Trash Talking Opponents

Here is a fun tennis story from my young friend Marc VanDam (45 years old and a solid 4.5) about trash talking, beers, machismo and what it means to be over confident…….


“I played my brother-in-law this weekend for one set. (6’3, 30 years old and former college football player). After having had a few beers he started talking trash, saying he might not beat me in tennis…..but he could give me serious game and that with a little practice he could be beating me in a few weeks easily.

I did not engage his craziness until he really started pushing. My gut feeling told me, from the way he was talking, he was not even a 2.5 player.

But he kept taunting (he’s a very confident man and a very, very good athlete); so I finally relented and gave him back some trash talk of my own.

What was born out of that useless, beer and machismo filled conversation was a $200 bet.

I was so fed up that I finally told him I could beat him just on leg. Then he pounced… I had to be on one leg from the moment the ball was in play until the point was complete.

He laughed at our bet for 3 days and trash talked all the way the way to the court. Several spectators came out for the spectacle Sunday morning.

I warmed up and immediately knew my game plan would work: Underhand serves with lots of spin, and I would put away every serve he got in.

And then……

He had a trick up his sleeve….
He came alive with much better strokes at the start of the first game than in warm up.
It still didn’t matter at all.
I hit back the balls that came to me deep and hard.
I hopped like a bunny on one leg and tried to get to the balls that seemed reachable.
I lost the first game because I had trouble spinning my serves in the way i wanted.

But a few minutes later… I won 6-1.”

(besides being a good tennis player, Marc is a “food guy.” Check out his website:

7 thoughts on “Trash Talking Opponents

  1. Marc – I had a similar trash talking friend who i played with regularly and i kept the score about 6-2, 6-3. He had a few drinks and insisted he could still come close, if not beat me, “even if i really played my hardest.” After resisting for weeks, i finally relented and played a “real match”.

    As we crossed over at the net after the third game, he said, “I don’t think i have won a single POINT so far!” I said, “No you haven’t. Would you like to?” And beat him 6-0.

  2. George, as silly as our bet was…we did both have fun 🙂
    Thanks for the link love to my blog. Marc

    Marc – and knowing you, I BET you did not collect your bet. right? george

  3. george. how cool was that. proud of you for taking the challenge……and succeeding!
    good for you. they cant take it from you!!

    Joe – and it FELT good too! tks. see you in Naples soon. george

  4. George, this reminds me of one year at Tennis Fantasies when Mark Benjamin and I were paired for doubles on Newk’s team and we were doing pretty well during the week. We were getting pretty cocky and confident and had won both of our doubles matches going into the last match. Anyway, the evening before that match, we were supposed to play our fantasy match, which as you know is really just a single set of doubles with two of the Legends. When it was set up, it was Mark and me playing with Ross Case and Geoff Masters — among other accomplishments, past winners of the men’s doubles at Wimbledon and the Australian Open, Davis Cup doubles heroes for Australia, etc. You can pretty well guess what happened next. Mark and I proposed to Ross and Geoff that we would like to play against THEM in our fantasies match, instead of splitting us up to play one with each Legend as is the normal practice. I thought I detected a little snicker from Geoff when we went one step further and asked that they play “full out” against us. Just to be certain, Ross asked something like, “Full out? You mean you want us not to hold back on anything?” “Yes,” we replied. Then Ross asked, “Are you guys sure about this?” “Yes,” we again replied. Then Geoff tried one last time to talk us out of it, saying something like, “You know, you can take as long as it takes to finish the set. You don’t have to get this over in a hurry.” Feeling insulted, we simply told Geoff, “Serve ’em up.” And so he did, serving an ace to Mark for the first point, and then an ace to me for the second point. And it did not get any better than that. The highlight of the match, what little I can recall, is somewhere around the third or fourth game we almost got to deuce. Almost. We lost 6-0 in about 15 minutes, maybe 12. But we never trash talked them, at least. If we had, I kind of think they would have finished the set in 10 minutes.
    Marty – yea, i got Ross mad one time and couldn’t touch the next five shots from him! see you soon. george

  5. My favorite bet:
    With a pro staff I was working with on Long Island, I put on a male chauvinist air and stated the men players were much better than female players. I intentionally and successfully got a couple of the women pros very upset.
    Having set the stage, I taunted that not only could I beat any of the women pros easily, but I could beat them even if I gave them a 0-5, love-40 lead on my serve. The ladies were quite incensed, and I was able to follow up the challenge with a $50 bet. Then I further said I would bet an additional $100 that my lady opponent wouldn’t win over 5 points in the whole set. Bet accepted.
    The whole staff went to the court for the ensuing “battle of the sexes.” My opponent was a strong woman player, but I continued my chauvinist tone.
    Serving at 0-5, love-40, I double-faulted. I was happy to collect the net $50!
    Spiker: verrrrrrrrrrry sneaky! (kinda like your drop shots) george

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