Whitehorse downs Juneau for Capital Cup

Whitehorse mayor Dan Curtis won’t be donning a touristy Juneau sweater and cap tonight in city council. Whitehorse defeated Juneau in the Capital Cup sister-city tennis challenge over the weekend.

Whitehorse mayor Dan Curtis won’t be donning a touristy Juneau sweater and cap tonight in city council.

Whitehorse defeated Juneau in the Capital Cup sister-city tennis challenge over the weekend, helping Curtis win a friendly wager with Juneau mayor Merrill Sanford. Now Sanford is duty-bound to wear a Whitehorse getup at Juneau’s next city council meeting.

“It’s unfamiliar territory for me. We won the Bike to Work Week a while ago and now we’re winning this,” said Curtis. “When I wager, it’s usually doomed for a loss. I thought I was going to give Tennis Yukon a whammy by being involved.”

Feeling like a bad luck charm didn’t stop Curtis from kidding Sanford about Juneau’s impending loss when he visited the Alaska capital for Fourth of July celebrations.

“I met with his worship, Merrill Sanford, in his house with his wife, and I gave a pretty good ribbing on how we are going to take him down,” said Curtis. “And we did!”

Whitehorse regained possession of the Cup, winning 235 games to Juneau’s 223 over 38 pro-set matches at Whitehorse’s Mount McIntyre courts.

It marked the first win for Whitehorse since July of 2012.

The Capital Cup dates back to 1983 but was discontinued in 2000. Since its resurrection in 2008, Juneau has won eight of 12 challenges.

Juneau’s loss came despite sending their largest team to date to the three-day competition. Sixteen players, plus one from Haines, made the trip to Whitehorse, up from 10 last year. Eighteen players represented Whitehorse on the hard courts.

“What was different this year was our juniors were not around,” said Tennis Yukon president Stacy Lewis. “Two of our juniors play soccer and they are in Sweden with that boys U16 team … Alex

Roberts played a couple matches but had to work on the weekend.

“Usually we have so many matches with those kids in them.”

If the divide of just 12 games wasn’t close enough, it was even closer in terms of matches. The two capitals split the 38 pro-set – first to eight games – matches with 19 apiece.

Whitehorse’s Jan Polivka, a five-time Yukon men’s singles champ, did a lot of heavy lifting for his team. Polivka went undefeated over the weekend in three singles and two doubles matches.

“Jan collected most of our 8-0 wins, which is always the thing that puts you over the top,” said Lewis. “(Whitehorse) doubles team of Nils Clarke and Keith Halliday had big spread wins. Other players like Zain Syed and Ken Liao had marathon singles battles ending in 9-8 scores for Whitehorse.”

Until recently, the Capital Cup was a biannual affair with Juneau players traveling to Whitehorse in the summer and Whitehorse players traveling to Juneau to play indoors during the off-season. Since

Juneau’s tennis courts have gone from five to just two – losing two to development and a third to renovations to the club – the event has only been played in Whitehorse the last couple of years.

“It’s really too bad because those are the only indoor courts in thousands of miles,” said Lewis. “They haven’t had a tennis pro there for five years now, so there’s no programming and the membership is slipping.”

But Tennis Yukon hasn’t ruled out challenging Juneau on their home turf next winter or spring.

“It’s hard to run tournaments with just two courts, but we’re interested in that,” said Lewis.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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