Delray Beachs Julia Barash and Arnold Resnick recently repeated as Mixed Doubles National Clay Court Champions.
The duo defeated Thomas and Deborah Connell (Sealy, Texas), 6-4, 6-1 to win the male-female combined 140s Clay Court National Championships at the Olde Providence Racquet Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The national USTA amateur tournaments have age categories, so the combined ages in their case should be a minimum of 140, but no less. Both Barash and Resnick are 71.
It’s a fantastic feeling, said Barash. We just had a lot of fun playing this tournament. We were able to cover the field nicely and not miss many shots. We had a very nice rhythm throughout the tournament.
It was the second consecutive year that the pair, who play out of Mizner Country Club in Delray Beach, have won the national championship. The pair played three games to win their group and two semi-finals before reaching the final and surpassing the Connells.
It was a really fun experience playing against teams from all over the country, Resnick said. Our strategy of effectively lobing and running over the net kept the opponents off balance. We had a two hour set that needed a tiebreak. I knew they were pretty exhausted in the second set, which gave us a lead.
By winning, they have expanded their collection of golden tennis balls in their trophy cabinet. Players win a golden ball when they win a national tennis tournament. They currently have three golds, including a 120-year male/female combined win at the National Clay Court in 2011. Barash said they did not participate much in the tournament after 2011, mainly due to her chronic back problems.
While I was healing, I played with the women’s tennis program at the Mizner Country Clubs, she said. It helped me focus on the team game. At the same time, Arnie played with the men’s group twice a week.
Barash said they have a strong chemistry both on and off the field.
Were much more than a team, she said. We’ve been playing together since our first date. I’ve known Arnie since first grade. I left and we came back to Cornell. He was a sophomore, and I was a freshman, both playing for our respective tennis teams. I realized this was a date I would never beat.
Over the years, the pair began playing mixed doubles in various tournaments across the country. Resnick said one of those tournaments led to participation in the US Open.
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Resnick said they will be trying for a third consecutive national title.
If we stay healthy, he said. It’s hard to do two years in a row, a third would be hard. There are a lot of good players coming into our division that we have seen and played with over the years. So, good to see.
We both have trophies that we’ve collected over the years, Barash said, but this one is special for coming together as husband and wife.
Due to their recent win, the pair is awarded a national rating for their category.
We hope to play in the mixed doubles national grass court tournament in Rancho Mirage, California, in December, Barash said.
Mizner’s director of Tennis Vernon Gottone called the couple a great couple.
Their skill and determination are an example to all of us, he said. During their time here at Mizner it has been a pleasure to watch them grow and we wish them the best as they go for that third golden ball.
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