Why We Play?

Why do tennis players enter tournaments or join competitive leagues?  There appear to be many reasons and they vary dramatically from one player to another.

“I came to win!”

At a recent tournament, a player came to me at the end of the event complaining that he was there to make sure that he got the default “he deserved.”  He said the doubles team they were supposed to play in the finals couldn’t be there; but the tournament was trying to work it so that the “Lucky Loser” could move forward and play in the finals.

He said to me (don’t know why I was his audience of one) that “I didn’t come here to have fun and play tennis – I play every day … I came here to WIN this tournament!”

Is that the right attitude?

For me, I enter USTA tournaments NOT expecting to win; but because I enjoy the camaraderie, the high level of competition, and testing myself against better players.

Sure, there are some of the top players who “play to win” (sometimes at all costs) and look forward to taking home a nice winner’s check.  But when you can pay up to $1,000 to travel and stay at a tournament venue, a $100 or $200 payday hardly impacts the bottom line.

Why do YOU play (or NOT play)?

Can’t beat them? … Join Them!

For the next two weeks, I will again be teaming up with Hank Irvine (as I did last year) for two USTA tournaments in Sarasota.  Surprisingly, we are defending champs in both.

For the seeds, draws and match times for next week at Payne Park, Sarasota, just click HERE.

Know someone who should read this?  Send them a link and if you are not on my “new posting alert email list” and want to be (I promise, no other uses of your email address!), just drop me a note at GeorgeWachtel@gmail.com

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4 thoughts on “Why We Play?

  1. George ,Your attitude regards ” why we play” seems much better balanced and healthier than just focusing on the trophy. Enjoy the journey, that’s the bottom line.

  2. I play because I am a frustrated old hacker with minimal talent who desires tennis perfection but knows that it will never happen — at least not with MY game, that is. So, I have to compensate by taking my pleasures on a more microcosmic and infrequent scale.

    There is a saying in golf, when you happen to hit that ONE perfect shot that makes you smile among anywhere between 70 to 110 mediocre to terrible shots in a full round (depending on your handicap): “That’ll keep you coming back!” You wind up forgetting how you quadruple bogied the third hole, or you had to cheat and throw your ball onto the green from the bunker on the twelfth because your sand play is so awful. It is that ONE great shot that flies 270 down the middle of a narrow fairway off the tee, just clearing a lake and then missing two fairway bunkers before it lands exactly 100 yards from the green in a flat lie in the middle of the fairway on a par 4 hole that keeps you coming back.

    Well, that’s the way it is in tennis for me. Maybe it is something as simple as that feeling you get when your strokes are really “on” and it seems like every ball that you hit comes off the racquet dead center in the strings and it makes that perfect “thump” sound as it gets struck. Or it could be that one game you played where all of the moons and stars lined up perfectly and you played flawless tennis for four straight points. Or it could be the one great set that you played where you only made 3 unforced errors and wound up beating a strong opponent at love. Or maybe it was that time you came back from being down one set apiece and receiving at 2-5 in the third set of the finals and you went on to eventually win the match and the tournament in a nail biter tiebreaker at 11-9. Of course, these rare occasions compare to tens of thousands of times when I positively stunk and I could not do anything right, but hope springs eternal I guess.

    Anyway, I tend to carry these memories of infrequent moments of tennis perfection in my mind a long time, and they comfort me when I go through these streaks, as we all do, where nothing is going right in my tennis game and I just want to eat chocolate chip cookies and watch old Clint Eastwood movies to sublimate. It’s what keeps me coming back.


    Marty, chocolate chip cookies sound pretty good right about now! thanks, george

  3. Hi George
    Don McGoldrick and I, like you and Noble, had 3 great tournaments in Naples going
    9 and 2 with wins over 2 seeded teams. However, when I checked the rankings our record was 2 and 1 with no points from the Cat III and World Tennis. Do you have any insight why the group matches were not counted? Nor were the various flights in the Cat III.
    Bob McAfee

    Bob, i do not know if/why the USTA rankings did not recognize your victories; but the UTR system did … and i believe your and Don’s ratings went up there. https://www.myutr.com/profiles/441368

    From Larry Turville:
    The RR results have to be input manually which takes time. Figure on month or two. Hopefully next year there will be a TDM program that takes care of it. Setting up the tournament requires a lot of manual input as well.

    Will see if we can speed it up a little. Thanks , Larry

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