Fantasy Camp Monday, Day 2:Â Itâ€™s raining! And that is a blessing for this sick guy who didnâ€™t sleep much last night.
So we all gathered under the roof of the four indoor courts to discuss alternative plans for the day. Three of us hitched a ride there with John Newcombe and chatted on the way over: one of the guys asked how the logo of the circle and droopy mustache came about; and I asked how he feels about Sharapova getting $25 million in endorsements? Newk said â€œThat was fine.â€ Because when he won Wimbledon in the early â€˜70s, he got $10,000 in prize money; but he earned 25 times that ($250,000) from his clothing contracts; so the proportions were about the same.
We started out with some group dynamic stretching, led by well-known sports trainer Larry Star. He preaches that you want to warm your muscles up before playing with dynamic stretching; and then do the static stretching AFTER you play when your muscles are warm.
The rest of the morning was made up of team meeting, where our Wankersâ€™ coaches (Emerson, Reissen, and Gottfried) talked to us about the plans for the day and gave us a wide range of tennis tips:
- In doubles, use the lob more (to take the other team off the net).
- NEVER miss your return of serve.
- If the other team is overpowering you on their serve, both play back.
- When you are in the lead (singles or doubles), there is a very fine line between making the error of just pushing the ball back to keep it in play and going for too much. Generally speaking, continue to go for your shots.
- When returning serve in singles in the deuce court (righty against righty), the normal return is down the line to the opponentâ€™s backhand; but since the server falls in that direction, you could gain the advantage by hitting an aggressive â€˜off backhandâ€™ return crosscourt to his forehand side.
Now, we are going to the four indoor courts to take our turn on the court playing doubles; so our coaches could evaluate us for doubles pairings and rankings among the team. I was paired with my annual doubles partner, Terry Long of San Francisco. With nine doubles teams on our squad, we were probably slotted at #3.
We played well together, easily beating one of the lower teams and playing even with the #2 team. My problem was we were playing: on hard courts, indoors, with torrential and deafening rain pounding on the roof, and our last round was against two younger, hard servers; so needless to say this clay courter was late on many returns.
At lunch, the weather started clearing but they didnâ€™t think the outdoor courts would be dry till about 3 p.m.; so we were slated to hit inside at four. I went back to my room and laid down for a nap; and was called on the phone by a ranch pro at 3 p.m., saying my team had been on the outside courts for a half hour and they were looking for me!
I chugged over to the courts for some more doubles pairings, starting again with Terry Long; but then â€˜moving upâ€™ to play a set with our #1 player (who I teamed with for my last match last year). We played the good opponents about even, losing a tie breaker. With an eye to having a singles match tomorrow morning, I hit groundstokes with Brian Gottfried and found I was #1 very late on all my strokes #2 therefore, hitting the ball way too short in the court and #3 had absolutely no air in my lungs. Leg conditioning is fine; but due to the lung congestion, it was like suddenly playing singles a mile high in Denver. We shall see what impact that has on the singles match in the morning and doubles later on Tuesday.
Dinner was barbeque style food and after dinner, there was the usual funny announcements/speeches; followed by a panel discussion with several of the Legends discussing the changes in pro doubles. Doubles specialists Mark Woodforde and Jim Leach agreed the game needs to have the top singles players taking part in doubles â€¦ but it probably wasnâ€™t going to happen; because stars like Federer were not going to risk injury or fatigue that would lessen their chances at winning majors.
Afterwards, while others went to the bar for more drink and talk, I went off to my room to try to get a decent nightâ€™s sleep before the team competition started on Tuesday.