Friday, September 15, 2017

Tom Trotter: Growing the sport through love of the game

Tom Trotter is probably one of the most passionate and hardest promoting players in all of Tennis League Network.  We absolutely love his dedication to the game and helping us try to grow the program.

Which league are you a member of?

How long have you participated in your league?
Since around March 2012.  5.5 years.

How did you first learn about it?
From a flyer posted on my local tennis courts.

How often do you play?
Usually 3 days per week.

What do you like most about the league?
The league makes it easy to meet new tennis opponents.  The flexibility of scheduling and playing matches. The generally high quality people one meets and interacts with through the league.  The online record keeping. The End Of Year National (now the East Coast) tournament at the Crandon Park Tennis Center on Key Biscayne in Miami.

Tell us about your most memorable match(es)
They're all memorable in some way.

Who are your favorite rivals in the league? Why?
I like playing people who are generally better players than me but who I'm competitive with. I usually learn the most from these sorts of matches.

Do you have any other interesting comments about your experiences with the league?
The league has been a continual source of new friends and valued acquaintances. It's one of the most important components of my lifestyle, which keeps me engaged, and active, and about as fit and healthy as I can expect to be at my age. It keeps my spirits up.

How did you get started playing tennis?
I played almost every day for about a year when I was in my late 20s.  Then picked it back up again when I moved to Fort Lauderdale in 2009.  I was just hitting against a practice wall a couple of times a month when, one day in March 2012, I noticed the flyer advertising the Tennis Fort Lauderdale affiliate of the Tennis League Network.

What level player are you? (NTRP rating)
I'm a 3.0.  But I feel that I'm on the cusp of transitioning into a solid 3.5.  (Though I might have to go bionic to achieve that.)

What do you love about tennis?
The skill involved in hitting the ball well, consistently.  The generally high quality people one meets through tennis. The fact that it's regularly televised and very popular throughout the world.  It keeps me regular.  It complements my artistic endeavors.
Who are your favorite pro players? Why?
Ken Rosewall, because of his super solid style of play, and the fact that he was a top world class player for almost 25 years in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, and John McEnroe for their styles of play. And, of course, Roger Federer.

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.
I'm retired.  Was born and raised in the Cincinnati area.  My other hobbies are composing music on piano
and electronic keyboards, and painting (acrylics and watercolors). 
Music and Art:
Art and Music on Facebook:

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Floyd has Aced

Floyd Pettaway absolutely enjoyed the new 2017 franchise which services Norfolk and Virginia Beach VA. In the Summer Season he played an amazing 31 matches which was nearly 1/3 of the matches by himself.

He has stated about his experience: It's FANTASTIC compared to the other ladder league we've used in this area. 
They did not have an app at all, it was very basic/primitive and you could only use a web version on your phone.

I've really enjoyed this League, the App and the Match Play.

I'm looking forward to continuing with this league and trying to get others to join in this area.

There are a lot of people who may benefit from the flexibility of the league and they may enjoy the incentives, the matches and the 
possibility of the year end tournament. 

Questions we asked him:

1. Which league are you a member of?

Hampton Roads Tennis League

2. How long have you participated in your league?
I started TLN on June 13th and played my 1st match on June 15th.

3. How did you first learn about it?
I got an email about the TLN from on of the local guys that's all about Tennis in Hampton Roads.

4. How often do you play?
I play 3 to 4 times a week right now.

5. What do you like most about the league?
The "FLEXIBILITY" being able to have a list of guys you can text when you want to play and you can play when it's convenient for both players.

6. How did you get started playing tennis?
I started playing tennis at a Church Picnic in 2003 when I decided to retire from Adult Basketball Leagues.

7. What do you love about tennis?  
I Love that Tennis is a sport that you can continue to play as you mature.

Monday, August 7, 2017

As told by Adam Cooper: Ups and Downs at a Local ATP 500 Tourney

Adam Cooper has been playing in since June 2011 racking up a 162-83 record while playing in the top division. This is his comments about the Citi Open.

I made my annual pilgrimage to the Citi Open in DC this past week.  The tournament has been around for decades: when I was in High School I saw the likes of Michael Chang and Andre Agassi (with long hair) duel it out here.  The facility, like many used for professional events, is open to the public the rest of the year, and I've played on these courts from time to time.  The rest of the year the place looks a bit rusty and worn-down, but it gets all dolled up for this smallish tournament every late July when the ATP comes to town.  DC is always oppressively hot then, with daytime highs in the 90s and plenty of humidity.  I remember one muggy match between Stefan Edberg and Patrick Rafter where both players keeled over in heat exhaustion after the last point (Edberg won).  For the last few years the facility has also hosted a smaller WTA International Event simultaneously, so there's plenty of men's and women's matches to see.  This year some of the key players in the men's draw were Dominic Thiem, Juan Martin del Potro, Milos Raonic, and Gael Monfils; for the women we had Simona Halep, Eugenie Bouchard, and Kristina Mladenovic.  

It's always fun to stroll through the pleasant bustle of fans, each slurping $10 beer, $8 hot dogs, or $5 popsicles.  It's crowded but not overwhelming: DC is not a sports-crazy town.  Politics is the big game here.  I make sure to visit the serve speed booth, where you can wait in line to give your own serve a whack and see what you register on the radar gun (I managed an underwhelming 83MPH, and later noticed a scrawny teenager had hit 114MPH... always good for my confidence).  You can often catch a few pros out on the practice courts if you get there early.  Seeing them up close you're struck by just how consistent the strokes they produce are, getting the same basic solid shot from any kind of ball fed to them (slice, topspin, short, deep, etc.).  You also notice just how TALL all the players are now.  Six feet is just a starting point for these bronzed, lanky athletes.

I stayed for the evening matches, eager to catch a glimpse of Dominic Thiem's backhand, but the weather had other plans as a massive summer thunderstorm broke right over Rock Creek Park.  Fans were sent scurrying like rats for the few flimsy tents that were set up, or else huddled under the bleachers.  I was hoping it would be a passing storm that would just delay things but the sheets of rain kept falling for over an hour.  After the clouds finally moved on, the ground crews leapt into action, drying the courts with rollers, blowers, and even on their hands and knees with towels.  I watched this excruciating 40-minute low-tech process for a while wondering if there wasn't a better way... roof, anyone?  The match was set to finally get going, but then, dishearteningly, a few more drops started to fall.  Tennis, especially on hard courts, is kind of unique as a sport in just being completely intolerant of rain.  It messes with strings, balls, and--most importantly--brings the risk of slipping and falling hard on concrete.  By this time it was almost 9PM and I gave up and headed home.  They were able to get the matches in after the second shower: the final ball was struck around 1:45AM, but I was in bed long before then.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Marcela Merino: A slice of life

Marcela Marino has her mother to thank for leading her to the sport of tennis.

Elena Dominguez was a highly skilled tennis player back in the day, and she used to bring her daughter, Marcela, along to her matches. When Marcela was a very young child, she was unsure what to make of the sport, but by age 8 she picked up a racquet herself and started taking lessons.

It didn’t happen right away, but eventually she fell in love with it. Now, decades later, Marcela is still playing. Her mother introduced her to the sport, but she continues playing matches to this day because she enjoys it herself.

Merino has played over 200 matches with Tennis League Network, and she’s found success forming friendships, winning intense battles and staying active and invigorated along the way.

“I love playing tennis,” she said. “I’m very committed to that, and I think that’s what keeps me finding partners and trying to play as much as I can.”

Merino switched from tennis to ballet when she was around 10, and after that she dabbled in softball as a kid. She’s the kind of person who likes to focus on one sport at a time, making sure she specializes enough in that craft so she can get the most out of the experience.

Around age 20, she picked up tennis once again, and she’s found her niche with the Metro Boston Tennis League a division of Tennis League Network recently. She now plays tennis exclusively, and it’s one of her favorite hobbies. Her love for the sport is the main reason she plays so much, but she also enjoys the personal side of tennis.

She’s become close with Mary Heasley, a fellow veteran who has played even more matches than Marcela. All it takes is an email, and they start collaborating to zero in on a day they’re both free. In no time, they’re on the courts, hitting groundstroke after groundstroke, trying to outwit and outhit the other.

“We’ve actually become very good friends,” Merino said.

When it comes to her style of play, the Newton, Massachusetts resident Merino is tenacious and relentless. After over 200 matches, Her record is close to .500 overall, and she has a winning record in three-setters and third-set tiebreakers.  Marcela's Career stats

She rarely gives in, and she’ll do anything it takes to get the win. Oftentimes, that means unleashing a slick slice at the exact right moment.

“Everybody tells me that I have sort of a nasty slice,” she said, laughing.

But that doesn’t mean there’s not room for improvement. Merino said she wants to improve her serve – both the accuracy and speed. The great thing about tennis is that she can do that by herself.

Once she feels comfortable with her new technique, she can try it out against Mary or another opponent.

She said she enjoys because it’s the right level of competitiveness. The goal is to win, but it’s also to have fun and there isn’t too much stress or pressure.

She’s played dozens of matches and here's Marcela's current division, and she’s showing no signs of slowing down. She wouldn’t be the player she is without her mother, and for that she’s both proud and grateful.

“My mom was very influential in getting me into the sport,” Merino said.