Parkite wins tennis title with grandson
Though they were born 60 years apart, Park City resident Ray Freer and his 15-year-old grandson, Ian, are in sync on the tennis court.
In July, the duo won the United States Tennis Association’s 2016 Grandfather-Grandson Grass Court National Championship at Longwood Cricket Club in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.
Ray Freer said he and Ian won three matches over three days and earned redemption in the title match.
“We played three matches and won the first two handily,” he said. “That’s just because the grandsons were younger, so they were overmatched. In the finals, which made me particularly proud of my grandchild, the young man we defeated was 23 years old, a graduate of college and had played on his collegiate tennis team. My grandson Ian is 15 years old going into his sophomore season of high school, so that was really cool. That was really rewarding because that team defeated us in the finals the year before.”
Freer said tennis is a passion his entire family shares and that makes the title even more special.
“We started playing these tournaments about three or four years ago,” he said. “I’ve played them with [older grandson] Jack and I’ve played them with Ian. We just alternate because my son [Bradford] plays father-son and I play grandfather-grandson.
“I’ve never won a gold. I have won bronzes and I’ve won silvers, always with family members. To get a gold this year was just a spectacular experience.”
Freer credits the tennis facilities and pros at the PC MARC for helping him keep his game sharp.
“I grew up in Pasadena, California, and that’s where the other family members live,” he said. “I moved here in 1991 and I’ve played tennis here ever since. I’m very, very thankful for the facilities that are available here at the PC MARC. The tennis staff is very, very good and they’re very capable professionals. They’re nice people and can really teach the game.”
Though Freer said tennis is one of the loves of his life, he added that he participates in the Park City Sunrise Rotary, The Hope Alliance and other community groups.
But tennis is a game that he enjoys and he said he already has next year’s national championships circled on his calendar.
“The nice thing about playing in these tournaments is all the people are as nice as can be,” he said. “You hear how competitive tennis is, but I have never run up against a grandfather-grandson tournament where everyone isn’t incredibly pleasant and honest in terms of line calls. We’re going to go back and do it again.”
Steele DeWald has his life in Park City down to a routine. After some strange encounters in his 20s, he’s OK with the mundane.