Tennis : Burrows Wouldn’t Let Sandbaggers Forget

To prevent unfair pairings in the regional finals of the Plymouth Women’s Double Challenge last weekend, National Tennis Rating Program officials were assigned to watch each opening match.

A team that rated significantly higher than any in its division was kicked out . . . or, worse, suffered the wrath of Annette Burrows.

Burrows of Camarillo and Cynthia Pardee of Moorpark won the Division 1 finals, defeating Patti Hetland and Julie McClendon of Elk Grove, Calif., a team that had been booted from a lower division but was allowed to stay in the tournament when another Division 1 team forfeited.

Hetland and McClendon had started their second set against a Division 2 opponent when they were pulled from the court. The officials’ decision to stop the match was not startling, considering the tandem had not-too-subtly blitzed their overmatched victims, 6-0, in the first set.


Hetland and McClendon were bumped to Division 1 where they made short work of their first opponent, winning the contest in straight sets.

The two advanced to the finals where Burrows exacted her own penalty--a little teasing.

“I honestly couldn’t resist a needle when the girl would crack her forehand for a winner,” Burrows said. “I’d say, ‘Gee that’s really a tough B (division 2) shot.’ She was ready to kill me. I was lucky to get out of there alive.”

After a few games, Burrows and Pardee began to concentrate on hitting the ball to Hetland, who was substantially weaker than McClendon.


“I said, ‘OK, it’s a two-on-one drill,’ ” Burrows said. “That’s really how we won the match, we just didn’t let (McClendon) play.”

Wearing the other sneaker: Carolyn Kato and Renee Adams of San Ramon, Calif., won the tournament’s Division 2 title with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 decision over Kim Gill and Suzi Robertson of Thousand Oaks. Gill and Robertson led, 3-0, in the final set before losing six consecutive games.

“We sort of had some mind tricks played on us,” Robertson said. “One of the raters came up to us and told us they might disqualify us. They said they were going to allow us to play the second round, but they were going to be watching us very closely.”

Sure enough, according to Robertson, two officials sat on folding chairs, with clipboards in hand, watching their second match.


“It’s kind of paralyzing because you’re afraid to play well,” Robertson said. “Once you’re rated, does that mean you’re not supposed to improve?”

Win and bare it: Gabriel Harmat of Woodland Hills won a gold medal last week in the men’s 35-and-over singles competition at the Maccabiah Games in Tel Aviv. He defeated Geoff Cykman of San Francisco, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-5) in the final.

The three-hour match went swimmingly for Harmat. In fact, the 100-degree heat and 90% humidity left him feeling as if he had just been swimming.

“The heat was unbearable,” Harmat said. “I had to change three shirts in the match, two pairs of shorts and my shoes were like I just stepped out of a pool.”


Yes, he changed his shorts mid-match at midcourt with a towel around his midriff . . . in front of an audience of 500 people.

“I don’t think anybody noticed,” he said. “Well, some of the ball boys were joking around and giggling.”

Forehand by Gabriel: In keeping with the personal-trainer craze, Harmat often gives private tennis tutorials to celebrities in the entertainment industry.

A few years ago, while finishing a session with Johnny Carson at a Beverly Hills club, Harmat noticed his next student peering through the chain-link fence. Harmat concluded the lesson and introduced the curious pupil to Carson.


Upon meeting the Tonight Show host, the student said: “You know, I like your program very much, but after the monologue, I fall asleep.”

“So do I,” Carson quipped.