Friday, September 9, 2022

Player Profile: Sanjeev Sridharan - 207 matches over the last 13 years


We caught up with Sanjeev Sridharan out of the Tennis-Seattle.com franchise.  He's played an amazing 207 matches since 2009 with our community.  13 Amazing Years of competitive play. Only a couple less than the admin.


What do you love about tennis?

Tennis is an individual sport and like life, how you do is only in your hands. You don't have teammates to make-up for your shortcomings. You own your success and failure. In summary, tennis is reflective of our lives.


How long have you participated in your league?

11 years. Started in tennis Boston, moved to Tennis Philly and then to tennis Seattle.

 

How did you first learn about it?

Online.

 

How often do you play?

Twice a week.

 

What do you like most about the league?

Play competitively against good players with different varieties in styles.

 

Tell us about your most memorable match(es).

Nick Sunderland in the Seattle league probably has the most # of matches, wins, and winning percentage. He holds a 10-1 record against me. My memorable match is the one time I managed to win against him in 2019. I had to save two match points and had to be completely in the zone on every point to win that match in a 10-point tiebreak in the third. 

 

Who are your favorite rivals in the league? Why?

Nick Sunderland and Dharam Patule in the Seattle league because our matches are typically competitive and even if I lose I come out with a feeling that playing them has improved my game for the better.

 

Do you have any other interesting comments about your experiences with the league?

I really like that the league incentivizes players to play more. Over the years, the league has gotten more competitive with a lot of good players with different styles. It has been great to test my game against all such players. 

 How did you get started playing tennis?

My aunt introduced me to a tennis coach when I was in fifth grade in my hometown, Chennai, India.


Do you play to compete, or for fun?

Both. My goal is not to win but to compete well.

 

What level player are you? (NTRP rating)

4.0.

  

Who are your favorite pro players? Why?

Hands-down, Novak Djokovic. In my mind, he is not only the greatest tennis player of all time but the greatest athlete of all time. I have never seen any athlete with a greater mental strength than his. 

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself, for example: What do you do? Where did you grow up? What are your hobbies?

I grew up in Chennai, India. Incidentally it is a city that has a great tennis tradition. I learnt tennis between fifth and ninth grades but had a break from tenth grade till the end of grad school. I started playing again in the league in Boston before I moved for work in Philly and then to Seattle. I am a marketer. Besides tennis, I like to travel, hike, read non-fiction/biographies/autobiographies, and watch documentaries.

 

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Player Profile: Jesse Pfeffer - Loves the Mental Aspect of the Game

We caught up with Jesse Pfeffer from the TennisBaltimore.com franchise and check out what he had to say:

What do you love about tennis?  

I love many things about tennis. First, the harder you work, the more you practice, the better you will become. There is no limit to how good you can become. Second, it is a very humbling game, there are three sets for a reason. You need to stay cool and collective and never let your ego get the best of you, doing so will make you lose. Don’t ever go into a match with the mentality that it is an easy win, it isn’t. Fourth, as much as it is great for your physical fitness, tennis is also a mental game and teaches you that if you put your head down you will lose but if you keep your head up and play your game you can fight through the toughest situations. Lastly, I have made numerous friends through tennis and hopefully lifelong friendships as tennis has no age limit.


Which league are you a member of?

TennisBaltimore

How long have you participated in your league?

This is my first year, second season. I played Spring Season 2 in the Skilled division.

How did you first learn about it?

A friend of mine who I hit suggested that I join.

How often do you play?

I try to play matches three (3) times a week and hit two (2) days a week.

What do you like most about the league?

Great players and great people. The ability to schedule your own matches is great too.  Have a made a lot of friends.

Tell us about your most memorable match(es)

I developed a friendly rivalry with a certain player. I am 3-0 against him but every match has gone to a very close tiebreaker.

Who are your favorite rivals in the league? Why?

Chris Ozog, he has a very unorthodox game that can throw off even a seasoned player. He uses heavy spin on 50% of his shots. 

Do you have any other interesting comments about your experiences with the league?

It has been a great experience so far. I like that I can play as much as I want. It has been great getting to know everyone.

How did you get started playing tennis?

I started playing tennis casually at a young age through high school. Played a bit in college. Did not start playing matches until last summer when a friend of mine suggested that I join the league.

Do you play to compete, or for fun?

Both, however, the competition is what drives me. I have played high level competitive sports for most of my youth. One thing about tennis is it takes a lot of work and a lot of practice to improve. That is why I try and play every day and watch film. The love for the game and the drive to improve my game fuels my competitiveness. At the same time, I play tennis because I enjoy it and because it is a fun sport. 

What level player are you? (NTRP rating)

3.5 NTRP (USTA rating from the leagues I have been in)

Who are your favorite pro players? Why?

Active Player- Rafael Nadal. In my opinion he is the greatest player of all time from a pure game perspective and mentality perspective. He is an incredible athlete, and his strong mental toughness is what sets him apart as it did in the Australian Open this year. It would be so easy to throw in the towel, however he kept his head up, played his game and won three straight sets. Also, Nadal never gets angry and never smashes his racquet which are two things I admire and do as well. I think it is a complete disgrace to the game when a racquet gets smashed.

 

Retired Player- Andy Roddick.


Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Lorenzo Wright: How the Game of Tennis Changed My Life

We caught up with Lorenzo Wright playing out of TennisHamptonRoads.com league.  The Virginia Beach / Norfolk tennis League. He has an amazing 25-2 record in his career with our program.

How did you get started playing tennis? 

I grew up in a poor neighborhood in Louisiana where all there was to get into was trouble. I didn’t fit in with my peers so I stayed to myself. However, that was a lonely place. One day, I saw these people playing tennis at a park and I was immediately intrigued. I sat on the bench and watched them play for hours. Who knew what that would lead to! It then became my habit. I would go to that same park and just watch people play for hours upon hours. Some of the people would kindly invite me on the court and teach me the fundamentals of the sport and that really sparked my interest.

One day after return from the court, I asked my father to buy me a tennis racquet. Sure enough, the next day, I had one. That was back in 2003 and I have been playing since then. For me, tennis is not just a sport. From that day on, it became a part of my identity because I finally felt a sense of purpose and belonging.

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. It was a lifelong dream come true and afforded me the opportunity to play on grass! It was absolutely amazing and beautiful.


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Originally from Louisiana  

Which league are you a member of? 

Tennis League Hampton Roads

How long have you participated in your league?

Since 2017. However, I took a five year hiatus and returned this year. During that hiatus, I played numerous in tournaments across the Hampton Roads area and in San Diego, CA as well.

How did you first learn about it? 

A friend.

How often do you play? 

At least three times as week.

What do you like most about the league? 

The flexibility of scheduling matches.

Tell us about your most memorable match(es): 

I’ve had roughly four matches that have gone the distance (either to seven games or a tiebreaker). These types of matches have been the most memorable for me because the ability to problem solve becomes critically important. Just a few points will make the difference.

In a match that I played back in April 2022, I won the first set 6-4, dropped the second set 6-7 despite having set points in my favor, and eventually won the match in a tightly contested third set tiebreaker.

When placed under the strongest pressure in matches,I take pride being able to meet the moment.

Who are your favorite rivals in the league? Why? 

Brandon Michale Askew and I feel like Josh Diadwick is about to enter that list. For Brandon, I admire his grit and focus on. For Josh, he presents a formidable challenge and I always like a challenge.

Do you play to compete, or for fun? 

Both. However, I prefer to play competitively.

What level player are you? (NTRP rating): 

4.5

What do you love about tennis? 

It’s a sport that requires mental toughness and there’s no one to rely on except yourself. You have to be able to problem solve in real time. Growing up, I suffered from low self-esteem. Tennis helped me with combatting that because as I got better at the sport, my belief in myself increased and that positively affected me not just on the tennis court but outside the line too. It helped with my interpersonal relationships. Integration into working with teams and peers and had influenced me a leader today.

Who are your favorite pro players? Why? 

Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal. Simply put, I love the fight the possess inside of themselves.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Mohammed Audah - In the midst of a year-long tennis sabbatical

Wow, we caught up with Mohammed Audah and his tennis story is wild!  

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I'm in the middle of a year-long tennis sabbatical. Basically, I'm on leave so I can just play tennis all day. I got so obsessed with tennis two years ago that I think I might have watched every instructional video out there, so now I coach other people who didn't grow up playing. If you see me playing (backward cap and all), you'll also see me smiling. Oh and also, next time I play SJ I'm 100% going to win more than 2 games.  

Which league are you a member of? 

TennisDC with the cool kids.

How long have you participated in your league?

On and off from 2016 (*gulp* getting old-er).

How did you first learn about it? 

Rallying at Banneker Rec Center.

How often do you play? 

Almost every day.

What do you like most about the league? 

The community I've built around it.

Tell us about your most memorable match(es): 

I looked back at my starred matches and it seems like I really enjoy when I win 6-0 6-0 so go figure. I loved beating Alexis Toussaint (1-6 6-4 14-12) because I lost 0-6 1-6 the previous time we'd played, so my redemption tour was complete (think Roger at AO only much slower and fatter). 

Who are your favorite rivals in the league? Why?

I usually like the Nadal-Gasquet type of rivalries in which I never lose, but I'll begrudingly say Brian Seliber cause I'm 0-7 (1-0 in non-tennis DC matches so take that Brian). It's almost (almost!) amusing cause no matter how much I improve it's now in my head. 


How did you get started playing tennis? 

I really really got into it at the start of COVID and now it's an essential part of who I am. 

Do you play to compete, or for fun?

Both. It's an exploration of mind and body for me. It's taught me so much about my self that all aspects of the sport are fascinating to me. 

What level player are you? (NTRP rating):

4.5 (a little generous but don't tell anyone, you have to inflate a little).

What do you love about tennis? 

I have very fun ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in case you're lazy), and in so many ways tennis has given me an outlet to just understand more about how I think about the world. I've lost 0-6 0-6, I've won 6-0 6-0, and I hope to always experience every score line in between. 

Who are your favorite pro players? Why? 

I loved Tommy Haas growing up mainly for the backward cap (it's statistical fact that wearing a cap backwards makes you better at tennis). I love Iga Swiatek now, and a little bit of Medvedev villain-ery. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I'm in the middle of a year-long tennis sabbatical. Basically, I'm on leave so I can just play tennis all day. I got so obsessed with tennis two years ago that I think I might have watched every instructional video out there, so now I coach other people who didn't grow up playing. If you see me playing (backward cap and all), you'll also see me smiling. Oh and also, next time I play SJ I'm 100% going to win more than 2 games.  

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Player Profile: Jeffrey Dimen - Appreciate all the ups and downs of tennis

Which league are you a member of?

I currently represent the Columbus Tennis League!  Player Profile: https://www.tenniscolumbus.com/127420/profile

How long have you participated in your league?

I have been a member of the Columbus league for the past 5 seasons. Before this, I also participated in the partner program of the Tennis Cincinnati league.

How did you first learn about it?

I first heard about it from one of my friends and hitting partners who I met in Cincinnati. He told me about the league, and after playing a few matches, I was hooked. I was happy to hear that they are active in a lot of other cities across the country, including Columbus.


How often do you play?

I try to play at least 2-3 times a week. If i didn’t work 3 twelve hour shifts a week, I would be hitting a lot more!

What do you like most about the league?

I love how it has connected me to so many different types of people from various backgrounds and walks of life, that have all signed up in this league for the sole purpose of meeting up to play a game of tennis. I couldn’t have imagined when I was younger, playing this much tennis with a bunch of strangers I met online. It gives me something to look forward to on my days off from work, and it has served as a great way of staying active and meeting new people after moving to a new city.

Tell us about your most memorable match(es)

Towards the end of the fall 2021 season, I was on the outside of the playoff picture for the advanced division, and I was on a bit of a losing streak against some of the tougher opponents in the division. I was not playing the greatest tennis.  It was only a few days before the regular season deadline, my playoff chances slim, and I had to win 1 of my next  2 matches to get in. They were both against opponents with stronger records than me, but I came in feeling loose and relaxed and played my game and was able to sneak into the advanced playoffs for the fall by winning both matches in straight sets. 


Who are your favorite rivals in the league? Why?

There are so many great players in my division, top to bottom, and I really believe that anyone can lose on any given day.  Craig, Adam, Adolfo, and Hakan are a few players in my division who I’ve played recently who I feel always give me a good match whenever we play. Craig in particular has only been playing tennis for a year or so, but already hits pretty well, so I think he’ll be scary if he keeps playing.  Also, Enver and Gautam are two guys in the upper division that I’ve crossed paths with that usually get the better of me, but regardless,  I always look forward to playing them because I know I have to be on my game to be able to beat them and I always expect a great battle.


Do you have any other interesting comments about your experiences with the league?

My advice for new players would be to appreciate all the ups and downs of tennis because a lot of the mental strength you gain from playing this wonderful sport can also apply to everyday life as well. When I first started competing, I did nothing but lose. Even now, I still lose a lot, but I feel I’ve come a long way.  But tennis is like that sometimes. You’ll be playing great one week and then inexplicably, you might feel like you can't hit the broad side of a barn. But the important thing is to stick with it. You cannot afford to dwell on past mistakes. One thing I love about the league is how you can always schedule another match. No matter how many matches I lose in a row, my mentality never wavers and I approach each match with the intent to improve and a mindset that I'm going to do whatever it takes to win. In my mind, results are just a product of the process, so it is essential not to be discouraged by bad results, but instead focus on the process of improvement.


How did you get started playing tennis?

I have early memories of playing tennis with my dad when I was 6 or 7 years old, but I really didn’t start playing consistently until my sophomore year in high school where I mainly played doubles. 


Do you play to compete, or for fun?

I have the most fun competing, so a bit of both I guess. At the end of the day, this whole league means very little to anyone else outside the league, but you definitely get out what you put in. I feel this league has helped me improve my game tremendously playing so many players with different styles. 


What level player are you? (NTRP rating)

I don’t have an official NTRP rating but I’ve competed in both 3.5/3.75 leagues so somewhere around there. My next goal is to compete at the 4.0-4.5 level. 


What do you love about tennis?  

I love tennis because it provides an outlet from the everyday monotony of life. I also believe that tennis is a sport that challenges you both physically and mentally and helps you become better equipped to deal with adversity.  Just the past few months, I’ve really come to appreciate the constantly changing nature that a competitive tennis match can provide. I’ve tried to shift to a mindset where I look forward to the matches where my opponent is very difficult and nothing is coming easy.  I enjoy the constant problem solving that is involved in tennis and  trying to utilize one’s own strengths and weaknesses,  and figuring out what makes your opponent uncomfortable.  I love the ebbs and flows of gaining the lead, losing the lead, and (hopefully) regaining it back again. I really think that approaching the game in this manner has helped me build resiliency towards life's everyday challenges. Lastly, I also believe that this sport in particular is one that you can play well into adulthood and have longevity if you take care of your body right. 


Who are your favorite pro players? Why?

I will always respect the consistency of the Big 3, but I really am a fan of this next generation of tennis players coming in. Young players like Jannik Sinner, Carlos Alcaraz, Hubert Hurkacz, and Frances Tiafoe to name a few. On the womens side, I really like the game of Iga Swiatek and Leylah Fernandez. I feel like this next crop of young stars will hopefully keep the game exciting and attract new fans. 


What do you do? Where did you grow up? What are your hobbies (besides tennis)?

I work as a registered nurse at an ICU in a nearby hospital. When I’m not playing or watching tennis, I enjoy cycling, reading, playing musical instruments like the ukulele and piano, and spending time with my tabby cat. I also like to hang out with my close friends either by going out to new places to eat, or staying in for a game night. 

Friday, June 17, 2022

Yolanda Romanelli - Loves the opportunity to improve and grow on the courts


We caught up with Yolanda Romanelli
out of the Tennis-Austin.com franchise.  She's been playing with us since 2020. She's part of a wonderful community of tennis players that say the nicest things with their match submissions.


Which league are you a member of? 

Austin Tennis League


How long have you participated in your league? 

Since November 2018, so a little over 3.5 years

 

How did you first learn about it? 

Google search. I was looking for a flexible, and still competitive way to play tennis that fit my schedule. 


How often do you play? 

I try to play 3 matches a week, but I usually can get at least 2 a week in. 

 

What do you like most about the league? 

My favorite part about this league is the opportunity to improve and grow as a player through playing others. Tennis is very much a mental game, and getting to play so many players with different styles, it really stretches your mental and physical capacity in the best of ways. 

 

Tell us about your most memorable match(es): 

Some of my favorite matches are those head-to-head matches where the rallies drag on and we both somehow get seemingly impossible shots. They are the matches where it feels like I am playing my best game against someone who is also playing their best game. 

 

Who are your favorite rivals in the league? Why? 

Some of my favorite rivals are David Sherby, Gregory Huntington, and Aaron Luna. David is always encouraging and always trying something new. I have learned a lot playing him. With Gregory, I feel like I always have to stretch myself to play better and harder, and we always have some really fun rallies where we are both right at the net trying to get past each other. And with Aaron, we are both strong defensive players, so our rallies are long and super tiresome. I have to stretch my stamina to keep up. 

 

Do you have any other interesting comments about your experiences with the league? 

I just enjoy getting to meet and play so many different people and learning about their tennis stories. How they came to tennis and what they are working on to improve their game. I also enjoy being able to see how people I have played have improved, or ways I have improved in playing them. 

 

How did you get started playing tennis? 

I started tennis in Middle School and have only ever played recreationally. Tennis is the only sport I have really ever played. 

 

Do you play to compete, or for fun? 

I play both to compete and for fun. I’m a very competitive person, and do not have too many opportunities to be competitive in my life outside of tennis. 

 

What level player are you? (NTRP rating). 

I believe my rating is closer to 3.75. I am very consistent, but I don’t have enough variety in my shots to be considered a 4.0.

 

What do you love about tennis? 

I love that tennis is a sport you can play at almost any age and that it was available during the start of the Pandemic, when it seemed no other sports were. Tennis is such a flexible and fun sport that you can play almost anywhere.  

 

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 a Montessori teacher at a Public Montessori school here in Austin, and a published children’s author for Monarch Readers. I am also a mother of 2 girls. My whole family plays tennis, including my husband, Bryan Heersema, who also participates in this league. I coach my daughter’s soccer team (though I have never played soccer—sort of like Ted Lasso). I also enjoy playing ukulele, piano, and chess.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Vijendra Singh - He loves playing players with so many different styles

Which league are you a member of?

Tennis Tampa Bay

How long have you participated in your league?

This is my second season. I joined TennisTampaBay in November, 2021 for the first time and this actually is my first league ever.

How did you first learn about it?

One of my friends, Raj Anne, introduced me to this league. 

How often do you play?

3-4 times a week. If time and body permits, my mind and heart asks for it everyday :-)

What do you like most about the league?

The best part is getting to play with a lot of different styles of players. Some love being aggressive, some would just love to keep building rallies. It really developed me better as a player. Before this, I have never played with these many different styles. And of course the flexibility to meet people and play. I never run out of people to hit with. It has given me many new friends and I would love this community to keep growing further. 

Tell us about your most memorable match(es).

I would think of 3 matches which really stood out and stay in my memory. One was last season's semi-final with Tom Foran where I won but I loved playing with Tom since we kind of have a similar style of playing, we both have decent top spins and good serves (Tom has better than me of course, balls were kicking 2-3 ft over my head almost every time).

Second was the one I played with Chritopher Conte (I'm sure he is 4.5 or up) and lost 0-6,0-6 ( In my opinion, he is the only opponent I faced ever where I could not handle the pace of the shots). 

Last but not the least was with Alexander Damjanovic, lost 5-7,5-7. Both sets started with 0-2 and I took the lead to 3-2 on both and I was 2 points away to level the first set (at 5-6 down) and 2 points away to win the second (at 5-4) but couldn't convert it. Alexander really has great slices and flat top spin shots with wide angles. I was really happy with the way I competed in this match knowing Alex plays 4.0 and 4.5 level.

Who are your favorite rivals in the league? Why?

I would not say rival but I would love to play with Andrew Epperson again and again, even though he beat me badly in both the matches, I see him as the most consistent player with the best defense. I wish I could get only 50% of his consistency.

Do you have any other interesting comments about your experiences with the league?

Well, when I started playing this league I used to get frustrated initially with few unconventional styles of tennis and would just give away the match in frustration. I slowly learnt to focus on my game rather than the feed and I can proudly say I'm getting better. With only 15 months of tennis in my life, without any professional coaching, I feel I came a long way and thanks to this network of players as well who really shares great feedback after every match.

How did you get started playing tennis?

I was out of work for a few months during 2020 and finally October, 2020 started with one of my friends just to kill some time but never knew that this would become my obsession (in a positive sense).

Do you play to compete, or for fun?

Right now, I am playing to improve and learn. Playing great and losing gives me more pleasure than playing bad and somehow winning.

What level player are you? (NTRP rating)

3.5 

What do you love about tennis?

I just love every aspect of it. The mechanics behind how a contact should be made to mental toughness. 

Who are your favorite pro players? Why?

Rafa. He has got the best shots either forehand or backhand. I think the only player with no bend in his arms while contacting the ball gives him the most spin and power. 

What do you do? Where did you grow up? What are your hobbies (besides tennis)?

Mechanical Engineer in Application sales. I grew up in one of the Himalayan towns, in north India and came to the USA for a Master's degree and have been here since then. I love working out in the gym 5 days a week if time allows and love hanging out in the mountain sides. Just have one beloved wife :-) and one kid.