South African back for run at another title at Mixed Doubles Charity Classic at CCY
- The Mixed Doubles Charity Classic is set for this weekend at the Country Club of York.
- Punch Maleka was half of last year's winning team. He will have a new partner for this year's event.
- Proceeds from the tournament will go to opioid prevention in York.
Punch Maleka considers his life "a great journey."
Born in South Africa, Maleka possessed the talent and drive necessary to become a tennis professional and travel the world. He was ranked No. 619 at one point in the world men's singles rankings.
When his career began winding down, Maleka considered two options — go to college to study mechanical engineering or accept a teaching professional job at a tennis club in the United States.
Maleka decided to pack his bags and head for a new country.
"I'm an adventurer," he said.
Maleka, who made his move 12 years ago, is still teaching junior players and aspiring professionals.
He's a professional at Gulph Mills Tennis Club in suburban Philadelphia.
"There were a few ups and downs (with the move)," Maleka said. "I had to get used to my surroundings and the weather."
Mixed Doubles Charity Classic: Along with teaching, Maleka still competes in tournaments.
He and Charlotte Sikora won the title in a mixed doubles charity tournament last year at the Country Club of York.
Maleka will return for this year's Mixed Doubles Charity Classic, which is set for Saturday and Sunday at CCY, but he'll have a new partner.
"My partner (Sikora) had an injury," he said.
Maleka's partner this year is Delia Sescioreanu, who also played on the professional tour.
"With a doubles team, a lot depends on personalities," Maleka said. "Sometimes, you get lucky and click right away."
Maleka is looking forward to the competition and the camaraderie.
"Everyone is so open and friendly," he said. "The tournament is well run, and I look for everyone to have fun."
Maleka's life isn't all tennis all the time. He mixes music and works as a disc jockey, and also spends time doing art work.
This weekend, though, his focus will be on tennis as he seeks another title.
Opioid prevention: Proceeds from the tournament will go to opioid prevention in York.
Tournament director Mark Koons, who's also director of tennis at CCY, said the number of sponsors has doubled over last year.
"I think our theme (opioid prevention) hit home," Koons said. "Every year, the highest level of tennis in York is played in this tournament, and admission is free."
Koons said there is a draw of 16 teams for the third annual event.
He will team up with Jayne Snyder. Other local entries are: Evan Andrews and Lisa Bornt-Davis, Abbey Anderson and Jim Anderson and Nate Gambino and Lauren Duffy.
The round-of-16 and quarterfinal matches will be played on Saturday between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. The semifinals and final will take place Sunday, beginning with semifinals at 11 a.m.
Koons said a United States Tennis Association official will be on hand for the championship match.
Following is the complete schedule
11 a.m. matches
Delia Sescioreanu Mask and Punch Maleka (Philadelphia) vs. Jayne Snyder and Mark Koons (York).
Amy Ankeny and Phil Myers (York) vs. Christina Gaul and Alex Fioravante (Philadelphia).
Bridget Forster and Kevin Tran (Florida and Lancaster) vs. Mary Beth Williams and John Bair (California and Lancaster).
12:30 p.m. matches
Lisa Bornt-Davis and Evan Andrews (York) vs. Marta Drane and Jeff Wiedemann (Delaware).
Margarita Sadovnikova and Evan Lord (Philadelphia) vs. Jordyn King and William Wanner (Philadelphia and Lancaster).
Lauren Duffy and Nate Gambino (York) vs. Krista Hardebeck and Ilia Shatashvili (New York).
2 p.m. matches
Audrey Ann Blakely and Nolan Perugini (Reading) vs. Katie Moritz and Jared Howat (York and Philadelphia).
Abbey Anderson and Jim Anderson (York) vs. Julia Cohen and Nima Roshan (Philadelphia).
Quarterfinal No. 1.
3:30 p.m. matches
Quarterfinal No. 2.
Quarterfinal No. 3.
Semifinals will begin at 11 a.m.
Reach Dick VanO'Linda at email@example.com.