Wednesday morning started off chilly, but warmed up nicely — and I am surprisingly pain free! Our day started with Michael Pernfors and Johan Kriek’s clinic on their observations of what we, and other club players, do on the tennis court.
“What we see”
- Where you stand to return serve … too many players start about on the inside of the baseline and are forced to take too many balls at their height.
- First problem is that after hitting the return, you will find yourself in No Man’s Land.
- So better to stand a couple of feet behind the baseline, hit the ball as it is coming down, and then be ready for the next groundstroke.
- During the warmup, also watch your opponents to see their strengths and weaknesses. For example, when you hit the ball to their body, do they favor their forehand or backhand.
- When facing a lefty serve in the ad court, adjust your starting position to take away the wide serve. If they can beat you down the middle, all the more power to them.
- When playing doubles, don’t forget to change your starting service position AWAY from the middle of the court. The wider you stand, the more options you give yourself.
- And, don’t always stand in the same spot to serve … move your position around.
- In the pros, whoever controls the net, 72% of the time, they will win the match. So don’t hang back; but get to the net as soon as possible.
- On the court, try NOT to be “results oriented”; but rather, you want to be “process oriented.” In other words, don’t think about what might happen if you win or lose a point, the game, or the match; but think about your next shot.
- There are different ways to play, depending on the score. There are Mega Points (game point, break point, etc.) and Mini-Mega Points (30-30, deuce, etc.). don’t take risky shots; but make the opponents make the shot under pressure.
- On a Mega Point, take something off your first serve, to make sure to get it in and not have to worry about a pressure-packed second serve.
- When your partner is returning serve, don’t stand around being unready… rather key on the opposing net man to see if they are going to pick off the return.
- When your partner is serving, do NOT stand close to and protect the ally; but rather stand in the middle of the box, so you can cover the critical middle of the court.
We were finishing the match play vs. Newk’s Kangaroos, with many players doing singles; but us smart, old guys doing doubles only – and I got lucky enough to be assigned to play on one of the four HarTru court (Ahh, home again!).
Teamed again with Marty Judge vs. Ned Dorman and very challenging lefty Rob Delman (both from NY). I felt like I played well and we had long points and good games; but they out-played us for a 6-3, 6-1 victory.
Willy Hoffmann was playing #4 singles for the Kangaroos and had a 2.5 hour match vs. our California doctor Aidin Levine. Willy won the first set and was serving for the match at 5-4 in the second; but Aiden raised his level, broke serve, and brought it to a set tiebreaker … which he won to bring it to a 10-Point Match Tiebreaker. Willy was down 8-9 and match point, but brought it back to 9-9 … and then won the last two points and the match!
Newk’s Kangaroos won the morning matches vs. our Wankers; and moved on to the start of the Championship round vs. the Musclemen (who bested the Dunnies) in the afternoon.
I was paired with a nice player named Jody Stagg, who is a cardiologist from New Orleans. We split sets with some younger, harder hitters; but lost the Ten Point Match Tiebreaker.
After the afternoon doubles matches, the Musclemen lead the Kangaroos; and getting ready for the singles on Thursday morning (hopefully before the scheduled rains come through the area).
My THIRD Match of the Day
As I headed to the beer coolers (after my two doubles matches), camp creator Steve Contardi asked me if I wanted to play a Fantasy Doubles match. At first, I said, “No, I was too tired”; but he old me it was with Rick Leach and Marc Woodforde (and Rich Tarantino); so, I said YES.
Woodforde and Tarantino took an early three-game lead; but Rick Leach and I fought back to bring it to a set tiebreaker, which we lost.
So my tennis day that started at 9 am ended at 6:15 p.m.!
After a Mexican night dinner, I presented the second Senior Moment award to good friend Rich Tarantino, who after playing a singles match on Tuesday morning, and then a doubles match, and THEN participating in Emmo’s after-tennis clinic… fell asleep after dinner at the table, while Newk was talking. And I also told a great Buddy Hackett story about a man with four balls (ask me when you see me!)
That was followed by a panel discussion on the state of today’s men’s tennis … and the fascinating competition between Djokovic and Federer/Nadal over control of the ATP.
Then the annual Australian Boat Race (the team beer chugging competition) Commissioner Doc Al Eden went over the teams and rules and was then held in the bar. I went to my room to write this … and get some much-needed sleep!
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