This is a rare second post for the day – But, I just love tennis. It is a hobby that I am passionate about. Every aspect of playing the sport just gets my heart pumping and my blood boiling and …. and …. and …. get the picture?
I came back today to give you a little more insight into the match that we played and the thoughts that pass through my head before, during, and after a match. If you decide to read on you will start to see that I am pretty much a crazy dude and that I think (that is what I call it) way to much. You will also start to understand why I love playing the sport – and all aspects that come along with it!
At about 8:50 this morning I walked up to my partners house. Playing tennis with my neighbor is just awesome. We have built a great friendship by playing together. It just so happens that my youngest daughter and his middle daughter are best friends – Playing tennis is a great way to build community.
We drove to our courts to hit a little. I am not a big fan of warming up early on an away match because I do not want to “stiffen” up as we drive to their courts. (Yes, I am getting old). But, my partner likes to so off we went – We hit about 15 about minutes and then drove to their courts.
We got there about 5 minutes earlier than our scheduled start and I was glad. It was an older neighborhood and the courts were not in the best condition. It was a standard double court and a windscreen was hanging down on the back side of one of the courts. I knew that if I were serving into that side I would be distracted. I am very mental when it comes to my game – Me and my partner started hitting on the other court.
Now, that court had it’s own issues. The time of day and the tree line left one side of the court very shady while the other was in direct sunlight. That isnt an ideal situation but . . . . remember that windscreen issue?? ?? – I could handle that court better.
Brad and I, by the way, meet Brad -he is my partner. Brad and I were warming up when one of our opponents showed up. He walked over and I started sizing him up. He was older than me (Not a Riverside Park kind of old – Mike Martin knows what that means) My first thought was – good! I can run him to fatigue but . . . . I bet he is going to have tricky shots.
As he walks over his first comment is “why are you on the shady side”? We mentioned the windscreen issue and that was that. His partner showed up a minute or so later and . . . as he walked up I realized that it was going to be a tough match. He just had this look about him that was . . . . . . I can’t put my finger on it but I knew it was going to be tough!
Time for the warm-ups and the in-depth analysis that takes place. Does he run around his back hand? Does he hit chop shots? Is he hitting hard? Harder than me? Does he return pace when I hit pace? Lots of little crazy observations that make me love the sport. See, the match is on I like to play with strategy and not so much get into a stroke for stroke battle. I would lose every match if that were to happen! – I am going to win by out “smarting” my opponent and not out “hitting” him.
It seemed like a standard warm up – Except when it came time to warm up our serve. I have learned that there are 2 ways that teams like to warm up and I have a preference. My way – I hit a few serves to the deuce side and he returns them. When I am ready, my partner and I switch, I move to the ad side and hit a few until I am ready. Then it is their turn. That is how it should be! Period!
But these guys like to warm up serve the way that I do not like. They asked if we could serve, catch, then serve back! This method makes for a quicker warm up but it has major issues and I do not like it! But, remember – I am learning to be a Friend of Court so I honored their request despite my opinion.
I guess you need to know the issues with their method if you want to understand me. I like to fix my serve issues immediately . . . but I have to wait until after they have hit the ball back before I can adjust. Also – With their method, we all switch sides at the same time. So I never get to serve to the one of the two nor do I get to receive his serves in warm-up.
That isn’t a great big deal but I want to know in my first service game where the receiver likes to stand, is he hiding a backhand weakness, etc … etc … and I also want to know how they serve to me . . . It is all about a competitive edge and their method takes a little of the edge off of the all important first service games.
But remember – I am trying to grow up a little.
Ok – Now it is time to spin the racket to see who gets to make the choice. If you haven’t gotten the theme yet let me just tell you that I also have thoughts on this process. Go figure. No matter how it turns out I want my opponents to serve first. Now, this is interesting change to the norm. Most players want to serve first. I think that is an ego thing or something.
I personally think that my service game is better once I get warmed up. I also think that their service game will get better once they get warmed up. So, let them serve that first game “cold” so that we can start it up with a break of serve! Plan worked today. We won the spin, elected to receive, and broke – We go up 1-0 . . . . . 🙂
The rest of the 1st set went by quickly and there really wasn’t much to talk about. We won 6-0! Obviously, they are going to have to make some major changes to their game if this is going to close and they do make a request for a change.
They asked if we could move to the other court because the sun/shade factor was an issue for them. Now listen – 2, 3, 4, years ago I would have simply said – HELL NO. Why would I allow a change and lose what was an obvious edge for me and my partner. Heck, maybe ever last year I would have said the same thing.
But this year – The new me – The more confident player – My first though was Heck Yeah. Lets move. I wanted them to play a better game. I wanted the fun of the match and not the fun of winning 6 0 6 0!
Sure enough the match got better – We played a very close and back and forth 2nd set and they came out on top 5-7.
Brad and I got a little worried. You see. There is one standard that Brad and I cannot figure out We typically DOMINATE our 1st set in all of our matches. It is just a fact. Then something happens and we cannot understand what it is. We struggle in the 2nd. Or they figure us out. Or we get soft after kicking butt in the 1st. Or they warm up and get going. Or …. Or …. Or …. – There is something to it. We are trying to learn what it is.
The rest of the match went well – We got off to an early 3rd set first service game break. Went up 2-1 and then got into a routine. We were up 5-2 but did not think that it was a sure thing.
Brad was serving and it got off to a very bad start. I made a mistake that gave them the first point. Not a great big deal but it did go to my head and …. …. they broke to make it 3-5.
We had a great battle going with their stronger server at the helm but fought hard to take that game 40-30 –
POINT! GAME! SET! MATCH!
We hold our #1 spot for now!
Thanks for reading –