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Old 11-19-2012, 07:57 AM   #30
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 505

Ok, I'm going to come at this from a slightly different angle. Along the lines of why you play, who you play, and why you play who you play on a given day.

I am a 4.0, so that makes me not great, not horrible. Like all clubs we have the usual selection of players, including the 3.5 - 4.0 'grinder' (or retriever, pusher, whatever term you want to use -- guys that have no power and get every ball back). We have one guy in particular that a lot of 4.0 guys don't want to play, and he's our ultimate in-house player of that type.

Now I get why guys don't want to play our King of the Grinders. He plays every ball the same, all out, no matter the score. Soft serves, never double-faults. Waits for your errors, quiet guy so when the opponent evidences the slightest (or more than 'slight') external, no doubt he draws power from your emotion. He is a robot. Lots of slice, backspin, drop shots, lobs. A real mental grind playing this guy.

I schedule a few matches a month with this guy. He hasn't beaten me in two years. But I can't say he's fun to play, not like my main baseline hitter buddies. It's a commitment to play him, and I do it for the challenge and for the workout, although he gets a better workout than me because I run him all over the court while dominating the center (high ground).

But here's the thing. To play this guy I have to be in the right mindset. If I had a tough day at work, and feel tired or impatient, solly cholly, I cancel. When I play him, it's all about spinning in nothing serves and never double faulting. Getting him on the run and wrong footing him. And embracing 12+ stroke rallies for a lot of the points. And not over-amping on his zilch serve.

But really, if this was all there was to tennis, I wouldn't waste my time with it. Wasn't it Vic Braden that used the term "athletic arousal"? I think it was. Anyway, these guys like King Grindboy, also tend to be really boring, zero personality types that get their rocks off I gather ... with this whole schtick. Good for them I guess. But once you prove to yourself that you can dig a hole for the wife's new clothesline ... maybe get a few blisters on your hands ... it's not like you need to rush around and dig hole after hole. In other words it is boring, a chore, and usually not a buddy across the net. Sometimes an oddball. And their style just doesn't get me fired up ... deadly dull.

So since tennis is for fun, friends and fitness, I hit with a nice group of guys, and they are my age and some juniors that hit. Win, lose, lose, win, win ... it's a lot of fun. I am not going out there hunting down an army of grinders to fill my schedule with, due to the fact that there is nothing to prove beyond the occasional beating and it just isn't any fun. I tip my hat to their style, persona ... keep moving along Bubba.

Last edited by Sakkijarvi; 11-19-2012 at 07:59 AM.
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