Challenged by the Big Ten Champ


By Scoop Malinowski

This guy aggressively called me out after doubles group play to a set of singles. We beat him in doubles 4-2. Of all 20 people, he targeted me. Heard this guy was former Big Ten champion from Purdue and Chief Financial Officer of Proctor Gamble. Really tough player, tons of experience. I love any challenge, so accepted. I changed grip and went to the bathroom but everybody stayed to watch the showdown.

He was killing me 2-love and break points for 3 love. Big power, heavy shots, penetrating the corners, winners, I had my hands full. But I dug deep and summoned beast mode and raised my game and leveled it at 2 all. The change came when I mixed up the speeds and hit some slower deep balls deep in the corners. That altered his rhythm and he missed. I also mixed in some different spins, and got some misses.

Then he broke again for 3-2. Then I saved two break points with backhand cross courts that he could not handle at net. Then another and then a lunge forehand lob that somehow landed in. I stole that game for 3-3. We stopped then because I was doing more running and felt tired after three sets of doubles.

I had beaten him in doubles 4-2 and he had a very strong doubles partner as did I.

When he challenged me it felt similar to a pre-arranged fight after school. Or a hockey fight in a brawl where the guy comes up to you and gives you a push and drops the gloves and you either drop em and throw fists or back down and everyone sees you’re a chicken. I agreed instantly to play this hotshot. I LOVE that electric feeling of getting ready for a fight with a dangerous opponent. The ultimate.

Yes I was honored in a sense that such a highly regarded player called me out – I had heard about this guy from previous emails from another guy in the group. As passive as the challenge was issued – Do you want to play a set of singles? – it was aggressive. Why me? Why not someone else? Am I considered the top singles dawg? Did he dislike me because of what some others said about my intensity and emotional adrenaline. That didn’t matter. What mattered was, I had to fight this guy with everybody watching.

It was high quality tennis.

My motivational fuel was that this guy basically wanted to humiliate me on the court and he thought he could kill me in front of the group. But he misjudged what I could do. And he learned that he bit off more than he could chew. And that he poked a lion.  Some of the observers were offended by my intensity and roars of COME AWWN! and the one time I threw my racquet when down love 2.

But when the lion roars, no mouse can tell it to keep quiet. For the lion couldn’t care less about the opinion of the mouse.

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  • Dan Markowitz · November 21, 2018 at 8:18 am

    Way to step up, Scoop. It’s your biggest skill as a tennis player, you’re not afraid of a challenge. Callum has drawn the No. 1 player in the 12’s Indoor Nationals at the Billie Jean King Center and he’ll play him on Friday. He’s been bellyaching, the boy is no. 2 in the 12’s rankings in the country. But this will be a good match for Callum even if he loses 6-0, 6-0. He needs to step up when he’s faced with adversity, which is what his coaches tell me too. He either takes his opponents too lightly or builds them up and takes them like he’s facing Djokovic. Match is Friday at 11:15 am in Flushing if any readers/posters are living in the New York area and want to come by and root for Cal, say hello to me, we’d both welcome it. It’s Alexander Razeghi of Humble, Texas versus Cal Markowitz of White Plains, New York.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 21, 2018 at 8:57 am

    Thanks Dan. Callum will be fine. whatever happens it doesn’t matter, he’s in a good position right now, he’s in the mix of tangling with the best and holding his own. I was impressed how he played that kid in Orlando who had beaten the kid he lost to twice. That proved something. Was hoping to see Cal at Eddie Herr 12s, maybe next year. I’m hitting with a NJ girl 14s national doubles champ in one category on Sunday to help get her ready. The Eddie Herr is just an amazing event with so much talent. Will scout the 12s for future Cal rivals.

  • jg · November 21, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Dan isn’t that there kid who played in the final of the 12’s in Orlando, and played against that machine from California I think? Will it be live streamed? How are the indoor courts at Flushing Meadow?

    Scoop–how was his serve? What year did he play college?

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 21, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    jg; His serve was good, not overwhelming, good kick, good placement. Not sure, I guess 80s mid 80s.

  • Dan Markowitz · November 22, 2018 at 6:55 am

    Razeghi did play Rudy Quan of California at the clay’s in orlando and lost 5 and 2 i think. I don’t know if it was the finals, but i think it was. Razeghi has only lost 5 matches in the 12’s and i think three were against Quan. I don’t know if it’ll be live-streamed, but if it is I’ll give details. The indoor courts are nice at Flushing Meadows, but nothing special except for three have a nice ampitheater viewing area.

    I think this match, Scoop, means a lot. He’s never played a top 10 kid before. I hope he can step up.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 22, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    Playing with fear or concern about being crushed will help Cal bring out his best. He will learn a lot from this experience, that’s for sure.

  • Dan Markowitz · November 22, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    jon, the matches are being shown live on the usta campus web site just like the national clay courts.

  • Dan Markowitz · November 24, 2018 at 3:56 am

    Cal was right in the match today, losing to the No. 2 player in the country, 6-3, 6-4. At times, he out-hit the boy who had a heavy forehand and a dangerous backhand and just didn’t miss much at all. Cal needs to work on getting quicker on the court and using his forehand to dictate points. But to play a home-schooled Texan to 3 and 4 who’s only lost a total of 5 matches in the 12’s, is a good result.

    Cal won his first backdraw match 1 and love, but plays the No. 2 seed and 15th player in the country today at 10:15, Andrew Filer of Indiana.

  • Hartt · November 24, 2018 at 6:53 am

    Congrats to Cal, that is impressive.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 24, 2018 at 7:24 am

    Super effort, that score shows he is right there with the best, just a few points. 3 and 4 is razor close, it may look like a clear win to some but serious players know the truth. I have played many matches that ended up 3 and 3 or 3 and 4 and have learned that is very close. just played a 3 and 3 vs a beast and know how tough it was. Cal must get quicker and he can, he just has to work on it, work on doing those sprints, short quick burst sprints around the court drills and he will get quicker and it will make a difference in that he will win those two or three extra points a set and that extra speed will also make the opponent try for two much and he will make a few extra errors.

  • Dan Markowitz · November 24, 2018 at 7:51 am

    Exactly. The key is to get quicker for two reasons: making the court smaller for your opponent and having more power and explosiveness on your movements at net and serve. Fritz Buehning, Cal’s coach, was there and said he also has to hit his forehand 20 per cent harder because his backhand has gotten so much better and solid, Cal’s getting too complacent and not ripping FH enough. Against these top players, you have to get them running before they get you running.



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