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winstonplum 11-24-2012 10:55 PM

The Worst Losses of Your "Career"
 
Well, I had mine today and just wanted to commiserate with someone/some people.

I'm a 4.0. The guy I lost to today used to absolutely own me. He must have won the first 50 sets we played. About eight or nine months ago I started picking off sets here and there and then over the summer, picking off matches (best of out three; or if time was tight a mutually agreed 10-point TB in lieu of a third set). This summer I started playing 3-4 times a week as opposed to twice a week at the most for the previous two years. My fitness improved; I lost about eight pounds.

I had won 6 out of the last 9 matches we played in the last four months before today. I no longer expect to lose. I no longer am happy to get one set. So today. Won the first set 6-4. A war, per usual. Held in the first game of the second and then broke him. Stayed on serve for the rest of the set and I served for the match at 5-4. I was focused, pumped, and ready. Two service winners. Netted a fh, and then a third service winner to get to 40-15. And then the wheels came off. I honestly can't remember what happened at 40-15, but at 40-30 I double-faulted. I yelled, out loud, about being a huge choker, and then just fell apart. I lost the next two points, lsot the next game, somehow held at 5-6, and then lost the TB. I don't even remember the score (7-3?) I lost the 10-point TB 13-11 after having two more "match" points at 9-7.

But I felt like I was just going through the motions after I didn't finish that game off at 40-30. Has that ever happened to anybody? You keep playing but you're not really there, mentally, anymore?

Please don't write anything snarky or lame, especially if you're a former college player. Yes, I'm 4.0 rec player. I'd like to hear other stories or thoughts from other players of roughly my level.

corbind 11-25-2012 10:31 AM

I suppose "worst" it subjective. I much prefer to get crushed by a better player say 6-1 than to an opponent at my level by two points in a TB. Why? It means, had I converted just two shots, I would have won -- but failed. In your case choking a few times is quite frustrating and that's why you're here.

OrangePower 11-25-2012 11:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by winstonplum (Post 7031604)
But I felt like I was just going through the motions after I didn't finish that game off at 40-30. Has that ever happened to anybody? You keep playing but you're not really there, mentally, anymore?

I've had many bad losses so hard to pick out the worst! But I know exactly what you're saying about being mentally not there after having a chance to close it out.

In my case, I was playing one of the top 4.5s in the area in a league match (I'm a mid-level 4.5). My opponent rarely loses at 4.5 level, has been to nationals, etc. Anyway, I was playing great that day. I took the first in a TB. In the second, we were on serve until he was serving at 4-4, and I broke
him to be serving for the match at 5-4. And I blew it. And then checked out mentally. He held for 6-5, broke me to take the set 7-5, and then ran away with the third (6-1).

The worst thing is that after the match everyone told me that it was a great result - I played him close, had chances, and that's more than anyone expected. But of course I know I could (should) have won the match.

Setmatch45 11-25-2012 11:41 AM

In a 10 point tie breaker I was up 8-2 and lost the set and it was for the match. Heart breaking it happened at sectionals my team lost 3-2 if we won it would have meant a sectional championship and a trip to nationals.

winstonplum 11-25-2012 12:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OrangePower (Post 7032166)
I've had many bad losses so hard to pick out the worst! But I know exactly what you're saying about being mentally not there after having a chance to close it out.

In my case, I was playing one of the top 4.5s in the area in a league match (I'm a mid-level 4.5). My opponent rarely loses at 4.5 level, has been to nationals, etc. Anyway, I was playing great that day. I took the first in a TB. In the second, we were on serve until he was serving at 4-4, and I broke
him to be serving for the match at 5-4. And I blew it. And then checked out mentally. He held for 6-5, broke me to take the set 7-5, and then ran away with the third (6-1).

The worst thing is that after the match everyone told me that it was a great result - I played him close, had chances, and that's more than anyone expected. But of course I know I could (should) have won the match.

Thanks for the responses. I helps to see some of what other guys are thinking/have been through. I've read several places that you learn a lot more form your losses than your wins. Isn't that the truth. When I win, I just think, well, that's cool. But when I lose . . . I guess now, 24 hours later, I need to start thinking about the take-away from the match: even though I DF at 40-30, that doesn't mean the game was over. Lots of times I've blown 40-0, 40-15 leads and gone to deuce and fought and won the game.

Just because you don't win a game or a set when you thought/ expected/wanted to win it, that doesn't mean you can't keep fighting and win it in a later time. Looking back to yesterday, it was like I acted like a petulant child and was just unwilling or unable to give maximum effort to the cause after losing those two points. What's remarkable is that I can't even remember that happened at deuce or ad-out, which is rare for me. I have excellent match recall, but it was just like a vacated the premises when that second serve went long and I started yelling at myself out loud about choking.

NLBwell 11-25-2012 01:03 PM

Actually, this was one of the best losses because I played far better than expected, but you mentioned mentally checking out.
In the last 5.0 tournament I played (I'd been bumped down to a 4.5 a few years earlier) I was playing one of the favorites to win the tournament. I was playing really well - using my power to keep him on the run and chipping low and coming into the net. I was completely focused, which is rare for me, and determined to keep concentrating. I won the first set 6-3 and at the end of the second set finally got the break in the last game to win 6-4. I let out a cheer and a sigh of relief and went up to the net to shake his hand and he looks at me and says, "What are you doing, the match isn't over?" I recounted the games, and yes, it was only 5-4.
After that, I just couldn't get focused again. I played a few good points, but just got never back the level of intensity I needed to win. Lost that set and the next at 6-2.

Moral of the story, keep track of the score.

Gonzalito17 11-25-2012 02:48 PM

Winston, what stands out is that you yelled and showed so much negativity when you double-faulted to make it deuce in the second set. You were two points away from the match, you have to stay positive and hold it together there. Try to laugh that off. Be arrogant and cocky in your mind, not negative and weak. That outburt of negativity probably gave your opponent a huge HUGE boost. Get em next time!

beernutz 11-25-2012 02:52 PM

I don't know about my worst loss but I think I had my best win ever on Friday playing against by younger brother who'd beaten me 12 of the last 17 sets we'd played, including a 9 and 0 streak, when I handed him an 0, 1, and 1 beatdown. He's rated .5 higher in USTA than me but thankfully he plays primarily doubles and I play mostly singles. Happy thanksgiving Billy, bragging rights yo!

Gonzalito17 11-25-2012 02:52 PM

You learn just as much if not more from wins than losses. I know it's not the cliche most people believe but it's true. It takes a lot to win a tough tennis match, it takes smart thinking, executing the right tactics, creativity, so much. You have to be aware of all these aspects to win a tough tennis match. Yes you learn from losing but I think it's more educational to learn from winning. Bottom line is you learn to be a winner.

Timbo's hopeless slice 11-25-2012 03:26 PM

lost a couple of weeks ago to a guy I have consistently beaten.

I had focussed really hard on the doubles (because that is my weakness) and won both matches serving hard and being aggressive.

Lost my focus (or something, I really don't know) and went out to play the singles playing at half pace. I was barely even serving normal second serves as my first! He raced out to a 4 - 0 lead in no time and I just couldn't get the match back. So frustrating and so unlike me. I still have no idea what happened. He even asked me at teh end if I had injured my shoulder or something in the doubles because (imagine quite heavy Nigerian accent) "your power, it was just all gone away!"

bah

stupid game

NLBwell 11-25-2012 05:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Timbo's hopeless slice (Post 7032485)
bah

stupid game

That made me laugh because it is so true.

ttocs013 11-25-2012 07:52 PM

This one is easy to remember still because it caused me to stop playing for 6 months.

I was playing in a singles rec 4.0 league, and was 5-0 without dropping a set so far. My next opponent was at the bottom of my division, but that didn't matter on this night. I expected to beat him convincingly...

I didn't. I lost 6-2 6-1 and by the end of the match I was so furious I just started hitting as hard as possible to commit errors and just get off the court. I could not do anything right, at all, and had given up mentally. I usually never lose my cool, or typically care about winning as long as I play within my own skill set.

While I was driving home that night I realized how silly it was to get so upset over something that should be fun. I hung up the rackets for 6 months and decided to not to play until I was craving the "fun of the game" as I'd call it. Now I have fun every time I go out on the court and have improved to 4.5 by just being loose and keeping a cool focus.

Learned an important lesson that night.

winstonplum 11-25-2012 09:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gonzalito17 (Post 7032434)
Winston, what stands out is that you yelled and showed so much negativity when you double-faulted to make it deuce in the second set. You were two points away from the match, you have to stay positive and hold it together there. Try to laugh that off. Be arrogant and cocky in your mind, not negative and weak. That outburt of negativity probably gave your opponent a huge HUGE boost. Get em next time!

You're totally right. Stay positive and hold it together there. One reason that you could say that you learn a lot from losing is that if I'm in that same situation a month from now or a year from now, I'll remember what I did wrong last time and won't make the same mistake twice.

I also have got to stop with the negativity. It's just getting ridiculous. The yelling at myself, the insulting myself, the sarcastic comments about myself--all out loud. Hitting balls into the fence; kicking the fence. All of it has to stop. I should try to model myself after Federer. One never knows what the heck that guy is thinking.

bobbything 11-26-2012 06:34 AM

One of the worst was just last month at 4.5 Nationals. Playing doubles. My partner and I was on cruise control. Won the first 6-2 and up 1-0 in the 2nd. These guys weren't bad, but we were better and really matched up well with them. Well, I went back and returned a serve. I pushed off my back foot and my calf cramped up. After the game ended, I asked the ref if I could take an injury timeout to stretch it out.

Well, I got something like 5 minutes. So I stretched it out the best I could and drank a bunch of watered-down Gatorade. I apologized to our opponents and one of the guys was a bit of a ***** about the whole thing. Well, it didn't so much good because it just kept getting worse and I couldn't hardly move at that point. We lost the next set really, really fast and then lost the 10 pointer.

My partner tried to over-compensate for my severe lack of movement by poaching too much and they started picking up on it. I couldn't serve hardly at all and I tried everything from serving and volleying to staying back. If I was pulled just a few feet away, I just couldn't hardly move.

Anyway, what made the loss so bad was that our team was tied at 2-2 and this was the deciding match. Then, afterward, the guy who didn't care for my injury timeout said, loud enough for all to hear, that they won because "(they) were more mentally tough" than us.


bobbything 11-26-2012 06:37 AM

Also, is there no way to edit posts? I just noticed a bunch of typos and would like to correct them so that I don't come off like a complete rube.

Pickle9 11-26-2012 08:23 AM

got double bageled yesterday in first 4.0 tournament match.

epic fail.

and i didn't even serve badly....

beernutz 11-26-2012 09:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bobbything (Post 7033107)
Also, is there no way to edit posts? I just noticed a bunch of typos and would like to correct them so that I don't come off like a complete rube.

I think you need to get to 50 posts before you can use the edit feature.

I have a story similar to yours. At a recent state tournament, my partner and I won the first set easily and were up a break at 3-0 in the second in what turned out to be a match against the team that went on to win state but we would have tied them for first place if we'd won the match. However at that moment of impending victory the wheels came off our team as I badly jammed my big toe and lost some of my previous mobility while at the same time my partner apparently got the jitters or saw me hobbling and started spewing UEs and we lost the set and the TB. I think I was as close as I've ever been to putting my racquet on hiatus right after I had to tell my captain the bad news about our match.

SlapShot 11-26-2012 01:06 PM

Oh boy....I've got a good one.

Played a tourney last January, and drew a guy who I know very well, having played a few times in singles and a few more in doubles. The last time we had played singles against each other was about a year and a half prior, and that went a full 3 sets. His strengths are my weaknesses and vice-versa (he covers the court well, uses angles well, and handles power, while I generate a lot of power and tend to try and serve the other player off of the court).

We start our match, and I am on fire out of the gate. Win the first set 6-2, and I'm painting lines and finishing points better than I ever can remember. Get into the second set, and I break twice to jump out to a 4-1 lead. I can see the finish line, and I'm serving for a 5-1 lead. He breaks. Okay, no sweat - I've been returning really well. He holds. Oh boy - it's now 4-3, and I'm starting to feel a little bit of fatigue in my legs. He breaks me again, and holds to take it to 5-4. I finally hold serve, he holds, and I hold, so now we're in a breaker. I can't remember the finer details of the breaker, but I end up losing that set, and by this time, we're playing longer and longer points, and my legs are getting slower and slower.

We ended up playing neck and neck in the match breaker, and he ended up pulling it out 10-8. I was so disappointed in myself for not being able to pull myself out of the funk that I got into.

I Heart Thomas Muster 11-26-2012 02:07 PM

I play a solid 4.5 player and I ALWAYS get up 4-1 then proceed to lose the set. He tells me when I get to that same score I turn into a different player. I'm not sure why with him. Our skills are very similar and he's a good guy so there's no animosity while playing. There's no shame in losing to him but also I hate losing like that.

My worst losses though are to people who get under my skin with gamesmanship or outright cheating. Outwardly you wouldn't know I'm fuming but those are the losses that eat at me. I want to beat these players so badly to show I'm immune to their antics but I would say I lose those matches 70% of the time.

Those really sting.

winstonplum 11-27-2012 02:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by I Heart Thomas Muster (Post 7033792)
I play a solid 4.5 player and I ALWAYS get up 4-1 then proceed to lose the set. He tells me when I get to that same score I turn into a different player. I'm not sure why with him. Our skills are very similar and he's a good guy so there's no animosity while playing. There's no shame in losing to him but also I hate losing like that.

My worst losses though are to people who get under my skin with gamesmanship or outright cheating. Outwardly you wouldn't know I'm fuming but those are the losses that eat at me. I want to beat these players so badly to show I'm immune to their antics but I would say I lose those matches 70% of the time.

Those really sting.

I feel your pain. When I get a big lead, I sometimes too have trouble finding the right balance between passivity and aggressiveness. If I see the person has been making a lot of UE and that has really contributed to my lead, I want to continue to let him bury himself, but at the same time not lose my rhythm is he starts to heat up again.

I've noticed I get really, really tight when serving for sets and matches. Gotta work on that.


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