have been coming to Portschach, Austria since the early
Ď80ís. My fondest recollections include a view of
the WŲrther Sea, which is the pristine twelve mile long
by one mile wide fresh water lake and the fact that
there are countless tennis courts in the area. Because
they are so plentiful, Portschach has become the home of
International Tennis Federation Veterans Cup
is also recognized as "the place to play"
during June. Annually, the Werzer Tennis Club hosts two
events featuring many of the best players in the game.
This year was no exception as IC members Ed Baumer, Bob
Duesler, Fred Kovaleski, Jason Morton, Hugh Stewart and
Ralph Wilson participated in the 19th International
Austrian Werzer Cup Championships and a week later, the
45th International European Veterans Championships.
Baumer was active on the court, reaching the semifinals
in the Menís 80 doubles, with Australian Bill Rogers,
in the first event and the final, again with Rogers, in
the second, he was even busier off the terre battue,
spreading the word concerning the Aloha Senior
Championships that will be held in Honolulu in December.
to Portschach, Duesler and his wife Skip followed a
travel schedule that has become their "spring get
away" since he stopped teaching school six years
ago. Karolovy Vary (a.k.a. Karlsbad) in the Czech
Republic was their first stop, where he won both the Menís
65 singles and doubles (with Pavel Pavlik of Germany).
Moving on to Austria, he was a finalist to Klaus
Fuhrmann of Germany, and the doubles winner (with Pavlik)
at the Austrian Championships. He was a semifinalist to
Fuhrmann, who again won the tournament, at the European
Championships. In the doubles, Duesler/Pavlik were
my first match against Fuhrmann, I didnít know what to
do," Duesler admitted. "I was uncomfortable, a
bit lost. In the second, I was much better. I like
playing on clay, but I need to do it a lot more to be
effective against guys who have grown up playing on
in the spring always means a Kovaleski encounter. Fred,
accompanied by his wife Mayna, has played the circuit
for more than 10 years. An IC vice-president, he was the
Menís 75 winner at lead-up events at Cervia, Italy,
and Karolovy Vary.
swept the singles and doubles at the Austrian
Championships, and repeated the double, only in this
case it was as a finalist, at the European
Championships. Stewart, (who is playing with two
"new knees" and was a Menís 75 singles and
doubles winner at Cervia and Karolovy Vary), was
insightful as he watched Kovaleski drop a three hour,
4-6, 6-4, 6-4 encounter to Laci Legenstein of Austria.
is something else," he admitted. "He is a
Yugoslav, who lives in Limen, Germany and plays for
Austria. You can never finish him off. He keeps you
moving and never gives up.
is small, and quicker afoot than Fred and I. When you
are tired and as big as we are, he is very tough to
beat. He also has great racquet control."
continued, "The other day, Legenstein was given an
award for playing here 48 years ago, in 1954. I told
him, I first played here in 1953. Just after I said
that, a guy who was standing near us admitted he came to
Portschach, before the War, in 1936. At sixteen, he rode
his bicycle across Austria -- it took him two days --
just to get here."
his victory, Legenstein said of Kovaleski, "We
always have good matches. In doubles, we are the ĎDream
Teamí. We donít play together often, but when we do
nobody comes close."
was a Menís 70 singles quarterfinalist at both
Portschach events. Playing with Morton, a finalist in
each of the singles, he won the Austrian Championship
doubles and was a semifinalist at the European
Championships. "Iíve been coming here for between
15 and 20 years," Morton said. "Iíve reached
the stage where two weeks of tennis is enough. Anymore
and itís draining."
he was happy with his play, Morton was even less content
with the USTA/ITF decision to hold international team
competitions in alternate years. "You get to the
age I am and every year, every month makes a huge
difference," he said. "It is really a shame
with all we have given to the game that they made up
their minds to take away a year to save money. There are
so many ways to do it better. There has to be someone in
the USTA who can raise money for senior tennis. I have
two loves in my life--my wife and tennis. It is hard to
paint a picture for a younger person. In 1998, the
doctors gave me five more years. Taking one year away
means so much to me and everyone else."
wife and tennis are usually part of every conversation
with Morton. "At this stage, we all have something
wrong, we just donít remember what it is," he
said smiling. "The other day, I walked into the
house and said ĎHi, Ethelí. My wife looked at me and
said, ĎMy nameís Edithí." (Fortunately, his
motherís name was Ethel).
not only played the Portschach tournaments, he and his
wife Mary sponsored the Friendship Cup (held during the
Austrian Championships) for the second year running. The
competition involved a Womenís 75 team from the U.S.
(members were selected in a drawing held at the national
championships last fall) against a European contingent.
In this go-round, the U.S. came out on the short end of
the 15-12 score. In Menís 80 doubles action, Wilson
and Bob Sherman were semifinalists at the Austrian
Championships and European Championships.
are rarely similar among those taking part in
tournaments. Portschach is an exception. "Iíve
played all over the world and this is one of the most
beautiful spots Iíve ever been in," Morton
concluded. "They know how to run a tournament. The
clay is great. Even more important, the people are very