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Latest Tennis Match

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My partner and I won 6-2, 6-1 after a long wait for our turn on the courts. My team was playing the number 1 team, and several of the matches went to three sets, so it was a long afternoon! But at least my team is a fun group of folks, so the waiting, watching, and cheering was enjoyable. (This is truly a tennis post, so if you’re not into tennis nor tennis drama, you’ll want to skip this one. πŸ™‚

Interestingly, here’s how my match went:
I played with a different partner from last time. This time, it was an older lady than before…maybe she is early 60s. Anyway, it’s obvious that she either 1) hasn’t played much serious tennis, or 2) has played a while and just never gotten above the basics. Well, she’s played for a while, but has just taken three lessons from a person at the PGA store, so while we’re watching and waiting for the others teams to finish, she’s feeling compelled to share all of her lesson tips with me. Now believe me when I say that I know I can learn new and good things from anyone, but she’s telling me things I learned at 14! So I nod and agree and just want to be pleasant and nice and to encourage the excitement of her own learning process.

However, at one point, she says, “My instructor said that you should wait until the ball is coming down off the bounce, when it’s about waist high, before you hit it.” Well, if you are actually in position to hit a ball, you should never wait until it losing energy (coming down) to hit it. You hit it while it’s on its way up (or at the latest, at the peak of the arc) so that the energy transfers into your return hit. Besides, the longer you wait, the more your opponent has time to get back into position. But I did not want to counter what her instructor was saying, so I just said, “Hmm, that’s not the way I learned it,” and let it go. I mainly wanted her to know that I was NOT going to be following that piece of advice from her instructor! πŸ™‚

When it’s FINALLY time to play our match, I’m not nearly as nervous as I was the last week, and I was much more able to make good shots. I think I only had four unforced errors this time.

So here’s where things get interesting… I have a pretty good serve. It’s very hard, fast, and low. If I don’t get my first serve in, it’s because it almost always smacks the tape at the top. I have NO spin on it because I never learned how to do that. But fortunately, my “incorrect” serve is hard to hit anyway, even without spin. It looks like it’s not going to clear the net, then it does, and it has very little bounce, pretty much giving the opponent little reaction time. And I’m fairly accurate with left-to-right placement. My second serve is slow and easy with plenty of bounce, just making sure it goes in… pretty much like most of the other women’s first serves.

And I have a good backhand. I hit one-handed backhands which is very uncommon for women these days. My backhand is powerful and accurate, and I run around a lot of normal forehands to turn it into a backhand… why? Because my groundstroke forehand SUCKS!! I hit off my backfoot, my racket is almost always too openfaced, etc. I can hit a decent forehand volley, but groundstoke? I have too much time to think about it, and I miss hit almost every time!

So anyway, the fact that I have two really strong strokes and the rest of my strokes are average or worse, means that I balance out to fit in on this team… most of whom are average on all of their strokes.

The women we’re playing are average players, but I’m blowing them away with my serve! I served three times in the match, and had several aces and caused errors on every serve except one, when they returned it, and my partner hit it into the net.

After I’d just served an ace on my first shot of my second round of serving, a guy who was either a friend or coach of the other team, loudly accused me/our team/our coach of sandbagging. (Wikipedia: sandbagging refers to a competitor who misrepresents his skill level in order to gain easy victories over less-skilled opponents.) Well, my coach went ballistic, and they started yelling at one another and getting up in each other’s face. My coach’s wife grabbed him by the arm to pull him away from the other guy to calm him down. We’re all down on the courts (lower than the stands) looking up and watching this scene. I had no idea it was about me until the other guy yelled, “Look at her serve! She’s blowing them away! They don’t have a chance! And she’s got a overhead backhand, and a slice. She shouldn’t be playing at this level!”

Well, that just makes me nervous to know that he’s talking about me! Now I feel like the entire complex is watching me about to serve! I call my partner over and say, “Do you think I need to pull back on my serve?” She said, “Hell, no!” So I didn’t. Three consecutive aces. πŸ™‚

Anyway, we win 6-2, 6-1. One of the players would not even look at me, she was so upset. I later overheard her coach say she was crying. Crying?! For God’s sake! I think the fact that they had been in first place, then we won all five matches was really irritating them and fueling the emotions. My point to one teammate, however, was that I only served three games, and they lost 12!! Certainly I was not responsible for all of it!! And besides, a good opponent would have seen that I was running around all of the forehand shots to make them into backhands. They should have pounded my forehand, but they didn’t. So I just kept making good winning backhand shots. I can’t help it if they don’t know enough to exploit their opponents’s weaknesses. It’s a sign of either of poor coaching or of not paying attention, and I’m not responsible for either of those.

After the game was over, I asked my coach what I should do in future games, and he said, just keep playing like I play and that ALTA probably would move me up into the next level if I play again.

I felt kinda badly that my serve was so hard for those ladies to hit, but several women on my team can hit sometimes when we’re practicing, so I know it’s not like I’m some Venus Williams out there. And I felt badly that someone thought I was trying to get away with something (sandbagging), but I told them early on what my strengths and weaknesses are, and they let me play with them, so I presumed everything was okay. And after last week’s dismal showing, I thought I might not even have any strengths anymore! Fortunately, I think last week was just nerves.

So, I felt bad for the confrontation, but felt good that someone thought I was at a higher level of play than everyone else. It’s a weird way to feel. πŸ™‚


Written by blogicalinks

October 8, 2007 at 1:08 pm

Posted in Sharing

7 Responses

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  1. Yay for your serve!! πŸ™‚ I would be proud of it and if they can’t hit it, well tough!

    You know, that blog that Eric wrote about transferring things from a PC to an iPhone was actually easier to understand than all this tennis lingo. LOL!!


    October 8, 2007 at 3:14 pm

  2. Wow! It seems you have some skills. I say be totally proud of them! Fun read, very dramatic.


    October 8, 2007 at 10:46 pm

  3. Well, I could follow THIS post – and didn’t even try to follow Eric’s! LOL! πŸ™‚

    Don’t worry – play your best and blow them away. They just “got cocky” as my daddy would say and they had a hard loss that day. Keep on keepin’ on!

    Ru's Mom

    October 8, 2007 at 10:54 pm

  4. Wow, Cheryl, you go girl!!! When I finally got to your next-to-last paragraph, I was thinking all of that already. They can’t judge you based on your biggest strength, which is your serve. So you also have a great backhand too, but every person has their weaknesses too, which you clearly stated. They obviously only saw your strengths because you were using them so well and they just didn’t know how to use theirs and/or exploit your forehand. Their bad loss. Your big win. Yayyy! You rock! That must feel weird that they cried about it. Work on that forehand and girl, you will be a powerhouse!!!

    BTW, I almost do one-handed backhands. It starts out two-handed but I finish my swing with one hand. The big follow-through gives a stronger punch. All this talk makes we want to go hit some. I would be horrible since it’s been so long, but it would be fun.


    October 9, 2007 at 6:21 pm

  5. Hey, Carmen, I’m also “horrible since it’s been so long”.
    Let me know if you ever want to go hit some balls.

    Ru's Mom

    October 9, 2007 at 10:32 pm

  6. Yes, that would be fun!!!


    October 10, 2007 at 10:58 pm

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