There were no signs of Federer or Djokovic but the best tennis players in the world gathered for the U.S. Open in Boston last week.
Actually it was the United States Court Tennis Open Championships that was contested at the venerable Tennis and Racquet Club (TRC) on Boylston Street.
In a well-played championship singles match, Cam Riviere defeated Rob Fahey in four sets (6-0, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3) to take home the national title, the coveted championship trophy, and a cash prize.
According to Mark Mitchell, member of the Tennis Committee at the 113-year-old club, court tennis originated in the French monasteries in the 1200s and lawn tennis is derived from it. Mitchell also noted that the Boston club has a court for rackets, predecessor to the game of squash.
“Court tennis and rackets are very old games that were played in British society,” said Mitchell. “When you went to the London gentlemen’s clubs in the 19th century, you would find these games. When the cities in the United States started to develop, they tried to emulate these British clubs.”
Mitchell said that TRC members and guests appreciated the opportunity to see the sport’s greatest, including Riviere, the No. 1-ranked player in the world from South Carolina, and Fahey, the reigning world champion, who is originally from Australia but now lives in London.
“You literally have the best players on the planet here,” said Mitchell. “They are amazing athletes. Many of these pros could go out and play on the regular tennis tour. They play this game because they love it. There is no recognition and very little prize money.”
Riviere, who won his third consecutive U.S. Open title, was asked what it’s like to be the best in the world at this endeavor.
“It feels very good,” said the 27-year-old Riviere. “I started when I was five. My father and grandfather played and they used to sneak me out on the court and I instantly fell in love with the game. You dream as a kid to be the best. You never think it is going to happen. Somehow I’ve been able to make that dream a reality.”
Riviere credited his opponent for a well-played match. “Rob has always been my biggest competitor so to beat him in the final means a lot to me.”
Riviere thanked the club for hosting s splendid event. “The hospitality was fantastic,” said Riviere. “I was fortunate to work here for three years, so it’s kind of a second home to me. They treated me like family when I worked here and they’re kind enough to treat me like that even though I’m an outsider now. They have a really young group here that is really friendly. It makes for a great atmosphere every time you come to the club.”
TRC officers and members were happy to host the prestigious tournament.
“We’re happy to have such a nice crowd here,” said Dick Brickley, TRC president. “Some of the greatest players in the world are here. And we haven’t had the Open here since 2005.”
Beacon Hill resident Helen Grassi, a member of the Tennis Committee and one of top-ranked amateur players in the country, also attended the matches.
“It’s great to have the Open here,” said Grassi. “It’s quite remarkable to have all these pros here playing this level of tennis and to be able to see it here in Boston. This sport was big back in the King Henry VIII era. We need to get more exposure for the sport through media. Hopefully we can do that one day.”