If Federer Played League Tennis . . .

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Cindysphinx, Oct 16, 2007.

  1. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    . . . he would be something like the 4.0 dude I will partner with for a 7.0 mixed match on Sunday.

    This 4.0 guy is amazing. The only conceivable explanation for his 4.0 computer-rating is an undetected virus in the computer. He has played 96 matches so far this year, at 4.0 and 7.5 combo mens, and 7.0, 8.0 and 9.0 mixed, playing singles and doubles. In leagues in three states. He has 11 losses. I think he is going (or went?) to Nationals.

    Oh, did I mention that he is literally half my age?

    So we're going to partner for the first time in a match on Sunday. We are on court one against the undefeated No. 1 ranked team in our division.

    Call me crazy, but I'm anticipating I will be the weakest player on the court by a country mile.

    Anyone got any ideas on what I should to do avoid a loss? This guy has never lost for our 7.0 mixed team, regardless of the tennis talent or lack thereof of his partner. Should I come in? Stay back? Try to carry my own weight? Return the serve and stand in the alley to avoid getting in the way? Fake an injury? Something else?

    This is totally new for me. I have never partnered with anyone who is considerably stronger than me.

    Cindy -- definitely planning to play ad court
     
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  2. lostinamerica

    lostinamerica Semi-Pro

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    Just play. There is no need to over analyze what you should do. Play you game. If he is playing 7.0 Mixed, I doubt he is expecting to have Navratilova as his partner.

    BTW, if Federer played league.... a few 3.0 teams would recruit him.
     
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  3. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    Unless he's going to push you off the court and play the entire court himself, you should still be at the net. You can probally do the most damage from there if you have to hit the ball and they go after you.

    Ive seen mixed teams try to do it the other way (where the strong male partner will try to dominate the court from the net while the woman stays back) and it never works. They will just get lobbed or passed (you cant cover an entire doubles court from the net, it's impossible, you can cover it from the baseline if you are fast enough) and the woman will end up hitting it anyway.

    So best case is you just hold your own at the net if they go at you (which they probally will) and let your partner handle the rest.

    (plus my theory is someone has to be REALLY, REALLY weak if they cant at least play the net when the ball is probaly coming right at them everytime, unless they are several levels ahead of you)

    And just watch the ball and play tennis. Nobody should be out there thinking about "avoiding losses" before the match even starts. Unless he's willing to shove you off the court (in which case you shouldnt even be out there if you dont mind that), all you can do is just focus on what you need to do in every point and go from there.
     
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  4. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    Right answer...

    ...as one of my coaches said to me, "Don't think your way through a match...play your way through a match."
     
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  5. armand

    armand Banned

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    Actually being on the Deuce side might be a good idea. Just be consistent from the baseline and let your partner do all the work by poaching the way to victory.
     
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  6. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Here's another vote for you on the deuce side...though you and your partner have to go with what works best for you.

    Get the ball in play...get your serves and returns in. Watch the ball! ;)
     
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  7. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    First, play your best and hit the ball aggressively. Every player expects and wants his partner to hit balls. I get so frustrated when I or my partner at the net lets an easy ball go by with the expectation that the back player will get the ball.

    As others suggest, look to move to the net. Even if you poach and miss, it will make life easier for your partner. I expect that he will have a good serve, that will be even harder to return if you are moving around.

    Before the match, talk to your partner about what the two of you should do on points like lobs, shots down the middle, etc. so that there is no confussion. Be honest - it is okay to say you have certain limits and to ask for help.

    If you like, when you are at the baseline or returning serves, keep the ball in play and let your partner take care of finishing points. Hit deep and, maybe, lob a lot. Your partner will love you because eventually some of those shots will turn into easy overheads.
     
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  8. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    As far as side to play on, I think you have to ask your partner what side HE wants to play on, and play the other side. (unless you are so horrible on the other side that you'll lose most of the points over there)

    I mean, would you really tell Roger Federer what side he should be playing on?

    If he doesnt care, then pick whatever side you are the most comfortable on.

    If he's really Roger Federer it means he has a backhand volley and a good backhand return so it probally doesnt matter what side you stick him on. So maybe you would be better off on the ad side as long as you can return well from there.
     
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  9. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    If he is that strong a 4.0, then he should be able to keep your opponents off-balance with his shots so that they will be unable to exploit your weaknesses. With that in mind, crowding the net is probably a good thing since they shouldn't be able to really fire the ball at you there.

    Otherwise, as others have said, get your serves in and get your returns in play.
     
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  10. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Get the returns in play?

    I'm thinking there's going to be a 4.0 dude across the net who has quite a lot to say about whether I do that.

    Geez, I wish I knew how to lob well . . . .
     
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  11. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    No, no lobs...short take back, and block it back. Don't swing, don't worry about trying to hit something spectacular back...just block it, start there...you'll be FINE! ;)
     
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  12. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    If you're already worryed about the supposed 4.0 dude before the match even starts, that's an issue.

    Just watch the ball, ignore your opponent and do your best to get a good cross court return, if he gets to it, he gets to it.... Ive seen a lot of players who get overwelmed mentally by their opponent across from them, "OH MY GOD THEY ARE SO GOOD!!!", and then they proceed to dump the next 10 returns right into the net.

    I wouldnt lob either. The best you can do is keep the ball low, but to do that and not hit the net, you have to focus more on your return and less on your opponents.
     
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  13. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    If you have a 4.0 serving to you, then you are facing a 3.0 across the net. Even if you don't get the return cross court, just getting it over the net may be enough to get the point started.

    Your 4.0 opponent is expecting to win the points when he serves to you, so there's really no pressure on you. Get a few serves back into play and he'll be the one under pressure to make something happen.
     
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  14. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    Why would a 4.0 even want to play 7.0 mixed?
     
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  15. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    Because they can?

    Not all 3.0's are really 3.0's, so it does make for some interesting dynamics.

    Or sometimes people want to play with their wife or SO. Im not sure about other areas, but here except for the usual top teams, mixed is a little bit more laid back then the single gendered leagues.

    Or maybe they just want to win, and they cant cut it at 8.0 mixed. Or they are playing in both (more tennis).

    There isnt a reason why they shouldnt play in it, it's a combo type league, it's meant to have 4.0's, 3.0's and 3.5's.
     
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  16. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Is there any reason a 4.0 wouldn't want to play 7.0?
     
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  17. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    Probably because a 4.0 playing 8.0 or even 9.0 mixed would be more exciting than playing 7.0 mixed. I don't really like playing mixed at my own level, so I definitely wouldn't enjoy playing it at a lower level.
     
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  18. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Well, that's what *you* enjoy...many other players find playing mixed at 7.0 very enjoyable, no matter if they are a 3.0 guy with a 4.0 girl (yes, it happens!) or a 4.0 guy with a 3.0 girl.
     
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  19. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Play ad court. Cover your alley. Try to play solid and keep as many balls in play as possible and let your partner go for the winners. Get to net and try to stay there and let your partner do the rest. Let him take about 60% of the court and encourage him to take all balls that he can get to. Focus on hitting in the middle between your opponents and getting serves and other shots in play (don't give away points). You should win easily and your partner will enjoy playing with you. If you are by far the weaker player, stay out of the way and don't try to cover too much but be solid in what you do cover. Build a mini-wall on your side. Your partner will be more than just a wall on his side.
     
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  20. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    I am not sure why a 4.0 guy would want to play 7.0 mixed unless there were some cute ladies on the team or maybe the guy was a senior with limited footspeed but great strokes and liked playing at a slower paced level.

    But this guy is young and dominating at 4.0 level so I think he would be rather bored to play 7.0 mixed so he must really love to win above all else. I know a dominating 4.0 woman who is like this and plays 7.0 even though it helps her game none. But she likes all the tournament trophies.
     
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  21. tennis-n-sc

    tennis-n-sc Professional

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    Actually, we have had several 4.0's, both men and women, playing mixed with a 3.0. It is not as unbeatable as you would think. They only win about half the time against two 3.5's. It is competitive and apparently fun for all.
     
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  22. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    You can also have situations where someone has been a 3.5 member of a 7.0 mixed team for a few years, and then gets bumped to 4.0. By playing with a 3.0 partner he can still hang out with his friends and teammates.
     
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  23. tennis-n-sc

    tennis-n-sc Professional

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    Good point, Kyle.
     
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  24. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    Who cares how boring it is? Most of us are in at least one other league if not two in our own same gendered leagues. So it doesnt matter, mixed is just another opportunity to play, if he wasnt having fun, he wouldnt do it.

    You are accusing him of being a sandbagger in a league that is designed to have a 3.0 / 4.0 combinatination (otherwise they would just call it 3.5 Mixed Doubles). That's silly. If you are going to do that, then you better go after all the men and women who appeal their rating just to stay in their lower same gendered league.

    And like tennis-n-sc said, 4.0's are not always unbeatable in mixed, especially if they end up having a real 3.0 partner. Two solid 3.5 players (who could be really 4.0 anyway) who play smart can win.
     
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  25. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    This guy had offers from every mixed team around and could have jumped to a team that actually wins (we, uh, don't win much as a team). He stayed with us. He likes the people, I think. And I know he didn't like the "We're loaded with sandbaggers, so if you go with us you will never lose" pitch some teams made.

    Why play 7.0 mixed? It is probably very good for his game. He has to carry someone. That will force you to try to hit better shots. Also, you can play around with certain shots before you introduce them into play at a higher level.

    When I played 5.5 combo, I always had a 2.5 partner. As the stronger player, I had a ton of pressure on me. If I let the ball go to my partner or was insufficiently aggressive, we would lose. It made me a stronger player, I think.

    BTW, we have 3 other 4.0 men, and they get spanked quite often with their 3.0 partners. 7.0 mixed is plenty challenging for 4.0 guys if the team isn't loaded with 3.0s who are extremely good. Those 3.5 opponents can just beat you with consistency.
     
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  26. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    A very strong 4.0 male with a 3.0 female is almost 3 NTRP levels of difference in ability. When is the last time you enjoyed playing doubles with someone who is 3 levels below you???? That would be like 3.0-3.5 Cindy playing with a 1.5-2.0 level male.
     
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  27. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Are you really having that hard of a time with this? A 3.0 woman/4.0 male is a pretty common pairing at 7.0. And it has been discussed ad nauseum here how 3.0 contains a pretty wide range of players, so your 3 levels of NTRP difference isn't exactly correct in every circumstance.
     
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  28. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    Ya, and a weak 4.0 player with a strong 3.0 female is almost 1 level of diffrence in ability.

    It doesnt sound like Cindy is a weak 3.0 player for one.

    Obviously this guy enjoys it, just because you dont doesnt mean anything.

    It sounds like you have something against combo leagues in general. Im not going to argue with you about that, but the do exist and if you choose to play in them, you're going to run into situations like this.

    (like I said, otherwise they would just have the 3.5 Mixed Doubles league then)

    Combo leagues are meant to have diffrent combinations of levels. The concept was based on the idea that you may get to play with players that you wouldnt ordinarily ever get a chance to in your normal same-gendered league.

    Mixed in a lot of areas is sort of just "that extra league" that a lot of people choose to play for fun versus the pure cutthroat competition in their same gendered league. That's why it's probally a combo type league.
     
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  29. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    I have played 8.0 with weak 4.0 women and it wasn't always enjoyable as most opponents hit everything at the woman so the man has limited oppportunities to win the point and has to go for alot right away and then keep his fingers crossed. A strong 4.0 with a 3.0 is even much worse than a strong 4.0 and weak 4.0 of different gender. What can a strong 4.0 learn from playing against two 3.5s anyway???? Points are rather short, but if this young guy enjoys it, that is his choice to play but when is last time you played with woman 2 levels below you and did you enjoy that?????
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2007
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  30. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Are there any 4.0 men on here who play 7.0 mixed and what are your experiences? Is it more social than competitive? Does it help your game?
     
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  31. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    That's your preference. Do you spend all your time trying to figure out other people just because they dont have the same preference as you?

    Most of us are in 2-3 other leagues, it doesnt really matter "how much we learn" from playing mixed.

    Having fun is subjective, just because you dont have fun doing something doesnt mean that the other humans cant have fun at it themselves.
     
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  32. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    So Javier, are you a strong 4.0 male that plays 7.0 mixed?
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2007
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  33. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    Once again, I don't get NTRP at all...

    ...because it sounds more and more like fantasy football vs. real football. I just play down in age group tennis or men's open events, and, for me, it's a lot simpler: I don't have to think about what everybody's NTRP is, I just go out and try to win...and if I don't, it's not great, but because it doesn't affect my rating, I just approach the next match the same way: have fun, and do the best I can to win...
     
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  34. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    There are "skill" divisions in plenty of adult sports leagues - softball and basketball both immediately come to mind. They allow plenty of us to get exercise, compete, and improve without getting our butts kicked everytime out there. I'm happy for those of you who can compete at open and age-group levels. I can't. I have no interest in regular 0 and 0 drubbings and I'd quit tennis if that was my only option.

    That said, anytime you have skill level divisions there will always be people that try to game the system and those that cry foul everytime they lose. To me those problems just go with the territory.
     
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  35. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Oh, ouch. Kevhen doesn't want to play mixed doubles with me. :( :(

    Seriously, why is it so hard to see that it might be a hoot to play doubles with someone two levels lower in rating? I mean, if my son ever gets the hang of tennis, I would love to play a tournament with him. It wouldn't be about winning or improvement. It would be about having a good time.

    In defense of my superstar partner, I don't think it is fair to assume some of the things being assumed [paraphrase: "He's obsessed with winning," "Something must be wrong with the guy."].

    I don't know all of his history, but I remember that he either played in high school but rode the bench or he didn't make his high school team at all. (He attended this public high school that is the local tennis powerhouse.) Then he went to college, and now that he is out and working, league tennis is his release. He self-rated as 3.5 in 2006, played about three matches and was DQ'd, then played 4.0 and 4.5 in 2006, compiling a good record in both. For whatever reason, the computer didn't bump him, so he's 4.0 for, oh, perhaps another four weeks.

    Even though he is a legitimate (albeit successful) 4.0, he gets quite a lot of flack from opponents, which he takes in stride. At our last mixed match, he partnered on court one with a 3.0 who will definitely move to 3.5 in November. The opponent (also a 4.0 man and 3.0 woman) arrived about 10 minutes late, which is a big no-no in our league. Our doubles team didn't impose a time penalty of loss of toss and loss of one game (mighty generous of them, don't you think?).

    Then when our 4.0 started playing the way he plays, the other guy didn't like it. Halfway through the match, he accused our guy of foot faulting, taking a rather nasty tone. "OK, I've warned you about foot faulting, so if you do it again I'm gonna call it." Our guy was put off by this and so stood about two feet behind the baseline to serve ("Fine. Is this far enough back for you?"). He then proceeded to fire off four aces to hold. Our team won 6-0, 6-1 in about 45 minutes, and the opposing guy packed up his stuff and left in a huff.

    I think our guy likes playing 7.0 mixed because it gives him more matches. The league gets pretty thin up at the 4.5 level and above. There just aren't as many teams, so there aren't as many playing opportunities. In the winter, league play is where it's at, as there just aren't many (or perhaps any) adult tournaments. So he plays 7.0 mixed.

    I wish folks would stop giving him a hard time about it. I hear he is a delight to partner with -- supportive, not obsessive about winning, good-natured. I'll let you know how it goes on Sunday.

    As for me, I'm going to go hit about 200 second serves and get that shot rock solid.
     
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  36. JSF1

    JSF1 Rookie

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    I'm 4.0 and play 7.0 mixed, mostly for social hangout. It's actually good for me (I think) because it makes me play at a different rhythm than normally and it is challenging in a way to play a point while not allowing them to expose my partner. 3.0 partner is usually not a very good volleyer and has no poaching mentality. Also, all that dinking and slicing will let you know if something is wrong with your swing when going after put-aways.
     
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  37. Jackie T. Stephens

    Jackie T. Stephens Professional

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    I don't know whats the point of playing league tennis.... you get no money.
     
    #37
  38. goober

    goober Legend

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    Eh? If you put that way, why play any recreational or club level tennis?

    There are a whole host of reasons:

    - good competition that you can't get by just playing a small group of friends
    - camaraderie, social aspects
    - exercise
    - It's FUN!
     
    #38
  39. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    What's the point of playing tennis at all?

    Sounds like you might as well, drive home, go to bed, and wake up the next morning and go to work. That way you can concentrate 100% of your waking hours on making money.

    Let me know how that works for you. :)
     
    #39
  40. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    Cindy- you are thinking too much. It sounds like your game is absolutely perfect to pair with a stronger partner. You are consistent, you get to the net, and you put away weak balls. Seriously as captain I would be absolutely thrilled to have a player like you to stick with one of my really strong guys. Go out and do what you do best. Do what you can to get to the net in strong position. If the pace is more than you are used to crowd the net a little bit more. I would guess that this partner is likely going to be aggressive at the net so serving to the middle has more value than it normally would.
     
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  41. D. Net Tricks

    D. Net Tricks New User

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    Hey- I was in this boat last year (meaning the 3.0 chick playing with the 4.0 wunderkind) and this is what worked for me.

    1. Get your @## to the net!

    2. Don't forget to use the line if you have an opportunity at an overhead or a high volley.

    3. Find the weaker link on the other side of the net and go there as much as possible.

    4. Get your first serve in as consistently as you can manage.

    5. Try not to "reverse' your partner if you're engaged at the net.

    It worked out pretty well. We won more than we lost, I felt less like a net-post and more like a partner by the end of the season and the 4.0 guy is still speaking to me.

    Best of luck! Play hard and have fun.
     
    #41
  42. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Well, we played. And we won. 6-3, 6-4.

    And I'm proud of how I played. I got broken twice IIRC, but I held when it mattered most (serving to go up 5-3 and thereby consolidate our break of the guy opponent). I played the net pretty well. 'Cause that's what I know how to do.

    Best of all, my partner seemed pleasantly surprised. He gave me the Ultimate Compliment. He said: "You're ballsy!" :)

    So. He's going to Nationals, and I'm going to bed.

    Thanks, everyone!
     
    #42
  43. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    thats what i was going to say. cindy, you have a secret admirier;)
     
    #43
  44. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Aww. My poor partner. He won his three singles matches at Nationals, but he lost the last one in the semi-finals. He lost the first set, took the second set 7-6, and then lost the tiebreaker.

    Had he won that tiebreaker, his team would have advanced to the final.

    Poor guy.

    Well, we partner again on Friday night, and then he rides off into the sunset up to 4.5, I guess . . .

    I will try very hard not to stink on Friday. I had better play the net better than I did today, that's for sure.
     
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