Dahlia Aman, who had, because of the heat in one case and an injury in another, never won a national tennis title at the biannual Senior Games, did so last week in Cleveland, Ohio, sweeping through her opponents in the quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals.
Last year at this time, Aman, whose husband, George, is a master bridge player and head of East Hampton’s board of education, said her goal was to win at Cleveland this year, “and then stop.”
Not stop playing in tournaments altogether, she said during a conversation Monday, but in national competitions. Earlier this summer, she repeated as an Empire State Games’ age group champion. “All the women who played in Cleveland were state champions,” she said, lest this writer think the accomplishment was, for her, somewhat routine.
“You really have to train to win a national championship, and you know how serious I am,” said the very steady and heady player, one of whose sons, Dennis Ferrando, is a teaching pro at the East Hampton Indoor-Outdoor Club in Wainscott. “I trained for three weeks at a beautiful park near Cleveland, hitting against a wall twice a day.”
The women’s senior matches, she said, were played on indoor hardcourts at the Western Reserve Racquet & Fitness Club. Though Aman prefers Har-Tru and grass surfaces to hardcourts, she can manage well on the latter too, as was evidenced by her 6-0, 6-1 win in the quarterfinals over Mary Seiverling, her 6-1, 6-0 win over Emogene Vaughn in the semifinals, and her 6-0, 6-1 victory over Jean Herscovici in the final.
She was the top seed in her age division, having swept similarly through the competition at the Empire State Games in Cortland in June.
Aman said she has dedicated her national gold medal to her son “James, to my husband, to Dennis, myself, and to New York.”
“George,” she said, “is more than proud. He’s told everyone — his fellow bridge players, his friends . . . he even has been telling total strangers. He knows what’s involved in winning a national title, the highest you can get in the amateur ranks. I was incommunicado — I didn’t talk to George or to Dennis the entire week of the tournament. My focus was so intense that no one could have beaten me.”
“The next Senior Games will be in Minneapolis in two years. I won’t play, though I may volunteer,” she said, adding that she had “inspired George. He’s training now to run in either the 400 or 800 in the next Empire State Games.”