FantasyTennis Camp: Day 1

FantasyTennis Camp: Day 1

I just wish I felt better.

After all my preparation in tennis, conditioning, and equipment… last week I had to fly to Pittsburgh on business and picked up (hopefully, in addition to some future business) some illness (sore throat, congestion, etc). So Saturday night, I only got about four hours of sleep, before heading for the airport to go to my fourth year of John Newcombe Tennis Camp. The weather forecast for today and tomorrow is for thunderstorms in New Braunfels, Texas; which may end up forcing the group to more limited play on the indoor courts – and which may give me more time to recover.

Sunday, Day 1

As usual, Steve Contardi and all the Newcombe ranch staff running the show couldn’t be any nicer. There was another great ‘gift bag’ of stuff waiting for each camper: two Legend tee shirts, Legend polo shirt, a Legend sweat shirt, and a long-sleeve black shirt – all in a nice new tennis bag.

The morning thunderstorms had passed; so the weather was hot and humid (even more so than Naples!). The opening afternoon was the pro introductions and ‘tryouts’ for the four teams we would all be assigned to. The Legends: The returning pros included: Aussies John Newcombe, Roy Emerson, Fred Stolle, Owen Davidson, Mark Woodforde, Ross Case, and his Wimbledon doubles championship partner, Geoff Masters; Americans Marty Reissen, Dick Stockton, Brian Gottfried and Charlie Pasarell; and “Rookie pro” for this year is American doubles specialist, Rick Leach (replacing the affable Guillermo Vilas).

The Legends stayed on the lower courts and evaluated the rookie campers, while the Vets when to the upper courts and played some round robin doubles, rotating partners every eight games. I tied the first match, lost the second, and won easily the third time with Joel Drucker as my partner – but really felt the effects of the heat, humidity, and my illness.

Then we went into the opening dinner of surf and turf (beef tenderloin and lobster tales!) with nice wine on the table from a new sponsor of the week, Barefoot Wineries of California. But the fun was just beginning… there was a series of opening ‘remarks’ by Newcombe, Steve Contardi, and the High Commissioner of the Annual Boat Race (drinking contest).

The Legends had spent a couple of hours evaluating the rookies and negotiating the draft of all the teams before this dinner. They then announced the names of the 19 campers on each of their teams as we each came up, got a team hat and tee shirt. I was again drafted on the Wankers Team for the fourth consecutive year, with Roy Emerson, Marty Reissen, and Brian Gottfried as my coaches (not to shabby of a trio!).

After dinner, I zipped right back to my condo unit – a very nice one I have had all four years – took medication and TRIED to get to sleep. It was a rough night of coughing and chills, with not too much sleep again; so we will see what toll that will take on the tennis today and for the rest of the week.