This weekend was the singles section of the Pelican Bay Club tournament; and I entered the “Open” Division. There were six entries; so the tournament committee divided us into two groups of three players, seeding Marc VanDam in one group and me in the other.
The assumption was that he would win his round robin group, I would win mine, and we would play the finals Sunday on the Show Court.
Well, “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Finals.”
The two players in my group were Bob Hayes and someone named Stewart Jackson, who I didn’t know. Without sounding too cocky, I figured, if this is a Pelican Bay resident and I don’t even know who this guy is, how good could he be?
Well, he was The Best Player I Ever Faced!
Turns out he is a “young” 52… a big 6’ 2” … a former 5.5 level player, who just retired and moved here from California.
Because Bob Hayes ended up dropping out with injury at the last minute, they had us play an 8-game pro set (instead of the just seven game total the others were playing). He beat me 8-0.
I have played former US #1 Joe Bachmann, former World #1 Hugh Thompson, and Fred Drilling when he was the current World #1 and gotten a few games against each of them. But I got nothing from Stewart Jackson.
I couldn’t find a single weakness in his game. He served with pace, placement, and a big kick. His forehand was impeccable and had great depth and real “weight” to each stroke. His two-handed backhand was under control. And he glided around the court getting to everything I threw at him.
Well, tomorrow I will go out and cheer for Marc VanDam to see if his even younger 42-year-old legs can carry him to victory against Stewart.