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USA IC Week 2008

By Jeremy Bates, IC of GB Captain 2008

The Diamond Jubilee IC week, staged at the Chevy Chase club in Maryland was a truly excellent event in every respect. The idea of hosting all 4 competitions at once for the first time, The Carreta Trophy, The Mercelis Trophy, The Windmill Trophy and the Columbus Trophy was a considerable challenge, but one which materialised into a hugely enjoyable occasion. The IC of USA clearly invested a considerable amount of time and money into staging their anniversary celebration and Les Nicholson in particular should be thanked and congratulated for putting together a memorable tournament.

At the start of the week 5 clubs were used to play the singles matches, given that 21 countries and around 180 players participated overall there was a need to utilise other facilities. Chevy Chase then hosted all the preliminary doubles matches in the early stages and as the week progressed everything reverted to the host club. Transportation between venues, the hotel and the various functions was very efficient, despite a couple of hiccups and everyone appreciated volumes of exquisite food served on a daily basis for lunch at Chevy Chase. I’m not sure this wasn’t a ploy to slow everyone down in the afternoons!

The Bethesda Hyatt hotel was both comfortable and well located and clearly geared up for the visit of all the teams. All issues were efficiently dealt with and financial arrangements materialised as planned and published. Sightseeing was very popular whenever possible, and given that the sights of Washington are quite spectacular and well worth the time, these opportunities really enhanced the choice of venue.

Despite some fears (mainly mine I think), Washington’s fearful climate didn’t materialise to it’s full potential by any means and although a couple of days were a test of character we got away very lightly. Regrettably though, the 2 finals days were a complete wash out, which meant that all finals reverted to indoors and were reduced to 1 pro-set matches with no-ad scoring. The consolation was eventually scrapped altogether.

During the course of the week 3 social events were added into the itinerary, a welcome drinks party hosted by the Chevy Chase Club, the official Gala Dinner on the penultimate evening and a dinner at the home of some club members, who agreed to host 2 teams each. The GB team had the pleasure of experiencing the excellent hospitality of John and Wendy Wall, who I would like to thank for their very kind gesture, good conversation, even better wine and genuine friendship.

Let’s not forget we were there for the tennis also and I’m delighted to say that there were indeed some terrific results from the GB teams. A full and detailed breakdown of exact results can already be found on the IC website, but to summarise:

GB beat USA 4-1 to win the Windmill Trophy.

USA beat GB 2-0 in the final of the Carreta Trophy.

France beat GB 4-1 in the semi finals of the Columbus Trophy.

Sweden beat GB 2-1 in the quarterfinal of the Mercelis Trophy.

It would be very difficult to mention individual performances in great detail, primarily because we were usually either all on court at the same time or playing at different venues, but perhaps a few highlights should be mentioned. Hannah Collin had a memorable victory over Asa Carlsson, a former top 40 player from a couple of years back, Jeremy Woods remained undefeated in singles all week and The Windmill +45’s were undefeated in either singles and doubles throughout the tournament. I would also like to mention the important roles played by both Chris Hearne and Roy Henderson, who didn’t get to play in many of the matches, but who both contributed unwavering support for all the teams throughout the week.

To conclude, I would just like to say that being able to participate in an IC event of this magnitude was a real privilege and clearly, judging by the amount of support shown by so many players and countries, the long term health and credibility of these events is in very good hands. I would like to offer my sincere thanks to so many people who contributed to the GB team, players, families and supporters alike, creating a fabulous team spirit and sense of enjoyment for the whole week. It I always difficult to put your finger on the exact ingredients for a successful week, but this was definitely it. Thanks must also go the IC of USA for staging an excellent event, Les Nicholson for his tireless work and enthusiasm in organising things, the board of the Chevy Chase club for allowing us exclusive use of their facilities, and Broward Craig, Chairman of the Diamond Jubilee Committee. I would also like to thank the committee of the IC of GB, for supporting and enabling us to send a full team out to the event.

This will be a tough act to follow.