My Return to Tennis!

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by fundrazer, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. fundrazer

    fundrazer Hall of Fame

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    I'm going to start up a thread here to talk about my return to playing tennis more often and whatever else comes to my mind:) Don't think anyone will be too interested but who knows. I'm looking to start playing my club's tennis league in march or april. So most of what I blab about will be my progression from rusty technique to solid league player.

    So why haven't I been playing tennis? I used to help help out with my old high school's tennis team, but after a bit of a falling out with the head coach last spring I decided to move on from that. Since then I have played very little and have not played any sort of competitive match. I kept active over the summer with road cycling, but seeing as how it's winter time now I haven't been going out. My solution was to join a local athletic club! Can play tennis and even get sessions in on the stationary bike. I joined last Friday, and today is going to be my first time playing tennis again in a while. I signed up for a 4.0 ntrp clinic and am a bit nervous but also excited.

    So what about my tennis game? I guess I'm somewhere around 3.5-4.0 ntrp. I've never played tournaments or been rated by a teaching pro, but I'll be evaluated by one of the club pros when I decide to start playing the tennis leagues at the club. My main goal is to get back into playing shape and be competitive...and to have fun too! But back to my game. The big strength for me has always been the forehand. It's always been the shot I can rely on the most for just rallying or if it's time to end the point. Solid 2h backhand and a solid 1h slice to accompany it, but I'm trying to switch to full 1hbh. I've played on and off with both, but after playing 2h for a while the 1hbh technique kind of left me. Hoping the club teaching pros can help with that:) I would rate my serve as my 2nd best shot overall. Can hit the first serve with decent pace and placement, and second serve is solid also. Good pace and spin on my second serve I think. Decent volleyer, (very much inspired by Pat Rafter, but not the success he had :)) my backhand volley is usually the side that breaks down. Looking to fix that also. I'm also a decent mover around the court with some good footspeed and not half bad footwork.

    And lastly, I'll talk about what some of my gear. After a bit of time with the blx prostaff 95, I've gone back to the prestige line. My main stick has been the microgel prestige MP, but I've got an anniversary IG prestige that I'm going to play with also. Even if I don't end up liking the IG prestige, it's still a very cool racquet to have. A lot of the pros to use the prestige are some of my favorite players of all time (<3 Safin), and the black paintjob is just sick. I stick to x-one at around 56 usually. Love the feel and I the control provided is still excellent. Probably going to try out the yonex polys at one point as well. Some of the yonex polys seem to be very highly regarded. As for shoes, I'm still on my Breathe 2k10's but will be retiring them for CC feather II's soon. Love the fit on those new feather II's, but my Nike's still have a bit of play left in them.

    So I guess that's it for now. I will report back after my clinic session tonight.
     
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  2. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Good luck with your comeback. Sounds like you have a decent base to build on as you get more into it. There will be ups and downs no doubt but the main thing to keep in mind is to have fun! None of us are being paid to play :)
     
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  3. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Should be fun to see how things go.
     
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  4. fundrazer

    fundrazer Hall of Fame

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    Well just finished up and got home. Time for the first update. Only 2 other guys signed up for the session today, so that made 4 of us including the teaching pro. So how did things go... Well, I'm obviously still a bit rusty. The thing that I noticed the most was that my reactions were just not up to speed. During the volley drills I was pretty slow and it lead to quite a few mishits. I did have some nice shots though, especially some well angled volleys that I took on very early. Unfortunately I had same problems returning serve. It wasn't so much reading where the serve was going, but I just had trouble getting myself into position to return properly. Still need to work off the rust on the serve also. Hit some nice ones but I wasn't making as many as I would like.

    Groundstroke drills I was fine, but we didn't spend a whole lot of time working them. I think it would have been better for me to work off more rust by spending more time on groundstrokes, but it's all good. Forehand was solid and dependable as always :) Hitting 1hbh's, I was also surprised at how well I was able to hit them. Remembered to keep contact out in front as opposed to closer to the body as with a 2hander.

    All in all I had a good time. Finally took off the plastic wrapping on my IG Prestige and enjoyed hitting with it. :) It had that familiar prestige feel and I had no trouble hitting with it. I'm sure after a few more outings I'll get my reaction timing back up to where they need to be.
     
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  5. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    Welcome back Pete!
     
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  6. IA-SteveB

    IA-SteveB Professional

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    Congrats on the session. Seems like you have a foundation that will be honed over time. That rust will fall away and you will be having some real fun. I started back after 20 years off last summer and it did take a while, especially since I had no foundation. :)
     
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  7. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    Good luck on your comeback and return to tennis.

    I'm doing the same but with a focus on having fun and enjoying quality tennis. I intend to still play golf (my primary sport; single digit handicap) but not as much as before, given how the length of weekend golf rounds gets longer each year because of slow play.
     
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  8. fundrazer

    fundrazer Hall of Fame

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    Like most other folks in the US today I'll be watching the Super Bowl. More interested in the commercials this year though. Not a huge fan of handegg, but I can't stand either team. Would prefer to see the 49ers win however.

    I've checked out my club's class schedule for this week, and I've found two classes that I'm going to sign up for. One is 3.5-4.0 stroke production, and the other is the same class I signed up for last week, 4.0 tennis drills. Those will be on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Next update will come on Wednesday with another coming after my session on Thursday. Looking forward to playing again and having some fun:)
     
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  9. bethany2

    bethany2 New User

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    fundraser, excited to follow your story!

    I'm actually in a similar position and trying to get back into it and at least close to the level I used to be in a short amount of time. It's been a frustrating experience to say the least, so I wish you the best of luck!
    I had never taken more than a week or so off from tennis since I first picked it up (age 8) until 5 years ago when I stopped playing entirely. In the last couple of weeks so far I've played in 3 clinics and one match for my new mixed team. Before I quit, I was probably a 4.5-level singles player. I'm now playing as a 3.5, which is about right for how I've been playing. I have brief periods where I'll look like the player I used to be, and then seconds later I'll shank a ball up and hit the back wall. I'm sure some of it is just practice and muscle memory, but I think even more if it is all mental. I've found that even in my clinics, I keep overthinking every swing. Consistency and my mental toughness were always what got me through tough matches before, but now I seem to have lost both!!
    Have you had any problems with that? Not necessarily a lack of mental toughness, but just overthinking things that used to be natural? It's frustrating to begin with but now I think I've become my own biggest problem!


    Good luck to you again though and I'll definitely be following your story to try to learn anything I can from it!!
     
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  10. bethany2

    bethany2 New User

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    oops that was supposed to say "age 8" in my post above (not a smiley face!) ha
     
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  11. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Good luck! I always hate the "comeback phase".

    Those first 1-2weeks of rust make me want to quit for good.
     
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  12. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    I've recently returned to tennis after a 15 year or so absence.

    My serve is still bad, but it was never a weapon (retooling it with a coach now). It took me about a month of regular playing (three times a week) to get my forehand back, but my backhand was on from from day 1, more or less. It was always my stronger shot.

    The funny thing is, i find that when i'm outstretched running for a forehand or am in the heat of a tough rally i will pull off shots as if I had never stopped playing tennis! I understand the over-thinking bit you talked about.

    My movement was really bad during the first month as my fitness wasn't at the level which allows me to execute my game. I had never been so aware of my joints and weight before! There are certain stresses you feel on a tennis court that you don't in the gym or out running/cycling. Once I got my fitness back up, regular tennis helped as did some cycling/running, my game really improved and I can safely say that I could probably beat my 15-year-old-younger self in a best of 5 match now.

    Stick with it, but make sure you give yourself enough days rest between practice sessions and matches especially during the first couple of months as your body is probably not used to the stress of tennis. the last thing you want is an injury on the court that will put your game back even longer.

    It's such a fun sport, i wish i had never stopped playing.
     
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  13. colowhisper

    colowhisper Semi-Pro

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    I was going to bring up the same idea, fitness. Be aware and careful!

    I was exactly where you are one year ago. I grew up playing and had a solid foundation but had not played for 25 years or so. When I first joined the adult rec team at my local club I was amazed at the number of injuries my teammates complained about. Little did I know I would fall victim to most of the "over-use" injuries by the end of the season and was pretty beat up. (I am 45). So this year I trained like a banshee all winter and am now in MUCH better shape and am playing much higher level game and really looking forward to the season. Tennis was the inspiration, so I hope you enjoy your comeback too!
     
    #13
  14. fundrazer

    fundrazer Hall of Fame

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    Luckily for me I am in way better shape than when I was in high school a few years back. That's not to say I was in bad shape then, but I'm just more active overall making better decisions about my health/fitness.

    Hi bethany! Thanks for the post. I'll try to answer your question. I've always been pretty relaxed when I play. I don't tend to think too much or dwell on missed shots. Maybe I was a little bit more jittery during my first session, but nothing too noticeable I guess. I know that I'm going to make some mistakes and I just take them as they come. I like to think that I'm in a state of relaxed focus. Staying calm but hitting my shots the way I know how.

    Although, I think when I was playing matches whether competitive or just for fun, I think sometimes I didn't think enough actually. I usually play with a fast pace and I think sometimes I don't give myself any time to think the last point over and whatnot.

    And thanks for the support everybody. Again, I'll be posting updates after my sessions on Wednesday and Thursday :)
     
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  15. colowhisper

    colowhisper Semi-Pro

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    Yep, you probably don't have as much worry about then.
     
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  16. fundrazer

    fundrazer Hall of Fame

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    Okay, just home from my session today and had a very good time. This was a clinic for 3.5 to 4.0 players so I was a little bit more in my zone. The 2 guys from last week were cracking the ball a bit and I struggled because of that.

    Overall, every aspect of my game was on and working today. Hit the forehand very well. Still had some occasions where I felt a little bit rushed though. A little bit of trouble anticipating how the ball was coming through the court. Backhand was okay but I was missing more than I did last week. Think I need to focus on getting that swing through and up while taking the ball out in front. Will make that a focus point for tomorrow.

    Where I was really happy tonight, volleys! I was complimented on my net play by one of the other players there. I covered the net well, nice compact stroke, and I even had some killer reaction volleys. I was totally up to speed and it felt great. I was also hitting the serve well again. Teaching pro reminded me to get the toss up a bit higher, and when I made the adjustment I was back to cracking some good serves.

    I was also very happy to have a session with this particular teaching pro. I know most of the guys on their staff, but it had been a while since I'd seen or talked with him. It was great to catch up and everything. He was a big fan of the anniversary prestige bag as well. Can't always play well, but ya gotta look good on the court :) Turns out he actually runs the class I took last week also. He was sick last week but he's back in action now. I'll be seeing him tomorrow for the 4.0 drills session.
     
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  17. fundrazer

    fundrazer Hall of Fame

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    Today's session was mostly similar to last night's. Hit the ball from all areas of the court pretty well. For the most part anyway. Had some trouble with backhands again, but that's a work in progress. Pace of shot was a bit higher tonight so I am glad that I made the adjustment well. Definitely feeling like I am anticipating and reacting more quickly than last week.

    Also had some interesting forehand exchanges with the other younger guy of the group. He often tries to crack the ball on that side, but when he would go cross court to me (playing doubles) I had no problems with it. Felt good, sort of thinking to myself "I can play that game too, maybe even a bit better." I kind of think I gave him more trouble than vice versa.

    Already looking forward to my sessions next week. Legs are a bit sore but I'm good to go :) Also had a brief scare with my ankle but all's good. I sometimes have a very short slide when being pulled a bit over to my forehand side. On this occasion I actually felt my ankle start to roll over but I was able to recover and kept stable. Won the point too:) Anyway, I'm going to try and make the same 2 clinics every week and possibly get in a hit with a friend of mine. Three sessions a week should have me right back on track for getting ready to play the club league that starts up in a month or two.
     
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  18. fundrazer

    fundrazer Hall of Fame

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    So today was a bit funny. Started off like opposite day when we started warming up. I couldn't hit a forehand over the net. Dunno what the deal with that was, but the funny bit was that I was making practically all of my 1hbh's. Hence why I called it opposite day. Once we started warming up with rallying though things got better and I made all the balls I should be making.

    Net play was solid for the most part. Biggest problem today though was my backhand volley. Was making clean contact with ball but they were just popping up on me. Teaching pro said I was hitting them a little to close instead of out in front. Will try to keep in it mind for tomorrow when I'm at net.

    I'm also always trying to keep my feet moving during the warmups and everything else as well. I know good footwork is a big key to moving around easily but also to hitting a solid shot. Also had no incidents with lack of traction on the shoes. I was a bit worried after last week's slight ankle scare but everything's cool. I was using tonight as a gauge to see if I should switch to my newer shoes or not. Think my breath 2k10's still have a bit more life in them though :)
     
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  19. fundrazer

    fundrazer Hall of Fame

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    So I think I'm starting to cement myself as the best player of the Wednesday night clinic I attend. Still having trouble returning some of the faster serves, but every other shot I have confidence in right now. Not to mention that I'm probably the fastest guy there, it also helps that I'm probably at least 15 years younger than most of them :)

    I just think I'm winning points in all sorts of ways and have improved drastically from where I was just 3 weeks ago. Forehand is great, backhand is usually dependable (especially if I slice), volleys have been rock solid, and my movement around the court has been great. I had some nice touch shots last night, including a half volley lob shot off the backhand with my opponents at net, some very nice volleys (soft hands!), and one of those Federeresque on the run backhand flicks down the line.

    Looking forward to tonight. I'm also retiring my Nike's I have decided. My right foot was sliding a bit too much last night and I think it's a sign that the traction is going awol. Excited to see how the CC Feather II's feel on court.
     
    #19
  20. fundrazer

    fundrazer Hall of Fame

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    Think I may have had a breakthrough discovery in regards to hitting my 1hbh. At one point last night I realized that I am taking my eye off of the ball as it gets closer to contact instead of watching it through contact. Made a mental note to keep eyes on the ball through the swing and I ended up being more consistent with it. Woohoo!

    I was also invited to play on Sunday by some of the other guys of the clinics. Looking forward to that :)
     
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  21. fundrazer

    fundrazer Hall of Fame

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    Earlier in the week I was invited by some of the 3.5-4.0 clinic regulars to play today. To my surprise and excitement I was also asked yesterday to play with a friend of mine. 2 days of friendly match play in a row! Woohoo!

    Yesterday I played a singles match with my friend. He's an older guy but he still moves the ball well and can get me running corner to corner. I played him kinda tough but in the end I made some mistakes and he ended up taking our match 6-3 6-3. I had chances to break early in the first set but wasn't able to capitalize. He ended up going on a storm, dropping hardly any points to take it 6-3. In the 2nd set my game totally went off and I was down 5-1 before fighting back winning 3 consecutive games. My go to play of the 2nd set was the 1-2 punch with the serve and forehand. Hit the wide serve and take the next forehand into the same corner. Was unable to break him again though and he won our match.

    Then today I played doubles with some guys from the clinics. We split sets and called it a day after about an hour 45 minutes of play. The first set I played okay but had one bad game serving and that was basically it for the first set. Was frustrating, but I stayed cool and other than that my serve was good today. My partner made the most of it, taking advantage of any ball remotely close to him. A lot of points went boom serve, boom volley, point over. I also returned well despite facing some big serves for the level of play I'm at. Just blocked it back deep crosscourt and played the point out from there. We ended up taking the 2nd set 6-2 or 6-3.

    Overall I had a very good weekend of tennis. Played well, had fun, enjoyed myself. Even got a bit of exercise too :) Couldn't ask for much more.
     
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  22. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    I'm diggin' your reports. Like reading a tennis diary, well one that's public at least.
     
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  23. fundrazer

    fundrazer Hall of Fame

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    Ahh! Been a while since I've posted here. I had another session last night which went well. Was a very small group so we did more singles stuff than usual. I played pretty well overall. Backhand was a bit suspect, but nothing too bad. Need to work a bit on my slice on that side as it's sitting up more than I'm used to. I also might be switching to a more extreme grip for topspin/drive backhands also. A few years back I was hitting them that way, but since my return I've been playing the more conventional eastern backhand grip.

    I've also just about completely fixed my return of serve. I still think it was a bit of reaction and my movement to the ball, but I've totally simplified it now. I still do my split step, but I'm focused on keeping that short swing and blocking the ball back deep. Less to think about I think helps me move a step faster or so :)
     
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  24. heninfan99

    heninfan99 Legend

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    Good luck. Stay healthy! :)
     
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  25. SpitFire

    SpitFire New User

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    I'd suggest you logon to tennisopolis and post your comeback as a blog. I know that I'd read it.
     
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  26. tennisbuck

    tennisbuck Professional

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    Interesting to see how your comeback is going! Keep the posts up
     
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  27. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    I've been thinking about doing a similar sort of (diary or journal) thread after seeing threads (over in the tips and technique forum) by Mick and Stergios, and I think I remember seeing a similar type thread in this forum by Fuji. Mine will be mostly videos, and I'm going to put it in the tips and techniques forum in the hope of getting some helpful playing tips from knowledgeable posters.

    My local league (Tennis Fort Lauderdale - Boca Raton, of the nationwide Tennis League Network) winter season deadline for inclusion in the winter season playoffs is tomorrow, March 10. I missed the whole season so far due to a Crohn's disease flare up. But am back on the courts looking forward to the spring season which runs from April 2 to May 26. (I'll actually be playing some winter season matches as we can still submit those, and the winter season continues, for a while, but the results won't be eligible for playoff consideration.)
    I returned to tennis just last year after being away from it since 1976.

    Anyway, good luck fundrazer. I'll be following your thread along with the others. If possible please post some videos of your play.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2013
    #27
  28. fundrazer

    fundrazer Hall of Fame

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    Sorry for lack of updates this month. I've still been attending my 2 weekly clinics, but I've had other things on my mind recently. Today I've got some cool stuff to talk about though.

    First off, my club is holding a tournament at the beginning of next month. I think I'll be signing up for singles and doubles. Going to call my "mentor" later this week and see if he wants to be my partner for the doubles event. I mentioned I played with him a bit recently somewhere in this thread. Figure we get the best of both worlds, wisdom and experience from an older more experienced player, but the hustle and energy of a younger guy :)

    So what else am I writing up for this post? Well, I got my first experience of my club's league tennis today. I was called up earlier in the week by my friend asking if I could sub for a match today. Was my first competitive match in a long time really. Since high school I guess. Anyway, I ended up playing an older guy with a junkball pusher game. I'll give a bit of a match report in the next few paragraphs.

    Don't know if I was super nervous or what during our warmups, but I had a lot of trouble returning his shots. Lots of awkward spins and I just didn't expect his shots to come through the court like they did. If I wasn't nervous to start things off, I was a bit scared after that.

    Onto the first set! My first service game was a complete breeze. Made practically all of my first serves and wasn't pressured at all. He just had a lot of trouble returning. 1-0 to me From the warmup serves he took, I was pretty sure he wasn't going to be bombing serves. I took my usual returning position but used a longer but still compact swing. Didn't have much trouble with him this game and I ended up taking a 3-0 lead to start off our first set. Here's where he started bothering me though. He was extremely quick to go for his 2nd serve (a dinky one). This caught me off guard twice before I realized what was up, after that I had no whatsoever with his 2nd serve really. The part that bothered me the most was when his first serve would hit the net and start rolling back. He would look at it for a while, and I'd be thinking are you gonna pick the ball up or what? Soon as I start thinking he's dinking his 2nd serve over. The same thing would happen if I went to pick up a ball too. I would be at the baseline not even in my returning position and he would be serving the ball sometimes. It's not something that bothered me in terms of playing against it, but mentally I felt like he was trying to pull some gamesmanship shenanigans. There's also another reason for this that I'll get into later.

    Okay, back to the first set! He was able to hold serve for 3-1, and I had another easy time holding to make it 4-1. A lot of cheap points off the first serve that set me up for forehand winners :) I was also having no trouble taking his junkballs and taking charge of rallies, getting him side to side while keeping myself on or inside the baseline to take time away from him.

    Unfortunately, things started to go off the rocker a little bit :) I started missing some shots, dumping forehands into the net, missing some putaways. Was frustrating, but I never lost my cool. I've always been like that...Things go wrong I don't get paranoid, but I think maybe I don't think through things as much as I should when they do turn bad. Soon enough we were at 4 all. One of the reasons I ended up getting broken was due to a drop in first serve % and the effectiveness of the first serves I was actually making. So, I relaxed, told myself to hit the serve like I know I can...bam. easy service game for 5-4. I also had no trouble breaking to take the first set 6-4. Think I had a cheeky dropshot winner of his 2nd serve in that game, but I don't remember for sure :p

    Started off serving in the 2nd set no problem. Unfortunately, things turned again and I ended up facing 1-3 or so. More dumped shots and misses , and a few poorly executed trips to the net to boot! I worked my way back into things getting things back on serve, but here's where another problem game up. This guy had been forgetting the score the entire match. I was always on the ball with it and corrected him when he was serving/returning from the wrong court. I wasn't sure if he was trying to pull gamesmanship crap on me or not, but having that thought in my head didn't help. So what happened? Well, to start I had some nice bh winners off his serve (3-4 for the match.) He was serving down 15-40 and called the score ad out. I figured okay Considering I had 2 points to break, except when he won the point to make it 30-40, he called it deuce! I'm thinking is this guy trying to swindle me or something, or is he just a forgetful old guy. No clue, I ended up giving him the benefit of the doubt, and after a long fought game he ended up holding serve. We ended up exchanging breaks for the latter part of that set, and he ended up winning it 7-5. Wasn't happy with the errors I was making. He was getting a lot of balls back with junk spin and at times I was getting thrown off again by the ball's court penetration (or lack thereof).

    We ended up playing ~3 games of a deciding set before time was up. I couldn't even get my shots together and it was not very fun for me :( Think the junkballing finally got to me. And I'm still thinking about if this guy was trying to pull moves on me since this was my first time subbing for a league match. I know how much guys will do to get an edge in stuff like this, but I dunno what to think of this guy. The good news is, when I was playing at a decent level I was winning points no problem. Good sign for my ambitions to play in the singles league as a regular.
     
    #28
  29. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    I am not the guy who points out little inconsistencies ... but I am going to here if nothing else just to let you know someone is reading this.

    If he is serving from the deuce side and announces ad out ... it is an easy and obvious problem to solve. Again if he was calling ad out from the deuce side this is an easy problem to solve.

    In order for your tale of woe to be true one of those things must have happened ... Which is it?

    If nothing else when I have a scoring dispute I would go with the score that matches where I expect to be standing.
     
    #29
  30. fundrazer

    fundrazer Hall of Fame

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    Didn't even realize that. I had corrected him every other time he was in the wrong court, but I guess in my "ad out" confusion I just completely forgot that he was not only incorrectly calling the score, but also which court he was suppose to be serving from. Meh...
     
    #30
  31. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Stop right there. Go to the net and tell one another each point you won. If you can't do that then give him the benefit. I'm absolutely notorious for not knowing the score at any given time or even game score. Only in tournaments or singles do I meticulously keep score. I do it only there because it's important and in singles, if I don't keep the score, the opponent can make ti up and I'd have to accept it.
     
    #31

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