Chargers Doubles Tourney

This weekend, I partnered with B. Manning in a 4.0-5.0 (any age) hard court doubles tournament at Colby Sawyer College in New London, New Hampshire.

I have played in the tournament each of the thirteen years it has been run – and actually won it twice in the early years, before the young guns have come out to play. Since then, we haven’t gotten much past the first or second round.

This year, we drew the number two seeds (two teaching pros) in the first round: Whitey Joslin, a ranked and veteran 65 doubles player; and Scott Haralson, a 40ish pro, who just relocated from NY to Boston.

In the first set, we traded breaks; and I was not serving well. We lost my serve at 4-4, with two double faults – and all four balls going into the net. Then I could hear the voice of Fred Stolle from Tennis Camp, telling me, “Try watching the ball hit your racquet on the serve. You can’t; but it will help you keep your head up.”

I did and it did; and my serving problem went away. They served for the first set at 5-4; but we were able to break Whitey’s serve… only to lose the next to games and the set 7-5.

In the second set, we both played very well, especially returning serve. They were serving at 3-4 and struggling, when I said to B, “we break and then I serve out the set;” which we did.

We took a short break to get new balls to start the third set; and started by breaking Whitey. I served the second game, and while I served OK, we didn’t play well and lost a very sloppy game. They served a very strong game at 1-1 and had the Mo back as we changed over.

But B served a solid game; and we held to go 2-2; and then we both returned very well to break Whitey again and go up 3-2. I served well and held to go 4-2; and with Scott serving, we jumped to a 15-40 lead to try to get the critical “insurance break.”

But he came up with two excellent serves to get it back to deuce. I thought: it will be bad Mo if they hold and we change over serving at 4-3, with the potential of their raising their game a notch to get it back to 4-4. It would be much better to break and cross over with a nice 5-2 third set lead.

B wins the deuce point; but we lose my add point. Then B returns serve well (which he did all day), gives us another add point; and I remember Roy Emerson saying, “show your opponent your forehand in a big situation.” So I stand in the add court alley on his second serve, which he dumps into the net!

B then serves out his game for a nice upset victory, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.

Sunday’s semi finals were against a younger team of Richard King, the 40ish head fitness trainer at the local health and racquet club and his 30ish lefty partner Fred ____. Both were very fit, strong, and quick; but the lefty was stronger than the righty; so our plan was to be steadier than they were and push more balls at the weaker player.

A good plan that we had trouble executing: they must have read Joel Drucker’s current piece on the Tennis Channel website ( about giving your opponents different looks… they poached, played Australian, and crossed a lot.

B and I never really got our game together in the first set, losing 6-2. We both didn’t play as well (especially return of serve) as the day before; but had our chances to break back with the lefty struggling to hold serve for the match at 5-3. But again, they changed up with BOTH players staying back on his serve; and we just didn’t react fast enough to break back onto serve; and lost the match 6-2, 6-3.

4 thoughts on “Chargers Doubles Tourney

  1. I always take away some very practical tips reading your accounts of these matches.

    Keep up the good work.


  2. Mark – So do I!! All matches — especially the losses — are learning experiences.

Comments are closed.