Rejuvenated Motley Breezes to City Seniors 45 Title
By John Packett, RTA Contributing Writer
Five years ago, Wayne Motley was having a lot of trouble with high blood pressure and couldn’t last a set against his peers on the tennis court.
Fast forward to the present day, and Motley has not only gotten his blood pressure under control, but he’s able to stay on the court as long as it takes to win, and as of July 1, he’s the top-ranked player in the Mid-Atlantic in the 45s singles division.
“I tell you, I’ve stepped up,” said Motley, after winning the Davenport City Seniors 45s singles championship on Sunday, beating Tracy Jones 6-0, 6-2 in the final at Willow Oaks Country Club. “I’m playing as well now as I’ve ever played in my life.
“I feel like I’m about 30, 35 years old. I do it for the fun now. I really, really enjoy it. No temper tantrums. Whenever I do miss a shot, I think about why, the fact that I’m still out there. I just smile and go on to the next shot.”
Motley, 51, used to play No. 1 singles for Virginia Union University and could hold his own with most players in the open division of the Davenport City tournament. Now, he’s taken his game to a higher level, as Jones can attest after Sunday.
“He just overpowered me,” said Jones, 49, a former University of Richmond player. “He was on top of me the whole match. I was having to go for more than I wanted to. I was always on my heels. He’s a tough player.”
Most of Motley’s tournaments these days are in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia.
“Back when I started taking the medication [for high blood pressure], I was really sick,” said Motley, who owns and operates a lawn service. Luv2Work. “I would play in tournaments, but I couldn’t last half a set.
“Each year, it got better and better. My goal, when I found out how tough they were up there [NOVA and Maryland], was to become number one in the Mid-Atlantic. As the medication began to become a part of my system, I got stronger and stronger.
“I told the guys, after a while, I’m going to be sticking with you, and over a period of time, that’s what happened.”
These days, no one wants to see Motley in their half of the draw, whether it’s locally or north of Richmond.
“It’s a lot of fun and I stay in shape,” he said. “I tell people all the time, if you’re going to stay in shape at this age, it has to be a lifestyle. It can’t be I just want to go in the gym and work out. There’s too many other priorities.
“So it has to be something you do as a lifestyle. Mine is tennis and some basketball. I love it.”
The men’s 50 singles title went to someone who doesn’t live in Richmond – it’s supposed to be limited to folks who live in metropolitan Richmond — and grew up playing against the likes of John McEnroe, Tim Mayotte and Paul Annacone.
Mark Deckwitz, who lives in Warrenton and flies corporate jets, outlasted Steve Sedlock 6-4, 6-2 in a well-played match on a hot afternoon with temperatures in the upper 80s.
“I couldn’t make a draw,” explained tournament director Jim Wood of Deckwitz’ entry in the field of four. “Well, he got in and I made the draw, then I found out he wasn’t from Richmond. I just felt like if he wants to come all this way and play, I’m going to let him play.
“You saw what we had for a draw. So in desperation, that’s why we did it.”
Deckwitz was raised in Stony Brook, on the north shore of Long Island about 15 miles from New York City. That’s where he played against Annacone, McEnroe and Mayotte, all of whom went on to have illustrious pro careers.
“I played McEnroe twice, got one game each time,” laughed Deckwitz. “I beat Mayotte in juniors when we were 16 or 17.”
Deckwitz might have tried the pro tour himself but “my knees let me down. My legs and my feet were too weak.” He received a partial scholarship to the University of Florida but had knee surgery as a freshman and wound up at Florida Atlantic.
The 54-year-old didn’t appear to have many weaknesses against Sedlock, who is a New Jersey native and remembered playing against Deckwitz once when they were juniors.
“He’s got an extremely good game, very solid,” said Sedlock, 49. “I had some opportunities there in the first set. He was able to hold me off when I had a few break chances late in the first set, and that was the difference.”
Deckwitz fought off the hot weather by using an ice pack during changeovers and dousing himself with cold water. When it was over, his wife, Janey, jokingly asked, “Want me to take you to the emergency room?”
“Basically, I thought I would fold, certainly if it went to a third set,” said Deckwitz, who used a two-handed forehand to send winners down the line and crosscourt. He also made effective use of drop shots and lobs to pull out the victory.
According to Wood, there were a total of 22 entries for the 28 city senior events, the lowest number that he has seen. The only women’s event played was 45 doubles, which had two entries.
“It’s been going down every year,” said Wood. “We blame it on this and we blame it on that, but then again, we need to do more to promote the tournament. We need to get pro-active on making sure the word gets out.
“I don’t know if it will get any bigger but you can keep tweaking it and trying. If you don’t try it, you’re guilty of not doing anything and that’s dumb. We ought to do something. Find something that we can do to make it fun.”
Wood said the sponsoring Richmond Tennis Association should consider moving the tournament to September, when the temperatures are cooler and players are not on vacation or involved in USTA League playoffs.
“I think the whole tournament, including the open division, should be moved to September,” said Wood. “We wouldn’t have any conflicts or very few. The college players could play. High school players could play. All the leagues are done.
“Right now, I’m desperate for any warm body that will play in my tournament.”
DAVENPORT CITY SENIOR RESULTS
Men’s 45 singles – Wayne Motley d. Tracy Jones 6-0, 6-2.
Men’s 50 singles – Mark Deckwitz d. Steve Sedlock 6-4, 6-2.
Men’s 60 singles (round robin) – Winner: David Carter. Runner-up: Ron Atkinson.
Men’s 65 singles – Tom Robertson d. Ed Smith 6-2, 7-5.
Men’s 70 singles – James Robertson d. Tom Neal 6-2, 6-0.
Men’s 45 doubles (round robin) – Winners: Sedlock- Chuck Albertson. Runners-up: Richard Neisz-Kevin Ogborne.
Men’s 60 doubles (round robin) – Winners: James Dugger-Ed Thornton. Runners-up: Carter-Larry Lovings.
Men’s 65 doubles (round robin) – Winners: T. Robertson-Robert Musick. Runners-up: Smith-Ed Brooks.
Women’s 45 doubles – Martha Condyles-Julie Ogborne d. Sissy Johnson-Valerie Jones 6-1, 6-1.