Tennis Fantasy – Wednesday, Day 4
Well, they took the first camper to the hospital today. Thank goodness it wasnâ€™t me.
The chest congestion is still limiting my breathing and now I have just about total laryngitis; so today will be another doubles-only day for me.
The morningâ€™s Legend clinic was Roy Emerson on the return of serve:
- Most players take much too big of a backswing on their return of serve.
- Both the forehand and backhand returns should be abbreviated, using the pace of the server.
- If the server is overpowering you, stand back behind the baseline.
- If he is using a spin serve that goes wide, donâ€™t run parallel to the baseline, but come in at an angle to take it.
- Going down the line is the same motion; but you follow through down the line.
- While he says â€˜Never miss a return of serve,â€ I asked him what a realistic goal should be: he said 90% returns in play.
- Emmo once played a Wimbledon five-setter where he did not miss ONE return of serve.
Our team match today is against Newcombeâ€™s Kangaroos, who won their day yesterday very easily. I again teamed with Terry Long. We played very well together, cruising to a 6-1, 6-0 victory. I was happy it was fast; because the weather is brutal: hot and extremely humid.
If I had been playing singles, Emmo said he would have had me at either #4 or 5; both matches which I watched, because our doubles was on second. The #5 match would have been against famous tennis writer Joel Drucker, who beat me two years ago; but lost a tough one to our Wanker.
The #4 singles was my yesterday doubles partner, young Mike, playing a mirror image of himself from the other team. Our guy Mike struggled to hold serve (losing at 5-4 and 6-5) but won the first set in a tie breaker. He then lost the second set and they played a first to ten point tiebreaker, which the other team won. After walking back to the trainerâ€™s tent for some treatment after the match, the winner went into full body cramps and they took him to the hospital. (He later appeared and was ok).
The morning matches ended with our team down 9-7; so we would have to dominate the afternoon doubles to win. They teamed me with Terry again in the p.m. against a solid doubles team.
We played strongly and quickly ran up a 1-5 lead. With the other team serving add out, set point, they hit a net cord that just dribbled over for an untouchable winner. That was important because they ended up running the next NINE games! All the games were close; but they edged them out to take the first set 7-5 and have a one-break 0-3 lead into the third.
It was extremely hot and humid; so I had my partner â€˜talk to meâ€™ a lot in between all points, so I could catch my breath. The momentum was clearly on their side as Terry served and we went down several break point, add outs â€“ that would have made it ten games in a row and 4-0.
Somehow, we managed to hold his serve; and then worked to break them on their next serve. On the changeover, Brian Gottfried came over to encourage us, telling us we had â€˜broken their momentumâ€™ and had to really focus on holding serve. I ended up serving my best game of the week: four big first serves and four quick points for a love game.
The momentum seemed to have switched sides of the court. We went on to break, hold, and break again for a six-game run and 6-3 set victory. My breathing seemed to be OK; but I was now getting concerned about my traditional problem: cramping.
But we played a strong 10-point tiebreaker, winning it and the match!
While I crawled the half mile back to my room to hopefully prevent the cramps from taking over my body, they finished up the last two very close doubles matches.
Back in my room, I gave myself a drug cocktail of: potassium pills, minerals, and Marc VanDamâ€™s amino acids. Curled up on my bed in a semi-fetal position and struggled with the cramps I normally get first, right under my rib cage (the serving muscles). But the combination seemed to work, because nothing bad really happened.
The end result of our dayâ€™s team match was a nineteen-year first: our team won the afternoon doubles 5-3, which tied it in matches; so they went to the tie breaker of number of sets wonâ€¦ also tied. Then they counted every game wonâ€¦ also tied! So we ended up tying, which essentially knocks us out of the running for the team winner.
After a Mexican night dinner, we had some great dinner table conversation and more Legends from the podium. After that, â€œHigh Commissionerâ€ Al Egan (along with his â€œAssistant to the Commissionerâ€, his â€œLegal Counselâ€, and his â€œSergeant At Armsâ€) had to fight off an insurrection before they adjourned everyone to the bar for the annual Australian Boat Racesâ€¦ a team beer chugging competition, which is usually won by Newkâ€™s â€˜very experiencedâ€™ team. (I went to bed).