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Pickle9 10-28-2012 07:18 AM

Indiana Pickle and the USTA Chronicles
In honor of the (in)famous J011yroger, i'm starting a blog of my first foray in to the world of USTA tennis.

First i'll start with a bit about myself and my goals.

I picked up tennis my last year of high school and played recreational in college. I joined the tennis club at my university and was voted President my senior year. I assure you i was not voted president for my tennis prowess, but rather my ideas and execution of expanding the club and making tennis more enjoyable for everyone, from the competitive players on the club team that participated in USTA tennis on campus to people that just wanted to learn and everyone in between.

I've made a lot of friends, learned a lot about tennis, and even more about life along the way. Now that i'm a tax-paying, working stiff, tennis is more than a hobby. It is my escape from life. Don't get me wrong, i don't hate my job at all, rather i really like it but that's not to say they're aren't times where i want to kill someone or don't come home with a massive headache. But as my dad told me, "Mike, welcome to the real world."

Thanks to the help of friends, some of which are active members of this board, i feel i've improved my game to the point where i can compete in tournaments. So here are my goals, short-term, long-term,...:

1) have fun - the number one reason i play (probably the easiest and hardest thing, subjectively to achieve - "fun" doesn't mean the same thing to everyone). I will say winning does make tennis MORE fun for me.

2) improve - as i stated above, i feel i've improved but there is always something i think i can do better. i want to be the best i think i can be. i'm not going to win the us open, i may never win an open tournament, i may just be a recreational hack, i just want to be able to look back and say i tried my best.

3) play usta tournaments

none lol

11/23 Long Beach 4.0 Singles
11/26 Alley Pond Open Singles

(tbd) Rockville Racquet Holiday Tournament

4) play a usta league
-Fall 2012 flex league - 3-1 to date (11/14/12)

Pickle9 10-28-2012 07:48 AM

I need to start somewhere so i joined a 4.0 flex league. I figured this to be a simple way to accomplish this. To my understanding, flex leagues and tournaments, the competition is a weaker because player generally play up. As opposed to usta leagues where sandbagging and all other types of shenanigans take place, for whatever reasons.

So far so good, i'm 3-0 and i'll give a little recap of the matches. Because i won, i'll brag about it and if i had lost i would suppress it and sit on my couch and watch Seinfeld reruns in my stained t-shirt and sweatpants eating cookies & cream ice cream until i was convinced it never happened).

match 1 - unrated - 6-3 6-3

Of anyone i have ever met or played, i would say we are the most similar in terms. tall, kind of rangy, about my age. In the first set there were a lot of long rallies, mostly where i kept the ball to his backhand because i felt he couldn't hurt me from there. He didn't serve well, probably gave me 2 games worth of doubles and that was the difference in the set. In the second set he battened down the hatches on serve, although i broke his first 2 service games to take the lead, if felt much closer. He started running around his bh much more and put more air under the ball, so i took this opportunity to take him cross court and forced a few errors from just making him move. The one disappointing thing i took from this match was i failed to close it out on serve at 5-1. I was not getting any free points on serve and really had to grind. This to me shows the most when things get tight at the end. I have no Mariano Rivera to close the door. This number one on my list of things to improve.

Pickle9 10-28-2012 08:19 AM

Recap (continued)
match 2 - unrated - 6-2 6-0

played an older gentleman that mostly plays doubles at a club. Said he wanted to play some singles. He hit some aggresive shots, but i felt like could get to everything and eventually he would miss. and i did and he did. could definitely tell he was getting more frustrated as the match went on.

match 3 - 3.5 - 6-3 7-5

I was looking forward to play him, i lost to him in a holiday club tournament last december. i don't remember the exact score but i'm pretty sure i was bageled in 2nd set, so like 2 & 0. Oddly enough i didn't feel like i was out of my league, but gave him way too much, stupid errors and too many double faults.

From the warm up, honestly he was better than i remembered him being lol. his fh had a nice kick, his bh looked solid, and his serve was strong. his forehand was a real weapon, and i didn't remember this from last time because i didn't keep enough balls in play to see it. I knew wasn't going to win just waiting for him mess up. When i had the opportunity, i had to take control. i did enough on serve to hold to 4-3. With the help of a couple double faults, i got the break and then served it out.

From the start of the second set i could see he wasn't just going to let me work over his backhand. anything that i left short or didn't get good direction on was pummeled inside-out, out of reach or leaving me at a serious disadvantage. He still couldn't get anything going on serve so we traded breaks to 3-3, opposite of the first set. Then he held and i for the first time felt some pressure. that being the 3rd set being decided by a super tie breaker and if it came down to his serve vs mine, i was in trouble. i held, then he held again. at 4-5 he had 2 set points, which i was able to make good serves on and escaped. i think he got tight and i got the break with just some bad unforced errors by him. surprisingly i held at love to close it out.

After the match we spoke a bit, and he said he was on a 3.5 team last year and they went to nationals. nobody was bumped up in the pre-ratings, but they've decided they're going to start a 4.0 team and if i wanted to join. they base out of a club that's 5 minutes away from my house and he's a cool guy so it sounds good to me. I wonder how a 3.5 nationals team will fare moving up to 4.0?

Pickle9 10-28-2012 08:26 AM

In other news, my gf told me she come to grips with the fact that she can't change the way i look so she's going to change the way i dress. apparently jeans and a flannel shirt don't look "professional". 2 trips to the mall and outlets later, i can say that corduroy pants are surprisingly comfortable and jcrew has some really nice, well fitting shirts for my body type.

match #4 is scheduled for 11/3.

if we survive the frankenstorm, hopefully i'll get out to practice wed/thurs/fri.

corbind 10-29-2012 05:38 AM

I enjoy your detailed accounts of matches and tennis chronicle. Over time this is going to be a fun thread.

Pickle9 10-29-2012 07:49 AM


Originally Posted by corbind (Post 6981343)
I enjoy your detailed accounts of matches and tennis chronicle. Over time thisis is going to be a fun thread.

Thanks, looks like i haven't said anything too outlandish yet, judging by the number of responses lol

Pickle9 10-29-2012 07:53 AM

entered 4.0 tournament this upcoming weekend. i believe the surface is hard tru, which should interesting since i haven't played on that stuff since march. i don't think it will affect my game.

floridatennisdude 10-29-2012 09:30 AM


Originally Posted by Pickle9 (Post 6981562)
entered 4.0 tournament this upcoming weekend. i believe the surface is hard tru, which should interesting since i haven't played on that stuff since march. i don't think it will affect my game.

Slower, higher bounces. Tougher to play a ball on the rise. Tougher to hit through the court. Respect that a higher % of balls will come back. Rallies will go 1-2 shots longer.

JoelDali 10-29-2012 10:21 AM

Pickle9 10-29-2012 11:43 AM

what happens if i where this tshirt and barricades? will my performance suffer?

Pickle9 10-29-2012 04:29 PM


Originally Posted by floridatennisdude (Post 6981762)
Slower, higher bounces. Tougher to play a ball on the rise. Tougher to hit through the court. Respect that a higher % of balls will come back. Rallies will go 1-2 shots longer.

Sounds like that would help me since I can't hit through a we paper bag

JoelDali 10-30-2012 04:17 AM

I stand by Pickle.

5 Stars.

Pickle9 10-31-2012 09:34 AM

withdrew from tournament this weekend because area was hit with 10ft + storm surge.

Pickle9 10-31-2012 08:03 PM

Found nemo, among other things, at miller's. amazing shrimp deal. D does not lie.

Pickle9 10-31-2012 08:12 PM

Found this in the archives, almost 1 year old footage. Maybe it would be a good idea to video matchplay to see what's really going on in matches?

Pickle9 10-31-2012 08:15 PM


Originally Posted by JoelDali (Post 6981901)

Did McCauley Culkin join the Taliban?

J011yroger 11-01-2012 02:17 AM


JoelDali 11-01-2012 05:01 AM

J011y hath clutched the hands of God in the form of a Basalt based broom.

J011yroger 11-02-2012 03:12 AM

Nope nope, I just take pictures to chronicle the Pickle's slow transition to a hipster.

Once he falls 100% victim to the taint I will execute him for the good of mankind.

Pickle is a dear friend of mine, and I am proud to know him, but the day he shows up to play tennis wearing a scarf tied in the European style when it is not below freezing will be his last.

He will be shot with a silvered .45, and a basalt stake will be driven through his heart.


Pickle9 11-02-2012 08:47 AM

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