Trip report from my first tournament

leech

Semi-Pro
I had been looking for a tournament to play in for a while, but the timing never worked out. I finally was able to enter a local tournament in the 3.5 men's singles division.

I didn't know what to expect when I got to the tournament. I thought that there would be an official, and maybe even some ballboys. But it was just my opponent and me sent off to an assigned court at the local high school courts (six courts in a row with no dividers). Not quite Wimbledon, but I guess I couldn't have expected much for the $31 entry fee (got a T-shirt as well). It turned out that we were given the option to contact our opponents to schedule matches at a mutually agreeable time/location. I wasn't schedule to play my second round match until 5 days later, so we agreed to play 2 days after my first round match. It felt more like a Flex League, where we are given our opponent's contact info and are left to schedule the match ourselves and report the score.

Here are some notes about my tournament matches.

First round match; won 6-2, 7-5
Opponent was a tall, slender white guy who is very fit/athletic for a 60-yr old (former college basketball player, he told me). Quirky serve with a lot of side spin, but not much heat. He was not used to my slice and had difficulty keeping ball in play. After going up 4-0 in first set, I let up and worked to improve my second serve by serving exclusively second serves. Had some good rallies; my inconsistency from baseline allowed him to take early lead in second set. He was up 5-4 with opportunity to serve out the set, but squandered it. He was noticeably nervous, even commenting before the game that he would probably choke. So I focused hard on making sure he had every opportunity to do so, and pulled out the last 3 games to close out the set and match 7-5.

Round of 16 match; won 7-5, 7-5
Opponent was mid-40s white guy in decent shape. Solid player with consistent groundstrokes, well-placed flattish serves, and all-court game. He had entered the 4.0 event as well, and lost the first round match 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. He started to approach and come to net more as the match went on. I had difficulty doing much when he sliced deep in the a court corner to my backhand. However, he did not move that quickly at net, so I was able to pass him a fair amount of times when I had sufficient time to set up (my lob game was off that day). I was down 4-5 in first set before holding, then breaking him to go up 6-5, and finally closing out set on my serve. He kinda choked in second set after being up 5-3 and serving for the set, only to drop the next 4 games, allowing me to take the second set 7-5 as well and win in two tough sets.

Quarterfinal match; lost 6-1, 4-6, 6-1
Opponent was a tall, lanky athletic white kid (31 years old I found out), another former basketball player who recently got back into tennis. Had consistent baseline strokes and got to everything; tough to end a point with him. He was the first lefty I've played against, which was difficult to adjust to. I was broken easily my first service game, as I could not see the ball well on my service toss due to the sun. He did not seem to be bothered by it, strangely. I played with sunglasses the second set and pulled out to 5-2 lead, managing to take it 6-4. But I ran out of gas and became deflated after being broken the first game of the third set on a long game. He was clearly the better player and made fewer errors. As the match went on, I tried to mix it up and draw him in to net, where I was able to pass him with moderate success. And when I went to net, he showed off some really good passing shots of his own, making my frequent forays to the net unprofitable. With the semifinal scheduled immediately after this match, I would not have had the energy to play another match had I advanced; my legs were shot.

It was a fun event and I will definitely seek out additional tournaments to play in. They had a BBQ cookout, so I scarfed down a burger after my match, wished another player I knew good luck in the open event, then wanted to get home to sleep. I had woken up at 5am that day and couldn't fall back asleep. I barely stayed awake on my 30 minute drive home and immediately took a nap upon arrival.
 

gmatheis

Hall of Fame
Leech,

Congrats! Getting past two opponents and taking a set off the third one sounds pretty solid to me for your first tournament.

Keep it up !
 

The Wreck

Semi-Pro
wtf?!?!? how do you get anything about whether or not this guy is white from his post ... and better yet who cares if he is or isn't
Because he felt it necessary to point out that all three of his opponents were white? Seems like an awfully frivolous detail, don't you think?
 

mikeler

Moderator
This comment cracked me up thinking about a 3.5 tournament:

"I thought that there would be an official, and maybe even some ballboys"
 

josofo

Semi-Pro
wtf?!?!? how do you get anything about whether or not this guy is white from his post ... and better yet who cares if he is or isn't
most white people just assume everyone else is white and point out if they are not white. he did the opposite, which there is totally nothing wrong with because like i said if a lot of white people would point out if they played a black person or asian. i just pointed it out becaue i found it amusing.
 

leech

Semi-Pro
Because he felt it necessary to point out that all three of his opponents were white? Seems like an awfully frivolous detail, don't you think?
Ha, sorry; wasn't trying to be controversial. Just took from my post-game notes, and I try to get a physical description of my opponents to help me remember them. Color of their skin is part of that description, as is age and body type. I could have left out for this trip report.
 

leech

Semi-Pro
Leech,

Congrats! Getting past two opponents and taking a set off the third one sounds pretty solid to me for your first tournament.

Keep it up !
Thanks; I really enjoyed the experience. I took a peek at the 4.0 match, and see that they are in a totally different class than me; something to strive for in the coming years.
 

nickarnold2000

Hall of Fame
I had been looking for a tournament to play in for a while, but the timing never worked out. I finally was able to enter a local tournament in the 3.5 men's singles division.

I didn't know what to expect when I got to the tournament. I thought that there would be an official, and maybe even some ballboys. But it was just my opponent and me sent off to an assigned court at the local high school courts (six courts in a row with no dividers). Not quite Wimbledon, but I guess I couldn't have expected much for the $31 entry fee (got a T-shirt as well). It turned out that we were given the option to contact our opponents to schedule matches at a mutually agreeable time/location. I wasn't schedule to play my second round match until 5 days later, so we agreed to play 2 days after my first round match. It felt more like a Flex League, where we are given our opponent's contact info and are left to schedule the match ourselves and report the score.

Here are some notes about my tournament matches.

First round match; won 6-2, 7-5
Opponent was a tall, slender white guy who is very fit/athletic for a 60-yr old (former college basketball player, he told me). Quirky serve with a lot of side spin, but not much heat. He was not used to my slice and had difficulty keeping ball in play. After going up 4-0 in first set, I let up and worked to improve my second serve by serving exclusively second serves. Had some good rallies; my inconsistency from baseline allowed him to take early lead in second set. He was up 5-4 with opportunity to serve out the set, but squandered it. He was noticeably nervous, even commenting before the game that he would probably choke. So I focused hard on making sure he had every opportunity to do so, and pulled out the last 3 games to close out the set and match 7-5.

Round of 16 match; won 7-5, 7-5
Opponent was mid-40s white guy in decent shape. Solid player with consistent groundstrokes, well-placed flattish serves, and all-court game. He had entered the 4.0 event as well, and lost the first round match 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. He started to approach and come to net more as the match went on. I had difficulty doing much when he sliced deep in the a court corner to my backhand. However, he did not move that quickly at net, so I was able to pass him a fair amount of times when I had sufficient time to set up (my lob game was off that day). I was down 4-5 in first set before holding, then breaking him to go up 6-5, and finally closing out set on my serve. He kinda choked in second set after being up 5-3 and serving for the set, only to drop the next 4 games, allowing me to take the second set 7-5 as well and win in two tough sets.

Quarterfinal match; lost 6-1, 4-6, 6-1
Opponent was a tall, lanky athletic white kid (31 years old I found out), another former basketball player who recently got back into tennis. Had consistent baseline strokes and got to everything; tough to end a point with him. He was the first lefty I've played against, which was difficult to adjust to. I was broken easily my first service game, as I could not see the ball well on my service toss due to the sun. He did not seem to be bothered by it, strangely. I played with sunglasses the second set and pulled out to 5-2 lead, managing to take it 6-4. But I ran out of gas and became deflated after being broken the first game of the third set on a long game. He was clearly the better player and made fewer errors. As the match went on, I tried to mix it up and draw him in to net, where I was able to pass him with moderate success. And when I went to net, he showed off some really good passing shots of his own, making my frequent forays to the net unprofitable. With the semifinal scheduled immediately after this match, I would not have had the energy to play another match had I advanced; my legs were shot.

It was a fun event and I will definitely seek out additional tournaments to play in. They had a BBQ cookout, so I scarfed down a burger after my match, wished another player I knew good luck in the open event, then wanted to get home to sleep. I had woken up at 5am that day and couldn't fall back asleep. I barely stayed awake on my 30 minute drive home and immediately took a nap upon arrival.
It's never a good sign when someone says that they're probably going to choke - and this was a 60 year old guy! :confused: I figured some kid would say that.
Anyways, great stuff for your 1st tourney. So besides working on your fitness, what else do you need to improve?
I used to throw my racket and do other silly things but now I've gotten a little wiser and keep my emotions in check(plus, rackets are too expensive to throw!). Whenever I hear my opponent getting frustrated & angry it really gives a big lift.
 

mikeler

Moderator
Ha, sorry; wasn't trying to be controversial. Just took from my post-game notes, and I try to get a physical description of my opponents to help me remember them. Color of their skin is part of that description, as is age and body type. I could have left out for this trip report.

I get why age and physical description matter but I don't know how skin color could help unless you are trying to identify the fact that you played that opponent before. In that case, I think their name would suffice. :confused:
 

leech

Semi-Pro
So besides working on your fitness, what else do you need to improve?
Here are some things I want to focus on in my next few (non-tournament) matches:

(1) Be more patient in points. I went into the match thinking that I would not be able to hang with my opponent in a baseline rally (which I think is true), so I tried to move in at any opportunity. Good strategy, but badly executed in many instances, as my approach shot was not good enough to force a weak return. I could have waited for better opportunities to approach the net. I got away with it in the first two matches, but my last opponent made me pay with some well-placed passing shots.

(2) Get exposed to more playing styles. Specifically, I want to play more matches versus lefties. My go-to shot is a forehand slice down the line while I approach the net, but playing against a lefty, I tried to hit more crosscourt shots with my forehand. It led to a ton of unforced errors, because I wasn't used to it. I also wasn't used to someone so fast that my drop shots were largely ineffective. I'm hoping to play a couple matches a week on my local tennis ladder, as well as playing USTA league matches. I'll have a ton more match experience before my next tournament.

(3) Find a way to deal with playing in the sun. I notice that most high-level tennis players play without any sunglasses, and many without hats/visors. I tried going with just a visor, but eventually had to put on sunglasses my last match. I am uncomfortable playing with sunglasses, but I need to figure something out.
 

leech

Semi-Pro
I get why age and physical description matter but I don't know how skin color could help unless you are trying to identify the fact that you played that opponent before. In that case, I think their name would suffice. :confused:
I also record my opponents' names (edited out for this trip report), but I'm not confident I'll always able to recall a match just based on the name. Skin color is a pretty significant part of one's physical characteristic, IMO. I'm confused why you would find this confusing. :confused:
 

The Wreck

Semi-Pro
Not confusing. Just comes across as...insensitive?

I don't know. I could personally care less, but I think the point is skin color (unlike height, weight, age, build) has absolutely nothing to do with tennis skill or playing characteristics.

And of course, because all three of your opponents were white it came off a little differently. If you had said "black guy in decent shape" or "tall, slender asian guy", that's going to instinctively throw up some flags for certain (more sensitive) people. Even if it was meant innocently by you, it just hardly seems worth mentioning.
 
Congrats on your results. Tournament tennis can be kind of crazy. As I've said in other posts, tournament tennis here in Texas is basically Iron Man tennis where we play our tournaments over sometimes a three day weekend but mostly for the 100 point tournaments on Saturdays & Sundays. And that's even with 16-player sized draws. I'm sure my results would be a lot better if I didn't have to play so many matches in such a short span.

So aside from the things you already want to focus on, you should also consider building up your stamina. Granted you may only play tournaments where you won't play more than a match a day. It's easy to put forth all of your effort and energy to win that first match, but if you have another within 30 mins. to an hour afterwards, it takes some discipline to "pace" yourself.

I've learned that in the process of playing and winning multiple matches in one day, I have to pick my "battles" carefully. If I'm up a break and 40-Love, and my opponent crushes one down the line I could possibly reach, I might just let that one go. Don't get me wrong, I'm not giving up or wanting to give them the point, I'm just aware of the situation. Now if I'm down in the match then all bets are off and I'm going to do everything I can to come back and win. If I don't have any gas left for my next match, then oh well. I should have worked on my stamina so I could give my next opponent a run for his money...

The moral of the story, stay fit! Cheers!

H76
 

mikeler

Moderator
Not confusing. Just comes across as...insensitive?

I don't know. I could personally care less, but I think the point is skin color (unlike height, weight, age, build) has absolutely nothing to do with tennis skill or playing characteristics.

And of course, because all three of your opponents were white it came off a little differently. If you had said "black guy in decent shape" or "tall, slender asian guy", that's going to instinctively throw up some flags for certain (more sensitive) people. Even if it was meant innocently by you, it just hardly seems worth mentioning.

Bingo.....
 

josofo

Semi-Pro
Bingo.....
i honestly think it just comes off different because op is not white and we are not are not used to it. also we are on the internet so the race of the person is completely useless to us. in real life you would say someones race because maybe the person you are talking to knows him.
 

leech

Semi-Pro
Ha, sorry; wasn't trying to be controversial. Just took from my post-game notes, and I try to get a physical description of my opponents to help me remember them. Color of their skin is part of that description, as is age and body type. I could have left out for this trip report.
I wasn't trying to be racially insensitive. Two of my best friends are white (and were my groomsmen).

As I explained, I copied my post-match notes and thought to delete the opponents' names (because they might not want their names and my analysis of the match posted in a public forum), but didn't think to delete references to their skin color. I wasnt making any assessment of their tennis ability based on ethnicity, and could have left that out. I apologize.
 

leech

Semi-Pro
Congrats on your results. Tournament tennis can be kind of crazy. As I've said in other posts, tournament tennis here in Texas is basically Iron Man tennis where we play our tournaments over sometimes a three day weekend but mostly for the 100 point tournaments on Saturdays & Sundays. And that's even with 16-player sized draws. I'm sure my results would be a lot better if I didn't have to play so many matches in such a short span.

So aside from the things you already want to focus on, you should also consider building up your stamina. Granted you may only play tournaments where you won't play more than a match a day. It's easy to put forth all of your effort and energy to win that first match, but if you have another within 30 mins. to an hour afterwards, it takes some discipline to "pace" yourself.

I've learned that in the process of playing and winning multiple matches in one day, I have to pick my "battles" carefully. If I'm up a break and 40-Love, and my opponent crushes one down the line I could possibly reach, I might just let that one go. Don't get me wrong, I'm not giving up or wanting to give them the point, I'm just aware of the situation. Now if I'm down in the match then all bets are off and I'm going to do everything I can to come back and win. If I don't have any gas left for my next match, then oh well. I should have worked on my stamina so I could give my next opponent a run for his money...

The moral of the story, stay fit! Cheers!

H76
Thanks, H76. Much respect to you and other tournament warriors!
 

OrangePower

Legend
I wasn't trying to be racially insensitive. Two of my best friends are white (and were my groomsmen).

As I explained, I copied my post-match notes and thought to delete the opponents' names (because they might not want their names and my analysis of the match posted in a public forum), but didn't think to delete references to their skin color. I wasnt making any assessment of their tennis ability based on ethnicity, and could have left that out. I apologize.
The only possible assessment one can make is that the best players are... orange! :)
 

jdubbs

Hall of Fame
Tournaments are really fun, and you inevitably run into that tournament warrior who is not necessarily the best player, but knows how to play matches (i.e. drive you crazy).
I lost a couple of matches to a guy I should have dominated but he was great at just getting the ball back, lobbing and dropshotting and driving me crazy.

I kept progressing and eventually played him again and dominated him, it was the best feeling.

Play as many matches as you can and get match savvy, and you'll start to have great results.
 

Wuppy

Professional
... on a high school tennis court- seriously?
You can make 'em out of wooden dowels for like a buck-fifty each. I'm imagining some cracked blacktop court with holey nets and a basketball half-court at one end. :shock:
 

goober

Legend
You can make 'em out of wooden dowels for like a buck-fifty each. I'm imagining some cracked blacktop court with holey nets and a basketball half-court at one end. :shock:
Maybe, but you really think a TD is going to go through the hassle of buying them and and cutting them to right size for all the courts? The dude is already going on the cheap by scheduling a tournament at public high school to begin with, you really think he would bother to put up singles sticks in such a subpar facility for a paid tournament?
 

nickarnold2000

Hall of Fame
Here are some things I want to focus on in my next few (non-tournament) matches:

(1) Be more patient in points. I went into the match thinking that I would not be able to hang with my opponent in a baseline rally (which I think is true), so I tried to move in at any opportunity. Good strategy, but badly executed in many instances, as my approach shot was not good enough to force a weak return. I could have waited for better opportunities to approach the net. I got away with it in the first two matches, but my last opponent made me pay with some well-placed passing shots.

(2) Get exposed to more playing styles. Specifically, I want to play more matches versus lefties. My go-to shot is a forehand slice down the line while I approach the net, but playing against a lefty, I tried to hit more crosscourt shots with my forehand. It led to a ton of unforced errors, because I wasn't used to it. I also wasn't used to someone so fast that my drop shots were largely ineffective. I'm hoping to play a couple matches a week on my local tennis ladder, as well as playing USTA league matches. I'll have a ton more match experience before my next tournament.

(3) Find a way to deal with playing in the sun. I notice that most high-level tennis players play without any sunglasses, and many without hats/visors. I tried going with just a visor, but eventually had to put on sunglasses my last match. I am uncomfortable playing with sunglasses, but I need to figure something out.
Check out Bolle's tennis sunglasses here at TW. They've muted all the colors except for yellow so the ball is very clear. I love mine. The pros don't often change equipment because any loss in performance(in the short term) means money out of their pockets. Save your eyes and have fewer wrinkles. :)
 
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