Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Praveen Nair - Tennis is a Gentlemen's Game

We caught up with Praveen Nair out of JacksonvilleTennisLeague.com and this is his story.

What do you love about tennis?  

Tennis is a gentleman game. No arguments, no fights and always friendly. I love the fact that it requires strategy and physical fitness and provides some good exercise. It seems to be a very simple game when you look at how Roger Federer plays, but when you play, realize how much effort is required to play and win a tennis match. Another good thing about tennis is, it only requires 2 people unlike Cricket Match which requires coordinating 11 people.

Which league are you a member of?

I am part of Jacksonville Tennis League.

How long have you participated in your league?

It’s been only a year I have been part of this excellent tennis community however it feels like I know everyone in my group for ages.

How did you first learn about it?

Jacksonville Tennis League was referenced to me by one of my friends, Mr. James Pudner, a wonderful person and very nice athlete who also happens to live in my own housing community, for getting tennis practice as it was becoming increasingly difficult to get people to play tennis very often.  What a wonderful step I taken! I was flooded with a lot of good people who were very accommodating and very reaching out to play tennis.

How often do you play?

I play very regularly, I tried to finish 20-25 games per season, provided our seasonal Florida weather permits it. I always try to play same person twice and if we have split, try to play one more time. The number of friendships I make along the way helps me to keep playing and learning from everyone.

What do you like most about the league?

One of the most likable parts of this league is the people and the way you can schedule games. The rules do encourage everyone to play more.  I felt everyone is very respectful and helpful.

Tell us about your most memorable match(es)

I do remember some great games. Some of them I win and some of them I lost. One of the games I remember most is when I got defeated by an elite player, John Kim, who was very thorough with his shot selection and execution. But that game become so memorable because even though he was winning, he was very respectful to me and was trying to make the game very interesting. 

Who are your favorite rivals in the league? Why?

I love some friendly rivalries. I had multiple games with Scott (Winfield) & Pushpjeet. Everyone is so talented that any given day the game can go either way. So, a little bit of sporty rivalries always helps to focus more.

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

One of the nice things I remember was that I had a game with Abdur on hot Florida day at around 3:00 PM and I was really struggling against the sun as I did not have a hat. Abdur was very nice enough to gift me a brand-new hat. How nice of him! These small gestures make bigger impact in our life and thoughts!

I want to say the thanks to the organizers of the league as well especially Steven. They are very accommodating and not micro-managing each game and people. It helps to build trust.

How did you get started playing tennis?

I never learned tennis professionally as kid. I picked tennis with the help of couple of friends as a hobby. And recently I had some coaching as well to improve my game.

Do you play to compete, or for fun?

I do play for fun but since I play a lot of games, I do compete as well. But most import thing for me is comfort and trying to give your 100% on that day.           

What level player are you? (NTRP rating)

I am rated between 3.5 to 4.0.

Who are your favorite pro players? Why?

Roger Federal. His simplicity and elegance are noteworthy. I do like Pete Sampras as well as he gives a good fight to Andre Agassi in my school days.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  

I work in Information Technology field, originally from India, who used to spend a lot of time behind my desk. I used to be very obese (used to be around 249 lbs.) when covid as calamity hit us, it changed my perceptions and priorities. I started walking and slowly reduced my weight between 185-195 lbs. now. Now a days, my priority in life is to get outside my own home in the evening as much as possible and enjoy!

I do actively participate in lot of sports like Cricket (Every Sunday morning and I do play some league matches as well) and Soccer (every Sunday evening) and in any free time I play Chess tournaments online. I do have table tennis board in my dining room which I play with daughter as well. All other days are dedicated to tennis or walking, depends on courts availability.

My favorite place is the Beach where I can walk miles and miles and listen to music. And I love nature parks and being a frequent visitor to Jacksonville Arboretum, Jacksonville Zoo, Washington Oaks park, Jekyll Island, Mosh, NASA etc.