Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Yuri Krainov: Playing him is like pulling teeth

By Trevor Hass

For a tennis junkie like Yuri Krainov, summer is the most wonderful time of year. The sun is shining, people are available to play and paying for court time isn’t necessary.

Yuri, 53, joined Tennis League Network three years ago and has found his niche on the court. He recently played his 200th match with the site, putting him in an exclusive club alongside several other devotees.   

Yuri's Profile

In the summer, the Brooklyn, NY, resident Krainov plays tennis nearly every day. Sometimes he needs a break. He’s only human. But he’s generally out there at least five times a week, oftentimes making his opponent’s life miserable.

“I’m trying to keep in shape and play as much as possible,” Krainov said. “Basically I’m trying to play almost every day.”

Krainov is a dentist, so tennis serves as the perfect escape after a long day at the office or a thought cleanser on the weekend after a busy week. Many of his opponents would agree that playing him is like pulling teeth.

He’s the kind of player who gets everything back. You can beat him, but you’re going to have to work hard to do it.

“A lot of players tell me that I play a defensive style,” Krainov said.

Defensive tennis is a mixed bag, because sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t – depending on the day and the opponent. Against one particular foe, Alex Twersky, that strategy is effective about half the time.

Yuri and Alex have played dozens of matches. They’re often grueling, but they’re always fun, according to Krainov – who has a 3.5 rating. There’s also his archrival (OK, maybe not quite, but they don’t hold back on the court), David Romero, who he once battled in a 10-game pro set for two hours in the 90-degree heat.

“Usually you don’t remember good matches,” Krainov said. “You usually remember tough matches, and that was a tough match.”

Krainov, who was born in Russia and moved to the United States almost 25 years ago, played minimally in Russia. He was always interested in the sport, but he had trouble finding partners or ample time.

When he moved here, he played more regularly for a few years but stopped for a few years after that. He dabbled a little more, then he took an extended break for close to a decade as his professional career took off.

About three years ago, he decided to pick up the sport again but he wasn’t sure who he would play with. He found part of the the Tennis League Network online, and the rest is history.

Now he has the bug, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down. This is his time of year, so if you mosey down to the courts in South Brooklyn there’s a good chance you’ll see him swinging away and getting ball after ball back.

“Tennis League Network is a good option for me,” he said. “You can always talk to the partners and find a good place to play.”

No comments: