National 70s Clay Sunday-Wednesday

Jimmy Parker & opponent
Jimmy Parker & opponent
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
Lhe score.

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.

The warm-up

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?”

afternoon doubles

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.

Consolation Singles

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.

Wednesday Quarters

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!

Hank Irvine

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

6 thoughts on “National 70s Clay Sunday-Wednesday

  1. The opportunity to compete against a senior legend is rare and I hope (and it sounds like) you enjoyed it. Now you are relegated by a first round losers consolation to trying to prove that you are the best of the bottom half of the singles players. As posted before, the ideal would be a full feed-in consolation where you are competing for 5th place overall, a very worthy goal. Our senior age group tournaments too often are a kissing-your-sister experience for the mid-level competitor.

    Wonder – Consolations here I come! Yes, the feed in would be bigger and better, and I Think it is gaining traction. Ps… There was a drop out on the World 70s team going to Turkey and Don Long is now in! George

  2. Turkey sounds like fun. Wasn’t Benghazi available?

    Bill. Yup, they are concerned about being there and flying into there! George

  3. Good tournament George . Sounds like fun despite the delays. When I played Jimmy in Sarasota, I had 14 “game points” including 2 double game points and couldn’t convert any. I tried being very aggressive on some and conservative on others. He won the first set on an underhand ace that bounced and spun wide of the alley. See you soon in Fl.

    Tom, Thanks. Yes, I remember your match at U Park! No under handed serves for me! George

  4. Next year schedule your flight at least a day later; enjoy the tennis and smell the roses. A note on full feed in consos: in theory nice but doesn’t work well. In larger draws means playing two singles per day for one guy and not the other, scheduling is a nightmare, and large number of defaults in later rounds so players are getting big ranking points and beating no one. A compromise is feed in to round of 16 where players get plenty of matches, don’t have to play two per day and much less defaults.

    Larry – thanks for the input. by the way, when the subject of the florida tournaments came up, there was universal disappointment about your role; but great enthusiasm for coming to your wedding at Sterling Oaks! george

  5. George,

    Congratulations! Sounds like you played very well!

    Looking forward to seeing you at Newk’s.


    phil, tks. see you soon. geo.

  6. Hi George,
    I was wondering how you did after I warmed you up in Connecticut. You are right about the process: it is how you play the game! Winning is icing on the cake!

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