This week, the Florida Super Senior Grand Prix is playing the fourth in the series at the University Park Country Club (Sarasota), which is in my opinion, the nicest and best run of all the tournaments.
Since I was unseeded (Larry!), my first round singles match was early Monday morning vs. a local, 3.5 level player (6-1, 6-0). Without being too silly, I practiced strokes for my inevitable next match on Tuesday vs. always-tough Don Long (who had been “playing down” in the 65s and won one of the previous tournaments).
This morning, Don and I faced off under sunny but windy skies. Since Don is playing so well, I felt the need to come up with a match strategy to give myself any chance at all. My plan was to hit high, heavy topspin shots deep to the corners (primarily backhand) and come to the net behind the penetrating shot.
Every time I was able to execute that strategy, it worked! Trouble was, I could only make it happen perfectly a handful of times. Any other time that I got the ball the least bit shorter in the court, Mr. Wesleyan Squash Coach, wristed the backhand slice either right down the line or cross court.
Other times, he hit his forehand cross court or down the line equally well. The final score was 6-1, 6-0… but I felt that I played well.
Don and I had ridden up to Sarasota together Sunday night and talked about the “changes” in players as they age.
There were many players who were dominate in younger age groups; but now through illness, injury, aging, or a combination of those, their game is no longer as strong. Then there are those who have remained healthy and worked at improving their games; and are moving up in the rankings. I would put both Don Long and Fred Drilling (and hopefully, me) in that category.
And perhaps there is more of a correlation to the off court work players put in – yoga, diet, weights, etc – that contributes to their NOT getting as many injuries.
This afternoon, Dave Taylor and I team up for the first time in our first round doubles match.
For full results and upcoming matches, click HERE to go to the tournament website.
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