The 38th annual Sunshine Coast Open tennis tournament served up an ace last weekend.
A little rain, a few clouds and sunny skies were optimal temperatures for the backdrop for some first-class tennis and a fantastic event.
A total of 46 competitors competed in the five main draws. There were new and old faces this year, with competitors from several Lower Mainland tennis clubs and from Vancouver Island.†
The event was based out of the courts in lower Gibsons, dedicated as the Eric Cardinall courts. Cardinall passed away in 2002, was a member of the United States Tennis Association for 35 years and was an inductee of the Pacific†Northwest Hall of Fame in 2005.†The Cardinall family are long-standing residents of the Sunshine Coast and were an integral force of community tennis on the Sunshine Coast. †This year, Jo Cardinall, widow of Eric Cardinall, sat on the dedicated Cardinall bench at Dougall Park and watched her†son Dan compete in the event after an 11-year absence ó a nostalgic moment for this long-standing community event.
Tennis enthusiasts were treated to some entertaining matches.
Local tennis talents and former/present long-time residents prevailed in four of the five events: Cardinall, Gustav Guzek and Shelley Lawrence capturing five of the six trophies. Cardinall captured the menís singles trophy over three-time champion Chad Brachat of Victoria in an entertaining, close final.
Cardinall and Guzek won the menís doubles over Brachat and John Nygren. Lawrence won womenís singles over Carolyn Haley of Langley.
Lawrence and Guzek won the mixed doubles title over Wendy Whibley and Lauren Banerd of the West Vancouver Tennis Club, and Carloyn Haley and Irene Cheung of the Richmond Tennis Club won womenís doubles over Whibley and Deb Maloon.†
Three local talented juniors, Lauren Benko, Heather Benko and Nigel Wright, also participated in the event. They are coached by club pro Jacques Joyal out of the Suncoast Racquet Club.
The consolation events also had some first-class competitive play.
Local Frank Lam won the menís singles over Daniel Dodek.
Local Alana Johnson won the womenís singles.
Russell Crum and Pat Dowl-ing won menís doubles over Darcy Lawrence and Lam. Cheung and Tony Fong won the mixed doubles over Ed and Fran Allain.
Marian Shoemaker and Michelle Lewis won womenís doubles over Cielo Lyle-Shortt and Eliane Michel. (See all the scores in the sports ticker on page 46.)
The event was highlighted by an outstanding player event social at Russell Crum and Janis Johnsonís private grass court in Roberts Creek.
In a Wimbledon-like setting, everyone was invited to play on the grass; bare feet were preferable to tennis shoes! There was plenty of laughter with the crazy bounces on grass and a beautiful venue, with a salmon dinner to conclude the night.
Thanks to the many sponsors who help support this growing, long-standing community event. Also, a special thanks to tournament organizers Shelley and Darcy Lawrence for a well-run, fun event.