So I played a 3-set match against the world’s top 45+ player

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
As we continue playing, after getting to deuce a couple times, but not realistically having a good crack at closing a game, I reset my expectations. From then on, if I got to 30 in a game, I considered it a personal victory.

On my service games, I found that SnV, using an aggressive kick serve on both first and second, was giving me the best chance to win points.

At first, it seemed like going to his backhand was my best bet. But after the first several games, it seemed like his backhand got better, and he was started to groove passing shot winners on that wing. I commented on it, and he told me (in his aw shucks drawl of course), “actually my backhand is more solid than my forehand. I used to hit it late, which got me in trouble against world class players, but then I fixed it.”

I replied, ‘so you’re telling me that I should be playing to your forehand? No wonder I’m losing!”

His revelation that his backhand was his more reliable stroke reminded me of the sword duel scene in The Princess Bride where the guy says something like, ‘ah... but there is something you don’t know... I am not right handed!”

After that, I did find a bit of success SnV’ing to his forehand, but my serve wasn’t quite good enough to fully take advantage.

Interestingly, in the vid, his bh looks like the one I faced, but his forehand looks very rusty, loopier, and almost unrecognizable. Against me his forehand was a lot more confident, hit more out in front, and he was working a lot harder with his footwork to run around his bh in order to dictate with his forehand. My guess is he entered that tournament without practicing much beforehand. Apparently it didn’t matter as he hardly lost a game anyway even when playing against some of the world’s best 45+ tournament players.
 
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norcal

Hall of Fame
Watching that vid his movement is exceptional. And his forehand looks perfect for clay. If he didn't practice much that's even more impressive! Very smart player.
 

denoted

Rookie
The former high-level ATP pros are obviously not part of the picture when you say the "world's best 45+ player." It's people who compete in those tournaments.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
So as we were winding down, and I was marveling at how thoroughly he had just destroyed me, he said that he thought he could probably beat anyone in the world 45-and-over right now, or at least be right there with the top guys. He said that it would be hard to find anyone over 45 who hits as heavy a ball as he does. I believe him.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
It's obvious who he played if you read the thread and look at the video. However, I disagree that this guy is the best over 45 year old, I still think Santoro would run him ragged.
His style reminds me of Courier a lot, and Santoro has a winning record against Courier, so you might be right.
 

denoted

Rookie
Apparently you didn't read the thread.
I did. What I mean by "high-level" here is not top 100 but top 10. I think mid-upper 40s guys like Edberg, Chang, Sampras, Courier, Agassi would, with some preparation, still be better than this guy, who is definitely a great player. In another ten years, if he keeps playing and they don't, or only sporadically, maybe that would be it.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I did. What I mean by "high-level" here is not top 100 but top 10. I think mid-upper 40s guys like Edberg, Chang, Sampras, Courier, Agassi would, with some preparation, still be better than this guy, who is definitely a great player. In another ten years, if he keeps playing and they don't, or only sporadically, maybe that would be it.
Those guys have cleaner strokes than this guy and obviously had better pro careers. But I think this guy has aged better than Agassi, Chang, and Sampras, and is stronger and faster than them now. Edberg aged well but he is 54 now, which is a huge difference from 47, so I think he’d beat Edberg due to the age handicap.

I’d love to watch Santoro play this guy. That would be good match.
 

E46luver

Professional
deceptive claims. guy is a decent player but they are a dime a dozen.
he may be #1 in 45+ bc 90% of 45+ are busy raising kids and not flying to national events.
even i can win a tourney if i am the only one signed up
 

mightyrick

Legend
deceptive claims. guy is a decent player but they are a dime a dozen.
he may be #1 in 45+ bc 90% of 45+ are busy raising kids and not flying to national events.
even i can win a tourney if i am the only one signed up
Top-ranked USTA 4.5s go by another name -- sandbaggers. :)
 

sovertennis

Professional
I watched only 4 games on the vid--traveler, your description of the guy was dead on--not the cleanest strokes (backhand is a bit more of a poke than a stroke), but a relentless, high bouncing fh. Really clean volleys to end points, just as you described.

Thanks for posting about your tennis in So America.
 

atatu

Legend
deceptive claims. guy is a decent player but they are a dime a dozen.
he may be #1 in 45+ bc 90% of 45+ are busy raising kids and not flying to national events.
even i can win a tourney if i am the only one signed up
Well, it's just an opinion actually, this guy isn't ranked #1 by the ITF or the USTA in the 45's, but the OP got a first hand look at how good he is, so that's something at least. I have no basis for my opinion that Santoro is the best over 45 player in the world other than those old IPTL matches when he was winning most of the time.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
One thing that doesn’t really show on video - you need to face it to feel it — is that this guy’s ability to anticipate where my ball was going before it even hit my racquet was world class and far beyond that of any other world class player I’ve faced. It was remarkable.

As an example, I recall one point where I Serve-and-Volleyed from the deuce with a decent kick serve to his backhand. His backhand return, net from a few feet behind the baseline, was a medium-pace flat down-the-line drive a few feet above the net, which gave me a waist-high volley met about 6 feet inside the service line and near my backhand sideline. I hit my backhand first volley decently crosscourt, which crossed a foot or two above the middle of the net. My volley was going to land at my target very close to the ad-court corner of the baseline. I moved forward to cut off the backhand pass.

Except, before my first volley even landed, he picked it off out of the air from about 6 feet behind the service line and blocked it down the line well out of my reach. I was shocked because I’d thought my first volley was good enough to give me a better-than-50% chance to win the point, but instead, it never even reached the ground because he was so quick to anticipate my volley’s trajectory correctly and move in and cut it off out of the air. It was insane.
 
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rogerroger917

Hall of Fame
Someone come take my computer away from me so I don't have to read this drivel. Of course he knows where you will hit the ball. You are a recreational tennis player and he was an ATP pro. Omg... please have some sense of the gap in skill that actually existed.



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ServeBot

New User
So as we were winding down, and I was marveling at how thoroughly he had just destroyed me, he said that he thought he could probably beat anyone in the world 45-and-over right now, or at least be right there with the top guys. He said that it would be hard to find anyone over 45 who hits as heavy a ball as he does. I believe him.
He's a former ATP pro, of course he can beat any amateur his age in the world. But beat Sampras? Uhh, no. This guy peaked at # 461 in the world. Sampras is a year older than him. Let's take the delusion down a notch or two!
 

jmnk

Hall of Fame
He's the guy in the hat
wait, I'm confused. So the OP's opponent is the dude from this video? If so how is he "the world’s top 45+ player" since he does not play any ITF/seniors tournaments? How/who declared him "the world’s top 45+ player"?
 

DNShade

Hall of Fame
wait, I'm confused. So the OP's opponent is the dude from this video? If so how is he "the world’s top 45+ player" since he does not play any ITF/seniors tournaments? How/who declared him "the world’s top 45+ player"?
Yeah. I'm confused as well.

Sorry but if that guy in the vid is the guy he played and is being called the best 45 player then someone has some seriously wrong info. travlerjam needs to really play some top notch players. Not even close to top 45 player.

And Pete and Andre and Chang and McEnroe and Jim and tons of other guys much older would destroy him. And TONS of guys you have never heard of as well 45+.

Lots of good "rec" players would beat up on him too. Sorry - but that's the truth.
 

California

Semi-Pro
Ummm, sorry, the guy is a good player but he is not coming close to Pete, Stefan, Courier, etc... have you seen those guys play as senior players? Take a look at a senior match between Stefan and Mac in Stockholm. Yes, it is from 2013, but both guys are in great shape then and still today!

 

atatu

Legend
Anybody know a Dutch guy named Bart Beks ? He's over 45 and has a UTR of 12.16. He smoked the #3 player for Georgia Southern in straight sets.
 

tennis4me

Hall of Fame
William Bull - UTR 12!

I can see traces of Pro-level ball placement, depth, heavy balls, strategy, anticipation in his game - despite not having the "pretty stroke". Definitely very high level player.

I was thinking his BH was better than his FH while watching the video. His put away on short balls and mid-court balls is definitely Pro-level. His deep spinny balls looked heavy.
 
One thing that doesn’t really show on video - you need to face it to feel it — is that this guy’s ability to anticipate where my ball was going before it even hit my racquet was world class and far beyond that of any other world class player I’ve faced. It was remarkable.

As an example, I recall one point where I Serve-and-Volleyed from the deuce with a decent kick serve to his backhand. His backhand return, net from a few feet behind the baseline, was a medium-pace flat down-the-line drive a few feet above the net, which gave me a waist-high volley met about 6 feet inside the service line and near my backhand sideline. I hit my backhand first volley decently crosscourt, which crossed a foot or two above the middle of the net. My volley was going to land at my target very close to the ad-court corner of the baseline. I moved forward to cut off the backhand pass.

Except, before my first volley even landed, he picked it off out of the air from about 6 feet behind the service line and blocked it down the line well out of my reach. I was shocked because I’d thought my first volley was good enough to give me a better-than-50% chance to win the point, but instead, it never even reached the ground because he was so quick to anticipate my volley’s trajectory correctly and move in and cut it off out of the air. It was insane.
That’s an old school tactic that my buddy (who was ATP top 200) used to utilize against me in play to devastating effect. Borg was a master of this tactic


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sredna42

Hall of Fame
So as we were winding down, and I was marveling at how thoroughly he had just destroyed me, he said that he thought he could probably beat anyone in the world 45-and-over right now, or at least be right there with the top guys. He said that it would be hard to find anyone over 45 who hits as heavy a ball as he does. I believe him.
Bro.
Seriously now. Let's not get carried away...
 

onehandbh

Legend


Looks like he played the US Open qualifying in 1991 but the website does not show who he played against.

I few years ago I played an older guy that played in the Australian Open qualifying in the 90s. He crushed me pretty easily. I only won a couple games.
 
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travlerajm

G.O.A.T.


Looks like he played the US Open qualifying in 1991 but the website does not show who he played against.

I few years ago I played an older guy that played in the Australian Open qualifying in the 90s. He crushed me pretty easily. I only won a couple games.
He is one of those players whose ATP record doesn’t reflect his level today, because he never came close to fully taking advantage of his talent. When he was a teenager, he was beating guys his own age who would later peak in the top 5 of the ATP rankings. He wasn’t beating them a few years later when they were in their mid-20’s, because his career had fallen off the rails. But today, I honestly think he would probably beat those guys again now that they are in their late 40’s.
 

sredna42

Hall of Fame
He is one of those players whose ATP record doesn’t reflect his level today, because he never came close to fully taking advantage of his talent. When he was a teenager, he was beating guys his own age who would later peak in the top 5 of the ATP rankings. He wasn’t beating them a few years later when they were in their mid-20’s, because his career had fallen off the rails. But today, I honestly think he would probably beat those guys again now that they are in their late 40’s.
Just to clarify, is this guy and yourself etc actually playing open competitions? I notice that atlanta thing is "invitational". I'm starting to get gregorydiamond vibes here if it is all some self rated delusion.
 

sredna42

Hall of Fame
wait, I'm confused. So the OP's opponent is the dude from this video? If so how is he "the world’s top 45+ player" since he does not play any ITF/seniors tournaments? How/who declared him "the world’s top 45+ player"?
That's what I'm wondering. I thought all these videos were USTA competition or something. Starting to think it's the tennis equivalent of Charlie Zelenoff if it is all self rating.
 

atatu

Legend
That's what I'm wondering. I thought all these videos were USTA competition or something. Starting to think it's the tennis equivalent of Charlie Zelenoff if it is all self rating.
Well as previously explained, it was just the opinion of the OP and of the guy he played. However, the Atlanta Tournament is in fact a legitimate tournament, it is a USTA and ITF Sanctioned event, which is known as a "Super Category 2" tournament. You can take a look at the 2019 draws in the link posted below. Note that in the 50's Oren Montesvassel was the #1 seed, he has been the topic of discussion on these boards in the past, as a former tour player who continues to play open level prize money tournaments. The guys who are winning their draws in these tournaments are among the top players in their age groups in the country, at least. I played the guy who was a finalist in the 55's draw and he's very, very good.

 

EP1998

Semi-Pro
He did play a bit on the circuit and in juniors so I would disagree with the statement that he didn't have a chance to take advantage of his talent. He went to junior events in Europe and Australia so it wasn't as if he was hitting on the wall at home. It was, however, a little harder to get points back then on the futures because of the masters set up than it was in recent years (except starting last year). Now most players will say they would do things differently if they could do it all over again so maybe that's what he means...

In any case he did play some good players - in the juniors. He lost to Santoro but beat Wayne Ferreria. He also lost to Medvedev in the Roland Garros juniors. He did not play those kinds of players at the ATP level as he was playing at the futures circuit level.

As for best in the world in 45s - he can go to Croatia later this year and prove it.
 

jmnk

Hall of Fame
I mean to make my earlier post clear. The OP's opponent is very, very good. There's no doubt in my mind about that. I just wouldn't go as far as "the world’s top 45+ player", that's all.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I’ve actually played in a singles tournament against a player who peaked at #14 in the ATP singles rankings. That player did a few things extremely well, but also had big holes in his game that could be exposed by players with the skills to do it.
 

navigator

Hall of Fame
The guy is an excellent player but I agree he's almost certainly not the top 45+ in the world. Maybe a quarter-finalist at the World Championships, though, which is quite good. He plays one tournament a year - and has yet to face a world class player in his age group - so I doubt he really knows how competitive it is at the Grade A tournaments. Regarding Agassi, Sampras, McEnroe, etc - they would smoke him mainly because none of their service games would be remotely contested. It's a different level (assuming they're not completely out of practice).
 
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