— This version corrects the competition division in the fourth paragraph. This story was originally posted Aug. 11.
As a tennis coach, Dick Barnes of Friday Harbor has helped many young players exceed their expectations and he’s coached many Wolverines to championships.
As an advocate for tennis, he’s introduced many people to a healthy game that they can play for the rest of their lives.
He’s done it for no reward other than to be connected to a game he loves. But the last week of July at Vancouver Island’s South Cowichan Lawn Tennis Club — where Barnes has mowed the grass courts just for fun for several years in preparation for tournament play — the long-time coach and player came away with a well-deserved honor: a doubles title.
Barnes, 61, was teamed with Alan Rasmussen of Denmark in the All Men’s 55 Doubles in the 122nd Vancouver Island Grass Court Championship. They won the semi-final 6-2, 6-0, then defeated Ken Babcock and Bill Majercsik, both of Victoria, 6-3, 6-1 in the final to win the title. Barnes hit the winning shot.
The title is Barnes’ first in 22 years at South Cowichan. It’s a significant title: Some 138 competitors played on the famed grass courts, which are believed to be the second oldest in the world after Wimbledon. And the tournament is an International Tennis Federation event.
Being paired with Rasmussen was fortuitous: Rasmussen is the European 55 champ and the holder of eight European Indoor titles. Barnes described Rasmussen as “6 foot 4 with the wingspan of a condor.”
Rasmussen also won the Men’s 45 Singles and the Men’s 55 Singles.
In the All Men’s 60 Doubles, Barnes and Alan Case won the consolation final 6-3, 5-7, 6-1.
Barnes has won consolation titles before.
“That’s usually where I am — the best of the worst.”