Leading off on Grandstand Court at the US Open National Playoffs final rounds at the New Haven Open at noon today is the mixed doubles sensation of Sophia Abelson and Pjotrs (pronounced Peter) Necajevs. This match could affect my life more directly than any other tennis match played 260 miles away. Here’s why.
I entered the US Open National Playoffs Mid-Atlantic Regional Sectionals in May with my dear doubles partner, Sophia Silbergeld. We received a first round bye while our eventual opponents, Sophia Abelson and Pjotrs Necajevs, had to win for the right to play us in the quarterfinals. When I googled them, I immediately knew we were in trouble. She a 14-year-old Girls Doubles National Open Champion and he a former college and Latvian National Team doubles player and Head Coach of the University of Detroit Women’s Team. Yeah, we got smoked. We supposedly won a game in all of this, according to the official scoreline, but I don’t remember it being that close. Of all the memories of that day, I was most proud of my seamless, instantaneous transition from bad tennis player to decent on-court interviewer with my shaking racquet hand clutching the camcorder literally seconds after match point.
Anyway, back to me. We ended up losing to the Mid-Atlantic champions who won it all in College Park. I’ve spent the better part of eleven weeks telling everyone that we lost to the champs. It always elicits an ‘If you’re gonna lose, you might as well lose to the champions’, signifying subtle gratitude when I tell the story anywhere people will listen.
Now the stakes are higher. If they win it all in New Haven, I will have huge bragging rights for life. I will go to NYC to see them in the first round (and all subsequent rounds) and cheer them on loudly. I will even scream “Sophia. Pjotrs. Remember me? Your buddy from College Park”. And they’ll be all, “Oh, yeah.”
So, please Sophia and Pjotrs, please win it all in New Haven. I love an excuse to get to the US Open every chance I get. And I do like to brag a little about even playing in the US Open National Playoffs this year, since I had a foot injury last winter and almost didn’t register. I’m so glad I did, because I would have never had a chance to play or meet the very talented and highly affable Player/Coach combo of Sophia Abelson and Pjotrs Necajevs. Detroit!