Emmo Was Right

Three years ago at Newk’s Camp, we had a debate about which side the “steady player” should play in doubles. And it impacted Tom and my doubles match at the Cape Coral USTA tournament.


Roy (Emmo) Emerson insisted that the steady guy should be in the deuce court; so his partner could be “freer” to swing away in the add court. Doubles specialist Brian Gottfried (Gottfried and Ramirez) felt it was just the opposite: the steady player should be in the add court to get the ball back in play on the big points.

For all the years we have played together, I (the theoretical steady guy) have played the add court and Tom the deuce. For this tournament, we switched places… and I think it worked.

My forehand crosscourt return proved steady and effective; and gave Tom lots of return chances in the add court to swing away. And then when he swung freely, he hit good cross court returns; and I was aggressive over the middle, picking off the charging server’s next shot.

And for me, I like my backhand volley over the middle; so that was a double plus.

Match Result: Tom and I beat a solid doubles of Gary Wilson (who beat me in singles on Tuesday) and Bob Tilley from MA (who beat me in singles last year). The scores were 6-3, 6-1; but the match took 1.5 hours and was a lot closer than the score.

Then right after that match, I changed my clothes and played my “back draw” singles match against Bill Herster of Overland Park, KS (Hello to George Morton). It was late in the day with the sun starting to set as we began our match.

Bill is a good player with an excellent first serve (better than mine); but he was missing it in the first set. That allowed me to control the points with my forehand and cruise to an easy 6-0 victory.

The second set was different… the sun went down, the lights came on; and in the twilight, he started getting his first serve in. A double whammy.

We were on serve at 4-4 and I thought to myself… I don’t want to trust this to the roll of the dice on a ten-point Champions Tiebreak (which they play in lieu of a third set in the consolation rounds). So I pushed extra hard and broke his serve.

Serving at 5-4 for the match, I thought about the “Fearless Tennis” words I had listened to in the car on the drive up to Cape Coral… took my time, took deep breaths between points, and focused on each point – not thinking about the “result” but rather “the process”.

I was able to close out the match with a solid forehand winner down the line (at 6:40 p.m., after three hours of doubles + singles).

But that is nothing compared to the Match of the Day: Tom’s friend Dave Spilseth upset #5 seeded Clive Kileff in three sets and three hours and fifteen minutes of baseline rallies.

For full match results, click HERE.

4 thoughts on “Emmo Was Right

  1. Nice wins George. You beat a nice doubles team.

    Bill – tks, and if we could have played as well against you guys…. geo

  2. Hey George, I’ve always believed that the best doubles team is made up of a steady player and a big hitter. We have disagreed on where they should play. No doubt in my mind that the steady player has to play the deuce court. That gets you to more add points. That said, the big hitter has more chances to break . . . Welcome to the dark side!

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