Best weekend ever and other stuff



There are good weekends. And then there are gooood weekends.

The past weekend, as far as the Hunter’s Green USTA league teams went, couldn’t be any gooder. (Note to self, look up gooder, make sure it’s a word).

Check this out.

NEAR PERFECTION: On Saturday, the 6.5 men’s and women’s combo teams, as well as the 7.5 mens and women’s combo teams, all played at home and all won 3-0. On Sunday, the 7.0 mixed team won 3-0, with the 6.0 and 8.0 teams picking up 2-1 wins.

That’s seven teams, going 7-0, by a 21-2 margin, with one of those line losses coming via forfeit.

You guys are really really good!

In 7.5 men’s combo: Greg Morrissey and John Slatniske continued their on-court love affair with a 6-1, 6-0 win at No. 1 singles, with Patrick Rairigh and TOm Layton played one for the fans at line 2. The Green Machine duo fell behind 4-0 in the first set before rallying to a win, fell behind 5-0 in the second set before not rallying to a win (but coming close at 5-4), and then pulled out the third-set tiebreaker. At line 3, Jose Orsino and his mustache teamed up with newish member Rob Miller — making his Hunter’s Green league debut — in a 6-3, 6-0 win.

In 6.5 men’s combo: Okay, so technically, since we have two teams at Hunter’s Green, one of them did lose….but shhhhhh. It ruins my story. Anyway, Larry Palombo and Eddie Collins won at line 1, John Cotey and Andy Ritter — playing together for the first time since Oct. 11, 2014 — won at line 2, and Clayton Smith carried Erik Hajek to a 6-4, 6-4 win at line 3.

In 7.5 women’s combo: Juli Morrissey and Marla Adams won at line 1, Lara Slatniske and Cinthia Cespedes won at 2 and Sara Schneiders and Jenna Ryan won at 3.

In 6.5 women’s combo: HG won their second straight after an 0-2 start to crawl back into the title chase. With the 6.5 brain trust sitting on a beach sipping pina coladas and shopping for overpriced shoes and pants, their squad took a much-needed 3-0 win over Harbour Island. Julie Sakre Hogan and Hannah Gabora rolled at 1 (6-2, 6-0), Joy Allee and Nini Torres put in a workmanlike effort at 2 in a 6-2, 7-6 win, and Janice Fisher and Trina Hoyrod dominated the last line 6-1, 6-0.

FIRST TIMERS: Shout-out to some first-time USTA winners Eddie Collins and Clayton Smith, playing for the 6.5 Green Machine. While they played with great partners in Larry Palombo and Erik Hajek, respectively, they both managed to come up with dozens of great shots in the straight set wins. For Clayton, it was like the second tennis match he had ever played. Not bad. And he even remembered to register before playing with Erik, which is always a nice touch (cough Cherie cough). Clayton played twice last year on the 6.5 team that went to sectionals and finished second in the state, so he had a USTA trophy (which I hear his wife, who has been playing for many many many many more years does NOT) before he had his first win. Not bad!


IT SHOULD BE NOTED: Erik won on Saturday with a guy playing only his second USTA match, and then teamed up with Joy in mixed doubles (because Joy is a 3.0, that’s a 6.5 combination) to beat a 7.0 combination Sunday. That’s called Stud Ball.

PLAYER OF THE WEEKEND: How about that Drew Fisher, y’all? Playing with Trina on the 6.0 mixed doubles team, the 3.0-rated still-starting-out Drew helped pick up a 7-6, 6-1 win at first-place Cheval to give the HG team a 2-1 win.


It was a huge win at line 2, since the HG team had to forfeit line 3 because it was short players. That’s clutch.

And get this: It was also Drew’s first set ever won, and his first USTA win, after suffering through an 0-9 season in 2016.

Congrats to Drew!

Now, about those curling skills.

THE 2-0 CLUB: Here’s the list of the HG Green Machine members who won matches on both Saturday and Sunday: Julie Sakre Hogan (6.5 combo and 7.0 mixed), Joy Allee (6.5 combo and 7.0 mixed), Erik Hajek (6.5 combo and 7.0 mixed), John Cotey (6.5 combo and 7.0 mixed), Marla Adams (7.5 combo and 8.0 mixed) Lara Slatniske (7.5 combo and 8.0 mixed) and Jenna “La Diabla” Ryan (7.5 combo and 7.0 mixed). Feel free to high 5 them as you walk past them at the club this week.

CURLING CLUB: Hey, if you missed the Green Machine Night O’ Curling at Florida Hockey Center Ice on Saturday, then I pity the fool. It was all about Bunches of Fun, Beer and Butt Cracks.

If you’re interested in our next visit there, and even being on a team in the league (which plays Saturday nights), let me know.

IMG_7179FILL IN THE RATING: Here’s a picture of some idiot Donald Trump playing golf tennis. Try not to be too distracted by his panty lines and let me know in the comments what you think, based on his form and style, he should self-rate with the USTA as. Not what he would rate himself at, because we know he would say he is a Trillion.Five player.

But what you think he should be. I’m thinking a high 3.0, probably a solid line 3 for 6.5 combo.

Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 5.59.26 PM

1. John Slatniske is 8-1 in his last nine matches, not counting sectionals. He is 2-0 in mixed with Marla Adams, 2-0 in combo with Greg Morrissey, 2-0 in doubles with John Cotey, and 2-0 in singles. Do not approach him without the proper gloves to handle high heat.
2. The 7.0 mixed team has now won nine straight matches, dating back to over-40 season.
3. Did you know that Santiago Romero has only played one USTA singles match since 2014. The result isn’t important (a 6-0, 6-2 loss), just pointing out that despite the result (6-0, 6-2 loss), he has really turned into a fine doubles player, where he is 59-35 since 2014.
4. Richard Helme’s third-set tiebreaker record is 20-8 since 2014.
5. Here’s a weird stat — Cherie Smith is 7-0 in third-set 10-point tiebreakers. But, in regular set tiebreakers (up to seven), she is 0-6.
6. Erik Hajek is 50-15 overall in his USTA tennis career, for a 76.9 winning percentage. On the ladies’ side, Cherie is 56-8, for a 87.7 winning percentage. Those are most likely the top two winning percentages at the club.
7. Did you know Janene Culumber has won 14 USTA matches each of the last two seasons, and is already at 13 this year?

(according to

3.5 women
1. Hannah Gabora, 27
10. Marla Adams, 20
12. Cherie Smith, 19.

3.0 women
1. Nelci Rodrigues, 24
4. Tibbie Farnsworth, 21
9. Trina Hoyrod, 19
14. Janice Fisher, 19
21. Joy Allee, 15

3.0 men
9. James Hann, 3
11. Georges Kaufman and Hugh Farnsworth, 2

3.5 men
2. John Cotey, 24
5. John Slatniske, 20
6. Larry Palombo, 19
34. Rob Miller, 11
38. Erik Hajek, 10

4.0 men
2. Richard Helme, 31
12. Todd Abrams, 15
20. Mike Bitting and Greg Morrissey, 13 

4.5 men
1. Santiago Romero, 27 (note: next nearest has 17)
5. Bill Zeedyk, 15
22. Troy Quast, 8


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.
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