Fantasy Tennis – Thursday, Day 5

Well, this is the last day of competition. And three months of conditioning (+ a double dose of Aleve every morning and night!) seems to have really helped; because I was only modestly tired and nothing hurt. The morning’s clinic was given by Owen Davidson and Murphy Jensen…

• Serve and volley: more players should use it to break up the pattern of your opponent
• The serve is the most important shot in the game… improve your serve by 10% and improve your game by 20-25%
• When you learn to serve and volley, you can have success over better players who “don’t like the pressure.”
• Three key elements in any part of the tennis game: consistency, placement, and power. You need to have the first two before using the third.
• Sometimes you play better against better players because you don’t have time to think, and can play “instinctual tennis”
• Have a “play” in mind… think about where you will serve, and where your opponent will likely return serve, and then what will you do on the next shot.


Then we started the “Championship Thursday” matches against the Stolle/Stockton/Gottfried Dunnies, needing to beat them to win the championship.

Last year at the exact same situation, I had an Epic Struggle with 51-year-old Tim Ruark, who owns the Simsmore Racquet Club in Connecticut. This year, my Epic Struggle was against 49 year old rookie, lefty Barry Mills from Boston (but a Yankee fan!)

With Brian Gottfried coaching AGAINST me on the court this year, the strategy I figured after the first five games on serve was to play to his more erratic forehand and avoid his steadier slice, lefty backhand. I was able to win the last four games of the set to take it at 6-3.

My MO continued into the second set, taking the first two games. But then his erratic forehand was erratic no more (just like yesterday’s lefty) and HE ran the next six games for a 6-2 set victory.

As we went into the deciding 10-point Champion’s Tie Breaker, the crowd started to gather. His MO continued into the tie breaker and I found myself changing sides at 4 points to 8.

I had to change something, so I started rushing the net on serve or any groundstroke opportunity – to put pressure on him. I got it back to 9-7 … 9-8 … 9-9; but then I was serving 9-10 (match point against me). I was able to win both of my serve points and he now had the pressure of serving me being DOWN match point.

He had won several points during the match on that nasty, lefty spin serve in the ad court, where he was now serving. So, I moved into the alley to return serve … and he missed the first one. Then I stood OFF THE COURT, saying to him, “I am going to hit a forehand, no matter what.” And he double faulted for the match! 6-3, 2-6, 12-10 in 2+ hours.

That match (along with the seven others who won 🙂 ) made the difference for the morning; as we went to lunch leading 8 matches to 7.

When presenting my ACE award, Davo said, "Put this on your #@!%$& blog!"
When presenting my ACE award, Davo said, “Put this on your #@!%$& blog!”


In the afternoon doubles matches, I was again paired with Aden Levine from California vs. the Dunnies strong team. They outplayed us and cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 victory. The only silver lining to that cloud was that I went the whole week of singles and doubles matches with ZERO double faults.

On the bigger issue of the team championship, our team of Tom Sansonetti and Ralph Tissit tried to keep our hopes alive by almost pulling out a come-from-behind victory in a champion’s tie break. Then, it came it came down to our last doubles match of the day on the last court. If we won, the day would have been tied and forced a mini playoff (like we had/won in 2009).

But our team fought hard and lost a 7-5 set to give the title to the Stolle/Stockton/Gottfried Dunnies. Congrats to them.

After Happy Hour that included fresh shrimp from the Gulf and dinner of fish and lamp chops (yes, we did eat a lot all week long), there was the Awards Ceremonies. As Steve Contardi said, “This will be the longest awards presentation you will ever see!”

There were thanks all around to the Legends who made our week wonderful, the great ranch staff of young pros and in the kitchen, and to Steve Contardi and his whole family who arranged it all. Then there were plaques and pictures for people who won all their singles (Willy), all their doubles, and all their singles AND doubles (Rich Tarantino, who also got his team’s Charlie Hustle award).

The official ending to a truly fantastic Fantasy Week of tennis with the Legends was Roy Emerson leading all the Aussies in their rendition of “Waltzing Matilda.”

Friday morning, Willy and I will play about an hour of morning drills; and then fly back to Pelican Bay (and I will rest to get ready for doubles on Saturday morning with Marc VanDam!).

10 thoughts on “Fantasy Tennis – Thursday, Day 5

  1. Terrific reporting on a fantasy week that many of us would like to be a part of but just may not pull it off. Great tips that you outlined from my heroes from the 1960’s who I watched at the Los Angeles Forum many times. While I’m not sure about this, it may be that Dick Stockton was one of the star 12 year olds back in the mid 1960’s who we saw playing during intermission at those Forum matches! Thanks, George!

  2. well done, george. all those matches, everyday, plus the activities! how old
    are you really?? 45? 50? there’s no way you’re playing in the 70’s. I think
    i’m going to have to take training tips from you.
    think about murph’s comment about improving your serve 10% to improve
    your game 20%. certainly interesting, isn’t it?

  3. George, congratulations to you for a great effort on the courts this week.
    Thanks so much for the daily reporting and updates from Newk’s! Camp sure makes for a lot of great memories, and a good deal of new inspiration to get out on the courts
    and work on some of the tips you’ve passed along here in your blog. Safe travels to you my friend! –Jimmy

  4. Thank you George, I appreciate the sentiment, and feel badly that maybe I might have made a difference, but in fact, I blew out my back again twelve days ago, and have been
    walking around like the world’s oldest man. So, who knows, maybe these things happen for a reason, but I sure miss playing along side you and all of the other Wankers. It’s definitely a goal to get back to Texas, so keep your game as sharp as always, as I may need you to carry me in doubles again!

  5. Lots of fun reading about your week of tennis and camaraderie!
    ..including good tips and descriptions of memorable matches!

  6. Many thanks for the notes george especially the coaching tips – it’s something I envy you being part of. However my week is looking good as a Canadian friend Keith Porter I met at the superseniors world championships is coming to stay for a couple of days and will give me a tennis lesson no doubt. again many thanks for the notes BB

  7. It sure was a great week, wasn’t it George? Let’s do it again next year!!!!!

    Marty – did u really write such a short piece?! george

  8. George, a big “THANK YOU” from me as well. I w as a bit nervous when I did not get any info during the week. Was my last remark – remembering some of the “old” campers not correct? Sorry, I just have the greatest memories from this event and from Fred’ Antigua Weeks. Thanks again and furthermore many wins and good health! Rolf

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