Tuesday, July 20, 2010

TLN Profile: Martin Spielmann – Have Racket, Will Travel

Martin Spielmann loved the 2009 Tennis League Network tournament at the Crandon Tennis Center in Key Biscayne, FL, just a few miles from Miami. He had such a good time that it’s a good bet that if all air travel were suspended, this 4.0 tennis devotee would even be willing to drive there when he goes back in November.
If you follow pro tennis, you may know that the Crandon Tennis Center is home of the Sony Ericsson tournament held at end of March through early April. Andy Roddick won it this year. It’s also the home of The Tennis League Network National Invitational Tournament, where last year Tennis Boston’s Martin Spielmann met his goal of moving past the round robin, which is run according to this format:

Players are grouped in mini-divisions of 5 players. A round-robin is played using a 10 pro set format (first to win 10 games). Depending on the number of participants the top performers qualify for championship Sunday and the single elimination tourney.

On Saturday, it came down to Martin’s last match and he was fortunate to beat Kyle Free from St. Louis to qualify for the Sunday single elimination tourney. Although Martin lost his first match Sunday, he ended up playing doubles with other players who were also eliminated. “Having pickup doubles games with players from all across the country after I was eliminated was my favorite part of the whole tourney. Losing ended up being a blessing in disguise. I even took a break and walked across the street to the beach for a swim, only to come back and play more doubles until my flight home,” said Martin. The loss won’t keep him from returning to Key Biscayne in November, since everyone who went the first year is invited back. That means he has another chance to compete and go to the beach! 

Like many of us, Martin’s forehand is his strongest shot, and his weakest is his backhand. Nonetheless, he wins more than he loses. And he has only good things to say about his league. “Everyone I’ve played has been a great sport. It’s competitive and it’s fun.”

There is little doubt that Martin Spielmann is dedicated to tennis. On two different occasions when his club closed in the middle of a match, he and his opponent left to continue the match at another location. One time Martin and his opponent drove around the suburbs of Boston looking for a tennis court with lights. Unable to find one, they had to resume the match another evening. Recently Martin and his opponent drove almost a half hour to another club to finish a match. Unfortunately, Martin lost that one.

Martin (at left with Ricki Ciolfi) almost didn’t even go to the 2009 National Tournament. Work and family responsibilities would have meant rearranging his schedule to go and he wasn’t sure he’d be able to make it. After a tragic accident suffered by a co-worker, Martin decided to reconsider. “My friend’s accident was a wake-up call. You never know what twists and turns life has in store for you, so I decided to go for it. How often do you get a chance to play a tennis tournament in Miami? I had help from my family and friends to make the trip a reality. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.” says Martin.

It’s likely that TLN’s national tennis invitational doesn’t have a bigger cheerleader than Martin Spielmann. He is also a Boston league fan who learned about it from a friend two years ago. “I couldn’t continue with a team I had been on, so I thought it would be a good way to meet and play against new opponents.” Growing up, during summers Martin played almost every day at local courts in his home state of Connecticut. The last few years, “I’ve worked at getting better. Last winter I had contract time with a friend and we focused on drills. The extra work really pays off in matches.”

Watch for it- someday there may be some other Spielmanns in Tennis Boston. Martin has Mondays mornings off, and during the summer runs Daddy’s Day Camp, when he takes the older three of his four children (ages 10, 8, 6, 3) to the tennis courts. The littlest one is going to be joining them soon. Being half Swiss, Martin is a huge Roger Federer fan. When in discussions to name the children, Roger was always at the top of his list. The 6 year old is named Peter, whose name was partly inspired by Martin’s second favorite player, Pete Sampras.

So get going, league players. (at left are Steve Kushner, Steve Chagnon and Ajay Patel) If you are winners in your leagues, you too could end up traveling to Key Biscayne for TLN’s November 5-7, 2010 national event (see below for details about how to qualify), where you could even meet up with Martin Spielmann for a little tennis and a walk across the street for some more sun and fun. Life’s a beach, isn’t it? No, it’s a tennis court, actually.

Five Ways to Qualify (By Invitation Only):

(1) Players who have won their respective season playoffs receive a playing entry into the Tourney.

(2) Players on the Top 100 all-time Legacy Wins in the Tennis League Network.

(3) Any player that refers 5 or more players in 2010.

(4) There will be about 10 at-large bids for friends of the league and most active players in various communities.

(5) Players who attended the 2009 National Tourney.

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