Friday, August 28, 2009


By D.A. Couk - T.A.H. Special Correspondent
Multi-sport star and future University of North Carolina multi-sport All-American Toly Hansbrough boycotted the recent Fauquier County Tennis Tournament because, in Toly’s words “I don’t know how to play tennis.”

That didn’t stop the finest netters from the area surrounding T.A.H. World Headquarters from duking it out on the court. The tournament concluded on Sunday, with a few surprises along the way.

Gabe "Mercury" Zakkak (Ferrum '04) just missed the coveted "Trifecta". After first winning the men's doubles title the previous weekend with Eddie "Vedder" Glidewell (Christopher Newport '07), Zakkak unexpectedly lost to Glidewell 6-1, 6-3 in the men's singles championship.

Zakkak had beaten Dave "Junior" Couk (VCU '85) in the semi-finals after Couk's stunning come from behind 3 set win over Geoge Mason's #3 player in the quarter-finals. Couk's win made him the oldest player to make the semi-finals by 23 years! After his 6-2, 6-2 loss to 5-time Champion Zakkak, Couk said, "I feel like I showed up with a knife at a gun fight...damn he's fast".

Not one to obsess over a loss for very long, thirty minutes later Zakkak teamed with Laura "Junior" Couk (UofA '88) in the mixed doubles final. After losing the first set in a tie breaker, Zakkak/ Couk came back to win 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 in a thrilling match over one of Middleburg Tennis Club's better tandems.

Although Couk had previously won the mixed title with her husband Dave "Junior" Couk in '03, this was Zakkak's first mixed doubles title. When asked why she wasn't playing with her husband again, said Couk, "It's probably healthier for marriages that spouses limit their playing to non-competitive events, and besides; Gabe moves on the tennis court the way Iverson runs on the basketball court...damn he's fast."

(Translation: She didn’t want to play with him because he’s old – old in tennis years, that is.)

In the mixed double C Division, Rob "Scrappy Doo" Flikeid (VATech ‘89) and his spouse Karen (Mary Balwin ‘88) made a gallant showing before falling to two of Fauquier County's young future stars.

Said Karen after the match, "Scrappy Doo has potential, but maybe next year he'll pick up a racquet a little sooner than two days before we play. Did you bring a cooler of beer?"

(Photos by Mark Berry - Top Gabe Zakkak and Laura Couk. Below CFTC Big Cheese Chip Maloney, Laura Couk, Gabe Zakkak and tournament sponsor Trey Allen of Allen Real Estate.)

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