Well, this is the Big One! With 71 entries in the 65 singles, my first round match was today against Rich Curvelo of Sarasota.
In the massive Naples Tennis Club (nee Naples Bath & Tennis), we were in the farthest court, #32, next to the court where the winner would play the winner of that match (read: #1 Fred Drilling).
During the warmup, I could see that my opponent had solid groundstrokes on both sides, was not as comfortable at the net as on the baseline, and had an attackable serve. He started off serving and showed his nerves, with a double fault and a couple of missed shots.
So I broke him and tried to stay on top and never let him get settled and gain any confidence. It was successful and resulted in a 6-0 first set.
In the second, he lost his first serve; and then I played one of the only two sloppy games in the match, falling behind 0-40 on my first service game of the second set. With the help of a generous service call by him, I was able to come back; and then stayed focused to run to a 5-0 lead.
Marc Vandam reminding me to â€œBuy him a beer later.â€ Meaning donâ€™t feel sorry, just focus and win. I did play my second sloppy game and he got on the board; but I closed it out with a service break for 6-0, 6-1.
Meanwhile on the next court, Fred Drilling disposed of his opponent faster than I did, shaking hands while we were in the middle of our second set. So tomorrow, â€œIn this corner, World Champion, Fred Drilling, weighing in atâ€¦â€ I figure I have absolutely no pressure and nothing to lose: I am going to try to go out there relaxed and go for my shots, and see what happens.