By Gianna Addario
---- — MANCHESTER — The Boston Lobsters pro tennis team kicked off its opening match of the season last night with a 20-18 win over the New York Sportimes. It was the first of nine matches in a 10-day span for the home team.
“It’s always nice to get a win on the first night,” said Lobsters head coach Bud Schultz, now in his fifth season with the team. “This team has been together for three days, so you never really know what you’re going to get. We’ve had a good couple of days of getting to know each other and practicing.”
It was also the Lobsters first time in their new home— The Joan Norton Tennis Center— at the Manchester Athletic Club. For the past five years, they’ve played at Ferncroft Country Club in Middleton before making the move to Manchesteter.
The Lobsters men’s doubles team of Eric Butorac and Amir Weintraub knocked of the Sportimes’ Rob Kendrick and Jesse Witten, 5-2 to secure the two-point victory for Boston.
“It gets us of to a good start,” said Butorac. “To come out with a win, give the team some chemistry moving forward.
“I always say that this is best atmosphere to bring kids to and expose them to tennis. You get to see everything and the fans are able to cheer you on.”
Butorac, now in his fifth season with Mylan World Team Tennis and fourth straight campaign with the Lobsters, is a doubles specialist who played both men’s doubles and mixed doubles last night and managed a win each time.
Being the veteran on the team, Butorac is the unofficial captain and looking to create some team chemistry with a packed schedule of 14 matches in a 18-day span.
“We were able to have a team dinner and now we’ll be with each other every day for the next couple of weeks,” noted Butorac, who lives in Cambridge year-round. “I want to make sure that all of my teammates are comfortable and having a good time. I just wanted to keep everyone relaxed and enjoy playing tennis.”
Weintraub, Jill Craybas and Katalin Marosi are the newbies on the team, but all veterans when it comes to the game itself.
“If you don’t have a group of players that get along, it can go south really fast,” added Schultz. “One of the things we think about when we draft is we want to have people who are fun, that will compete every night and are supportive of each other. It’s easy to say after one win, but I’m pretty confident we’re going to have that type of season.”
Weintraub, who played for the Springfield Lasers last season, defeated Witten, 5-4, in men’s singles action last night, while the Lobsters dropped both the women’s singles (Craybas) and women’s doubles matches (Marosi/Craybas) to the Sportimes.
With just under 1,000 spectators in attendance, the night was packed full of talent in a family-friendly atmosphere. After the match was over, both teams stayed to sign autographs and take pictures with the younger fans.
The Lobsters travel to Missouri today and take on the Springfield Lasers tonight. They’ll return home Wednesday to again face the Sportimes.