Your winner and still the NWT Open men’s singles champion: Jerry Wald of Fort Smith.
Wald made the trip to Yellowknife to once again defend the crown he’s held since 2017 and he came out on top for the third year running. He downed Ian MacNiven of Yellowknife in the final on July 28 in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3.
MacNiven was the third individual opponent Wald has defeated in the final and Wald said every one of his opponents have had a different style.
“You always have to be ready for different styles and be able to adjust to them,” he said. “I’ve played enough tennis to know that you can’t destroy every shot. You have to keep the other guy off balance and that’s what I was able to do with Ian.”
Wald had a first-round bye and had to wait for the winner of the all-Yellowknife first-round match between R.J. Carr and Craig Scott, which was won by Carr. Wald defeated Carr in round two and followed that up by beating Stephen Messier of Yellowknifer in the quarter-final. His next opponent was Andrew Carr of Yellowknife, which he won to set up the final with MacNiven.
Wald said seeing Andrew Carr getting to the semifinal shows the future is looking good for tennis in the territory.
“There’s a good crop of junior players coming up through the ranks,” he said. “Andrew and Ethan (Carr) and Nikki (Gohil), they’re all calm, they don’t panic on the court and they’re respectful. They don’t throw tantrums, just a real nice group of kids.”
Wald made it two titles on the weekend as he partnered with Dennis Bevington to win the men’s doubles over Gohil and Ethan Carr by walkover as Carr was unable to play the final. Wald and Bevington still played a match but it was an exhibition contest.
“I told Nikki to pick his partner and we’d go out and play on the agreement that it wasn’t for the title,” said Wald.
Gohil selected Jan Martinek, the pro at the Yellowknife Tennis Club.
“You can tell Jan has a good tennis background about him,” said Wald. “He was a bit rusty because he’s been working with the kids but you can tell he has a good game. Nikki played really well also.”
Chris Haberny of Fort Smith was also a winner in the tournament as he claimed the consolation title in men’s singles over Yellowknife’s Cole Clinton.
“I’ve been working with Chris for the last year now,” said Wald. “He was a little down because it was the consolation title but I reminded him that he only lost one match in singles and that’s pretty good.”
Wald is planning on entering next year’s tournament and try to win his fourth title on the trot.
He said he’s feeling good about his game more than ever.
“I’m playing better than I ever have before,” he said. “I’m practising about five hours at a time now so I’m getting in lots of playing time.”
FACT FILE – NWT Open results
Champion – Jerry Wald (Fort Smith)
Runner-up – Ian MacNiven (Yellowknife)
Champion – Sara Hollinshead (Calgary)
Runner-up – Tamara Jovic (Yellowknife)
Champions – Dennis Bevington and Jerry Wald (Fort Smith)
Runners-up – Nikhilesh Gohil and Andrew Carr (Yellowknife)
Champions – Anna Coles and Dawn Keim (Yellowknife)
Runners-up – Tina Hendrickson and Elizabeth du Plessis (Yellowknife)
Champions – Sara Hollinshead and Ian MacNiven
Runners-up – Tamara Jovic and Stephen Messier (Yellowknife)
source: Tennis NWT