“Doug, you know how it is, when I lost my singles match, I just wanted to go home. Believe me, it had nothing to do with Arthur,” Cliff was explaining to me last week when we talked about the good old days in Milwaukee at the United States Clay Court Championships. As the story goes, Cliff had just lost a long semi-final encounter and told tournament organizers that he wanted to ‘bag’ the doubles and go home. Ironically, my late father, Richardson Browne, the player personnel director, followed Cliff to the men’s locker-room and try to convince Cliff to stick around, honor his commitment and play doubles with Lt. Arthur Ashe. Wow, it must have been well over two hours before the two men emerged from the room and learn that yes, Cliff would indeed stay and play doubles later that afternoon. Well before the public learned about crazy on court antics of Illie Nastase, Ion Tiriac and John McEnroe, there was the incomparable bad-boy Texan, Cliff Richey. And like John McEnroe, Cliff Richey was a tenacious competitor who won numerous tennis titles:
- Won over 45 titles over a 26-year span – 1964-1992.
- 2-time US Open semi-finalist.
- French Open semi-finalist.
- 2-time US Clay Court champion.
- Legends Senior Tour champion.
- With sister Nancy Richey, formed the best brother/sister combination in the history of tennis.
- Scratch golfer, fired a career best round of 63.
- Celebrity golf-tour for 15 years winning titles in Jamaica and Baltimore.
In the last year, Cliff and his daughter, Hilaire Kallendorf co-wrote a book, “Acing Depression’ about his life-long struggle with depression. Now, Cliff Richey is touring the country and talking about his incredible life on the tennis tour and his monumental battle with depression – and his effort to overcome this serious disease. Cliff is coming to the beautiful Hideaway Beach Club on Marco Island Thursday, February 24th from 12:30 – 1:45PM at the clubhouse. If anyone is interested to see Cliff at Hideaway Beach please call me at 239-642-2845. Cliff will have his new book on hand and will gladly auto-graph each copy.
The first annual Hideaway Beach doubles open for levels 3.0 & 3.5 is almost here! Last week, we had over 50 entries and will the deadline is rapidly approaching. If you are a 2.5 player and would like to ‘play up’ in the 3.0 tournament, give me a call. The entry fee cost is $25.00 per person and it includes a minimum of two matches and a grilled lunch on Saturday, March 5th. Here are the particulars of this amazing event:
March 4, 5 & 6
– 3.5 ladies division will not conflict with CTA play.
– Two out of three sets, 10 point Super Tie Break if 1-set all.
– Deadline: First come, first serve.
– Draws posted March 2nd.
Tennis tip of the week: Have you ever considered hitting a down-the-line lob as your service return? In order to be a less predictable doubles player, mix up your returns with steady crosscourt drives and lobs. Not only will you keep your opponents off balance but this different strategy will enable your team to sneak up to the net. Make sure to work on this new court tactic in practice before you attempt this different stroke in match play. Good luck.
Doug Browne is the Hideaway Beach Tennis Director and the new Collier County USPTA Pro of the Year. Additionally, Doug has been the International Hall of Fame Director of Tennis this past summer. Doug has been writing his tennis column for the past fifteen years and welcomes your feedback.