2018 US Amateur Recap
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Will Hopton, proud member of the Detroit Racquet Club, drops his pro status and shakes off the rust admirably from two years of relative inactivity to show why he is the world’s #2 ranked player, taking home the silverware as the 2018 US Amateur Singles Champion. Opponent Christian Portz of Queen’s, the world #6, took the first game 15/5, combining great length with impressive power. Hitting perfect shot after perfect shot, he is in absolute control and gives the Old Pro all that he can handle and more. Portz tries to keep momentum rolling in the second game, but Hoppy continues to battle, digging certain winners out of the corners and frustrating his opponent with his accuracy and width, ultimately prevailing 15/9. As Manny Tancer notes, “he doesn’t think any point is over until the ball bounces twice.” In the third game, Hopton seems to glide effortlessly around the court, controlling the T and forcing Portz to be absolutely perfect in order to score a point. Portz was perfect 10 times, but you need 15 to win the game. The fourth game saw Portz gain back momentum, building up an early lead and displaying no fatigue in this rally-filled match. Ultimately, however, this was a vintage Hoppy performance and he closes the door on his opponent in the fourth and final game 15/10. “Hoppy just sort of plowed through, didn’t he?” remarked DRC member Nick Harding. Indeed he did, old boy!
Back on court after an epic clash, Portz and Hopton once again displayed their brilliance in the doubles final, this time joined by their respective partners New York’s Peter Cipriano and Chicago’s inimitable Dick Ryan. Hoppy seemed to be everywhere, managing for the most part to keep up with Cipriano and Portz’s strong shots, with DR having the very best view of the match. With the first game ending 15/7 and Portz in great form, Cipriano showed why he is game’s best North American born player, stepping up the court and hitting some excellent backhand volleys. The eventual champions made quick work of their opponents in this game 15/1. Hopton responded in the third game with a sterling performance, inspiring his partner to poke his head out from the door to flash some timely brilliance. Alas, it was not to be, as Portz and Cipriano won the game 15/9 and took home their third consecutive US Amateur Doubles Championship. As Dick remarked, “only in our great game can a 60 year old guy from Louisville find himself in the finals of the US Amateur” to which Michael Gale responded “The most important part of doubles championships is partner selection. In that respect, Hoppy still has something to learn.” A small asterisk remains attached to the victory, however, as the champions had an injury walk-over against the tremendous Montgomery-Harding pairing. While the injured Harding did not manage to take home silverware, the pair did take home the stag’s best dressed award.
In the birthplace of the NARA Fellowship Programme, Chicago fellows Ed Beard and Giles Rozier-Pamplin and Montreal fellow Max “George” Dymoke, all playing in their first ever NARA tournament, showed that the future of the game is bright. The clash between Giles and George was one of the better singles matches of the tournament, while Ed and Giles had a strong showing against the doubles champs. Their questionable calls and typically millennial short attention spans did not affect the overall results (we think).
On a social note, the Thursday night stag was a DRC classic with the steaks topped only by Rory Sutton’s joke that no one dared follow. Players descended upon Detroit’s finest restaurants and watering holes on Friday night joined by the wives and girlfriends, exerting as much effort off the court as on… and perhaps more! Saturday night featured a dinner formal at the Scarab Club, complete with the all-important open bar and lamb chops. Later, Ward “The Lion Tamer” Detwiler led his rowdy band of gangbusters to Theatre Bizarre while Dick Ryan shepherded the fellows, imparting upon them many life lessons that should not be repeated to their mothers.
Many thanks to club pro Steve Toseland, general manger Glenn Rivers, and the DRC board of directors and membership for their fantastic hospitality and a very memorable weekend. Your guests would particularly like to thank you for ordering up some fantastic weather throughout the weekend!