As our brilliant ‘Boarsity Clockwatch’ put it last year, we simply don’t lose to Coventry in the Tennis Centre. Time and time again our Varsity rivals have arrived at Westwood dreaming of a famous victory, only to leave with their tails between their legs. For some this string of successes would be a burden, but Warwick’s tennis stars see it as proof of their enduring superiority: Coventry are conquered so consistently that it has almost become a ritual.
But as Varsity 2016 illustrated, the two points gained from this fixture shouldn’t be taken for granted. A closer competition means that each win is more vital than ever before – if the other disciplines don’t go Warwick’s way, the tennis centre could prove decisive. So sit back, relax and enjoy as we take you through the last three years of triumphs on the court.
Coventry no match for Warwick’s class
The first line of Boar Sport’s report tells you all you need to know: “Warwick dominated in Sunday’s Varsity tennis, taking home all ten points without dropping a single set.”
Penny Tilsey and Emily Walker set the ball rolling, winning their doubles match 6-3, 6-0 and destroying their opponents with 6-1, 6-0 thrashings in the singles. Carrie Smith and Terezie Simova went even better, not dropping a single game in either their singles or doubles matches. Warwick Tennis really know how to turn it on at the right moments.
Gordon Tveito-Duncan, Raphael Lechner, Charles Derrac and Danny Read compounded Coventry’s misery, with Tveito-Duncan’s dropped game to love in the singles the closest Warwick came to being troubled. As each player came, saw and conquered, the chances of a whitewash became more realistic.
Ultimately, hopes of annihilation rested with Warwick’s Rupert Larkin. A close first set went his way as he eventually triumphed 7-5 – to put it in perspective, no Coventry player won more games all day. But a closing set of 6-2 summed up the fixture for the hosts: ruthless, professional, and simply far too good.
Drama on and off the court
2015’s Varsity tennis wasn’t quite as straightforward as the previous edition. In addition to on-court struggles, there was a full-on before-Wimbledon-had-a-roof moment, with the Men’s 2s players forced off at 7:40pm and the tie finished the next day.
What’s more, at that moment the fixture was really hotting up. Coventry had registered some points on the board, losing 6-2 but ahead in both singles matches. Once again, however, Warwick had their game faces on.
Returning the next day, the women’s team made light work of the noisy neighbours as they closed out the tie. The men’s took a little longer, but not all victories are polished off in a matter of minutes. Another win and a fitting contribution to Warwick’s 25th Varsity win in a row.
You’re watching your teammates cruising along 8-0 up, so what do you do? You pull out a bottle of whiskey and start having a swig. It’s only sensible to start the celebrations early, after all.
This was the situation for the men’s tennis team midway through last year’s Varsity. With the competition streamlined to include only first teams, the onus was on Warwick’s finest to deliver.
In a surprise turn of events, Coventry drew first blood in the women’s tie. The surprise turned to horror as they maintained their lead – despite the home team’s best efforts; they couldn’t make up the gap. In the closest Varsity in 26 years, two crucial points went to our rivals.
Thankfully the men’s tie evened things up, and then some. Pulling the whiskey out wasn’t a sign that Warwick were taking their foot off the gas. Instead, the final two ties were closed out with familiar ruthlessness to produce another whitewash. Here’s hoping for more of the same this year.