The Columbus Trophy took place in Japan . The IC of Japan organised the event in the spirit of the IC, in style and with great attention to detail .
The organisation of tennis clinics for disadvantaged children in which we were invited to participate was an excellent idea as was the wheelchair tennis demonstration which was of a very high standard, the No. 10 in the world being amongst the players.
An extensive programme of social events and entertainment was laid on including Japanese art classes, a traditional tea ceremony, a tour to some of Tokyo’s famous buildings and a visit to the Japan Open Tennis on the day after the Columbus Trophy Final. The official dinner was held at the Tokyo American Club and was a marvellous evening.
The event itself was held at the Estolle Hotel and Tennis Club and was very competitive. Unfortunately the event was interrupted by rain on 2 days but the use of the indoor courts for the semi-final meant that the final was played as planned and in glorious sunshine.
The IC of GB Team comprising Mark Cox , Henk Nijeboer , Roger Ambrose, Philip Siviter and Benson Greatrex (Captain) triumphed in the final against the IC of the USA
The results were as follows:-
IC of GB beat IC of Hungary 5-1 in the quarter final with the GB 65s being particularly dominant.
IC of GB beat France by 3 games in the semi final with the match tied at 3-3 and equal on sets. The IC of France 65s, Patrice Beust, Michel Leclerc and Francois Pierson were extremely strong and managed to win 3 with the IC of GB 55s levelling the match.
The result in the Final against the IC of the USA looked as though it would be straightforward after GB took a 3-1 lead in the singles, Mark Cox and Henk Nijeboer both winning with the loss of only 3 games. Philip Siviter having a great 3 set win against Armisted Nealy, Benson Greatrex losing to Geoff Cykman. With the first set in both doubles going to the US the victory looked less certain. However Mark Cox and Henk Nijeboer won the 65s doubles on a deciding tiebreak and in the 55s Philip Siviter partnered by Roger Ambrose ( substituting for the injured Benson Greatrex) produced a terrific performance winning the second set and deciding tie-break.
This was a team effort with all 5 team members playing in each match to win the Trophy for the IC of GB for the first time since it’s inception in 1992.
My thanks go to the team and our wives for making it a great week. Particular thanks also to Sakae Yoshii , his wife Mimi and the rest of the organising committee from the IC of Japan who made it a memorable experience.