up the start of its inuagural season Friday, Jan. 20. With many of the players likely to already be loaded from drinking their way through Donald Drumpf’s inau…..inau….ianugIcan’tsay, I just can’t. Needless to say, it should be fun.
Remember, we are playing an abbreviated quick season to test things out, with playoffs and postseason awards and party. Season 2 will have a draft and all kinds of extra stuff, but for now, here we go. Reminder: It’s $10 a person to cover the cost of awards; the rest goes to party.
Here’s a quick preview, which is sponsored by Nikki Spirakis, Realtor. Buying? Selling? I’m Your Girl!
Captain: John C. Cotey
OUTLOOK: Cotey has compiled a team that should be a title contender. Cotey and Palombo are the last two 3.5 club champions at Hunter’s Green. Hann and Cotey are 7-1 lifetime together at doubles at sectional tournaments. Any combo of the three could prove deadly.
At singles, Cherie Smith’s streak of 123 consecutive USTA singles wins may be over, but she’s still one of the tops at the club, and is an excellent doubles player as well. Phuongie has been training underground in an unknown location in Wesley Chapel, and is expected to debut a new forehand for the Team Tennis season, and sources tell us it is NASTY. Her backhand remains one of the top weapons in her class.
Daniela Quast and Trina Hoyord are two of the top 3.0s around, and Trina’s ability as a doubles specialist will be invaluable. Quast is a dual threat at singles and doubles, and she will no longer be weighed down at mixed doubles by husband Troy Quast. Greg and Juli Morrissey are the perfect buffer against the top mixed doubles teams in Team Tennis, and now that Greg isn’t stuck playing with John “The Anchor” Slatiske (3), look for some big men’s doubles victories.
NEW TAMPA? WESLEY CHAPEL? YOU NEED A PLACE, I’LL FIND IT!
NEW TAMPA BOMBERS
Captain: Erik “Big Bear” Hajek.
OUTLOOK: The potential loss of 3.5 star Sharon Patterson has shaken up the tennis world, but Hajek said his team won’t miss a beat.
In his captaining debut, Hajek has shown a deft touch and rallied his team in the face of adversity. Hajek himself is still the most feared 3.5 at the club (unless you count those afraid of getting stuck playing with Slatniske, which would make him the most feared), and Mike Bitting is a MVP candidate at singles and doubles. The last-second addition of wife Lisa to the team should be a boost. Ritter and Mardo are looking at Team Tennis as a chance to make their mark, and they will get ample opportunity.
Lara Slatniske may be limited by her schedule, but she will be tough to beat any night Hajek can throw her out there at singles, even if word on the street is that she is afraid of Cherie Smith, Jenna Ryan, Julie Sakre and Joy Allee. Hajek said he has no fear entering the first season with four 3.0 women on his squad. Tibbie Farnsworth is coming off an Ultimate Tennis title at 3.5, Janice and Mary are two of the most improved players at the club and Lisa Bitting is fundamentally sound. On paper, they may not look like much, but Big Bear wants to eat.
Captain: Stephen Hunter
OUTLOOK: Hunter has an underrated, spunky squad that is hungry to prove to the big boys at Hunter’s Green that they ain’t so big after all. Or something like that.
Hunter has worked his way into the top half of the 3.5 roster at the club with hard work, and Patrick Rairigh is ready to prove himself as a singles player now that he has knees. After years of making fun of Rairigh behind his back because of his big-ass knee braces, a day of reckoning could be coming for the younger players at the club named John Slatniske. Quast, if his wife allows him to play, could help the Gummy Bears counter players like Morrissey (Smash, Inc.), Bitting (Bombers) and Romero (Serve-zas), but the waiver-wire acquisition of Fred and Kathy Tichanuk could be the transaction of the year. If he can complete contract negotiations with Betsy Zeedyk, it could be a game changer.
The Gummy Bears also boast two of the most rapidly-improving, fiesty, up-and-coming players around in Allee and Sakre, and veteran Amy Rairigh is there to provide the guile and gumption the two younger whippersnappers lack. Carolynn and Peter Boutell are a mixed doubles threat, and on their own Carolynn is a top doubles player with just about anybody, while Boutell provides another option at singles.
TWO BEDROOMS? THREE BEDROOMS? HOW ABOUT FOUR OR FIVE? I GOT YOU!
Captain: Santiago Romero
OUTLOOK: Like the Bombers, Team Serve-zas has had a run of bad luck as Marisa Martin, expected to be one of the team’s stalwarts, tore her ACL at sectionals.
Luckily, Romero managed to get his girl Jenna appealed down to a 3.5. Though Romero denies that the move was geared to strengthen his Team Tennis squad, an Ecuadorian news channel reported that money was wired to the USTA offices from Quito, and traced back to Team Serve-zas headquarters. Nonetheless, Romero will have to lead this team of youngsters and inexperienced netters. Slatniske and Dice have sectional experience together, but it would be the tandem of Romero and the 6-foot-11 Dice that keeps the other captains awake at night. The potential Romero/Ryan-Morrissey Squared doubles match is already sold out and could be an instant classic.
Tennis newbie Drew Fisher could sprout wings under the tuteledge of Romero, and veteran Janene Culumber is said to be negotiating to bring husband Mike on board for additional firepower. Nikki Spartacus and Wendy? (Yes, Lisa) Is the water warm enough? (Yes Lisa) round out a quality roster that may not play better tennis than everyone, but is almost certain to drink more than everyone.
New Tampa Bombers vs. Team Serve-zas
Smash, Inc. vs. Gummy Bears
New Tampa Bombers vs. Gummy Bears
Smash, Inc. vs. Team Serve-zas
Smash, Inc. vs. New Tampa Bombers
Team Serve-zas vs. Gummy Bears
1st place vs. 4th place
2nd place vs. 3rd place
Championship (two winner)
Third-place match (two losers)
And for those who have forgotten, here are the rules.
1. Each team has 10 players (well, we tried. Still working on this one). We basically tried to split up players so each team as a 4.0/4.5 guy and gal, two 3.5 men, a 3.0 man, two 3.5 women and two 3.0 women. Something close to that. Injuries and defections have caused some changes.
2. Each match you need to field a lineup to cover a men’s and women’s single SET, a men’s and women’s doubles SET, and two mixed doubles SETS. That’s six total SETS, so you can fill that lineup with as little as 4 players or as many as 10, since players can compete in multiple matches. You can play as many as you want, or as few as you want.
3. All matches should strive match up players and teams of the same individual or combined NTRP ratings, unless the two captains agree otherwise. Teams can decide in advance if the doubles matches are going to played as 6.0, 6.5, 7.0, 7.5, 8.0 or 8.5. Men’s doubles can be different than women’s can be different than mixed. Much of that will depend on who is available to each captain.
4. Each SET is won by the first team to reach five games. Each game counts as one point in the team‘s cumulative match score.
4a. Each team match is played on one court. So while men’s singles plays, everyone watches. When that is over, women singles…when that is over….since it’s sets to five, it moves briskly. You can play your matches in whatever order suits each team.
5. If a set reaches 4-4, a tiebreaker is played to decide the winner of the set. First team/player to reach five points, win by two. Players change sides after four points. The tiebreaker counts as one game and decides the outcome of the set.
6. To make sure you are keeping up — so, you win men’s singles 5-4, and win women’s singles 5-3, you are ahead 10-7 with four SETS to play. Got it?
6a. . No-ad scoring. Receiver chooses the side from which he/she will receive serve at duece. In mixed doubles, the serve is always gender to gender.
7. Lets are played!! Hit a serve off the net, the ball is LIVE if it lands in! And either partner may return the let serve!!
8. Even if you are not in the lineup, you should show up, to root on your team, drink and….SUBSTITUTIONS are allowed. A captain may substitute one player, per SET, per gender at the conclusion of a point. If a player is substituted for, he/she may not return to the match in that same set.
9. This might be the coolest rule — Extended Play! Extended play eliminates the possibility of the final sets becoming exhibitions. If the team ahead in the cumulative score wins the final game of the last set, then that team is the winner. If, HOWEVER, the trailing team wins the final set, the match is sent into Extended Play and continues until, a) the leading team wins one game, or b) the trailing team ties the match score. If the score becomes tied, the match is decided by a Supertiebreaker.
10. Super Tiebreaker: In the event of a tied match at the conclusion of five sets or if the trailing team ties the score in Extended Play, a 13-point Supertiebreaker, involving the same fifth set event, decides the outcome of the entire match. A coin toss determines the choice of side, server and receiver. Players change sides after six points. The first team to win seven points is awarded a single game and the match.