us a little bit about yourself, for example: What do you do? Where did you grow
up? What are your hobbies (besides tennis)? (Feel free to share any interesting
details about your life.)
from Long Island, New York originally. I moved out to Cleveland to attend
Case Western Reserve University. I stayed around after graduating and
really love Cleveland and what is has to offer. Besides tennis, I enjoy
working out at CrossFit CLE, climbing at Cleveland Rock Gym, and enjoying
to get in 1-2 matches per week. Availability waivers though! So I
play more when I have more time.
do you like most about the league?
the competition is great. Most players are respectful, flexible, and fun
to play against.
us about your most memorable match(es)
a pretty epic match against Paolo Argentieri. We have similar games, so
we have very close matches and points. Our match turned into a really
tight three-set slog in hot and tiring conditions. That was my type of
competitive and fun match.
are your favorite rivals in the league? Why?
favorite player to play against is Louis Burnoski. He has an unusual game
that is really fun to play against. I have been doing better and better
against him. One day I hope to actually win a match!
you have any other interesting comments about your experiences with the league?
just been a very flexible and fun league! It's been around 8 years since
I was playing tennis regularly, so it's been an enjoyable and competitive way
to get back into it.
did you get started playing tennis?
mom taught me and then took lessons growing up before blossoming into a
slightly above-average high school player!
level player are you? (NTRP rating)
do you love about tennis?
mental struggle. I struggle with the inner game of tennis, but have
learned to appreciate this inner game and to embrace this challenge.
Tell us a little bit about
yourself, for example: What do you do? Where did you grow up? What are your
hobbies (besides tennis)?
I am father of two
wonderful kids even though despite my best efforts have no interest in tennis.
I was born and raised in Dedham, MA and still live here to this day. I love the
sense of community that is here and I could never imagine ever having to leave.
I also work for the Town of Dedham as the Director of Engineering. It is great
to be able to give back to the community that has given so much to me growing
up. My other sport of passion is football. If I am not on the tennis court
during the fall, it is because I am spending it on the football field coaching
my son's football team. It is completely different from tennis where it is up
to only you to win your match, you now have to become a member of a team and
work together as 1 unit in order to win. I love being able to watch my son
learn the life lessons that football gave me growing up and also being able to
share and contribute to those experiences. Although I know nothing about
soccer, I even volunteered to be an assistant coach for my daughter's
soccer team. I just love any extra time I can spend with my kids. Kids grow up
so quickly, so I try do do as much as I can with or for mine whenever given the
I try to stay in shape
going to the gym 3 - 4 times a week which is probably not enough given that I
have an outrageous sweet tooth. I am a foodie at heart and pretty much enjoy
anything home cooked or baked! I also discovered recently that I enjoy
hiking and try to hit a few different trails around the area during the
summer with the kids.
I learned about Tennis
Northeast through searching the internet for competitive outdoor tennis
leagues that are inexpensive to join.
How often do you play?
I try to squeeze in 1 - 2
matches per week.
What do you like most about
It really is hard to boil
it down to one particular thing, but I would have to say that the ability to
meet people of all ages who simply love to get outdoors and play tennis.
Tell us about your most
Although I have only been
member for 1 year, I guess it would be the match I played to win the 3.75 Men's
2016 Spring Season. When the season began I was placed in the 3.0 group, then
moved up to the 3.5 group and just near the end of the season moved up to the
3.75 group. I had only played one match at 3.75 before the championship match
against Rich Grief who had just won the Winter Season. I almost
psyched myself out not thinking I had the ability to play with someone as
good as Rich. I was able to muster just enough confidence to carry me through a
tough 2 set victory.
Who are your favorite
rivals in the league? Why?
I haven't been a member
long enough to have a favorite rival, but I'm sure within another year or two I
will have a few.
Do you have any other
interesting comments about your experiences with the league?
Where does one start? There
is so much that is great with this league!! I never had a hard time scheduling
at least 1 match per week. The people in this league are just as anxious as I
was to get out and play. Even if you can't grab someone to play, there are
several weekend round robins throughout the season where you can get a definite
two matches in! Plain and simple....great people and great tennis!!
How did you get started
I began playing when I was
7 or 8 years old with my parents who were members of our hometown's Tennis
Association (somewhat like Tennis Northeast, but on a much smaller scale).
During breaks at their weekend round robins they would take me onto the courts
to swing the racquet around. It didn't take long before I knew that this was a
sport for me. Once I was old enough to join the Association I played as much as
I could with whoever wanted to play. I played on my High School tennis team and
then went on to play on my College tennis team. Once out of college I joined a
local tennis club, but had to give it up once my first kid was born. It has
been 14 years since that day that I have been able to pick up a racquet and
play. I had been watching the league though the internet for several years just
waiting for the opportunity when my kids were old enough that I could finally
get some time back for myself to get out and play again. That time came this
year and here I am.
What level player are you?
Who are your favorite pro
My favorite player
growing up was Andre Agassi. To me, he was a complete bad-ass as far as tennis
was concerned. He went completely against the grain of what a typical tennis
player was supposed to be and I found that to be extremely exciting and
entertaining to watch. At that time in tennis, a majority of the players
were just big servers and not much on ground stroke rallies. He was the complete
opposite. Most of his matches were won through his return of serve and baseline
play. Win or lose, his matches were the most exciting to watch because
opponents had to rally with him in order to win.
The legacy wins page is hereafter renamed Ajay Patel Legacy Wins Page.
of this program had the pleasure of meeting him twice over the years.
(Once at the 2011 East Coast National Tournament in Miami and last time
at a Los Angeles West Coast National Tournament. He won that tournament
in dramatic fashion https://www.tennislosangeles.com/3172/tournament_report ).
His passion for tennis was inspiring and will always leave a mark on this community. Ajay the tennis courts are going to be a bit more lonely without you.
We reached out to a bunch of his former TennisOC.com opponents and it's simply amazing how Ajay affected other players well beyond the tennis courts. Here's some of their memories: Rob Ryan
always described Ajay to people who did not know him as a tennis
"savant". No one could anticipate where you would hit the ball better
than Ajay. No one could use the angles of a tennis court with more
effectiveness. He was a savant at architecting a point using his
combination of consistency, creativity and athleticism. On big points
he could always place his serve in the perfect spot to make sure he won
the point. No one was more frustrating to play or more satisfying to
beat (rare as that was).
our last match at Lower Peters (court 7 always) we had one of the most
amazing points I have played in my life. It was a 15 ball rally before I
finally got the advantage and was at the net....Ajay lobbed me but I
was ready and hit a clean smash overhead....Ajay anticipated where I
would hit it (I never figured out how he could do that) and hit me
another classic Ajay lob that landed on the baseline. I was able to
run back and another 15 ball rally ensued before the point finally
ended. To our surprise there were 4 people that had stopped to watch
this point and were clapping for us. It was our final point we ever
played. Will miss the local legend Ajay and it was my pleasure to
share a tennis court with him.
I was one of the few who took a few matches away from Ajay. We was the Roger Federer of OCTennis league,
smooth and sharp. A great competitor, gentle spirit and humble person….he will be missed.
David Pond: So so sad and sudden. I played tennis with AJ almost 10 years, he always
played with amazing enthusiasm. Caring Dad who talked about his family
and was a thoughtful and giving player on the court.
Bless you AJ
Ajay was one of the kindest tennis players that I had the good
fortune of meeting. We started playing in the league back in 2009 and
always held a special place in my mind and heart. He left quite a
legacy with us as he pulled everybody’s game up and encouraged us (by
example) to play more frequently.
He will be missed dearly.
Ajay was the definition of a true champion, his character and always
happy demeanor was as true on the court as off of it. Ajay's exceptional
game was a genuine credit to his approach of tennis, not as a hobby,
but a lifestyle choice. This is also why so many of us in our time
playing in TennisOC, knew when it came time to play AJay, the epic
record holder, "3-peat Player of The Year, First-ever West Coast Year
End Men's Elite Champion, Infinite Legacy Match Winner, once you get
passed those intimidating statistics realized why he had achieved them.
However, his truly exceptional personality made losing to him the most
fun and positive experience losing can possibly have, even for the most
competitive of players--- everyone knows its fun to play AJay,
regardless of knowing, the more likely outcome that he would prevail.
love of the game is apparent when reviewing his career statistics and
record in TennisOC, but what is not shown is how many lives he touched
through playing tennis and how his experience and years of playing also
taught us players something new and never seen before they played him
and aimed to improve do it the "Ajay Way!"
personal note, I will never play an TennisOC or West Coast Year End
Tournament without smiling and thinking of Ajay and his positive spirit
and love of the game and appreciate just getting to play every chance we
get as he did! Thank you for always bringing such light and joy to the
game we all love beyond what would call a hobby-- you will be missed.
Sad to hear. I remember losing to him countless times and finally
breaking through with a win in a grueling three set match. Of course I
was elated to win against such a champion but it was his kind words in
defeat that I remember most. He told me that part of his enjoyment in
playing tennis is to help players get better and reach their full
potential. What a great sport and true champion! He will be missed.
When I first moved out to southern California and competed in my
first tournament, I did not make the finals but watched the match and
observed the beautiful serve and volley net game of Ajay that made him
take the title. Though I did not get to play Ajay in the finals in that
tournament, I was very impressed with his game style and would hope
someday we would cross paths to play. Sure enough when I joined the
local tennisoc league Ajay was the first person to contact me to play a
match. Making my first drive through southern orange county to play him
in Irvine started a rivalry of numerous matches of us battling back and
It was always fun and exciting to step
on the court with Ajay and I will always remember the great matches we
had. He always pushed me to play my best and if I wasnt playing my best
he wouldnt hesistate to make me pay dearly. During our matches we had
our fair share of of grueling long rallies, but after the point was over
he was already standing on the baseline ready to play the next point.
That always got me thinking to myself "man for an old guy he is VERY
fit". I can only hope at his age I will be able to compete at singles
the level he was able to.
If I didnt play Ajay
as much as I did I would not have made the decision to live in Irvine in
order to stay close to the strong tennis community it has. So you can
say that Ajay was the link of starting my new life in California and the
place I chose to call home today in Irvine. I only hope when I grow
older I will still have the drive, commitment and passion for the sport
like he did. We certainly lost a valuable member in the tennis community
and he will be missed greatly.
never forget playing Ajay. He always made playing tennis look easy -
almost too easy! He was graceful on the court and was in command most
of the time. He was a humble guy and always gave me good advice to get
better. He's the only guy I've ever played that would hit my out
balls on purpose to keep rallies going and give me more of a chance to
win - who does that! He will be sorely missed.
My condolences to his family. Frank Seo I have had the good fortune to play Ajay many times during the last few
years. He always was a true gentleman and a great sportsman. He embodied
the "old school" sportsmanship, and his love of tennis and good
competition was evident. I am shocked that he is not with us anymore,
and he will be missed.
Tell us a little
bit about yourself, for example: What do you do? Where did you grow up? What
are your hobbies (besides tennis)? (Feel free to share any interesting details
about your life.)
was born in
India and completed my undergraduate studies there. I moved to USA for
graduate studies. Right now I am a post doctoral fellow in the
department of bio-statistics, CU Denver. Besides tennis, I am most
photography and wildlife-watching.
How long have you
participated in your league?
I joined this
league in September 2015. I have now played pretty regularly for about a year. Pratyaydipta has already played an amazing 43 matches in just over a year's time.
How did you first
learn about it?
I moved to Denver
last year and was looking for some hitting partners. It's not easy to find
players and tennis friends when you move to a new place. So, I was really
pleased when I found out about Tennis League Network, basically through internet search.
How often do you
season, I usually play 2-3 matches with TennisDenver every week. I sometimes play more
tennis outside the organization.
What do you like
most about the league?
The best part is
the flexible scheduling. My work is variable and it's tough for me to play at a
fixed time. It's great that me and my opponent can work out the best time for
both of us. Also, the user-interface in the website is something I love. It's
easy to join leagues, report scores and look at records of other players. The
prize pool is a bonus. I love how the league gives extra incentive to play
more and win.
Tell us about
your most memorable match(es)
I remember a
match against Joaquin Tejeda. It was a ladder match, but kind of important in
the sense that it determined who goes to the top of the ladder that month. I
lost the first set 5-7 and won the second 6-2. In the beginning of the third
set, I suddenly lost focus. He was quickly up 4-0. Somehow I regrouped and won
the set 6-4. I enjoyed the comeback and the long but high quality tennis match.
Who are your
favorite rivals in the league? Why?
Joaquin Tejeda is
someone with whom I have played several matches and like playing against him.
He is about my level and a good sportsman. We had some very competitive matches
in the past. Mike Runda is another one who is a good person and a good player.
Do you have any
other interesting comments about your experiences with the league?
how I met so many players who live very close to where I live. They are all
close to my level, so I enjoy playing with them. But for TennisDenver, I would
have never known them. It's a great way to meet fellow tennis players and make
How did you get started
I always wanted
to play tennis when I was a kid. I watched a lot of tennis in TV. But I come
from India where there is not much cheap option for recreational tennis. When I
came to United States for my studies, I grabbed the opportunity and started
playing tennis. I am now playing regularly for about four years.
What level player
are you? (NTRP rating)
I think I am 4.0,
but on the lower side. I considered myself a strong 3.5 up until last year, but I win most
of the time against 3.5 players and so TennisDenver rated me as a 4.0.
What do you love
I love any racket
sport, and tennis has the most variety among all racket sports, I believe. The
serve, the volley, and the ground-strokes, anything can be your weapon. It's
great exercise but does not involve body contact, which is good for a
under-weight person like me. The best part is probably the importance of timing
and the sweet feeling on your racket when you time it perfectly. Plus, I like
the scoring system which gives me enough opportunity to come back. One bad
game, I can always forget that and try to do better in the next. Same goes with
a bad set.
Who are your
favorite pro players? Why?
Roger Federer, by
far. He is the artist. I love his effortless yet exceptionally accurate play.
He is never boring because he has such a variety in his shots.