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View Full Version : 4.5+ players: your feelings on playing a 3.5 in age tournaments


iankogan
02-09-2010, 12:42 PM
A question to 4.5 - 5.0 players out there: how do you feel about playing a much less skilled opponent in the early rounds of USTA tourneys? I'm talking about the situation where there is a legitimate difference in ability of at least 1 full NTRP level. I mean a legit 4.5 (or better) playing a legit 3.5 (or worse). This happens quite a bit I'm sure, especially in the age tournaments. I'm planning to enter one of those. In the two age divisions I'm considering (35 and 45) the range of players who already entered is from a weak 3.5 to a strong 5.0. So, upper-level players, how do you feel about such matches?

I came up with a list of possible answers below but of course feel free to provide your own answer/elaborate:
1. Love it, allows me to hone my game.
2. It's a warm-up opportunity, better than having a tough early rounds match.
3. I see this as a bye essentially, don't care one way or the other.
4. Hate it, it's a waste of my time.
5. Hate it, it drags down my level of play and may have negative effects in the later rounds.

Thanks!

mikeler
02-09-2010, 12:58 PM
I don't play the age tournaments, just the NTRPs. My preference is to have a challenging match each round.

T Woody
02-09-2010, 12:59 PM
Crush them, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women.

raiden031
02-09-2010, 01:06 PM
I don't play the age tournaments, just the NTRPs. My preference is to have a challenging match each round.

The finals is the only round that you want an easy match. :twisted:

Jack the Hack
02-09-2010, 01:37 PM
Crush them, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women.

I see that I wasn't the only one that saw the re-run of Conan the Barbarian this weekend! :)

Jack the Hack
02-09-2010, 01:42 PM
Two years ago, I was really trying to get a top 50 national ranking in my age division (which I did). For me, it was all about advancing as many rounds as possible and accumulating points. Therefore, if I got a fortunate draw with an easy player in the first round or two, it was great. Believe me... there were plenty of other times when I drew a top seeded player with a 5.5 or higher rating, so it all balanced out!

Yaz
02-09-2010, 01:43 PM
A question to 4.5 - 5.0 players out there: how do you feel about playing a much less skilled opponent in the early rounds of USTA tourneys? I'm talking about the situation where there is a legitimate difference in ability of at least 1 full NTRP level. I mean a legit 4.5 (or better) playing a legit 3.5 (or worse). This happens quite a bit I'm sure, especially in the age tournaments. I'm planning to enter one of those. In the two age divisions I'm considering (35 and 45) the range of players who already entered is from a weak 3.5 to a strong 5.0. So, upper-level players, how do you feel about such matches?

I came up with a list of possible answers below but of course feel free to provide your own answer/elaborate:
1. Love it, allows me to hone my game.
2. It's a warm-up opportunity, better than having a tough early rounds match.
3. I see this as a bye essentially, don't care one way or the other.
4. Hate it, it's a waste of my time.
5. Hate it, it drags down my level of play and may have negative effects in the later rounds.

Thanks!

I'd say either 1 or 3 - doesn't really matter. My objective is to win the tourney so if I happen to have an easy match in the early rounds then so be it. Less energy expended for later, possibly tougher opponents.

OrangePower
02-09-2010, 01:53 PM
Guess is depends on your own ranking. I'm a mediocre 4.5 and for me no match is really easy - despite what the final score might be. For example, I will consistently bagel or breadstick 3.5's and many 4.0s, but still I have to focus on playing well every point in order to do so. And if I lose focus on points, I will lose them, even to lower ranked players. So for me, it's a good warm-up opportunity to get me focused.

But for stronger players, who can win such matches easy even without trying, it's probably a waste of time.

iankogan
02-09-2010, 03:26 PM
Crush them, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women.

LOL. Just to clarify where I'm coming from: I'm the 3.5 player in question. I guess I better ask my woman to start rehearsing those lamentations, pronto.

I feel kind of apprehensive about wasting someone's time, though not apprehensive enough to not enter in the draws. Now that I'm reading the responses I'm beginning to realize that my feeling of apprehension is probably misguided.

Ripper014
02-09-2010, 03:32 PM
I don't think it matters... you play who is put in front of you. They pay their monies just like anyone else... and if they wish to do it to give them the opportunity to face a better quality of player under fire why wouldn't you endulge them.

J_R_B
02-09-2010, 03:32 PM
Being a 4.0 usually on the other side of the equation, I relish the opportunity to play a 5.0 or 5.5 player. It's the only way I'm going to get a chance to play someone that good, and even getting smoked in a match like that makes me a better player in my league matches. In fact, I sign up for Open tournies almost hoping that I will get bageled out.

T Woody
02-09-2010, 04:15 PM
LOL. Just to clarify where I'm coming from: I'm the 3.5 player in question. I guess I better ask my woman to start rehearsing those lamentations, pronto.

I feel kind of apprehensive about wasting someone's time, though not apprehensive enough to not enter in the draws. Now that I'm reading the responses I'm beginning to realize that my feeling of apprehension is probably misguided.

lol, no worries then if you're the 3.5 guy. It's should be no big deal to most 4.5/5.0's since they'll likely have a competitive match in the next round in the tourney. If they actually get bitter about the fact that they're beating someone too easily in a tournament, they're most likely an *****hole and take this whole recreational age group tennis thing far too seriously. In which case, don't give them a second thought.

True what others have said though. You'll certainly get better by playing up a few levels like that, so just relish the experience and do the best you can.

alb1
02-09-2010, 05:16 PM
I don't mind playing lower level guys in senior tournaments. You enter a tournament knowing you can draw one of three possibilities. You are either going to better, even, or worse than your first round opponent. Besides at some point most of the 4.5+s were in that situation at some point where we played up to play better opponents to improve also.

Geezer Guy
02-09-2010, 07:06 PM
I'm not a 4.5 player, but that's the chance you take when you enter an age-division tournament. I have no problems taking an easy match in an early round. I know there's tough matches ahead of me, and this gives me a chance to be practiced but still somewhat fresh.

iankogan
02-09-2010, 10:38 PM
Thank you all for your input. Just submitted my registration for 35 and 45 singles. The entries close in 30 min. Some stats as of now (might be incomplete as not all entries have been posted yet):

Men's 35 singles:
3.5: 3
4.0: 1
4.5: 3
5.0: 4
?.?: 3
Total: 14

Men's 45 singles:
3.5: 4
4.0: 4
4.5: 5
5.0: 2
?.?: 0
Total: 15

raiden031
02-10-2010, 06:13 AM
Yeah I think age group tournaments are fair game, although I think its foolish if a 3.5 player thinks that playing in an age-group tournament against 4.5-5.0 players isn't a waste of time.

Anyways I heard a rumor that there is a team forming in my area with mainly new 4.0 rookies (many of which only got moved up because the rating adjustment), who are actually going to form a 4.5 team. If this is true, I think that is silly and that they are wasting their own time as well as their opponents' time. They should worry about competing at 4.0 and seeing if they can even win matches there before worrying about 4.5.

JoelDali
02-10-2010, 08:31 AM
Anyways I heard a rumor that there is a team forming in my area with mainly new 4.0 rookies (many of which only got moved up because the rating adjustment), who are actually going to form a 4.5 team.

Same thing is happening in my area, these Reverse Sandbaggers(tm) are going to pollute the league with heavy pushing and scare the 4.5s away.

Sumo
02-10-2010, 09:37 AM
Joel,
Where do you find time for all of this trademarking?

JoelDali
02-10-2010, 12:37 PM
It doesn't take that long to type (tm).

But the actual trademark process is about 6 weeks of due diligence for big ticket objects such as a SlapChop or the infamous Clapper. That thing took forever.

Kick_It
02-10-2010, 01:27 PM
Dual edge sword:

1) Pro: (as Jack said) Great - I'll take every easy win I can get to improve my ranking; there are not lots of easy wins out there particularly in later rounds.

2) Con: It doesn't help prepare me for subsequent rounds.

That said, I wouldn't sign up for a tournament if I wasn't ready to go up against strong players.

Good Luck! K_I

iankogan
02-11-2010, 06:39 PM
...That said, I wouldn't sign up for a tournament if I wasn't ready to go up against strong players.

Good Luck! K_I

Thanks! As for being ready: it's a relative thing... Best I can do is strive to be ready to play as well as I can. Against a 3.5 or 4.0 that should mean a competitive match. At 4.5+ it's an entirely different level of play from what I've seen. Expecting to make it competitive at that level would not be realistic for me. I see it as a learning experience, 45 min private lesson :-) My goal in a match against a 4.5 player is to extend that lesson, try to win points here and there, win a couple of games, and have fun.

Blade0324
02-12-2010, 07:50 AM
iankogan,
From my very recent personal experience you will get a bit of mixed feelings. I just completed an NTRP tourney in dubs where I played 5.0. Now I am a player that was just moved up at the end of the year from 3.5 to 4.5. I played with a VERY strong partner who is a legit 5.0-5.5. We beat a few teams that were both 4.5's in route to the finals where we did lose 4-6,5-7 to a team that are both strong 5.0 players that have been at that rating for several years.

Me being the weakest player on the court I expected to get picked on a good bit, which I did but I was able to hold my own and play some very competitive points and games going toe to toe with the better players. I had one team that I don't think liked that we were playing but overall the reception was very positive and they all commented that I played well and held my own.

Bottom line, just go out there and be loose and have fun. You'll do fine.

iankogan
02-12-2010, 01:37 PM
iankogan,
From my very recent personal experience you will get a bit of mixed feelings. I just completed an NTRP tourney in dubs where I played 5.0. Now I am a player that was just moved up at the end of the year from 3.5 to 4.5. I played with a VERY strong partner who is a legit 5.0-5.5. We beat a few teams that were both 4.5's in route to the finals where we did lose 4-6,5-7 to a team that are both strong 5.0 players that have been at that rating for several years.

Me being the weakest player on the court I expected to get picked on a good bit, which I did but I was able to hold my own and play some very competitive points and games going toe to toe with the better players. I had one team that I don't think liked that we were playing but overall the reception was very positive and they all commented that I played well and held my own.

Bottom line, just go out there and be loose and have fun. You'll do fine.

Blade, thank you for the encouragement. And congratulations on having a good tournament. From your own thread on a similar topic I got an impression that you played up a lot last year, and successfully, and that got you bumped from 3.5 to 4.5, right? Well done... how long have you been a 3.5? BTW, I'm guessing that being around high-level players (you mentioned your 5.0 friend) proved very beneficial to your own game?

Well, the draws for the tourney I'll be playing next week are in:

Men's 35 singles:
3.0: 1
3.5: 3
4.0: 1
4.5: 3
5.0: 4
?.?: 3 (one is #4 seed... must be 4.5 or better; the other two are unseeded)

Men's 45 singles:
3.0: 1
3.5: 5
4.0: 4
4.5: 7
5.0: 3
?.?: 0

I drew 3.5 opponents in the first round of both 35 and 45... whiplash! This is not at all what I expected. How are the draws done I wonder? Seems completely random, aside from the seeded players (four in each event in this case) being separated (dah...) Two 4.5s playing each other in the first round; a 3.0 getting a bye and then facing a 5.0 in round 2; myself, a 3.5, drawing other 3.5s in round one?! What the heck? In the end, a good thing for me, just need to re-focus my objectives for the 1st round matches.

Now, this is off-topic but I'd like to ask (it's my thread after all :-)). I'm scheduled to play my first-round 35 match at 6 PM (against a 3.5), and my second-round 45 match (against a 4.0, assuming I get there) at 7 PM the same night. Whether in that 6 PM match I play great or god-awful, there is no way it ends in under an hour. So, how does this work? The matches are at the same location, a 4-court bubble. Should I talk to the tournament director/referee? Or is it assumed that I won't default the 7 PM match if my 6 PM match is still going, and my 7 PM opponent will just have to wait? Am I entitled to a break between matches? If so, how long? Are there any rules regarding all this?

Ripper014
02-12-2010, 01:44 PM
Let the tournament director know what has happened they are usually pretty good about re-scheduling. All the tournies I have played they always liked to give you at least an hour between matches... it was probably an oversight... it is best they know up front rather than scramble to find out why you are not there for your 7:00 match.

iankogan
02-12-2010, 02:13 PM
Let the tournament director know what has happened they are usually pretty good about re-scheduling. All the tournies I have played they always liked to give you at least an hour between matches... it was probably an oversight... it is best they know up front rather than scramble to find out why you are not there for your 7:00 match.

Ripper, thank you for the advice. I have the first tourney match the day before. Will talk to the director after that match, if I win (if I don't, scheduling conflict no more...) This would be cutting it close perhaps, but I don't want to jump ahead of myself.

Cindysphinx
02-12-2010, 02:29 PM
Same thing is happening in my area, these Reverse Sandbaggers(tm) are going to pollute the league with heavy pushing and scare the 4.5s away.

I like it! Reverse Sandbaggers. So much more polite than "low level players." :)

Seriously, RS players do fill a need. I play all of my players equally. Having RS teams around makes it so much easier to get my weaker players into the line-ups. I mean no disrespect -- the team needs them to win their matches against the RS players convincingly.

Back on topic . . .

OP, you *go!* It's an age tournament, so if you're the right age then you should take your shot. Anyone who is too far above it all to play you should go play Opens.

Ripper014
02-12-2010, 02:29 PM
I was thinking the only person that may be a little upset is another 3.5 who would lose to you thinking the same thing. Wanting to get some experience playing some better competition only to run into and losing to another 3.5.

iankogan
02-12-2010, 02:43 PM
I was thinking the only person that may be a little upset is another 3.5 who would lose to you thinking the same thing. Wanting to get some experience playing some better competition only to run into and losing to another 3.5.

That other 3.5 could be me :neutral:

iankogan
02-12-2010, 03:08 PM
...OP, you *go!* It's an age tournament, so if you're the right age then you should take your shot. Anyone who is too far above it all to play you should go play Opens.

Thanks Cindy! Well, technically this tournament IS Open... well, age-bracket Open. And most of those 5.0s do play 'real' Opens, and some of those who do, do well in them. Anyway my original concerns are on hold at the moment... currently my concern is getting through the two first-round matches against 3.5 opponents.

Ripper014
02-12-2010, 04:18 PM
Thanks Cindy! Well, technically this tournament IS Open... well, age-bracket Open. And most of those 5.0s do play 'real' Opens, and some of those who do, do well in them. Anyway my original concerns are on hold at the moment... currently my concern is getting through the two first-round matches against 3.5 opponents.

Yes, that is too bad... not exactly why put yourself in this position. But enjoy the competition... battle hard and enjoy every point. While you are on the court don't fail to stop and think about what a great time you are having.

And lastly... have NO FEAR... win or lose tomorrow is another day. If you are the better player you will win... if not, take comfort with the fact that you were willing to put yourself on court to face defeat, unlike a number of us here on the forum that like to talk trash.

Good luck...

Cindysphinx
02-12-2010, 05:04 PM
Thanks Cindy! Well, technically this tournament IS Open... well, age-bracket Open. And most of those 5.0s do play 'real' Opens, and some of those who do, do well in them. Anyway my original concerns are on hold at the moment... currently my concern is getting through the two first-round matches against 3.5 opponents.

Promise you'll keep us posted?

iankogan
02-12-2010, 09:52 PM
Yes, that is too bad... not exactly why put yourself in this position. But enjoy the competition... battle hard and enjoy every point. While you are on the court don't fail to stop and think about what a great time you are having.

And lastly... have NO FEAR... win or lose tomorrow is another day. If you are the better player you will win... if not, take comfort with the fact that you were willing to put yourself on court to face defeat, unlike a number of us here on the forum that like to talk trash.

Good luck...

Thank you Ripper! "...enjoy the competition ...have NO FEAR..." - this is exactly it. This is the mindset that I strive to be able to achieve. The only way is by competing more I think. I'm getting there.

iankogan
02-12-2010, 09:57 PM
Promise you'll keep us posted?

Absolutely! My first match is Thursday night. I'll bump this thread then, or after Friday match(es) at the latest.

nickarnold2000
02-13-2010, 09:13 AM
:)Blade, thank you for the encouragement. And congratulations on having a good tournament. From your own thread on a similar topic I got an impression that you played up a lot last year, and successfully, and that got you bumped from 3.5 to 4.5, right? Well done... how long have you been a 3.5? BTW, I'm guessing that being around high-level players (you mentioned your 5.0 friend) proved very beneficial to your own game?

Well, the draws for the tourney I'll be playing next week are in:

Men's 35 singles:
3.0: 1
3.5: 3
4.0: 1
4.5: 3
5.0: 4
?.?: 3 (one is #4 seed... must be 4.5 or better; the other two are unseeded)

Men's 45 singles:
3.0: 1
3.5: 5
4.0: 4
4.5: 7
5.0: 3
?.?: 0

I drew 3.5 opponents in the first round of both 35 and 45... whiplash! This is not at all what I expected. How are the draws done I wonder? Seems completely random, aside from the seeded players (four in each event in this case) being separated (dah...) Two 4.5s playing each other in the first round; a 3.0 getting a bye and then facing a 5.0 in round 2; myself, a 3.5, drawing other 3.5s in round one?! What the heck? In the end, a good thing for me, just need to re-focus my objectives for the 1st round matches.

Now, this is off-topic but I'd like to ask (it's my thread after all :-)). I'm scheduled to play my first-round 35 match at 6 PM (against a 3.5), and my second-round 45 match (against a 4.0, assuming I get there) at 7 PM the same night. Whether in that 6 PM match I play great or god-awful, there is no way it ends in under an hour. So, how does this work? The matches are at the same location, a 4-court bubble. Should I talk to the tournament director/referee? Or is it assumed that I won't default the 7 PM match if my 6 PM match is still going, and my 7 PM opponent will just have to wait? Am I entitled to a break between matches? If so, how long? Are there any rules regarding all this?
Man, how old are you and what's your NTRP? Are you seriously playing two age group singles in the same weekend??
You must be superman or something - I hope your arm doesn't fall off! :)

raiden031
02-13-2010, 09:15 AM
Man, how old are you and what's your NTRP? Are you seriously playing two age group singles in the same weekend?? :)
You must be superman or something - I hope your arm doesn't fall off!

Probably somewhere between 45 and 46.

nickarnold2000
02-13-2010, 09:22 AM
Probably somewhere between 45 and 46.
Well, I'm 46 and play at the 5.0 level and I wouldn't even consider playing both age groups unless I knew i was going to get a lot of easy matches in the early rounds. I'm very interested in how Ian did at the tournament.

iankogan
02-13-2010, 11:29 PM
Well, I'm 46 and play at the 5.0 level and I wouldn't even consider playing both age groups unless I knew i was going to get a lot of easy matches in the early rounds. I'm very interested in how Ian did at the tournament.

Nick, I'm 46 (right on, Raiden!), 3.5 NTRP. As for playing two age groups: I fully expected to draw a 4.5 or 5.0 player in the first round of each group, and therefore to be assured of playing no more than two matches :-). That's not how the draws turned out; I'll be playing other 3.5 players in both first-round matches. So now I have a realistic chance of playing 4 matches, maybe 5. Still not an overwhelming amount of tennis. This is different from you, being a 5.0, entering an age tournament with an expectation to go deep into the draws. In any case, thank you for taking interest in this thread. I'll post my results next weekend.

Topaz
02-14-2010, 10:10 AM
Thanks Cindy! Well, technically this tournament IS Open... well, age-bracket Open. And most of those 5.0s do play 'real' Opens, and some of those who do, do well in them. Anyway my original concerns are on hold at the moment... currently my concern is getting through the two first-round matches against 3.5 opponents.

No, Open and Age Groups are two different types of classifications, and generate their own separate rankings lists.

As another poster put it, if you are in the correct age brackets for the tournaments (and you are) then you've fulfilled any type of entry requirement. As you can see from the lists you posted, there are plenty of players all over the ratings spectrum. And you have two very winnable matches ahead of you! So no worries, go out there and have a blast! Nobody should give you any grief because, again, you are in the age bracket requirements for the tournament. If they do, like someone else said, they're just being a jerk.

And yes, if you haven't already, talk to the tournament director about the scheduling...looks like they did not realize that you are playing in both divisions. Shouldn't be a big deal to have them move one of the matches.

Have fun!

nickarnold2000
02-15-2010, 07:34 AM
Nick, I'm 46 (right on, Raiden!), 3.5 NTRP. As for playing two age groups: I fully expected to draw a 4.5 or 5.0 player in the first round of each group, and therefore to be assured of playing no more than two matches :-). That's not how the draws turned out; I'll be playing other 3.5 players in both first-round matches. So now I have a realistic chance of playing 4 matches, maybe 5. Still not an overwhelming amount of tennis. This is different from you, being a 5.0, entering an age tournament with an expectation to go deep into the draws. In any case, thank you for taking interest in this thread. I'll post my results next weekend.
Great - I hope you do well!:)

iankogan
02-15-2010, 08:36 AM
...As you can see from the lists you posted, there are plenty of players all over the ratings spectrum.!
I was surprised by that. At the time I started this thread less than a handful of players entered. The percentage of 4.0- players ended up being close to 50% in both brackets, much higher than I expected. Then again, I had little to base my expectations on. This is my first age-level tourney. I watched a couple of finals of local age tournaments last year, and that perhaps skewed my perception of the overall level at the START of a tournament. I also though that the draws would always put the highest-level players against the lowest-level in the first rounds but apparently it's not how this works.

...Nobody should give you any grief...
Topaz, I'm not concerned with someone giving me grief :-) My original concern was with wasting someone's time, and after reading the responses here I'm convinced that concern was unwarranted.

PBODY99
02-15-2010, 09:36 AM
I find that at most tournaments I play, the higher the level of my opponent, the less they are concern that I'm a much lower level player. They might throw me a bone to go with the bagel, but they know that every win counts in the age groups as you struggle for ranking.

iankogan
02-15-2010, 10:54 AM
I find that at most tournaments I play, the higher the level of my opponent, the less they are concern that I'm a much lower level player. They might throw me a bone to go with the bagel, but they know that every win counts in the age groups as you struggle for ranking.

LOL. Thank you for you input PBODY!

mntlblok
02-15-2010, 04:56 PM
Lots of good advice - especially the part about enjoying the experience. The level of nerves that you'll feel, if you're like most of us, will be almost hard to believe - at least at the start of the match. It's just part of the learning experience and is also to be enjoyed. It gets better with more tournament play. :)

Scheduling issues such as yours are not uncommon and the tournament directors are used to working around them. However, many tournaments won't allow entry into more than one singles event.

I also agree that anyone miffed by your presence in the draw isn't someone whom I'd care to know. One of the reasons that I've come to enjoy age group tournaments so much is that I've found that I really *like* old guy tennis players. :) Some complain about all the down time at tournaments, but I relish it. I've made tons of friends who have the same interests as I. They've been through all the same stuff in an effort to improve their games.

And, you learn a lot about what works and what doesn't by watching them - and sometimes by getting the stuffing knocked out of you.:mrgreen: I always come home from a tournament with a clear understanding for what needs working on the most for the next week. *AND*, there's usually beer at the tournaments. Keep us posted.

Kevin

iankogan
02-16-2010, 08:34 AM
Lots of good advice - especially the part about enjoying the experience. The level of nerves that you'll feel, if you're like most of us, will be almost hard to believe - at least at the start of the match. It's just part of the learning experience and is also to be enjoyed. It gets better with more tournament play. :)

Scheduling issues such as yours are not uncommon and the tournament directors are used to working around them. However, many tournaments won't allow entry into more than one singles event.

I also agree that anyone miffed by your presence in the draw isn't someone whom I'd care to know. One of the reasons that I've come to enjoy age group tournaments so much is that I've found that I really *like* old guy tennis players. :) Some complain about all the down time at tournaments, but I relish it. I've made tons of friends who have the same interests as I. They've been through all the same stuff in an effort to improve their games.

And, you learn a lot about what works and what doesn't by watching them - and sometimes by getting the stuffing knocked out of you.:mrgreen: I always come home from a tournament with a clear understanding for what needs working on the most for the next week. *AND*, there's usually beer at the tournaments. Keep us posted.

Kevin

Kevin, thank you for a very positive and informative post. Your points about the downtime at the tournaments and learning what works and what doesn't by watching other people play I can put to good use right away. I played a few NTRP tournaments last year but, for the most part, was either too nervous or too locked into tunnel-vision to see much of what was going on around. I'll make it a point to hang around for a while after a match (win or lose) whenever possible.

As for the beer: I know it was available at least one of the tourneys I played, but I only know because I was offered to partake by the tournament director after a hard-fought loss :-)... I could have tripped on the cooler and still not notice otherwise.

iankogan
02-20-2010, 08:07 AM
OK, reporting my results as promised:

Day one:
First-round 45s match against a newly-minted 3.5: 6:3, 6:0 in under an hour.

Day two:
First-round 35s match against a strong 3.5: 1:6, 1:6 in 1 hour 45 min.
Second-round 45s match against an experienced 4.5 (close to 0.500 record last year): 0:6, 1:6 in 1 hour 50 min.

The odd thing in the two matches last night was that nearly all games went to deuce and I had numerous opportunities to win those games. Both opponents had big serves but that did not bother me: each was only able to get a couple of aces in the entire match (same as I), and I made no more than a handful of return errors in each match. I was serving OK and hitting the groundies well, especially against the 4.0 who was giving me more pace, and more often than not was in control of the point - until it was time to pull the trigger. That is when it all fell apart for me, especially at the net. Almost feels like I was unconsciously sabotaging myself somehow.

The worst loss of the night was actually outside of the lines... There was a physical therapist on site providing free services, and in the downtime between my two matches I asked her to check out the twinge in my hitting arm's shoulder that was bothering me for a few months and making high balls to the backhand side nearly impossible to hit. Turns out it's a rotator cuff injury in a fairly advanced stage. Her recommendation was to lay off tennis and start the rehab program ASAP. Bummer...

Bottom line is, I never got to the premise of my original post on this thread. That is, I did not advance to play a match against a 4.5+ player. No doubt the outcome in terms of the score would be similar to my last two matches (can't be much worse...) But I wonder whether I'd have been able to hang in with a 4.5 as I did with the 4.0. Maybe... I did not feel that I was red-lining in that 4.0 match, in fact I felt more comfortable against an opponent who generated more power and more rhythm. All speculation now. At least it's clear what I should be focusing on in general (once the shoulder thing is sorted out): the ability to close points and games, which I suppose is a combination of technical and mental elements. And the ability to consistently play close to the top of my own game range rather than playing each match at the level of my opponent (that happened even in the first match against the opponent who was just a touch better than 3.0, notwithstanding the fact that I won that match easily).

Good tennis!

Ripper014
02-20-2010, 09:20 AM
OK, reporting my results as promised:

Day one:
First-round 45s match against a newly-minted 3.5: 6:3, 6:0 in under an hour.

Day two:
First-round 35s match against a strong 3.5: 1:6, 1:6 in 1 hour 45 min.
Second-round 45s match against an experienced 4.5 (close to 0.500 record last year): 0:6, 1:6 in 1 hour 50 min.

The odd thing in the two matches last night was that nearly all games went to deuce and I had numerous opportunities to win those games. Both opponents had big serves but that did not bother me: each was only able to get a couple of aces in the entire match (same as I), and I made no more than a handful of return errors in each match. I was serving OK and hitting the groundies well, especially against the 4.0 who was giving me more pace, and more often than not was in control of the point - until it was time to pull the trigger. That is when it all fell apart for me, especially at the net. Almost feels like I was unconsciously sabotaging myself somehow.

The worst loss of the night was actually outside of the lines... There was a physical therapist on site providing free services, and in the downtime between my two matches I asked her to check out the twinge in my hitting arm's shoulder that was bothering me for a few months and making high balls to the backhand side nearly impossible to hit. Turns out it's a rotator cuff injury in a fairly advanced stage. Her recommendation was to lay off tennis and start the rehab program ASAP. Bummer...

Bottom line is, I never got to the premise of my original post on this thread. That is, I did not advance to play a match against a 4.5+ player. No doubt the outcome in terms of the score would be similar to my last two matches (can't be much worse...) But I wonder whether I'd have been able to hang in with a 4.5 as I did with the 4.0. Maybe... I did not feel that I was red-lining in that 4.0 match, in fact I felt more comfortable against an opponent who generated more power and more rhythm. All speculation now. At least it's clear what I should be focusing on in general (once the shoulder thing is sorted out): the ability to close points and games, which I suppose is a combination of technical and mental elements. And the ability to consistently play close to the top of my own game range rather than playing each match at the level of my opponent (that happened even in the first match against the opponent who was just a touch better than 3.0, notwithstanding the fact that I won that match easily).

Good tennis!



Good effort... it is too bad that your scores are not indicative your playing. I always to into a match playing my game and challenge my opponent to beat me. You should only alter your game and strategy when it is obvious it is not working, otherwise stick with what you do best. Unless of course you are playing a much weaker opponent and want to but a weaker part of your game under the fire of matchplay.

As you move up, you will find that players will hit with a little more spin a little more power... and they become a lot more consistant. So even though it seems like they are not that far off power wise... they are a lot more consistant and the scores will reflect that. I love it when people say... " I am in there, but they always win the critical points (or last point)..." there is a reason for that.

iankogan
02-20-2010, 11:44 AM
As you move up, you will find that players will hit with a little more spin a little more power... and they become a lot more consistant. So even though it seems like they are not that far off power wise... they are a lot more consistant and the scores will reflect that. I love it when people say... " I am in there, but they always win the critical points (or last point)..." there is a reason for that.

Thanks Ripper, I agree with you. It was a matter of consistency. But a specific kind of consistency. I was plenty consistent in the baseline rallies in both matches. However my game is not predicated on waiting for the opponent to commit an unforced error (I'd probably have better results in the short term if it were, I acknowledge that). My strategy is to attack on a short ball by going for a winner or hitting a forcing approach shot and moving to the net. This is where my consistency last night was terrible. Yes, there is a reason for that. Combination of reasons probably, with the main reason being lack of confidence, lack of conviction that I shall win the point and the game. A bit of catch-22 here: need confidence to execute those put-away shots; need to win to gain confidence. I think dialing down my game is not the solution, I need to stay the course. The results will come.

Ripper014
02-20-2010, 11:50 AM
Thanks Ripper, I agree with you. It was a matter of consistency. But a specific kind of consistency. I was plenty consistent in the baseline rallies in both matches. However my game is not predicated on waiting for the opponent to commit an unforced error (I'd probably have better results in the short term if it were, I acknowledge that). My strategy is to attack on a short ball by going for a winner or hitting a forcing approach shot and moving to the net. This is where my consistency last night was terrible. Yes, there is a reason for that. Combination of reasons probably, with the main reason being lack of confidence, lack of conviction that I shall win the point and the game. A bit of catch-22 here: need confidence to execute those put-away shots; need to win to gain confidence. I think dialing down my game is not the solution, I need to stay the course. The results will come.


I agree with what you are saying... when I say consistant.... I don't mean just off off their groundstrokes... but better players are more consistant at ending points... as well as constructing a point. I am not suggesting you dial down your game... just that even though you can hit with them stroke for stroke... does not mean you can compete with them point for point.

But tennis is a learning experience... and you will figure out where your strengths lie... and improve on your weaknesses.

iankogan
02-20-2010, 01:07 PM
I agree with what you are saying... when I say consistant.... I don't mean just off off their groundstrokes... but better players are more consistant at ending points... as well as constructing a point. I am not suggesting you dial down your game... just that even though you can hit with them stroke for stroke... does not mean you can compete with them point for point.

But tennis is a learning experience... and you will figure out where your strengths lie... and improve on your weaknesses.

Exactly. I agree 100%. Thank you for your input.