In the days before my first round match at the National 70s Clay against former World number one Jim Parker, I told people my “goal” was to win one game. I figured that Fred Drilling beats me normally 6-2/6-1, and Parker has been beating Fred in straight sets, and he bageled my friend Tom, so that wasn’t too bad of a goal. But that was BAD THINKING
Not Results Goals… Have Process Goals
But it dawned on me that my thinking was oriented toward THE SCORE… But should have been focused on THE PROCESS… in other words, how I play against him. So as I sit in the airport waiting for my flight to Pinehurst, here’s my new goal…
As much as possible, I want to try to control the points and not let him beat me with his offense (penetrating ground strokes, killer drop shots, and the occasional under handed serve) but make him beat me with his defense (or even on my errors)… Regardless of t
This really should be the same for any match you play… The score should be secondary to your feeling of how well you played, how you executed your shots, implemented your game plan, etc. If we do all those things, the score will come. In this match, I have no aspirations of winning, but I want to come off the court feeling good about myself and my game.
How Did I Do?
Well, we were supposed to play our match Sunday at 1 pm, but Mr. Parker was caught up in the delays caused by one disgruntled employee setting a fire in the basement of air traffic control at O’Hare in Chicago on Friday. So our match was rescheduled for Monday at 9 am (and it’s supposed to rain all day!)
Jimmy Parker match results
Jimmy thanked me for agreeing to postpone our first round match from yesterday to Monday, due to his being stuck from the Chicago flight back ups. So we took the court at 9 AM this morning under cloudy skies.
As I wrote, my goal was to be as aggressive as I could be and play my game, regardless of the score, knowing that I was going to lose anyway.
With no nervousness whatsoever, I followed the advice of Spike Gonzales and Jeff Greenwald during the warm-up and kept the ball in play, using the “bounce and hit” thinking. We must have hit about 100 ground strokes, vollies, and overheads and I missed just one (Jimmy did not miss any).
He served the first game and I was pleased to hit a forehand winning passing shot and also a winning drop shot, although he did hold serve. In the second game I went down love- 40 but kept being aggressive and came back to win and hold serve!
Maintaining my aggressive style, we had several close games after that although he did win the set 6–1.
In the second set, I was even more aggressive and was able to hit many winners, ace him and break his serve twice. End of story was that he beat me 6–1, 6–2, but I came off the court feeling very happy with my game and how I played.
Since they naturally had us playing on court number one, there were many people watching. After the match one of my friends said that someone commented, “who IS that guy playing Jimmy Parker?”
Michael Fenster and I teamed up for doubles and played the gold – ball – winning team of Ray Bellamy and John Osaka (a lefty with a very effective lefty kick serve). Although the score was not close, the points and the games were. We could have done better, but they were a better team that day.
I will play consolation singles on Tuesday; but Michael and his wife and 90 pound dog will continue on their journey to Florida.
In the consolation singles, I got to play people NOT named Jimmy Parker. In my first match, I faced fellow Naples resident George Shubic (who I have never played before) on Tuesday morning. I stayed very focused and was able to complete a solid 6-1/6-1 victory.
Because Parker and I didn’t play our first round match until Monday, I was a day behind in the consolation rounds and had to play my second singles match that afternoon (82 degrees). It was against Tayler Bingham, a fairly tall guy with a big topspin forehand. I didn’t give him very many chances to hit his favorite shot, stayed totally focused (anxious to get off the court quickly), and posted a 6-0/6-0 win.
My flight back to Connecticut is Wednesday night and win or lose, I plan to be on it. My quarterfinals match will be vs. the very tough seeded player Evert Jonsson, who was upset in the first round.
I had decided that if by some miracle I was on the verge of beating Mr. Jonsson, I was going to forfeit the last point to allow him to continue (and win, in my opinion) in the consols (more on that subject another time). But my decision was made for me by his superior play… He cruised to an easy straight set victory in an hour and fifteen.
So I am now at the Raliegh airport awaiting my flight back to Connecticut, where we load up the van and head south tomorrow morning, arriving finally in Naples Sunday night!
It was great to see one of my favorite mentors, Hank Irvine return to the tournament circuit, after four solid years of injuries and operations. Welcome back Hank!
For the full draw, click HERE