Tennis Prose



Tennis is such a funny mind game

One of my favorite tennis player partners is a former ATP ranked player (over a 1000) and former Division 1 college player about fifteen years ago. We have been playing for four years and from day one to now, our battles are always so close. Except for a few one day dominations which each of us has enjoyed, most days it’s super tight and even, it comes down to a few points, the best kind of tennis anyone can ask for.

We play baseline games to 11 and tiebreakers to seven, mixing it up. Yesterday we played for the first time in very windy conditions in late afternoon. Both of us have been inactive because of lack of regular hitting because of courts being locked.

My friend won all four of the four baseline games. I got off to a bad start in the first one falling behind 0-5. I kept missing because of the wind and his heavy depth, I could not measure the wind and how it moved the ball right at my body, missing basic shots. I could never get over the bad start. The next three games were all close but I kept blowing them at the end.

So this morning we played again at 8:30 am at a different court. No wind. I realized I had to mix up my shots more today instead of giving him the same pace on every shot, which propels him play his best tennis. The wind made me too careful yesterday, today I was going to junk it up and run the risk of being called a “D3” player, a snide put down he jabs me with because he was a D1 player.

So in the warm up, we started mini tennis at net and I backed up first to the baseline. He stayed at net and I unleashed some hard forehands, one of which he misjudged and whiffed on it. Immediately, embarrassed by the miss my friend was offended by the previous 30 seconds and attempted damage control, “Why are you acting like the alpha male when I dominated you yesterday?” He wanted me to stay at net and keep doing mini tennis.

I replied that I had enough of mini after three minutes, but you can stay up there. I’m going back. Regarding the pace of my warm up shots, I defended myself: “Hey, you always call me a D3 player when I hit junk balls and moonballs, now when I hit a D1 shot you are complaining too? I thought you wanted me to hit with more pace?”

He took it in stride but I felt victorious in this small mental battle. And it helped me when we started the first baseline game. I mixed up pace with more variety, such as forehand slices deep to his backhand corner – his best shot – and also cross court to his forehand. I also used my backhand slice deep to his forehand and attacked net behind it, and caused some errors.

My full arsenal was working, I played fine tennis and I won the first game 11-8.

We switched sides and I won again, another close game I forget the score maybe 11-9.

Once again being able to execute variety and mixing up my shots, big pace and different spins and different court locations was working. Just a half day after being “dominated.” Now I was dominating. Well not quite.

We changed to playing tiebreakers with serves for the third game. He has a better serve than me and he won that breaker 7-4. He moves so well and uses a Roddick black and blue Babolat, with a two hander. Every point is a dogfight.

He gained mometum and rode it. I missed a stupid overhead up the line that was going to land out wide, I hit it into the net cord. That bad miss cost me the breaker. Still 2-1 overall for me.

Third tiebreaker was again close and he won 9-7 when I netted a put away forehand slice shot at net off a weak bounce. 2-2.

My friend said he had to go after four games but deadlocked at 2-2, he suddenly had extra time to stay for one more. One more tiebreaker for bragging rights. I won it again in overtime 9-7 on a forehand miss wide on the final point.

Instantly after losing he asked to hit backhand cross courts for two minutes. We ended up hitting them for fifteen minutes. At the end of that drill he suddenly wanted to play one more tiebreaker which I declined because I was tired and still sore from the day before, my first hard intense tennis workout in weeks.

So 0-4 yesterday and today 3-2 for me. What will tomorrow bring? Stay tuned…

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  • Scoop Malinowski · May 6, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    I won today 5-1. First 5 and then he won the last tiebreaker, I think I threw him a bone. I won the first two baseline games fairly close and the first tiebreaker 7-0. Second one wasabout 7-3. Third one was also pretty comfortable. It was one of my best days ever on the court eerything worked, every shot selection the ball went where I wanted it to go, slice, top, drop, volley, deep, moonball, total control of the ball.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 6, 2020 at 1:34 pm

    The more you’re hated, the more your effectiveness is revealed.

    “Beauty is truth, truth beauty” / that is all/ Ye know on earth/ and all ye need to know. – Keats

    I think these quotes apply to … tennis too 🙂

  • catherine · May 6, 2020 at 1:56 pm

    Is that you in the photo Scoop ?

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 6, 2020 at 4:20 pm


  • Scoop Malinowski · May 6, 2020 at 4:31 pm

    I just changed photo to today as my friend sent it. The previous was from about five years ago in Florida. This court is the one we played on today and yesterday. Looks like Foro Italico with the pine trees around the court.

  • Sam · May 7, 2020 at 7:40 pm

    Scoop, your friend didn’t want his picture posted? 🙂

  • catherine · May 8, 2020 at 12:46 am

    Player to keep an eye on. Laul may have won W’don by the time this comment appears 🙂

  • catherine · May 8, 2020 at 1:01 am

    Well, we don’t have to worry about cholera anymore because Djokovic thinks we can can purify polluted water just by thinking about it.

    It’s ok for Djoko to voice these nutty ideas as long as people don’t start trying them out. And his two young children.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 8, 2020 at 7:58 am

    Sam, nobody to take it.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 8, 2020 at 8:03 am

    Djokovic would not make such a crazy comment unless it was logical. Curious to learn more about Djokovic’s water purifying theory.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 8, 2020 at 8:04 am

    UTR pro tennis in West Palm Beach, Opelka, Paul, Hukarcz playing today, Sandgren pulled out with knee injury. Pro tennis is reviving.

  • catherine · May 8, 2020 at 9:55 am

    Some tennis events being held in UK too without spectators but I haven’t any details because the players are not exactly headliners. Restrictions are being lifted slowly.

    CSN is postponing her retirement until 2021, same with Petko and I wonder about Klijsters – will she be back ?
    I’d say no. Interesting browsing IGs. Kerber has posted many pix of herself in various poses – question: is she simply enthralled by her own image or playing a game which is not tennis ? I lean to the latter.

    Djoko was chatting to some Iranian guru as far as I can gather. I don’t think ‘logic’ enters into it. Positive thoughts can’t change sewage into drinking water.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 8, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    Maybe Kerber is reinventing herself? Worked well for Agassi and Serena.

  • catherine · May 8, 2020 at 1:07 pm

    Details of Djokovic’s conversation with charlatan Jafarieh. Novak can believe what he likes but as an influential figure he should be careful about voicing his beliefs and apparently supporting dubious ‘authorities’ like Jafarieh.

  • catherine · May 8, 2020 at 1:58 pm

    Angie reinventing ? It’s more likely she’s collecting the most glamorous photos of herself on IG together with ego-soothing fan comments to accompany her into retirement which is surely around the corner: ‘Remember When I Played ?’

    Everyone does it in their own way.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 8, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    Djokovic has a tendency to connect with some off the beaten path characters.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 8, 2020 at 3:09 pm

    Kerber may be tired of tennis now in her 30s. Like Sofia Zhuk is done with tennis in her early 20s. Some just get tired of it all. Some can’t seem to get enough – Federer, Paes, Lopez, Bryans, Clijsters, Hewitt, Nestor, Zimonjic, Melo, Lindstedt, Stosur, etc.

  • jg · May 8, 2020 at 5:01 pm

    that looks like a pretty sweet court in Palm Beach where they are playing the 4 person tournament. They wouldn’t reveal the name of the owner but must be a tennis fanatic to have such a nice court, apparently its where Opelka and Paul have been playing.

    Mark Ein did a call for Citi Open sponsors and ticket holders today and said they are trying to see if they can do the tournament in some shape and form, looks like they have a lot of upgrades ready–but we may have to wait a year to see the full extent. They said Newport and Atlanta will announce next week what they are doing.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 8, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    jg, feel bad for the one man ops who run tournaments like Sarasota Open and Tallahassee Challenger. They work all year for one event and it evaporates. I know both of the tournament owner/directors. ALso hearing Delray Beach is in big trouble again. Really hope Citi Open and Delray plan to play tennis. Fans can sign a waiver. I think most people are ready to roll and ready to work.

  • Jon King · May 8, 2020 at 11:41 pm

    I know that court. We used to rent a house in that neighborhood called Bay Hill Estates in West Palm Beach. Only house with its own tennis court. Opelka’s coach Jay Berger rents out there now, as does Johan Kriek.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 9, 2020 at 7:35 am

    Berger works at some academy doesn’t he?

  • catherine · May 9, 2020 at 9:22 am

    Most of this is familiar but I liked the spectator cow munching grass in W Palm Beach.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 9, 2020 at 10:43 am

    pro tennis this weekend is the only live pro sports. Tennis leading the way.

  • Jon King · May 9, 2020 at 10:55 am

    Berger started a kids program at Ibis, which is a gated community with some great Har Tru tennis courts. Its right next to the Bay Hill Estates where the house with the private court is that Opelka plays on. Berger and Opelka used to show up at the hidden courts at the local park where Venus also trains for hard courts. But they stopped coming once they got the set up with the private courts.

  • Jon King · May 9, 2020 at 11:50 am

    catherine, that cow comment spurred my interest as there are no cows in our old neighborhood. So we just went by the court on our Saturday morning drive. Turns out it is not the one I thought it was but a newer one built right next door to our old neighborhood. Pretty much a new house and court on a giant sandy lot of land, surrounded by small ranches with horses and cows. A very cool set up for a tennis court!!

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 9, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    With General Flynn being exonerated and the swamp draining to increase massively in the coming days and weeks, high profile arrests coming, expect pro tennis to resume in july. It’s finally happening. Great time to be alive in America.

  • catherine · May 10, 2020 at 12:49 am

    Uh uh.

  • catherine · May 10, 2020 at 1:08 am

    ‘Tennis’ may be resuming in July but I don’t know what kind of tennis you’re talking about because it’s certainly not happening anywhere else, not so you’d notice.

    And saying ‘a great time to be alive’ in any context now seems in pretty poor taste. I knew you couldn’t stick to tennis Scoop.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 10, 2020 at 6:12 am

    The balance of power is shifting. Patriots in control. Tennis back soon.

  • catherine · May 10, 2020 at 8:34 am

    What if no ‘high profile arrests’ ? What if nothing happens ? What if there’s a world outside the US ? No, impossible. The pro game will be back when it’s safe, with or without fans. CoronaV doesn’t believe in conspiracy theories and it’s not a tennis fan. But it does love crowds.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 10, 2020 at 9:16 am

    Marcelo Rios says he can’t imagine Roger Federer going out and getting drunk. Just saw a tweet of an article about Rios saying that. If Rios sneezes it makes a headline in Chile.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 10, 2020 at 11:14 am

    Fred McNair forgotten classics memory…I played Nick Saviano at Wimbledon 1977….first round of the 100th Centenary Celebration of Wimbledon…he and I played the longest match in the tournament….6-4, 5-7, 9-8, 8-9, 16-14!! I may be off in the first two sets scores….but it was 5 1/2 hours long…I pulled a David Blaine miracle, down 5-3, 40-0 in the fifth on his lefty serve…I think he had a lobotomy the next week in order to “fogettaboutit”!!

  • Jon King · May 10, 2020 at 3:41 pm

    Fred McNair… brought back memories. We used to play all the time with his 2 nephews. The kids were 7-8 years old and would play king of the court for hours. Tennis runs very deep in that family.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 10, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    Who won the 50 meter sprint in 1980 – Wayne Gretzky, Sugar Ray Leonard, Bjorn Borg or Pele? I will give the correct order of finish.

  • Matty · May 13, 2020 at 4:52 am

    “The balance of power is shifting. Patriots in control. Tennis back soon.“
    Ummmm, I think Tom Brady may have something different to say about your statement #buccaneers

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 13, 2020 at 7:12 am

    Buccaneers on their way to a Super Bowl! Name change to Tampa Braydy Buccaneers or Tampa Bay Tom Bradys may be necessary ☺



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