Joined the local club tournament, B1 classification (somewhere between 3.5 and 4.0 I guess). Just wanted to see how I would respond to pressure situations. My first match was tonight, and as fate would have it, I was up against a pusher type player. My first thought during the warmup was "this should be easy"...and you'd think after all this time on the TT boards I'd know better!
Anyway, I soon discovered that the stroke that broke down was my serve! I did win eventually 6-2 6-3, but 4 of those games were practically gift wrapped by me with double faults. Video shows my toss went backwards...probably reverted due to nerves.
Strategy wise, I was lucky he didn't have much of a serve, so I could start off with an aggressive return. But pushers are sneaky how they work your mind, eh? I started with controlled aggression, then suddenly started going for dumb winners before building the point. At least I maintained the presence of mind to reel myself back in. It was quite an effort to maintain calmness despite mounting unforced errors due to fatigue and nerves. I suppressed thoughts like:
"I can't believe I missed that shot"
"I should have had that game already"
"What the hell is wrong with this serve?"
and my personal favorite...
"I will never live down a loss to this guy at Talk Tennis" haha
Plus I noticed my feet started to slow, playing to his pace, which contributed to the increased error rate.
Video (me in white shirt/navy shorts)
Anyway, I'm happy to have won, but not that pleased at the level of play I displayed. Ah, I suppose I should expect some mental rust. Need to get the serve up and running (again) before the next match. Toss toss toss