Gene’s Tip of the Month: October 2017

                Do you get annoyed when your friend asks to play tennis with you or “hit around”, but they are a 3.0 and you are a 4.0? What makes this scenario worse is when you can’t find another game with people at your level. Why not make a practice session out of it, without telling your friend? The secret is to first, limit your options. For example, decide that you are not going to lob or slice anything if those are your best shots. Instead, work on your topspin backhand and a flat, low forehand if those are shots you’ve always wanted to develop, but never work on in matches with players at your own level. Will you make more errors? Yes, almost certainly. Will you also get better at hitting those shots? Certainly. Will your friend be happy? Yes! If you really are considerably better, they will still be excited to play with you.
                Another way to get a solid tennis workout with a weaker opponent is to only hit to their strongest shot. Most players prefer the forehand. So, when playing with them, hit everything to their strength. It’s not a sound strategy for winning, but it will make the match more competitive. It also forces you to work on controlling the ball to a particular section of the court, the third most important mission every tennis player has. Limiting the area of the court you can use is one of the best ways to improve one’s game as evidenced by all the drills and practice games that require players to use only half the court. This also limits your ability to win through maneuvering. Instead you must outlast or “hit through” your opponent, which often times is the only way to defeat someone who moves well. This develops patience, one of the great attributes of any successful tennis player.
                There are dozens of ways to make a practice session with a weaker player exciting and challenging. Feel free to contact me for other suggestions for creating a challenging win-win. If you come up with other practice tricks in this situation feel free to post them to our Mcc Tennis Facebook page or email them to me at

Oh Calcutta Preview!


2016 Calcutta Players

This year we are hoping to have the biggest Calcutta Auction Nite in Mcc history! To do that, we need your help. Namely, we need you to attend the auction nite and join in with your Mcc friends in bidding on the teams.  I’ve had two info-graphics created to make understanding the Calcutta Auction and Tournament easy. Please review those and feel free to email me with questions at with question / concerns.  I recommend you align yourself with a friend in what Richard Reinjohn terms a “consortium” for bidding purposes. This gives you a larger pool of money to buy teams with and reduces your personal risk of losing money.  I expect to have 15-20 teams this year. As of this writing, I already have 27 players signed up and the tournament is still almost a month away.

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO KNOW TENNIS TO PARTICIPATE! Last year, the winner was not a tennis player. He bid $200 on the winning team of Barb Fier & Tony Cane. He wound up winning over two-thousand dollars!  In addition, you can feel good about participating in this event because a percentage of the proceeds go to The Boys & Girls Club of Venice. We have made this generous donation to that group for over fifteen years now. Last year they had me attend their fund-raising dinner as we are loyal donors. It would be great if this year we could exceed all our past donations by having more folks attend and bid on teams.

Please join us in the Galaxy Room on October 6th from 6:30-8pm for an exciting night of bidding and Mcc camaraderie.  No reservations necessary. Invite friends and family to join in the fun.  We will have prizes for the highest bidder and raffle prizes for all who are present.

I also invite everyone to come watch the matches on Oct. 7-8, especially the finals on Sunday, October 8th at 1pm on court #1. There will be food and drink for all in attendance who come to support our tennis players and program.

Calcutta Tournament Infographic

Calcutta Auction Infographic

A-B Tennis Potluck 2017

Our annual A-B Potluck is a social event to bring players of all skill levels together for fun, social tennis and food!  This year we had sixteen lovely ladies participating with all levels from 3.0-4.5 represented. We paired a player at or below 3.5 with a player at or above 3.5 in each round where they played seven games. After each round, each player got a new partner and we played four rounds, so that everyone got to meet some new people and play against others who they rarely play. After over two-and-a-half hours of tennis where everyone played with some competitive fire as well as kindness befitting a social round robin, all the players retreated back to the Tennis Desk for drinks and food provided by the players themselves. We had hummus, fried chicken, guacamole, chips, salads, wine, and much more. My mouth is watering as I write this! The players hung around until almost five o’clock, chatting about their tennis and life. Many new members met other new players and the established players were able to become closer to their good friends while making new ones. We love events like that that break down the cliques and bring all levels and personalities together to make Mcc even more inclusive than it already is!  All matches were played in a wonderful, competitive, yet friendly spirit. Every player also received a red rose for participating. Special thanks to our very own pregnant Georgie LaLonde for coming out to help Gene and Priscilla keep everything smooth and organized. We love the ladies of Mcc!

A-B Potluck Group Photo

2017 Mcc Men’s Singles Final

This year’s men’s singles tournament featured eight strong contenders in a three-week round robin melee. At the end, we came away with four worthy players in the semi-finals: Massoud Djabbari versus Brandon Boyce & Terry Treacy versus Ryan Sokolowski.  Massoud and Brandon battled it out on Friday afternoon with Brandon coming out swinging to take the first set. After that, Massoud settled into his attacking game with great approach shots and solid volleys to seize the second and third sets for the victory 5-7, 6-2, 6-2.  Ryan and Terry waited until Saturday morning to play therefore played a single pro-set to eight games to see who would face Massoud in the finals later that day. Ryan came out strong, winning the first game by breaking Terry’s serve. After that, although many points were grueling, Terry established a rhythm of heavy topspin and kick serves to win the next seven games for a 7-1 lead. At that point, Ryan loosened up and won the next two games with some big forehands and good first serves. In the final game of the match, Terry served well, drawing three return errors to set up match points at 40-0. After squandering the first two, Terry drew the error for the 8-3 victory and a place in the finals.

Massoud Djabbari & Terry Treacy

The final felt intense right from the start with Terry exhibiting his patented Lleyton Hewitt “c’mon” after winning game points. Massoud kept a calm demeanor but looked determined to make Terry pay for any short balls by driving his forehand and coming in. Terry edged out a hold to start the match the proceeded to break Massoud for a 2-0 lead. From that point on, they had long games with both players struggling on service placement. Four consecutive breaks of serve later, the score was 4-2.  Then, just when it looked like another break was coming as Terry tried to deal with the overhead sun on the north side of court one, he figured out a good toss position and held serve to go up 5-2.  Massoud followed suit, holding serve for 5-3 and putting the pressure on Terry to serve out the first set. Terry got three out of five first serves in, resulting in a hold to fifteen to take the opening set 6-3.

In the second set, Massoud had the privilege of serving first, however, after a close game with some good aggressive play, Massoud missed a forehand long to give the early break to Terry. Terry followed with an easy hold and again had a strong start to the second set with a 2-love lead. Massoud held serve in the next game, putting pressure on Terry. The following game (fourth of the second set) was the longest of the match. Massoud had three break chances, but each time Terry came up with a solid serve and forced the error off the return. Finally, Terry held with a heavy forehand into the open court that Massoud caught late and floated wide. With the momentum provided by winning a tight game, Terry proceeded to run out the remaining games with two breaks and a hold for the victory 6-3, 6-1. Congrats to both guys for a well-played match and a good tournament.

Please keep your eyes out for emails announcing our next event.

Marina City Club 2017 Women’s Singles Finals


Susan Jolley & Karen Barry

This year’s women’s singles finals featured two quality players who came out of a six-player round robin qualifying to reach the finals. Susan Jolley came into the final undefeated in round robin play while Karen Barry suffered her lone loss to Susan in a three-set battle royale over two days. The match took place on a hot sunny Saturday in the late morning. The first set was quite contentious with both players establishing their serves early as the match started with seven holds until Karen Barry went to serve a 3-4. The game started like many of the others with Karen hitting hard slice backhands and Susan driving both her forehand and backhand high and deep into the court as Karen looked to take one out of the air and charge the net. On break point at 30-40, Susan came up with some brilliant defensive lobs and finally drew the error as Karen ran out of steam trying to reach an overhead.  Susan had the first break of the match. In the ninth game, Susan served well, drawing two return errors and winning another long, baseline exchange with a down-the-line forehand that Karen could not track down. On set point, Karen tried to be aggressive, but pushed a volley long giving Susan the first set 6-3.

The second set started with a shaky game from Karen as Susan established an early break of serve. Then, on Susan’s serve, Karen returned some hard slicing backhands, however, those seemed to play right into Susan’s counter-punching style. She used Karen’s pace to constantly change the direction on the ball, running Karen side to side until there was nothing left in the tank. By the end of the third game, the long rallies and the sun were taking their toll on Karen as Susan maintained control of the middle of the court and Karen had to scramble. While several games went to deuce in the latter half of the second set, the game points showed that Susan was willing to run down every ball until there was nothing left in the tank. Susan finally took the match 6-3, 6-0 with great defense and amazing determination. Susan seized the day and is our 2017 Mcc Women’s Singles Champion. Congrats to both finalists and all the players who were brave enough to throw their hat into the ring this year.

Mcc 2017 Bring-a-Ringer Tournament

Wow, what a great event we had this year! We had fourteen teams entered. The matches were exciting from the start with a lot of long, close matches. After a lot of competitive matches, we whittled it down to four teams in the semi-finals of the main draw. All teams got lots of tennis with a consolation draw. Many new teams participated this year, which is what it’s all about, getting more players involved with our Mcc Tennis Program.

In one semi-final, Karen Berliner and Ziga Weisseisen competed against Jacek Twarowski & Danielle Boyce. After running out to a 4-1 lead, Jacek & Danielle held a point to go up 5-1, but Ziga & Karen fought it off with consistent play and smart shots. They battled back, pushing Jacek & Danielle to 5-5 before Danielle brought out her big serve to end the match 7-5.

In the second semi-final, Robert Rudelius & Darcy Simon battled against Mike Rapkin & Caroline Atchison. Robert’s serve dominated and Darcy’s great mid-court volleys carried the day 6-1.

In the final, in front of sixty excited fans, Jacek & Danielle came out firing to take the set in less than 20 minutes 6-1. The second set started differently with Robert and Darcy immediately breaking serve then holding for a 2-0 lead. They held on to that lead throughout the set with Robert serving it out to win the set 6-4. In the deciding set, the men held serve then both ladies got broken, then they repeated the pattern. At 3-3, both ladies held serve with high percentages of first serves to take it to 4-4. Jacek then held serve with mixed pace to throw off the other team’s rhythm. In the final game of the match, at 30-30, the teams got into a rapid exchange with Danielle rolling a cross-court forehand in the alley as Robert and Darcy were covering the other half of the court. On match point, Danielle hit a solid return off a strong kick serve by Robert. Then Robert charged the net with his patented chip and charge tactic, sending a strong, low shot back to Danielle, who bent low, scooped the backhand off the court and split the opponents up the middle to take the match. All the players were very fair and the final was played in good spirits.

Special thanks to the staff who played in the tournament, Renard and Jacek, as well as Priscilla, Brenda, and Angel, for helping out. In addition, the food this time was wonderful, being catered by our friends at Sky Market, a wonderful store we have right here on property! Tower Pizza provided the pizza once again and did a great job. Finally, to the ringers and members who played, a special thanks, there is no tournament without all the participants and spectators who make our events so special.

Ringer Champs 2017 – Danielle & Jacek


Bring-a-Ringer on Saturday is Heating UP!

Hey Mcc Tennis Players and Fans,

Our Bring-a-Ringer now has 15 teams for our Saturday 9am start time! I would love to get one more team signed up and we would have a full 16-team tournament draw with consolation as well! Please let me know if you have a female ringer as we have several fellas still seeking a ringer partner or a male ringer and I will find a member to be his partner!

All players signed up to be in the ringer, please be at the tennis desk no later than 8:45am on Saturday, June 17th (two days from now) ready for action! This will be a competitive environment with some high-quality athletes involved, including UCLA players and former touring pros.

Spectators: come watch starting at 9am, with food next to court #1 starting at NOON. Finals will be at or about 1pm (depending on if players need a longer rest after the semi-finals).


Tennis Singles Challenger #2

Hey folks, Marina City Club had our second Singles Challenger of the year today! We featured 9 singles players in two divisions: A & B. The matches were competitive. Players met new people, potential tennis partners in the future in a friendly yet competitive format that matched the NextGen format being used by the ATP this season.  Among our players were Tess, Karen, Massoud, Robert, Danielle, Brandon, Susan, Ed, and Marv. Keep your eyes peeled for our next singles tennis event and come out for Mcc singles!

Tennis Singles Challenger #2 – 2017


MCC’s Annual


Saturday, June 17

9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.




  • The cost is $50 / team, typically paid by the member for the ringer, but that is up to your team.
  • It will be a round-robin format, dependent on how many teams we get.
  • The finals will be at 1pm and will be 2 out 3 sets no-ad with a 10-point tiebreaker to decide the third set.
  • Lunch included and trophies for runners-up and winners and possibly prize $ if we get enough teams!


Ringer Finals 2014


The Mcc Women’s & Men’s Doubles Tournament 2017

Karen Dixon / Vicki Miceli – Champs 2017 Tess Gill / Karely Deal – Finalists 2017

We had an exciting women’s doubles tournament 2017 and a breezy May Saturday.  The ladies battled it out in a round robin format with all the teams having extremely close matches. Three teams tied with a record of 1-2 and one team eked out a victory in three close matches to distance themselves and assure a place in the finals. That team was Vicki Miceli & Karen Dixon. The other finalists had to be decided by counting the number of games won and after tallying the totals, Karely Deal & Tess Gill edged out Diane Cooper & Sumiko Imay-Lindsay as well as another good team, Hillary Bibicoff & Caroline Rook.

                The final started off tense with the women exchanging five breaks of serve before Vicki and Karen established themselves with a hold of serve by Karen, followed by a break, and another hard won hold by Vicki. The points were long and both teams showed great poise under the pressure of playing in front of a fifty-person crowd. Ultimately, Karen and Vicki played a more aggressive brand of tennis that allowed them to take control of the points. Despite good defense, the conditions favored the harder hitting duo and they wound up with the victory, 8-3.  Congrats to our champions, finalists and all the other participants for throwing their rackets into the court and accepting the challenge of tournament tennis! Our next grand event is our Bring-a-Ringer, so find a partner and sign up today!

Mcc Men’s Doubles Champions 2017- Brandon & Andrew

Wow, this men’s doubles final was one to remember. Blustery conditions, bright sunshine, and many unpredictable twists and turns in a two hour affair that started out looking like a forty-minute walkover for the three-time finalists, Andrew Horen and Brandon Boyce.  The veterans established themselves early with a solid hold followed by a quick break of serve against the newest challengers, Raul Hernandez and Ryan Sokolowski. The momentum kept with Andrew & Brandon for the rest of the set as they ran Raul and Ryan off the court 6-0 in less than thirty minutes.

                In the second set, Raul and Ryan immediately held serve to stop the march toward a double-bagel, however, after some hard-fought games that were much closer, Brandon and Andrew were still better on the big points and built a commanding break-lead at 5-2. With nothing to lose, Raul and Ryan seemed to loosen up as the other guys felt the pressure of closing out the match. Raul blasted his patented forehand by and Ryan blasted big first serves, to storm all the way back and take the second set with a flurry of great shot making 7-5.

                Going into the third set, some of the steam had come out of Andrew and Brandon as they could feel the anxiety that comes with letting a lead slip away and allowing an almost defeated opponent to have new life. Raul held easily in the first game of the third, then Andrew managed a hold after being down break point to tie things a 1-1. They continued along with one break and two holds each to arrive at 3-4. All the players were showing signs of fatigue, but the level got better as Andrew hit an amazing “tweener” past Ryan, but still lost the game to make the score 4-4. It was Andrew’s serve and he came up big, keeping Ryan and Raul in defensive mode and allowing Brandon to attack the net. In the tenth game Andrew and Brandon kept attacking and so did Raul and Ryan. The game went back and forth with errors on tight shots and winners when it counted. Then after a match point went begging, Andrew hit a big backhand and forced an error to seal the deal. Congrats to Andrew and Brandon for a well-deserved victory: 6-0, 5-7, 6-4 to become the 2017 Men’s Doubles Champions of the Marina City Club. A huge thanks to all participants and spectators who makes these events special.