July 16, 2012
Doug Matthews and John Allare, winners of the men’s doubles championship at the Met posing with their hardware
Doubles is a lost art, and it’s a shame because doubles is actually the prettier, spunkier, way cooler older sister in the game of tennis. I mean who wants to watch a baseline rally of 20 strokes and unattractive grunting, when you could watch someone kick a serve out wide and then have his/her partner poach a volley for the winner? That’s right, I thought so.
In terms of the professional game, doubles is treated like the black sheep of the family. You never see it on live television and besides the Bryan Brothers you probably couldn’t name anyone in the Top 10. I know I couldn’t, but I just blame the lack of media attention, not lack of interest on my part. Because believe me, I’m interested.
John Allare getting ready for his forehand volley
And that’s why I look forward to a doubles tradition that is revered. At least it’s revered by the Cincinnati tennis community. Each year the Thomas E. Price Metropolitan tournament crowns the best amateur men’s/women’s singles, doubles, and mixed doubles players in the city.
This year Doug Matthews and John Allare took home the men’s doubles title for a third straight year defeating Jimmy Roebker and Brandon McDonald 6-4, 5-7, 6-2. Now here’s where the story gets interesting — Matthews and Allare have been hitting popcorn volleys with each other since the early days of the Clinton administration. Yeah it’s been that long.
They grew up playing at Harper’s Point under the tutelage of Steve Contardi. Allare’s mom is a former WTA pro and Matthews’ grandfather was Thomas E. Price, the namesake of the tournament. Now just because tennis runs deep through their veins doesn’t mean they were born champs, it just means they had a leg up on their competition. It took years of practice to dominate at King of the Court and master the tweener shot before Allare and Matthews earned their stripes on the college circuit. Allare played for the Michigan State Spartans while Matthews stayed in the Queen City and joined the Musketeers. But like any great tennis bromance, they’ve remained friends on and off the court.
Since they graduated a few years back, they’ve returned to their roots i.e., the Courts at Harper’s Point as teaching pros. Moreover, Matthews is the assistant tennis coach at XU, so his victory over Roebker and McDonald, current Muskie standouts was perhaps even sweeter. Always good to remind those younger and sprier who is still on top.
Oh and did I mention Matthews also won the mixed doubles tournament with his fiancee Kara Courtney (another XU alum)? That brings his career total Met championships to ten (including past wins for singles, doubles, and mixed). Not bad.
Doubles is where it’s at folks, so when it comes time for the Western & Southern Open next month fight the urge to sit with the big boys. Instead, walk by the outside courts. You’ll be happily surprised at what you find… hand signals, chest bumps, and lots of high fives. There’s no high fiving in singles (remember that).
Photo credits: Ken Munsonto top ↑