Friday, May 30, 2014

Wendy Ham - New Yorker Finds Regular Tennis With League

Wendy has been a member of the Women’s league and Tennis Ladder since the summer of 2013. She's a passionate tennis player who tries to play three to five times a week and will tell you that she is at the 3.0 level. In 2014, Wendy set herself a goal to make the Tennis New York playoffs at least once, and she is very happy to have accomplished this goal in the Spring Season. Another goal of hers this year is to be more aggressive in matches and score more net points. 

All tennis players start somewhere. For Wendy it all started in high school. However, she struggled to practice regularly because it was always hard for her to find regular partners, not to mention available tennis courts. Needless to say, she felt very thankful when she discovered The network has made it very easy for her to meet many enthusiastic partners of all levels who are as motivated as she is to play regularly.  

Wendy loves her tennis and will tell you that while it looks easy, tennis is actually very difficult to master. Nonetheless, the room for perpetual improvement is exactly the allure of the game for Wendy. She finds tennis both exhilarating and relaxing, and she finds the mental aspects of the game particularly engaging. Wendy is currently trying hard to finish her PhD dissertation (on the use of computational models to study the accuracy of forecasting strategies), and tennis has provided her with just the right kind of healthy distraction. 

Tennis matches can be memorable for many reasons. For Wendy, matches in which both sides play well and unforced errors are kept to a minimum are the ones she recalls with fondness. Those and several matches she played in 30-degree weather (outdoors!) last winter with Bill Inman, another player on the Tennis Ladder. 

Any player serious about improving their game will have league rivalries, and Wendy is no different. She has no fear of playing opponents of a higher level. In fact, she has lost to Masahiro Maeda 17 times in a row, and that’s just the official records. This rivalry might skew Wendy’s official match statistics but she won’t give up trying to beat him. (She thinks she’s getting close, especially after reading Brad Gilbert’s Winning Ugly.) Any tennis player will tell you the only way to improve your own game is to play those better than yourself. Playing Masahiro reveals areas of Wendy’s game she can improve upon, and she is grateful that he is still willing to play her. (Must be something to do with his win record increasing with each meeting – come on Wendy!)

Meeting other tennis lovers is always a key attraction for tennis players, and Wendy is no different. She enjoys meeting the diverse range of people the league attracts, which so far has included a number of finance professionals (not unusual in NYC), but also an opera singer and a fashion model! She especially enjoys the fact that many of the league players seem to be as obsessed with tennis as she is. 

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