We advertised a "club championship" tournament for last saturday, but there were only 3 enlisted by deadline, so we called it off. FAILURE
Decided to play proper games anyway, no pre-enlist and no prizes. Something of an unofficial championship It may also be the starting point of an internal ranking ladder. We'll just see about that.
I had gotten some signals of possible "international participation" (high level), so because my footwork is still below par I didn't plan to play. The turnout was not what I hoped for, with only five adults including me, and five below 15. No point in bringing chairs out for the spectators (there were none).
I thought of the recent Yotovski revelations and that perhaps footwork is overrated. With that inspiration, and tournament administration manageable in parallel, there was nothing really stopping me (wife was back home
). With only one female player there was no point in gender split, so we had two roundrobins: "Adult" and "Below 15". Best of 5 sets.
I did some of the paperwork while the first matches were played, but I hear there was some good action. I had brought my camera, but alas didn't have time to make any footage. My first game was against H. Tried to keep everything low and deep, so I wouldn't need to run around. She still beat me easily first set, second I made it to 9-11, third was quite clear again (won 3 or 4 points).
As expected (she is a better player, and routinely beats me), 0-3 and one match down. My son was losing too. I had a look over at their matches His serves were not hitting home, and neither were his other strokes. He knows that he can do better. Still, he played a set to deuce in the first match, so his defensive work must be improving.
Next game against FS, one of the younger players who is really getting his game together. He plays with the big guys now
He took the first set comfortably, but his serves were all long, so by adjusting my position I could give stronger returns. Also I could tell that my ever changing serves bothered him. Two sets each, we played the fifth evenly, and I eventually won 15-13. He didn't seem too dissatisfied at the outcome, but I guess he would have won if he had exploited my weakened BH side more.
Somewhat unexpected, 3-2, match breakeven.
My next match was against L, another player who routinely beats me. Again the first set is one of adjustment and defeat. Second set to deuce, but lost. Third set looked like breakdown, I was down 0-9, but got my act somewhat together and managed 5-11.
Again as expected, 0-3, one match down.Umpired one of my son's matches. My previous impression was correct. He'd given up on spinny strokes. His serves were flat hits with high bounce and most returns were just placement, little speed and little spin. He still managed to win rallies, which was a relief. He was a lot quicker on his feet than usual, to return balls I'd think he wouldn't have reached. Just one of those days, putting in full effort and then some, and still not quite making it.
In the end he was quite satisfied after all. Losing every match 0-3, but against players who normally beat him anyway (the others are two to five years older), and with a few sets pretty close. Tomorrow is tuesday and training again, and he's eager to go.
Last match, playing FW. We are about the same level, so I'd guess we have about 50-50 wins each. We were both tired (and dinner was waiting), so focus was not always on the game, it seemed. I can't recall the details of it, but it went to a fifth set, and that set went to deuce, so it must have been a thriller
Again a bit unexpected, 3-2, breakeven.
I played better than expected. Ending up third of five, which is what I'd expect with full mobility against the same players.
However, it's shifting rapidly: Judging by current progress, FS is going to beat me soon now.
Also, a few of the top players were missing, so I guess we'd be hard pressed to call this a club championship. I'll post it on the page and see what happens...
Managed to avoid further injury too, though a couple of times it was a close call. When I need to let out some steam over an error I made, I sometimes do a 360 turn ending in a stomp. Normally that's a toe spin (more or less), but I managed to change them to heel spins at the last moment. Never seen it captured on video, but when I try to visualize it I know I must look ridiculous: Medium height, middle aged, overweight male attempting a pirouette, then landing clumsily on the wrong foot. I guess the others are laughing at me behind my back.
Evidence indicates that footwork really is
overrated. Playing without shoes tomorrow, to prove the point