The unique and fast-paced One-on-One Doubles came to New York earlier this fall with a series of tournaments featuring a bevy of talented players competing at Chestnut Ridge Racquet Club in Mount Kisco, N.Y.
The weekend began with a One-on-One Doubles Shootout, opening up with multiple hours of pool play that fed into the quarterfinal rounds. When it was all said and done, Horace Greeley High School junior Ryan Gruber defeated Scarsdale High School senior Andrew Broom in the finals, claiming the $100 prize and earning his name on the plaque.
Gruber said afterwards that serving and volleying was not the particular style of tennis he usually plays, but was able to make the adjustments needed to come out on top.
“I thought it was an exciting experience and it forced me to push myself outside of my comfort zone,” said Gruber. “I was never one to serve and volley, and I generally stay closer to the baseline in singles, but when a winner at net is worth two points, it really does incentivize a player to become aggressive and approach much more frequently.”
Players receive two points for a winning volley, half-volley, overhead and topspin lob that the opponent can’t reach, which is just one of the unique rules that apply to the sport, and helps create a fast-paced, exciting style of play.
The following night featured the One-on-One Doubles Pro Shootout, with $1,800 in prize money on the line and consisting of many former top collegiate players.
The finals came down to Jose Salazar, who reached the Round of 16 in the NCAA Championships while a member of the Arkansas Razorbacks, and Gary Kushnirovich, a former standout at Army and St. John’s. Salazar was able to secure the victory, beating Kushnirovich 4-1.
“It was a very fun tournament,” said Salazar. “Having that volley winner rule and short sets made the tournament very competitive. I had a great experience and can’t wait to be back next year.”
In addition to the high-level of competition on the courts, one of the key highlights of One-on-One Doubles events is the festive atmosphere that surrounds the tennis. With food, refreshments and live music, coupled with the exciting format on court, the events often times feel more like parties.
“We had a big crowd come to watch, and with the music playing throughout the building, it was truly a memorable experience for everyone there,” said Brad Breakstone, Director of Tennis at Chestnut Ridge Racquet Club. “Everyone who played in the club event loved the tournament format, some had done these type of drills before and were excited to play this style in an actual match, and others welcomed a new experience. For the pros, even though this was a very familiar exercise they’d all done at some point in their tennis careers as a player, or as a coach with their students, they loved the tournament format. We got so many positive comments from them about the unique pressure situations, and they also commented on how they had to use the court in different ways, going for angles and deciding when to get up to the net.”
After a successful weekend here in New York, the One-on-One Doubles tours heads back down south with a $2,000 ITA College Coaches Double Championships in Naples, Fla.
“I thought our One-on-One Doubles prize money events in New York went really smooth. The host club helped create the tournament’s electric atmosphere with great music, beer and food for all who attended,” said Ed Krass, Founder and Director of One-on-One Doubles. “The East Coast players were all excited to play the format and battle. I look forward to even bigger tourney events in the future, especially in New York, where the attitude fits the game’s rock-n-roll image. The new rules, with the addition of the two-point plays, will allow the tournament format to truly grow.”