The weather was a duplicate of yesterday… cool morning and mid 80s in the afternoon on this third day; for our first singles match in the morning and doubles in the afternoon. Before the morning matches, Roy Emerson and Luke Jensen gave a clinic on hitting the volley. Emmo’s key points were …
How To Volley
• It is a very important part of the game that in today’s pro matches is hardly ever used.
• When players use the “small ball warm up,” don’t hit topspin shots, but rather backspin shots
• Starting with the grip, if you hit with two hands, you can use a standard Eastern forehand to volley
• But for one handers, they should rotate over and use the Continental grip to volley both sides
• If you have time, you can change to an Eastern forehand to really rip a forehand volley; or on the backhand side, rotate to standard backhand grip to rip a backhand
• Always have your knees slightly bent, body leaning forward almost to the tipping point, left hand on the throat of the racquet and the racquet head out in front of you slightly up
• Don’t SWING at the volley… just use their pace to block it back
• Your first volley move is to pivot, rotating your shoulders and bringing the racquet back
• Do not “open up” your shoulders
• And then hit the volley out in front of you
• Most club players have their problems after the contact point… do not hit down, but level with the ground
• On the backhand volley, the contact point is way out in front of you
• When hitting a low volley, you have to get almost down to the ground to get your racquet head below the ball
• Emmo’s volley drill: two practice partners stand on the service line and volley ON THE FLY to the other guy at least at waist level and continue doing that as long as you can, without coming in to the net or volleying down low
• Luke Jensen added, most club players view themselves as “hitters” and not “tennis players”… the pros look for open spaces to hit the ball AWAY from your opponent and not at the opponent
Our team played against the defending champ the Fred Stolle/Mark Woodforde/Dick Stockton/Brian Gottfried Dunnies; while the Owen Davidson/Ross Case/Rick Leach/Rod Laver Muscleman played Newk’s Kangaroos. Because two of our top guys are playing doubles only this year, I played the #5 singles spot on our 26-man team.
They were able to honor my request today to play singles (at least) on the clay court vs. Chris Lorenzi, a 56 year old radiologist from New Jersey (so I was only giving away 15 years). I figured out quickly that his slice backhand was much better than his forehand and his serve somewhat erratic.
Taking advantage of both pieces of intelligence, I was able to control the first set at 6-3 (two breaks of serve). In the second set, I made some unforced errors and he played much steadier… and he took the set 6-3 (two beaks). So we went to a ten point tiebreaker, with Roy Emerson sitting on the court coaching me and Brian Gottfried keeping score and coaching Chris. I was able to take an early lead and made it stand up for a 6-3, 3-6, 10-5 victory in 2 hours 15 minutes.
As it turns out that match was not enough to ensure a lead for the morning, where our team found ourselves down 11 matches to 10, with the afternoon doubles going to decide it. The Owen Davidson/Ross Case/Rick Leach/Rod Laver Muscleman played Newk’s Kangaroos and had a 12-10 lead at the noon break.
In the afternoon, I teamed with Charles McArdle from Dallas at #4 doubles on the hard courts vs. a young (42 and 48 years old) Dunnies team, with the younger guy actually being their #2 singles player. It was another marathon match!
Charles played great and we both stood back on many of the younger guy’s serves, got the ball back in play and took the first set at 6-2. That momentum carried forward to the second set and we (me) were serving for the match at 6-2, 5-2, 30 love … when funny things started happening.
We had been very successful poaching and faking on the younger guy in the deuce court; but this time he just ripped a backhand down the line for a winner. I followed that with my only (?) double fault of the match. And the next thing I know, we had blown a 5-2 lead and were in a second set tie breaker. Which we lost!
So now, everyone else is done playing and they all come to our court to watch our 10 point tie breaker. We took the early lead, with them serving at 2-7; but they played several good points to bring it back to 7-7. We won their last service point and Charles served with the match “on his racquet.” Ace and service winner for a 6-2, 6-7, 10-7 victory in another 2 hours and 15 minutes!
I found out later that an ambulance came and took our youngest opponent to the hospital with full body cramps and possible heat stroke!
Our whole team played well in the afternoon, dominating 9 matches to 3; so we won the day. And on Wednesday, we play Newk’s Kangaroos, who lost to the Owen Davidson/Ross Case/Rick Leach/Rod Laver Muscleman 19-16.
Tuesday Night “Senior Moments”
Dinner was Italian night (Willy’s least favorite), after which I gave out the second book “Senior Moment” award to Dr. Al Eden, who at 88, was at the end of a two-hour doubles match and stopped playing at 7-6, 5-5 because he was feeling light-headed. The award was going to be for his maturity in stopping; but just before the presentation, I found out he did NOT want to stop and Davo made him!
He then returned to the podium as Commissioner of the Australian Boat Race beer drinking contest, flanked by the security team of Jensen Brothers Security Inc. Following that was another great conversation with Emmo and Rod Laver on the early days of Aussie tennis.
Then it was off to bed and a night’s rest getting for round two of the team singles and doubles matches on Wednesday.
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