Sterling Oaks: Wednesday

This morning, I played my first consolation singles round, my partner Tom played his second main draw singles (and got “hooked” badly); and then at the end of the day, we teamed up for doubles.

My Consolation Singles: was against a nice guy and nice player, Pat Stone, from Tallahassee. During the warm up, I couldn’t spot any real weaknesses: smooth forehand, steady backhand, and very strong serve.

Once we got into the match, I could see one advantage: my slightly better than average 66 year old wheels were better than his; and he would eventually make a mistake being run side to side. So I played a “mounting offense” game of slowly putting more pressure on each shot, till he was out of position and I could put it away or hit a shot he didn’t return.

He held serve the first game; but than I was able to “run” the next six for the first set. The momentum continued into the second for a 6-1, 6-1 victory.

Tom’s Singles: Tom had another tough match, this time against the #5 seed. Before the match, Tom was alerted to “watch his line calls” and after the match, three people told me of his horrid reputation (one of them, a Naples pro said, “they won’t let him play tournaments in New Jersey”).

Well Tom’s experiences were the same. Some examples:

1) A ball that was clearly hit well out by his opponent was claimed to be his point; because Tom did not state or point it was out. The guy agreed that the ball was out but wanted to take the point because Tom didn’t call it loudly and clearly. The referee shamed him into changing his mind on that one.
2) He said he could call the referee because he claimed that Tom’s Bolle sunglasses gave him an “unfair advantage” and were therefore illegal.
3) After several bad calls, the referee was on the court. The bad calls stopped; but when she left, they started again. Tom had won the first set 6-3, lost the second set 6-4; and at 1-1 in the third set his opponent called a ball that was, according to the mark Tom pointed to, 16 inches in. Four people watching the match indicated the ball was in; but the guy insisted that wasn’t the mark and took the point.
4) Tom had had enough, walked to the side of the court and said he was going to QUIT; only to have the referee come on the court and convince him to finish the match.

Tom was so upset, he didn’t win another game. Many people came up to Tom and also to me to say what a “shame” that was. In my opinion, guys like that should be banned from senior tennis. (Ask me and i will tell you his name).

Doubles: Then with the sun setting and putting shadows on the court, we went out at 4:30 p.m. for our second round doubles against #3 seeds Don Long and Sam Corso (he of two gold USTA balls in senior doubles). The match was well played all around and close… they won the first set with one service break, 6-3; and then were up 2-4, with us serving in the second. We held; broke them; held again, to have them serving 4-5 break/set point. We didn’t convert and they then broke us and served out the match, 6-3, 7-5.

3 thoughts on “Sterling Oaks: Wednesday

  1. George – ever think of recording a match when that guy plays? Maybe just the idea that it’s recorded would help his calls. You could play it in the clubhouse afterwards. Anyway, I look forward to coming out to Florida for a tournament sometime. Better to get steamrolled out there than to watch the snow out my window!

    Mike – yes, i remember you have one “bad call catch” on your website. geo

  2. George, my condolences to Tom for having to play the “hooker” from New Jersey. In fact, from your description, the guy that Tom played is not just a “hooker” in the sense that he gives bad line calls. He is an all around dirty player, as it seems that he is not above trying every psychological ploy that he can to upset an opponent.

    Please send me a private e-mail with this guy’s name. I may know him and may even have played against him in New Jersey once or twice.

    I believe I have written previously on your site here about several other bad experiences that I have had getting “hooked” in the past. I will not repeat my comments, but they can be looked up under other posts if anybody is interested. It may not be a coincidence that, having lived so much of my life in New Jersey (I moved to Pennsylvania a few years ago, but it was not to avoid being cheated in tennis), I have encountered the kind of player that Tom had to deal with on more than one occasion. I can certainly sympathize with Tom’s reaching a point in the third set where he simply could not win another game against the guy. You just get so incredibly angry when playing against somebody like this that your whole body freezes up and tightens and you cannot let go from the “death grip” that you have on your racquet. Instead of using the racquet to hit spins and keep the ball in play, you start swinging wildly at the ball with every ounce of strength that you have, because what you really want to be doing is using the racquet to knock the other guy’s head off at his shoulders. Consequently, nothing goes in, and balls just fly against the back fence. As you can tell from my description, I have REALLY been there, so tell Tom he is not alone.

    Although this type of player is reprehensible, fortunately there aren’t too many of them around. Anyway, I really don’t see implementing a system of banning cheaters like this from senior tennis, because it would smack of favoritism and elitism, and could sweep up non-cheating players in the same ban if they happen to have a bad eyesight day and make a few too many inadvertent erroneous line calls. However, maybe having a few other “guys” from New Jersey — with names like Tony Soprano, etc. — have a little “chat” with players like this wouldn’t be a bad idea.

    Marty – i will send you his name + some other NJ cheater insights. geo

  3. We all know a “hooker” in tennis but they don’t survive for long and their reputation follows them everywhere. What a legacy to have. The news travels faster than a 120 MPH serve. My experience was a guy from the north shore of Boston who, when challenged, left the court and said “never again”. Good riddance, Bob

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