The weather was a duplicate of yesterday… cool morning and mid 80s in the afternoon on this third day, for our first singles match finishing off the team match started on Monday in the morning and doubles for the new matchups in the afternoon.
Before the morning matches, Dick Stockton and Brian Gottfried gave a clinic on hitting the volley. Their key points were …
How To Volley
• Starting with the grip, you should rotate over and use the Continental grip to volley both sides
• Picture having a spike in the middle of your racquet and try to just stick it into the ball on the volley
• Also picture someone tossing you a shoulder high ball on you catching it with your hand… that is the same basic concept of hitting the volley
• Don’t SWING at the volley… just use their pace to block it back
• The harder they hit it at you, the less work you should do to volley it back
• Picture yourself as a wall
• Have yourself always in a good “ready position”… with your body square and your racquet up
• You should always be able to see your racquet … if you take it too far back, you cannot see it
• When hitting a low volley, you have to get almost down to the ground to get your racquet head below the ball
• When hitting the high forehand volley, most players miss INTO the net; so aim deeper than you think and hit more parallel to the court
• Court positioning is critical… if you are standing close to the net and near the alley, you are not going to be a factor in the point
Our team played again against the defending champs of the Musclemen; and I got my wish to play singles on one of the four clay courts. My opponent was Steve Schneider, a friend of Len Saltzman from Chicago.
Our third Legend coach, Luke Jensen had watched Steve beat our team in doubles yesterday; so I asked his scouting report. He said he can hit some nice shots; “but his game will come and go.”
The trouble for me this morning was that his game “came, but never left!” I played OK; but he got to everything I hit… and did something with it. Roy Emerson came over to coach me several times; and we agreed that I needed to change up my game and take more offense. I did, but nothing seemed to work.
So even though we had close points and close games, he cruised to a 6-0, 6-1 victory in an hour and twenty minutes.
The rest of our team ended up on the short side as well; so we lost the first full round to the Musclemen. And Newk’s Kangaroos bested Stolle’s Dunnies. So winning teams will play the losing teams in the next round.
In the afternoon, I teamed with Jim Capito again; this time vs. Newk’s Kangaroos #4 team of Willy Hoffmann and Steve Franklin (Simsbury, Connecticut). It was another two-hour+ doubles match; and Jim and I switched returning sides to put him in the ad and me in the deuce court.
Willy and partner squeaked out the first set at 6-4. But Jim and I regained the MO and worked hard to take the second set by the same 6-4 score; so we went into a 10-point match tiebreaker to decide the contest.
With the MO still on our side, we went up a commanding (?) 8-2. Only to see the fickle MO switched sides and have them win the next six points to tie it at 8-8. They served to me in the deuce court and, after a long rally, we survived to serve at 9-8 for the match.
I asked Jim what was his plan on this critical serve and he said “to get it in.” But, he came up with his biggest serve of the match to ace Steve wide in the ad court for the victory.
Our Wanker team ended the afternoon LEADING Newk’s Kangaroos 7 matches to 4. And the Davo Musclemen lead the Stolle Dunnies by the same score. If the weather permits, we will play the singles portion of those matchups Wednesday morning.
Dinner was Italian night (Willy’s least favorite), with chicken parm and lasagna followed by Doc Eden returning to the podium as Commissioner of the Australian Boat Race beer drinking contest, improving his record of nasty joke ratings.
Then there was a panel discussion with Mark Woodforde, Rick Leach, and Luke Jensen discussing the perturbing state of American men’s tennis. The general consensus was that there needs to be more regional USTA efforts (as compared to one, centralized approach) and that too many players are “coddled” and therefore don’t have the will to compete and succeed, like many of the international players do.
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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