Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ron Novak- Into the Swing of It with Tennis Cleveland

Ron Novak has been playing tennis for about three years, but he is really in the swing of it –and more svelte, too—since he joined three years ago. He learned about it from a friend, and is high on the group because he gets to play new people instead of the same old gang. It gives him the opportunity to meet new people across the city that enjoy playing tennis.
“I play at a club in the winter and for the USTA season in the summer,” he adds. “This league provides me an opportunity to play others, rather than the guys I hit with all year at the club. The fact that each person has a different type of game also allows me the opportunity to improve my game…

He also likes the TLN format:
“One of the other things I like about this league is the three-set match. In USTA we play a ten point tie break and I think it leaves too much to chance to only score ten points to win a match. I prefer to have to play another set. This allows for a few more mistakes, and means you have to be in really good shape.”

So what happened three years ago that brought him to tennis? Actually it was a business trip back home to Texas, where he had been living for 10 years (Dallas) before the move to Cleveland.

“One of the guys I worked with retired and didn't play golf. We got together to hit some balls. He is about 70 and has been playing his whole life. His whipping inspired me to pick up the game and try to get better.

“My other motivation was to get in shape. I've lost over 30 pounds since I started and I am proud to say they pounds have stayed off. I feel like I am in the best shape since

getting out of school almost 20 years ago.”

Do you have any other comments about your experiences with the league?

“Meeting new people since I am not from the area has been a great experience. The different type of players and the different skill levels have helped me improve my game.”

He must be improving fast because, after taking up the game three years ago, he is already a 3.0 player, working hard to reach 3.5. He has taken some private lessons, and he is a member of a local club. “I take group lessons in the winter and attend drills at least once a week when I am not travelling,” he explains.

 ”I am satisfied with my progress and I am working really hard to get to the 3.5 level. I need more consistency when playing in matches. Mostly, I have to stay mentally focused and work very hard to keep my feet moving to get in position to return the ball.”
What is his favorite shot?

“I really like hitting passing shots when my opponent comes to the next. My best shot is the unforced error,” he laughs.

My most memorable match? “Although I recently lost a close match in the third set, the three hour battle was a great workout,” says Ron, ever the fitness buff.

And here’s something we can all relate to:

“I learned pretty quickly that, unlike golf, the balls come back in tennis. Early on I found myself admiring a good shot, only to be out of position when the ball came back.”

(Gotta watch out for that, Ron!)

Ron is on the courts between two and four times a week, which probably offers him a nice break from his job as Human Resources Director at a Fortune 500 company. But he doesn’t take a break from his wife and daughter.

“They both play the game as well,” says Ron.

Ron does like to follow pro tennis, but his Wimbledon wishes didn’t come true. He had this to say about Wimbledon before it began:
“I am looking forward to attending the US Open for the second year in a row. We have now made it a family tradition to head to New York for Labor Day weekend. I like to watch Roger, Rafa, Andy and Novak on the men's side. And, I like watching Maria, Caroline and Samantha Stosur on the women's side. My guess is Rafa will win Wimbledon, but it would be cool to see Rodger win another major, or even Andy Murray win in England.
 It would be really cool to see Maria win at Wimbledon again as she has not played at the highest level since her shoulder injury.”

Maybe next year, Ron.

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