Mid-July, time for the only summer tournament I play: the doubles-only at Colby-Sawyer College in New London. Once again, B. Manning and I teamed up in the (any age) Men’s A Division (4.0-5.0 max).
As there are every year, there were several very good teams in the 16-team draw. We had a first round bye and played our second round match (due to rain) indoors, against a solid team made up of the Concord High School tennis coach and his partner from Brattleboro, VT.
As we played indoors Saturday morning, all three of the courts had great matches going on… all three courts split the first two sets and went to a 10-point Champions Tie break to decide their matches.
We lost ours. It was frustrating, because we played no-ad scoring and in the first set, serving at 5-4, we had a simultaneous set point for us and game point for them. I had been serving successfully to the receiver’s backhand and decided to try to surprise him down the middle … and he crunched a forehand return winner.
They won the game and went on to win the first set 7-5. We won the second; but lost the ten point tie break.
And on the next court, where the winners would play our winners, the #1 65+ doubles team in New England, Whitey Joslin and Tom Diehl also lost theirs.
I played mostly good; but was unhappy how I played in “crunch time.” As it is written in my “little tennis book,” you have to “learn from losing.” What was reinforced for me was: During Big Points, the good players are MORE aggressive and the losing team becomes more conservative.
– Who makes the aggressive move during the point rather than standing with their feet planted?
– Who crunches the volley, rather than just poking it back?
– Who drives the ball, instead of lobbing?
The winners do.
So Sunday, I played in the “old man’s division”… 65+, with my first-time doubles partner, Nick Ourusoff, who is an excellent singles player and ranked #23 in the nation in 70+. With only three teams entered, we had a first round bye, and played “the finals” Sunday afternoon.
It was a team we “should beat”; but another chapter in my tennis book says: never say you should beat someone or lose to them… rather, just focus on what you need to do to win. So, I kept telling myself to stay aggressive, keep the ball deep and to their weaker wings… and we won 6-1, 6-0. The weekend ended better than it started.