Finest beats Bravest, but everyone wins

Tennis competitors Art Warick of the NYPD (left) and Ray Santon of the FDNY (right) presented Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. with a pair of t-shirts at the EmblemHealth Bravest versus Finest Bronx Open. Photo by Walter Pofedlt

The Police Department defeated the Fire Department on Sunday, August 23 at the 2009 EmblemHealth Bravest versus Finest Bronx Open in Crotona Park. EmblemHealth donated $2,500 to the NYPD Widows and Orphans Fund and the Uniformed Firefighters Association Scholarship Fund.

“It was fun,” 41st Precinct detective and tennis star Art Warick said. “The score was 5-3 but everybody won.”

Ten police officers and ten firefighters participated in the mini-tournament, a mix of singles and doubles matches. The EmblemHealth Bravest versus Finest Bronx Open kicked off the 2009 GHI Bronx Tennis Classic, a top-notch professional tournament.

“The friendly rivalry is something to watch,” said Jim O’Neill, acting president of the New York Junior Tennis League. “And is a great addition to the tournament.”

Fans who attended the Bravest versus Finest Bronx Open were offered free tennis lessons courtesy of NYJTL. There were also magicians and balloon performers on hand.

“The [Bravest versus Finest Bronx Open] has always been a popular part of the GHI Bronx Tennis Classic,” tournament executive Pam Glick said. “The participants bring their families and everyone has a good time.”

The NYPD Color Guard and FDNY Bagpipers opened the mini-tournament. The police officer tennis studs triumphed for the fourth straight year.

“We put a really good team together,” 41st Precinct police officer Matthew Rey said.

Frank Branchini, president of EmblemHealth, cheered the Bravest and Finest on.

“We’re honored to insure so many first responders and are proud to host the Bravest versus Finest Bronx Open,” Branchini said. “We wished both teams the best of luck.”

August 23 dawned gray and dreary but the sun appeared when the NYPD-FDNY competition heated up. Warick and Rey have already started to plan for next year.

“We networked,” Warick said. “It was a good afternoon. There was camaraderie. We were like a bunch of big kids playing.”

To learn more about the Bravest versus Finest Bronx Open, and the NYPD Widows and Orphans Fund, phone (347) 417-8129.

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