Willmore Park on 70 acres of land donated by Cyrus Crane Willmore. Willmore Park has extensive amenities including lakes, ball fields, soccer fields, pavilions and a dog park. The focus of our attention on this sunny Saturday in May was the four little used tennis courts situated near one of the park entrances.
These courts were the setting for STL Forgotten Courts first tournament which was eclectic both in format, rules and courts. The format was singles with the contestants being four 4.5 women and four 4.0 men. The contestants were Jenn, Trina, Ilona and Toni on the women's side and Scott, Stan, Mark and Jimmy on the men's side. The other unusual rules were 7 game set with no-ad scoring and let cord serves in play. In addition, this was a double elimination format so a player could lose and still come back and win it all.
We also brought a grill and cooked burgers, brats, chicken and veggie dogs while the matches were going on. Trina brought homemade chocolate chip cookies and Kimchi to dress the brats.
We drew out of a hat so that all first round matches featured men against women. The first round was tough for all with two women advancing and two men. Ilona almost became a third woman to advance losing to Mark 6-7 in a tiebreaker. However, in the second round of the main draw, Stan defeated Jenn and Mark defeated Trina to set up a Men's main draw final.
Meanwhile in the losers bracket Scott advanced two rounds easily over Toni and Trina while on the other side Ilona beat Jimmy 7-6 after being down 5 match points! Jenn and Ilona played and Ilona had her third tiebreaker match of the day falling to Jenn 6-7. Jenn had beaten Scott in the first round so a rematch was in the cards.
Back to the main draw - Stan and Mark played the main draw final and the speedy Bulgarian prevailed 7-5 dropping Mark into the losers bracket. Due to Jenn's grueling match with Ilona, the draw was shuffled so that Scott played Mark first.
The match between Scott and Mark was dead even at 4-4 when Mark came up with some big shots to win 3 games in a row to take it 7-4. Mark played his 5th match against Jenn to get into the Final. The tough schedule, sun and heat were beginning to take their toll as Jenn faltered against a cramping Mark. Mark prevailed 7-1 and earned a chance to play his 6th match and earn eternal glory.
An exhausted Mark and a fresher Stan took to the court for the final. Stan got out to an early break and ended up serving for the match at 6-4. Mark continued to fight and finally broke Stan and served to put the
final into a tiebreaker. Stan put a quick stop to that and broke right back to become The Battle of the Sexes Champion!
The courts really were decently playable. Not many bad bounces. The nets were missing straps and the surface really needs a coating. The fence also needs a bottom bar and is curling up. Restrooms were nearby which is always a plus. Rating for court condition is 7 and
location is a 10 for an 8.5 rating.
Two nearby places for after match refreshments are Sybergs for wings and local legend Ted Drewes for frozen custard. ( Ted Drewes was a big tennis player back in the day)