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.

Check out Tennis League Network today!!   http://TennisLeagueNetwork.com

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).


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!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Sam Pastor--Sports are Life

Sam Pastor is now a veteran player with Tennis Los Angeles. He moved down from Northern California, in the San Francisco Bay area, to LA.

Sam is passionate about sports and started working at a non-profit organization specializing in training and placing youth sports coaches. When he’s not playing tennis he likes to travel, cook and take pictures.


Hi Sam. We'd like to hear some of your thoughts and experiences playing in Tennis LosAngeles.com, a division of the Tennis League Network franchise, and to learn a little more about you. 

To start, how long have you been playing tennis? What got you started, as well as what has kept you going? 

I started playing tennis in high school, but to be honest, I've played WAY more tennis in Tennis LosAngeles over the last couple of years than I ever did growing up!

Tennis, in general, is a great game because it demands both physical and mental toughness. You have to be fit so that you can run for hours and hit the ball with consistency. But to win matches that is not enough. You must also be have mental toughness because big points are stressful. Also, tennis is a bit like chess. As the match progresses it's important to identify your opponents weaknesses and find ways to exploit them.

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 your league? 

I’m a member of Tennis Los Angeles. I’ve been playing 6 months at the Advanced level (3.75), but I've been a member of Tennis Los Angeles since January 2014.

I first learned about Tennis League Network online, and I wanted to find a league that was competitive but also fun! And I didn't have the money to join a tennis club.

Glad to hear that! And how often are you playing, in general and with the league? 

Around 3-4 times a week.

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

I play against a core group of people who live nearby. On Saturday mornings I like to play with Tynie Pukprayura. He is a 4.5 and I've lost every time we've played but each time I get better. If it wasn't for playing with Ty I don't think I would have done so well in the most recent playoffs.

Any memorable matches? 

This season I made the playoffs on the very last day of the season. In that match I lost the first set but stayed calm and won the second before taking the match in a third set tie breaker.

I made the playoffs as the 14th out of 16th seeds. After knocking out the 3rd seed in the first round I moved onto the quarter finals where I matched up with the same guy I had beat to make the playoffs on the last day of the season. I won the second match too and moved onto the semifinals.

In the semifinals I traveled to Cheviot Hills, a fancy neighborhood on the Westside, where I played the #2 seed. The match was close but I lost 6-3, 5-7, 6-3. I feel really good about this season and hope to improve on my result in Spring #2.

Spring #1 Draw:  https://www.tennislosangeles.com/4365/tournament_report

In the time you’ve been playing, what has made this league stand out from other tennis experiences you’ve had?

I like how I have lots of different people to play against. Everybody is fun to talk to and everybody has a different playing style.

My favorite part of this tennis league is how everybody is competitive but friendly. We all want to win but we want to win the right way. I'd call this healthy competition. It's amazing how much more exercise I can do when thinking about "how to win" rather than "how many more laps."

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

My favorite player to watch is Serena. It's amazing watching her serve and hit ground strokes.

My game most resembles Novak's. I hit the ball consistency, move my opponent around and use short angles.

Definitely a worthy comparison. And thank you Sam again for taking the time to do this interview. Keep up the good work!

Monday, May 2, 2016

40+ Leagues are Coming to a City Near You

To take our leagues to the next level, we plan on creating leagues for individuals age 40 and over in each city. These leagues are designed to bring together active players over age 40 so that they can compete against people of a similar skill level and age group.

The long term goal for the league is to have these 40+ leagues in every city. We will be getting the ball rolling soon, and
TennisDC's Summer Season #2 
will most likely be the first test of the 40+ league concept as we had dozens of players in DC who said they would be interested.

Assuming all goes well we would start running them in LA, Boston and Philadelphia this coming fall season. So while most cities will not see 40+ leagues in 2016, we hope to iron out all the kinks for a full 2017 roll-out.

The Importance of 40+ Leagues

For many active players, age is just a number. And in a perfect world, if the rating system works effectively then the ratings transcend age. Meaning that regardless of age two opponents will be matched up well. The system has worked well so far, but adding 40+ leagues could improve Tennis League Network (TLN) your on court experience moving forward.

For one, some players who are getting more advanced in age won't want to admit they maybe are not a 4.0 anymore because their movement isn't what it used to be. Tennis is a great sport for all ages, but it’s clear that age can slow us down.

Another big factor is that the league has more than just a competitive side. It’s a great social outlet for people to meet others in their area and network with those who also love playing tennis. Most 50 year olds and 20 year olds really don't have too much in common. By having people of the same age bracket play one another they have a much better chance not just being tennis friends but friends outside of tennis.

Drawing in the Crowd 

Tennis isn’t just a young man’s game. There are a lot of players who might have been hesitant to give this program a try because they figured it was geared towards younger people. By having clear-cut divisions based on age, we can assure people that they will be playing someone closer to their age.

To give members more flexibility, we hope to allow 40+ players to still compete in either league during the regular season. During the playoffs the draws will be based upon the age level divisions.

We look forward to rolling out these leagues soon, but don’t wait—get started with our league today. You can sign-up here to join a league near you.  http://www.tennisleaguenetwork.com