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It was the summer of 2010, and Lee Holyoak and Matt Wuller were sitting around talking over cocktails.
The respective tennis directors at Long Cove and Sea Pines were discussing the need for Hilton Head Island to have a professional tennis league where locals could watch high-quality tennis, especially with the Family Circle Cup no longer in town.
"We threw it out like, 'Hey, it would be good for the island,' " Holyoak recalled. "We thought it would be successful on Hilton Head. It's a big tennis community."
Fast forward to Friday and the two once again found themselves drinking together. Except this time, Holyoak sipped champagne from the silver cup his team had just captured in the tennis league he and Wuller started two years earlier.
Holyoak and the Island Family Dental team swept the Spinnaker Resorts squad, 3-0, in the championship match of the Coral Resorts Hilton Head Island Professional Tennis League at the Long Cove Tennis Club. Mattress Firm swept Players World of Sports, 3-0, to claim a third-place finish in the league's second year.
"It has grown significantly," Holyoak said of the league, which drew another large crowd for Friday's championship match. "It's come together nicely and it's just getting bigger every year. It's great to hear at the end of the season so many people come up to us and say, 'Gosh, I wish you could do another season in the fall.' People obviously really enjoy it."
Holyoak is all about what's best for the fans. But he wasn't terribly disappointed when he discovered one of the league's stars wouldn't be in attendance.
Spinnaker Resorts' Marcos Ondruska, who in 1993 climbed to the 27th-ranked singles spot in the world, was unable to attend the pentacle match due to previous obligations. That helped Island Family Dental sweep the three doubles matches, which included two courts claiming victories in a third-set tiebreak.
It was the team's first victory over Spinnaker Resorts in three meetings this season.
"We were unfortunate to miss him for the event, but we were fortunate that he wasn't on the other side of our net," Holyoak said, laughing. "Because then we would have been in big trouble."
Holyoak and teammate Tom Shimada claimed a 6-4, 4-6, 10-6 victory over Christian Coley and Rohan Wadehrea in the championship's premiere match. Shimada climbed to as high as No. 40 in the world doubles rankings in 2001.
"It's been great," said Shimada, who has career doubles wins over players such as Roger Federer and Andy Roddick. "It's a lot of fun and it's great for the local community. It's definitely high-level tennis. The excitement is there."
Glenn Sheaffer and 24-year-old Koeche Smith earned Island Family Dental's other win in a third-set tiebreak, as the two defeated Shawn Oliver and Gunter Bergmann 6-3, 6-7 (3), 10-6.
It was a familiar feeling for Sheaffer, who a year ago also claimed the championship's deciding match in a third-set tiebreaker. Except that time, he was on the other side of the net with Spinnaker Resorts.
"It's incredible," he said. "(Just) the opportunity to play. Because we have some really talented players on our team."
Tom Coulton and Royce Sylvan completed the sweep in straight sets over Clint Van Aswegen and Rob Ellison, 6-4, 6-1.
Holyoak and Wuller will sit down again soon to discuss potential additions to the ever-growing league. But for now, he plans on enjoying the sweet taste of a championship.
"We think it's fairly big for Hilton Head tennis," he said. "We just feel like it promotes tennis, If it becomes even bigger than it is now, that's terrific."
Island Family Dental 3, Spinnaker Resorts 0
Court No. 1: Koeche Smith/Glenn Sheaffer def. Shawn Oliver/Gunter Bergmann 6-3, 6-7 (3), 10-6; Court No. 2: Tom Coulton/Royce Sylvan def. Clint Van Aswegen/Rob Ellison 6-4, 6-1; Court No. 3: Tom Shimada/Lee Holyoak def. Christian Coley/Rohan Wadehrea 6-4, 4-6, 10-6