Super Senior Grand Prix

Super Senior Grand Prix

During the month of January, there are a series of four ‘designated’ seniors tournaments in successive week’s down here in SW Florida. They are so convenient (and the weather usually so nice) that they draw people from all around the country (and I found out, the world).

Tournament #1 – Ft Myers Racquet Club

I entered the 60 men’s singles bracket (I will also play doubles in next week’s event with local friend, Tom McCune). But in preparation, overdid my training by playing seven times in five days the week before last (with visitor and fellow Wanker, Terry Long being one of those seven matches)… and pulled a thigh muscle.

My first round match was Monday, January 09, 2006 against a man named Ian Johnson. I searched the USTA site and found him (I thought) as a 3.5 league player from South Carolina. But when introduced to him, learned that he is from London – and had just flown in for the four tournaments.

During the warm up, my assessment was:

* Very smooth and steady strokes

* Likes to hit a topspin forehand

* Prefers it over his fairly steady backhand

* Good serve, overheads, and vollies.

I won the toss and (am reading “Winning Ugly” by Brad Gilbert) chose to receive serve. Broke him at love and won a string of nine straight games! Found that he seemed nervous and while he did like to hit his topspin forehand, did not like to hit his backhand under pressure. Final Score: 6-0, 6-2

In his defense: he had just flown in from England four days ago; had only been playing hard courts and inside (this was on clay); and had been ‘very sick’ most of last year. In fact, when he learned I had searched the USTA site and found the wrong Ian Johnson, he told me, had I searched the ITF site, I would have learned that in 2004 he was ranked #47 … in the world!

Then on day #2, Tuesday, I played Joe McAleer from NJ (and now Bonita Springs Florida). As well as I played yesterday, that is how poorly I played today! During the warm-up, I felt I could rally with him from the baseline and outlast him. Trouble was he was a serve-and-vollier and good!

He surged out to a 4 love lead; and I had to change something; so I stood inside the baseline to return his serve (and cut down his time to get to the net). I was able to break his serve two times; and was serving at 2-5, 30-15… I felt if I could win this game, he would be shaky after just being broken twice and I could break again and get back on serve. Well, I made a couple of my way-too-many unforced errors, lost the game, the set, and any mini-momentum I had. He won 6-2, 6-1 (in about an hour and a half).

Only psychological consolation, I really think if I was able to play my game, I could play him about even. And, he has a victory over former US #1 Fred Drilling; and is currently ranked #13 in the nation.

Next week: Naples Bath and Tennis for both singles and doubles!