2016-06-02 / Mainsheet

A Real Tennis Champion is Crowned

Robert Fahey and Camden Riviere Robert Fahey and Camden Riviere It would be an understatement to say that, with 48 major open titles and as holder of the world championship crown for an extraordinary 22 years, Rob Fahey is no stranger to high stakes moments in the game of real tennis. But on May 21, Fahey finally faced an opponent that he could no longer beat and passed on his title to Camden Riviere of Aiken, S. C. and Newport.

Newport was selected from the many possible venues to host this biennial world championship. It is played as a best of 13-set match, played over a five-day period, with two lay-days to give players time to recover.

From the first day Riviere established a comfortable rhythm and dominated throughout. Both were playing extraordinary tennis and scoring superhuman gets— but drives and shots that Fahey clearly thought would be winners for him not only came back, but came back with pace and pinpoint precision. Cuts to the service side main wall corner that appeared impossible to return were driven by Riviere off the main wall into the grille.

Matt Ronaldson and Janice Pearson Matt Ronaldson and Janice Pearson On Saturday, following a magnificent brunch overlooking the Casino grounds, devotees from around the world filed in to watch the final day of play. To win, Fahey would need to take five straight sets, versus Riviere’s one. Riviere immediately inserted himself with Fahey taking the first game, but Fahey refused to relinquish his title without a fight and took the next game. The third game went to Riviere, and he gained confidence with each shot. When the final point came, Riviere dropped his racquet in disbelief and held his head in his hands. He then went to the net, to the resounding applause of the crowd to hug the now-former world champion, Rob Fahey.

At the black-tie championship dinner that night at Ochre Court, the two great champions had nothing but praise for each other. Riviere promised to try to live up to the high standards that Fahey had set on and off the real tennis court. It was a fitting–and moving– passing of the championship crown.

Mr. & Mrs. Steve Fazzini Mr. & Mrs. Steve Fazzini

Joseph Tomaino and Ellen De Voe Joseph Tomaino and Ellen De Voe

Jonathan Pardee, Ross Cann, and Dr. Lothaire Voegele 
Photos by Michael Do Jonathan Pardee, Ross Cann, and Dr. Lothaire Voegele Photos by Michael Do

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