It’s been a busy season for the Racquetman, Gordon Verge, “and it’s not over yet.”
From winning a national title on the clay courts of Toronto, to giving enthusiastic youngsters private lessons up at Springwood Park, it’s no big secret this good natured senior takes his tennis seriously.
Since winning provincial titles in both singles and doubles in his age division at the B.C. championships at Jericho Tennis Club in Vancouver in June, the local tennis coach and mentor has competed in four tournaments and co-hosted a tennis camp.
First up was the South Cowichan Grass Court Classic June 30-July 3 in which Verge played down in a lower age group (55’s) and competed in the Men’s doubles with Allan Gale from Nanaimo. The two made it to the finals “losing to a very good team from Vancouver,” 6-4, 6-2. Gordon also played in mixed doubles in a lower age group (65) and made it to the quarter finals with partner Lynne Cowan from Nanaimo.
From July 5-20 Gordon ran a junior summer camp in Bowser twice a week, and on July 16 he and his partner Debbie Hayhoe from Chemainus won their section at a one day Compass tournament on the grass courts of Cowichan.
Back in action in Cowichan July 24-30 for the 124th annual Vancouver Island Grass Court Championships, Racquetman won the singles title, teamed up with Peter Wilson from Duncan to win the men’s doubles championship, and reached the mixed doubles final with Lynne.
On Aug. 12-14 Verge and Cowan teamed up again at the Kay Wilson Memorial Mixed doubles tournament, “a great open age tournament,” and reached the quarter finals, only to lose to the tourney’s previous winners, the brother-sister combination for Jennifer and Jared Martin from Victoria, who are in their late teens.
Gordon was back in Cowichan Aug. 20 for another Compass tournament on grass.
In action at the Canadian National Tennis Championships (Aug. 21-28) in Toronto, Verge defended his title in both singles and doubles.
Last year the nationals were held in Vancouver, and this year’s championships saw 489 competitors ranging in age from 35-85.
Verge and his men’s doubles partner, Bob Seeley from Vancouver, defended the Men’s 75-79 title they won last year without dropping a set.
After a tough semi final win (6-4, 6-4) over Crichton Wilson from Montreal and Kar Liang from Calgary, Verge and Seeley cruised through the final with 6-2, 6-0 wins over Mers Kutt from T.O. and Cecil Stoke from Brampton.
In the singles event, Verge made it to the quarterfinals before loosing to clay court specialist Bernard Houde from Montreal in a three-set marathon (6-4, 3-6, 6-4). The loss put him into the consolation side of the draw in which he beat Kar Liang from Calgary 6-3, 6-2 to finish fifth overall.
Not long after returning home Verge and Cowan were back on the grass courts in Cowichan for another Compass tournament.
And he’s not done yet.
From Oct. 9 -23 Verge will be in Turkey at the World Team Championships representing Canada — his fifth trip to Turkey and third straight as captain of the team — followed by the World Individual Championships, where he will be playing doubles with Ray Woodforde from Australia.
But in the meantime, there are young players that need nurturing, that want to learn the nuances of the game, and in that regard, Verge said teaching youngsters never grows old.
“I love it,” Gord shrugged easily.
“I love it,” a fired-up nine-year-old Elijah Worcester offered up honestly last week after his first lesson. “I hit 319 balls today and next time I’m going to hit even more.”
MOVIN’ ON UP
The International Tennis Federation, the world governing body of tennis located in London, England, released their most recent ranking for singles, and Verge is now ranked 48th in the world in his age division.
“When I started this tennis circuit in 2005, I was 485th,” Verge chucked when asked about his meteoric rise up the rankings.