Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Manu Singh -- On the Courts of Cleveland


Manu Singh —joins us today from Tennis Cleveland.

He is a software engineer and works as a project manager in his industry. He grew up in India and has been living in Ohio for the last 8 years. Besides tennis, he likes to play a lot of cricket. He's also a pretty good sketch artist, as you can see below.

***

Hi Manu, and thanks for joining us. We want to share your thoughts and experiences playing in the Tennis Cleveland league, a division of the Tennis League Network franchise, and to learn a little more about you. Firstly, how long have you been playing tennis? What got you started and what has kept you going? 

I used to play lots of cricket and never thought I could pickup tennis easily. My office colleagues used to play a lot when I was in Columbus. Luckily for me, I found a new friend who was really good at tennis. I started hitting with him and he gave me lots of tips and that's how I was able to pick it up. I never stopped playing after that.

Tennis is so good. You get so much fun while playing tennis and lots of exercise as well. There is always the scope of improvement, and you can keep on challenging yourself. It's easy to schedule since you just need to find one person who is available compared to many other team sports.

Which league are you a member of and how long have you been participating in it? Also, how did you end up finding out about us? 

I am a member of the Tennis Cleveland league. I play at the Advanced level (4.0). I think that's the right rating for me right now. I still have to improve my second serves and backhand in order to compete against Elite players.

I have been playing for the last 2 years now and I have absolutely loved it. I also referred many of my friends to the league. As of mid-July 2016 Manu has racked up an impressive 69-19 record.  Mannu's Profile.

I always wanted to play in this kind of league while I was in Columbus for 5 years, but I couldn't find any opportunity like this. Then when I moved to Cleveland, I came to know about Tennis Cleveland through an online search through google :) I didn't waste any time and joined immediately.

How often are you playing tennis?

I like to play 3-4 times a week. Other days I like to hit the gym and play other sports.

What do you like about the Tennis Cleveland

This league is just awesome from all the perspectives. I greatly appreciate the admin staff management of this league and he is so good with responses to all the queries. I am glad I found out so many good tennis buddies through Tennis Cleveland and I have enjoyed playing against those people. People are always on time, so friendly and well behaved. It has been an amazing experience. Thank you to the Tennis Cleveland Admin team. I will always cherish this experience.

Manu's  Sketches


Now that you’ve played a couple dozen matches in the league, would you consider any of your Tennis Cleveland opponents rivals? 

I love to play against Erica Umpierrez. She is so tough and professional. She makes you run for every point and we always have amazing matches and good time on the courts. I have also enjoyed playing against Kyle Le, Chris Francy, Gheorghe Fartea, Brian Patrick and TC Hennessy. They are all amazing people to play with and are very competitive and have great sportsmanship.

 

Tell us about your most memorable match(es).

My most memorable match is against Kyle Le (Now my doubles partner too ). I met him for the first time last year when we were supposed to play the Tennis Ladder championship match. I knew he would be tough to beat and we had a very good match going to the third set. Luckily for me, I managed to win it. I was happy to pull it off against a very quality and tough opponent. It was amazing to play against him. I haven't won against him after that though, but we are doubles partners now, so that's good.

Who are your favorite pro players? Why? 

My favorite players are Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Federer is just so classy and elegant. He makes so many excellent plays without any efforts. On the other hand Rafa has strong will power and he is a great fighter. He runs for everything. Even though they are not at their prime now, they will remain my favorite tennis stars.

Manu, thank you again for taking the time to do this interview. And we'd love to see more sketches!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Ryan Bocskay -- Showtime in LA

Ryan with a Tennis Pro in Morocco 
Ryan Bocskay—joins us today from Tennis Los Angeles. Ryan is living the life in LA as a network TV executive. He grew up in Detroit, Michigan though, and we’re sure he’s enjoying California’s weather a bit more.

Besides tennis, he enjoys running, going to concerts and traveling. He even took a trip to Morocco and played tennis on their clay courts.

 ***

Hi Ryan, and thanks for joining us. We want to share your thoughts and experiences playing in Tennis Los Angeles a division of the Tennis League Network franchise, and to learn a little more about you. How long have you been playing tennis? What got you started and what has kept you going? 


Two years ago I started. I was looking for something to do other than running and Crossfit to stay in shape. I missed competition. Randomly, I read Andre Agassi's biography on a flight from NY to LA in May of 2014. I took a lesson a few days later, then gradually got further into the sport.

I had never played before in my life. The shame of it is my mom's best friend's husband is a tennis pro. I could have been playing all along.

In tennis, I love battling an opponent and myself, and having to learn a variety of shots to be competitive.  There is always something to learn and work on!

That book must be worth checking out! Which league are you a member of and how long have you been participating in it? Also, how did you end up finding out about us?

I’m in the Los Angeles - Downtown/Valley, 3.5 division. I've played in these leagues for 18 months now, starting at 3.0, then 3.25, and now 3.5. While going an amazing 44-62 along the way.

I just googled “tennis leagues in Los Angeles” and found the league.

It is easy to find these leagues. How often are you playing, in general and with the league?

I played 4-5 days a week. Sometimes I'll play 2-3 matches on a Saturday or Sunday.

And what do you like about the Tennis League Network

The people. It's fun to meet people to play with outside of the league, or to look forward to playing again and again during the season.

Plus, I work a lot, so I leave work at the last possible minute to race to matches. I am usually so panicked about being late that my game is off to start the first set.

Now that you’ve played a couple dozen matches in the league, would you consider any of your Tennis Los Angeles opponents rivals?

David Goldman. Every match is close. I've only beaten him once, but we go to a third set or tie breaker regularly.

Any memorable matches? 

I played a match against Bob Perman last Sunday (6/19/16) in 109 degrees heat. It lasted two and a half hours. Physically and mentally, it was a tough match.

But my most memorable match was the League Championship vs Jesse Dang for the 3.0 league in June 2015.  Playoff Bracket
Before the championship, I had lost every match against my opponent. In fact, I had never won a set against him. I was so nervous that I could barely breath. I was so focused on my breathing that I forgot about my mechanics and the points. Suddenly, I was winning the first set. So I got even more nervous. Then I won the second set, and the championship. We shook hands. I walked to my car, and blared We Are The Champions from Poinsettia Park all the way to Westwood.

That’s an exciting way to wrap-up this interview! Thank you again for taking the time to do this interview, and we hope you earn yourself another championship.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Nelson Cooper -- Champion of the Steel City

Nelson Cooper —joins us today from the Pittsburgh Tennis League. He is fresh off an excellent season with a championship victory to boot!

Before we get to the interview, we’ll let Nelson tell you a little about himself:

I was born in raised in Seattle, Washington. I moved to Durham, North Carolina, to go to college and play Division 1 baseball. As I mentioned earlier, I graduated a semester early from college Summa Cum Laude with a 4.0 GPA. I moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in February to work at The PNC Financial Services Group as a financial analyst in their Finance and Accounting Development Program.

Since moving to Pittsburgh, I have tried to get as involved in the community as possible. I currently play on two softball teams as well as a flag football team in addition to playing tennis. I also am involved with two non-profit community service organizations; the Pittsburgh Pirates Charities and Ozanam, Inc. The latter is a non-profit organization that strives to serve underprivileged youth in our communities who are “at-risk.” The goal of the program is to develop youth into academically prepared and responsible adults by offering a safe and healthy environment for them to learn and grow.

You can check out his website here.

***

Hi Nelson, and thanks for joining us. We want to share your thoughts and experiences playing in the Pittsburgh Tennis League, a division of the Tennis League Network franchise, and to learn a little more about you. Firstly, how long have you been playing tennis? What got you started and what has kept you going? 

I was a big fan of tennis when I was little. I really liked Andre Agassi and Roger Federer. My godmother bought me an Andre Agassi tennis racquet when I was about 10 years old. We would go to the park and play during the summers and I would do some tennis camps at the Amy Yee Tennis Center in Seattle, Washington. When I got to high school my godmother and mom urged me to sign up for the tennis team since it was in a different season from baseball. I did and ended up playing four years of varsity tennis at Ballard High School in Seattle.

There are so many things I love about tennis. but if I had to choose just one thing I would say the strategy component of the game. You always have to be thinking - from knowing quickly where to position yourself on the court) to choosing the right shots. That, combined with the ability to play for a lifetime, make tennis the best sport in my book.

Which league are you a member of and how long have you been participating in it? Also, how did you end up finding out about us? 

I am member of the Pittsburgh Tennis League. This spring I competed in the 3.5 Competitive league and this summer I am competing in the 3.5/4.0 Advanced and Competitive League.

I started this season at a 3.0 due to the almost four year break in playing competitive tennis. I have progressed quickly and am now a 4.0 player.

This is my first year in the league! Hopefully it is the first of many seasons. My goal is to play and win the most matches in Pittsburgh Tennis League history.

Prior to finding the league, I played baseball in college for three years and graduated from college a semester early in December of 2015. As soon as I knew I was moving to Pittsburgh I started looking online for tennis leagues to play in as I wanted to get back into the sport. I’ve always said that I played baseball because I was better at it but tennis is my favorite sport to play. Upon searching “Tennis Leagues in Pittsburgh” on Google, the link for Pittsburgh Tennis League appeared first. I read about the league online. I emailed the admin and asked a few questions and the rest is history!

How often are you playing, in general and with the league? 

I try to get on the courts at least three times a week. From matches to just hitting around with a partner or simply practicing serves by myself. When it’s nice outside there is no excuse not to work on your game!

What do you like about PittsburghTennisLeague.com & Tennis League Network

There are two things that I like most about the league and they go hand in hand. First is the flexibility the league allows players. It’s nice to have a tentative schedule and coordinate with others in order to find time that fits both player schedules.

Second is the league app and website. This is by far the best digital tool out of any sporting league in which I’ve ever played. Having a full list of names and contacts as well as profiles really creates a community feel and gives players an opportunity to meet a lot of new people. The functionality and website really do a great job at ensuring players are finding hitting partners and getting on the courts as much as possible.

Now that you’ve played a couple dozen matches in the league, would you consider any of your Pittsburgh Tennis League opponents rivals? 

Due to my status as a newer player in the league, I have not yet created an intense Rafa v. Federer rivalry with anyone yet. I have only played four players more than once. As of now, I would have to say I my greatest rivalry is with Dmitriy Sulik because both matches we have played have been very high quality tennis. I also do some hitting with Dmitriy as well and he is a has helped me improve quickly.

Do you have any memorable matches since starting with the league? 

The most memorable match I had this season was against Michael Aitken early in the season. Both of had just been promoted from the 3.0 to the 3.5 league and we were both undefeated. It was a very hot day and I forgot to bring a water bottle! Not only did I forget, butt the courts we played at had no water fountains! I got up to a big lead in the first set but then hit a wall as the affects from a lack of hydration started to set in. I was able to hold on and win the first set but then got crushed in the second set. Finally, I asked my opponent, Michael, for some of his water. The three sips of water I had from his bottle rejuvenated me and I was able to pull out the third set. It was real battle of attrition. Thankfully I had some of “Michael’s Secret Stuff” to help me pull out that match (Space Jam Reference). .

Who are your favorite pro players? Why? 

My favorite male tennis player, and favorite athlete in general, is Roger Federer. He simply is the greatest. So smooth on and off the court. It seems as if he is always in control and can keep his cool in any situation. The grace in which he plays the game as well as the grace he shows off the court through charity is very admirable. I’ve always used the same equipment he plays with (even if it may not be the best for my game!)

My favorite female players are Venus and Serena Williams. The adversity they have dealt with on and off the court while maintaining an extremely high level of tennis is unbelievable. Along with the barriers they have broken down for African American’s as well as women across the globe, they truly are living legends

Nelson, this is great stuff. And thank you again for taking the time to do this interview. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Lindsay DiSanto -- Totally Loving Tennis NorthEast


Lindsay DiSanto—joins us today from Tennis Northeast, Metro Boston Tennis League. She has very quickly become a Veteran player in the league. She also makes an appearance in the Flex League  video for TLN!       
Flex Leagues by Tennis League Network.

She stays quite busy when off the court, but still finds time to play lots of tennis. She’s currently working for a medical billing company and is in night school finishing up her degree. Lindsay grew up in North Reading, just north of Boston. She has planted roots down with her 2 year old yellow lab that she adores and loves taking for hikes. He, of course, loves that she plays tennis because he gets to enjoy chewing on all the old tennis balls!

She also two nieces and one nephew that she’s like a second mom to visiting them several times a week. However, Atlanta is calling her name and she would move there in a heartbeat so she could play tennis year round.

***

Hi Lindsay, and thanks for joining us. We want to share your thoughts and experiences playing in Tennis NorthEast, the Boston division of the Tennis League Network franchise, and to learn a little more about you. Firstly, how long have you been playing tennis? What got you started and what has kept you going? 

I did a tennis clinic when I was younger during the summer. During high school I didn't want to play softball anymore, so I thought why not try out for tennis? I enjoyed the clinic when I was young, and if I didn't like it I didn't have to play the following year. But, I caught the tennis bug and not only did I enjoy it, I caught right on and made the varsity team as a freshman.

I stopped playing after high school, then did a clinic the past summer and caught the bug again! I joined a couple clinics at BSC Lexington through the fall, winter and spring and signed up for Tennis League Network so I could play more.

Since I am just getting back I love playing all levels, and strengths. I am trying to play as many people as possible to be exposed to as many different types of play, so I can become a better, more adaptable player.

I love playing singles. I like knowing the responsibility falls on me. I trust myself and know what I am capable of. I like knowing if I screw up, its also on me. It is just me and the ball!

That's a good way to describe playing singles. Which league are you a member of and how long have you been participating in it? Also, how did you end up finding out about us? 

This is my first season doing Tennis Northeast and it has been nothing short of amazing!  I first learned about it through the internet, then the captain of a team I subbed in for mentioned it and suggested I do it. 

I am a member of the partners program, Spring Season #1, Spring Season # 2, Summer, and Spring Doubles program. I also did the May tourney. I know a lot right? Go big or go home!

[Currently] I am listed as a 3.5, hopefully with all of the playing I am doing I will move up!

We're glad to see you in so many programs. About how often are you playing, in general and with the league? 

I play A LOT! I play at least 5 times a week, and even sometimes more than once a day!

What do you like most about the league? 

I love the flexibility. I love meeting new people, making connections, and playing different levels and strengths.

I am highly impressed with the league. I never thought I would meet so many great people. I really enjoy meeting everyone. I have made a lot of connections, and have played people multiple times.

Now that you’ve played a couple dozen matches in the league, would you consider any of your Tennis Northeast opponents rivals? 

I wouldn't call them rivals per say, but people that I really enjoy playing with. I love playing against Anne Marie Dinius, Meredith Sellers, and Ted Cummings. They are competitive and challenging, and I love a challenge!

Tell us about your most memorable match(es). 

So far, my most memorable match was at Woburn Racquet Club. It was extremely even and we ended up in a tie because we ran out of time.

Who are your favorite pro players? Why? 

I love Serena Williams. She is a living legend! I love her power and determination.

Great stuff Lindsay, and thank you again for taking the time to do this interview. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Ian Kim -- Is There a Doctor on the Court?

Ian Kim is being featured today as a veteran member of the Tennis League Network. He’s a Seattle native, enjoying his summer until he starts as a medical student at the University of Washington School of Medicine this Fall.

Making the most of this time, Ian plans to travel to Costa Rica and Cambodia this summer before the academic cycle begins. He will also be climbing Mount Adams, Washington state’s 2nd highest peak, at the end of June.

He also has some great action shots of him playing tennis which we share.

***

Thanks for joining us Ian! We want to share your thoughts and experiences playing with Tennis Seattle, a division of the Tennis League Network franchise, and to learn a little more about you. Firstly, how long have you been playing tennis? What got you started and what has kept you going? 

I started playing tennis more intently in college. However, I got my start when my dad used to take me out to the clay courts at a college sports facility in Korea from a very young age.

I love that tennis is challenges your body and the mind. You are constantly adjusting your form to make the best shot possible and also sharpening your mind to stay calm and confident till the end. It is a game that trains me to focus outside of the tennis court as well.

Which league are you a member of and how long have you been participating in it? Also, how did you end up finding out about us? 

I’m a member of the Seattle Tennis League, playing at the 3.50 level. I’ve been playing for 3 seasons starting Spring of 2015. As of the writing of this player profile he's compiled a very competitive 17-13 record.

I learned about the league from Adam Brown -- a close friend who I have played tennis with throughout high school and college. Adam never quits and always puts on a fight every time he plays. He is known for his consistency and drive for victory when he hits the ball down the line. He is a veteran member of the league as well.

Great, and how often are you playing tennis, in general and with the league? 

When it is not raining in Seattle, I play tennis. Unfortunately, that means I'm lucky to play once a week. I'm hopeful for the sun to return to our fair city so that I can start hitting some more.

Since you've become a veteran of the league, what has kept you around as a member?

I really enjoy meeting new people and improving my tennis game all at the same time. Seattle is an exciting city with diverse people. Getting to know them through Tennis has been brilliant.

I greatly enjoy playing with numerous players including David, Andrey, and Porter among others in our league and appreciate the friendships we have fostered over time.

Now that you’ve played a couple dozen matches in the league, would you consider any of your Tennis Seattle opponents rivals? 

Milo Zorzino  is my archnemesis. His serves are wicked and his forehand packs a rocket. We have played against each other since high school and are continuing to play through the Seattle Tennis League. Although I am 0 out of 2 games so far in our league matches, I am confident that I will turn that around in future seasons. Milo Zorzino beware!

Any memorable matches? 

Recently, I played with David Shelly, who I have previously struggled against on 4 consecutive matches.

This match, I initially felt that I would suffer the same fate after losing the first set 1-6. However, I was determined to try harder. I found my momentum and started to play with more aggressive shots. I eventually overcame to win 1-6; 6-3; 6-2. That win was thrilling and a great challenge heading into the playoffs.

Those are always the best matches to play. Do you have any favorite pro players? Why? 

I am a devote fan of Rafael Nadal. I connect with him as a left-handed player and admire his zeal and strength through the ups and downs of his career. 

Great stuff Ian, and thank you again for taking the time to do this interview. Have fun out there this Spring! 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Chris Reed -- A Master of His Craft


Chris Reed joins us today from sunny Southern California. We want to feature Chris today as he is now a 'Peerless Veteran' after having played 100 matches with the Tennis LosAngeles franchise! Like many others he started as a kid hitting against wall, but has developed his skill set over many years.

When he's not on the tennis court he's running his beverage company Reed's. Reed's sells Ginger Brews, Root Beer and other drinks all over the world! We definitely recommend you check out these drinks, sold in many grocery stores around the country.

***

Thanks for joining us today, Chris. Playing 100 games with Tennis Los Angeles is an impressive feat. Which league are you a member of and how long have you been participating in it? Also, how did you end up finding out about us? 

I'm in the Westside Los Angeles competitive league (Level 3.5). I've been playing for 3 years now, after initially joining the ladder group from the recommendation of others.

Right now I'm playing 2 times per week.  Chris's Profile

What do you like about playing in Tennis Los Angeles

Its been my best tennis experience. No other situation I have heard of gives the ease or quality of finding competitive matches like the Tennis League Network does.

There are so many dedicated players willing to schedule matches. Plus a great variety of styles.


Now that you’ve played a couple dozen matches in the league, would you consider any of your Tennis LA opponents rivals? 

I have 5 guys that any day the match can go either way! They are my favorites, but I like to play really good players even if I lose just to play high level tennis.

That's a good mindset to have. Any memorable matches? 

I had a come from behind match. I challenged a league above me player who I had lost to twice prior.
We had split sets and I was down 6-9 in ten point tie break and won 5 points straight to win including 3 match points.

Very impressive. Do you have any favorite pro tennis players?

I love [Ernests] Gulbis. He's nuts and unedited. He had a match point last year against Djokovic in Cincinnati.

He is so erratic. Like me!

Great stuff Chris, and thank you again for taking the time to do this interview. We hope you play another 100 games with Tennis Los Angeles!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Tips for Playing Tennis at Night

Unlike many other sports, there are no time limits to tennis matches. There is no clock—only how much the mind and body can handle. When one person gives up mentally, or can’t keep up physically the match will soon end.

Most tennis players don’t like giving up and calling it quits though, especially in competitive leagues like the Tennis League Network. Often times this leads to matches extending out for hours. And if the match is being played outdoors, players may find themselves playing under the lights.

Be Prepared to Play at Night

Playing at dusk, let alone at night, is not ideal especially without adequate light. However, sometimes playing at night is inevitable. For example, if you have a career that keeps you busy, playing in the evening after work may be the only fit for your schedule.

Of course, you’re not going to be able to play in pitch black darkness. So it’s ideal to find a tennis court that is well lit. Often times these courts will be at large outdoor tennis centers or parks.

The only aspect you will have to adapt to is the bright lights which may cause difficulty during serves or overheads, as the light can interfere with your vision. That said, lights are definitely ideal for playing at night.

Unfortunately, lit courts aren’t always available. In smaller, neighborhood tennis courts lights aren’t an option. In this case players will have to adjust to the darkness, playing until both sides agree to call it quits.

But when is it too dark to call it quits? 

Some players aren’t going to want to throw in the towel to a match, especially if they are losing. If this happens, you’re just going to have to try and reason with them. There’s no point in running back and forth on the court, only to miss the ball, or suffer an injury. Promise to reschedule another time if all else fails.

A simple way to prevent this from happening is to agree before the match when you two will stop playing. You can decide to set a limit based on time, when the sun is down, a certain point in the match etc. Just make sure you clearly communicate your point so you and your opponent aren’t arguing later on.

Not Everyone Should Play in the Dark

Not everyone should play tennis at night. Quality of vision is going to vary from person to person, which will significantly affect the quality of play. For people with poor vision, especially those who are older, they are going to have more trouble seeing at night. Make sure your opponent understands this when playing a match.

Playing tennis at night does come offer a few benefits though. There’s less heat and humidity, no sunlight (which causes difficulty seeing at times), not to mention there are usually more courts available! An ideal situation would be to schedule a match on courts where you know there is going to be lighting. Start the match earlier in the evening, or late afternoon and continue to play as long as you feel comfortable. All leagues in our network have maps of local courts and provide detailed information. For example, Tennis New York has plenty of lighted courts to choose from.

If you haven't already, sign up for a local league. There are plenty of players to match up with, and you will definitely be able to find times to play that suit you best--even at night!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

David Romero--Tennis in the Big Apple

David Romero joins us today for another Tennis League Network interview. He grew up in Corona, Queens in New York City and still resides in NYC today.

Growing up he played baseball and basketball, and he used to play drums in a band that featured Alternative and Rock music for a few years. Today, when he's not playing tennis he enjoys watching sports--basketball is right now is one of his favorite sports to watch.

David loves to travel with his family--he has a two year old daughter and has been happily-married for six years.

David's Profile:  53 wins 59 loses over 4 years of playing.

***

Hi David, and thanks for joining us. We want to share your thoughts and experiences playing in TennisNewYork.com, a division of the Tennis League Network franchise, and to learn a little more about you. Firstly, how long have you been playing tennis? What got you started and what has kept you going?

I used to play with my brother Eddie as a teen. He had access to his college tennis courts during the summer months. But I ended up putting tennis off after a couple of years only to pick it up again at age 34. I got the love of the game back when I visited my brother in Florida 4 years ago and I picked up the racket.

Florida is definitely a great place to play when it's not too hot. Which league are you a member of and how long have you been participating in it? Also, how did you end up finding out about us? 

I am a member of the Brooklyn-Queens Advanced 2 Spring league, playing at a 3.5 level. I have been participating in Tennis NY for 4 years, and I've been really active for the past three years.

I found out about the league as when I was at Astoria Park awaiting for my regular tennis partner to arrive.  I met a player who was at the time a participant in the league who recommended for me to play Tennis NY. So I looked into it and have been enjoying the competition ever since!

That's great. And how often are you playing, in general and with the league? 

I usually play 2-3 times a week year round. Single matches mainly during Tennis New York seasons and doubles during the winter months. I mostly play on weekend mornings, but if I can find time during the week I play a few more matches.

Is there anything that stands out to you about this league, or any positive experiences you'd like to share?

I like the competitiveness of the players, I am very competitive by nature so it makes for some interesting matches. I’ve found the competitiveness to be an awesome way to unwind and escape from our everyday stress. Plus I enjoy the mental and physical strength that comes from playing tennis, some matches more so than others but every match has something to offer.

Players have different styles, strengths and weaknesses. You need to make adjustments on the fly. 

Sometimes I've found out the hard way what happens if you don't make adjustments in a match. Momentum in a match can easily shift. You can be up one set and lose the match in 3 sets. This has happened in a recent match. You always must maintain your focus. I have developed many friendships and year-long rivalries. These rivalries are friendly and fierce. Over all the level of play is appropriated and well-grouped.

That's some good advice that all players should take to heart. Now that you’ve played a couple dozen matches in the league, would you consider any of your Tennis New York opponents rivals? 

There are a few that come to mind but without a doubt I would say Greg McDonald. Our legacy record is 7-7 right now. The matches are so close. The results are back and forth. Its always fun battling.

Any memorable matches? Either with Greg or any league members in general?

I've played a very competitive and feisty player named Yuri Krainov. We've played a few 3 setters with different outcomes for each player of late. We have long, grueling rallies and physically demanding long matches. A recent match had me sore for close to a couple of weeks.

Great stuff David, and thank you again for sharing all of this. Enjoy your matches this summer!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

What You Need to Know About Playing On Clay Courts

Tennis can be a tough sport to learn. We have to master footwork, ground strokes, serves and a variety of other tactics. But what makes tennis unique from, and often more difficult, than other sports is that there are different types of surfaces that we can play on!

Nearly all sports are played on just one court, but tennis can be played on a variety of courts like hard top, clay and grass. Though the game stays the same, the techniques and strategy must adapt to the differences in the court.

Think about the French Open—a tournament played on clay. It was dominated for many years by Rafael Nadal because he was simply the best at playing on clay. He mastered the clay court and it truly showed in competition.

If you’re a member of the Tennis League Network and find yourself playing regularly, or even occasionally on clay courts then you need to adjust your game to make sure that you’re competitive in all environments.

What Makes Clay Courts Different? 

You’ve probably noticed that clay courts aren’t found everywhere. That’s because clay courts require a bit of upkeep, and don’t do well in dry, arid climates. They can be difficult to maintain compared to hard courts, which is why the latter are almost always found in public.

In general, playing on clay slows everything down. Hitting winners on a ground stroke is going to be quite tough as players will have more time to attack the ball. Balls will also bounce higher, and players should prepare for that.

This should play into your grand strategy. Know that most of the game will be long, drawn out rallies at the base line. Because the ball is moving slow, you and your opponent won’t be reaching for balls, rather you will be more well prepared to respond to them. So instead of trying to put shots away with big winners, take more time to focus on your groundstrokes and be as accurate as possible, looking to make your opponent commit unforced errors.

Also, part of the ball bouncing higher has to do with the spin on the court. Clay courts exaggerate spin which not only makes the ball bounce higher than normal, but changes the way the game is played on clay. Do your best to avoid flat ground strokes, opting instead for slices and top spin wherever possible.

Footwork is something else that players will have to work on. It is much more difficult to master than on regular hard-top courts. Some players embrace sliding across the court, which is effective at moving quickly. However, be careful when doing so is sliding across the court can cause injury if the court is not well maintained.

Become King of the Clay 

If you really want to master tennis, then you’re going to have to learn how to play well on clay courts. And the best solution for this is to practice! Try to play competitively and practice as much as you can on clay courts if you know that future matches will take place on clay. Observe what shots are more effective, what footwork techniques work, and other strategies that will help you dominate the clay.

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Sharif Charles -- Tennis Jersey Style

Sharif Charles has reached veteran status with the Tennis League Network in just under two years—an impressive feat! Today we want to share Sharif's story and how his experience has been so far playing with the Tennis League Network.

Sharif was born in Raleigh, NC, but then moved to Newark, NJ as a young child where he spent his formative years. He graduated from a small college in NJ, William Paterson University, with an impressive double major in computer science and mathematics. He currently works for Merrill Lynch as a Financial Advisor.

A few years ago he moved to Levittown, PA, a town right on the New Jersey border, and that's where he started playing tennis again after a 5 year break. He joined the local tennis league, and also a USTA team. He then joined Tennis Philly after moving once again to the City of Brotherly Love.

Some of his hobbies outside of tennis are basketball, bowling, playing chess, and listening to all types of music. He loves watching sports, but roots for the Chicago Bulls, and San Francisco 49ers over the Philly teams (Can't blame him too much).

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Hi Sharif, and thanks for joining us. Firstly, how long have you been playing tennis? What got you started and what has kept you going? 

I started playing in Newark, at the age of 12.  I picked it up after watching the Williams sisters. My mom purchased racquets for me and my friends and I went to park everyday in summer and practiced.

When I got to high school I played on the varsity tennis team. I played 1st singles throughout my high school career (my team sucked lol).

I didn't really get a hold of my game until I joined the Levittown league. That's when I really started incorporating strategy. My backhand is pretty solid now, and I love using my inside out forehand shot!

I love the mental side of tennis too. I love the fact that a player can win on any given day, and tennis is not always about being physical. I love that there are many different games, and I love that the players use these different types of strategies. I love that it is an individual sport, and you can only count on yourself to get through tough times.

Which league are you a member of and how long have you been participating in it? Also, how did you end up finding out about us? 

This is my second season as a member of the Men’s Competitive 3.5 league. I originally learned about the league through my friend Keith Wright.


Excellent. And how often are you playing, in general and with the league? 

I play about 3-4 times per week in this league. Overall, I try to pay at least 5 times per week.


Now that you’ve played a couple dozen matches in the league, would you consider any of your Tennis LA opponents rivals? 

I like playing Myke Hill and Keith Wright. I like that they are aggressive players, and their games suit my style of play. They push me to play better. We usually have battles when we play.

Can you tell us about any memorable matches that you've played?

My most memorable match was probably against Grant Scavello. I won the first set routinely, but he raised his game in the second set, and I was down 5-2. However, I knew if he won that set he may have won the match because of momentum. I came back from 2 breaks down and won the match.

When it comes to pro tennis, who are your favorite pro players? Why? 

My favorite player is Venus Williams on the women’s side. I love the way she plays. I love her aggression, and tenacity to never give up. She is an amazing player.

On the men’s side, my favorite player is Gael Monfils. I love how he is a defensive player,(like myself), but he also can go on the offensive at any given moment, and he is electric on the courts.


Anything else you’d like to add? 

I personally love the tennis Philly league because it allows me to play almost anytime and the players have great attitudes .

Sharif, thank you again for taking the time to do this interview. Have fun out there this Spring!