Ackley in National 65s Doubles Final

“The second set was tight” down in St. Pete
“The top five guys don’t crack — you gotta win every point,” says Frank Ackley of Springs and Melbourne, Fla. Jack Graves

Frank Ackley of Springs and Melbourne, Fla., reached the finals of a Level 2 U.S.T.A. 65s doubles tournament in St. Petersburg, Fla., last week, playing with Rollin Rhone of Los Angeles. The pair, though unseeded, were semifinalists in the national clay courts tourney in New Orleans this past October.

“To get a ranking you have to play in at least four national tournaments over the course of the year,” said Ackley, “though a lot of these guys — most of them are retired — play in more and submit only their best four finishes.”

One of Ackley and Rhone’s opponents in the St. Pete final was Fred Robinson, the nation’s third-ranked player in the 65s. “Robinson played in 12 tournaments this year; I played in one,” said Ackley, who, having recently turned 70, plans to play in more tournaments this year — in singles, which he has not played competitively in three years, and in doubles.

Ackley and Rhone lost in straight sets in the final, “though the second set was tight. We would have done better if we’d had more time to warm up. They came at us after playing an easy semi. . . . The top five guys don’t crack — you gotta win every point.”