Sibling rivalry: Clancy Shields tops brother Luke for Elam Classic title

Clancy Shields returns a shot Sunday during his singles victory in the Elam Classic. A few hours later, the Shields brothers won their fourth consecutive Elam Classic doubles title with a victory over Richard Johnson of Grand Junction and Cory Ross of Littleton.

Clancy Shields returns a shot Sunday morning from his brother, Luke Shields, in the championship match of the Elam Classic at Canyon View Park. Clancy won 7-5, 6-2.

The tables have turned.

After years of getting beat by his older brother, Clancy Shields is finally getting some wins against Luke Shields.

Clancy defeated Luke 7-5, 6-2 to win the 50th annual Elam Classic singles title on Sunday morning at Canyon View Park. It was Clancy’s second consecutive Elam Classic singles title.

“We play everyday so there’s a little bit of a competitive edge,” Clancy said. “The people we grew up with will give Luke a little havoc, which will be a bit of fun for me. In the long run, it’s a great success for our family. For my brother and I, making the finals is awesome.”

Clancy, 23, overcame two broken strings in the first seven games of the match, broke Luke’s serve late in the first set and served it out. Clancy broke Luke’s serve early in the second set and broke him again to pull away for the victory.

Although Luke, 25, had his fair share of wins over Clancy through the years, Clancy admitted he had an edge this time.

“Luke had two three-setters (Saturday) and was a little bit tired,” Clancy said. “That plays to me because I have a little bit more of a power game. If he’s not moving that well, he’s going to struggle. He played five, six hours of tennis (Saturday). I can thank his opponents and be happy he was tired today.”

“It was great, but it didn’t make for the best match,” Luke said. “We know each other’s weaknesses and we go there the whole time so it doesn’t look too good. We didn’t show much emotion. If you want to come to one of our practices, it will be a lot more entertaining.”

Luke didn’t make any excuses. He simply credited and acknowledged Clancy’s talents.

“I wanted to play to his weakness, but Clancy has got a lot better,” Luke said. “Once upon a time, I could kick his butt, but he’s got a lot better. He has a huge forehand. I try to keep it away from his huge forehand, but I didn’t do a very good job, obviously.”

Clancy took home $3,000 with the singles title. Luke received a $1,500 check for taking second.

“Ultimately, we set goals every week when we go to a tournament and it’s been let’s meet in the finals,” Clancy said. “This week we did, so it was a triumph for both of us. The money, we already said we’re splitting 50/50. It’s not about the money.”

A few hours later, the Shields brothers won their fourth consecutive Elam Classic doubles title with a 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 6-2 victory over Richard Johnson of Grand Junction and Cory Ross of Littleton.

The doubles championship was held at Junction Indoor Tennis Center because of an off-and-on rain throughout the day in the Grand Valley.

“My first serve percentage was like 20 percent, but we use a formation where the net man kneels down (Australian doubles) and it helps us out a lot,” Clancy said. “We look at each other and can feel where each other is going to be. Luke says two words and we know what each other is going to do the whole play.”

The doubles champions received a $1,400 check to split. The runners-up split $700.

Although the Shields appear to be atop their game, the Elam Classic could be their last run at professional tennis. They are actively applying for coaching positions, including one at Portland State University.

“Our dad really wants us to play, and we want to play, too, but it’s tough,” Luke said. “The first couple years are tough, especially expensewise. I really think the right way to do it is go abroad to other countries and that gets expensive. We don’t have a sponsor. I know we can make it in doubles, but it would take a couple years and a lot of money.”


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