Well, there is Good News and Bad News from Longboat Key today. Apart from the tennis, a big cold front pushed through Tuesday night… dropping the temps by 20 degrees and increasing the wind velocity by 20 mph’s for Tom and my second round singles matches today.
I faced the #1 seeded player, Ray Lake from Kansas City in the morning. When we warmed up and played the first couple of games, I said to myself, “I can play with this guy; and maybe even beat him!” But that was only partly true.
The good news: I did play Fearless Tennis for 90-95% of the time… hitting out on my shots and hitting many winners.
The bad news: this guy ran extremely well, had great touch, and an incredible drop shot (especially into the wind). As one example, we are having a backhand-to-backhand rally; and I am feeling pretty much in control. I hit a solid topspin backhand deep to within a couple of feet of the opposite corner. Ray backs up; hits an awkward backhand off his back foot, which is an intentional drop shot winner just over the net!
The points were close. Most games were close. But he cruised to victory in two sets.
Afterwards, former touring pro Hank Irvine was counseling me. When I told him about my trouble with Ray Lake’s incredible drop shots, he asked me the same question he always does, “And what did you do about it?” His point: don’t let the guy hit the shot he wants to hit. He said, instead of admiring my deep backhand, I should have followed it to the net and made him pass me.
Tom’s match in the afternoon was against Reinaldo Valor, the same player Tom had the very controversial match with last year. But Tom took another player’s advice and spoke to his opponent before the match about their previous experience and how he ‘hoped they would have a clean match today.’ They did.
The bad news: Valor is really pretty good and, like my opponent, has great hands and a great drop shot. Tom was outplayed for a set and a half; but then really started stepping into his shots and hitting forcing balls to the corners. So his final was 2-6, 4-6.
Tomorrow, Thursday, we play our first round of doubles together.