I am a member of the Baltimore Tennis League.
How long have you participated in your league?
I’ve been a member since August 2018, when I joined for the Fall Season that year.
How did you first learn about it?
I joined by referral from a friend that I had lived with in Baltimore and also went to college with.
How often do you play?
I’m on the tennis courts 4-5 times per week between league matches, private lessons, and group lessons.
What do you like most about the league?
I really appreciate the player base that this league attracts. I can honestly say that 99.9% of my matches are against players who want to win but not at the cost of sacrificing sportsmanship. I’ve made some great friends who are really invested in seeing me improve as a player. As someone that did not play tennis growing up, this is my first opportunity to really track match stats and play competitively and the league does a great job at keeping things as balanced as it can be. The End of Year Tourney is such a great addition, I’ve gone twice and plan on going every year that I am able to!
A few definitely come to mind! I’ve had multiple matches that have needed to be played across two, sometimes three days due to a variety of reasons but mainly the length of the rallies. A playoff win last year in September also comes to mind, a three setter that ended with a 7-5 final set in my favor. Also have to mention getting the chance to play against Steve in my first Miami Tourney playoff match, a three setter where I lost the first set but came back to win the next two. Got some great advice on how to improve my game after that match! The first match of that tournament was amazing as well, cramps did me in as it was my first match in the Miami heat, last time I go deep sea fishing the day before match play begins! It was great experience regardless as I had my mom, brothers, uncles, and cousins watching me play.
Who are your favorite rivals in the league? Why?
Pat Martel and Sam Honegger both top the list. One of the multi-day matches I mentioned above came against Pat, and he’s the player that I’ve played the most in this league. I won’t say how many times because I’m still searching for that first W, but every match is a good one and we match up well. It just seems like everytime I improve, he does as well, which makes it so great to play against him! Sam and I have a very even match history, in 9 matches he has the edge at 5-4. We match up well and both agree 3 setters should be the way to determine every final set. He got the best of me in our most recent playoff match but I’m sure we have many more great matches in store. I was super pumped for him when I heard that he won his division in last year's tournament!
Overall this league is so well run, I try to invite as many players to it as I can. Initially I was nervous about not having tennis experience, but there is such a wide variety of tennis players in this league, some with high school or collegiate experience or others who just had a racket at home like me, that you can always find a good match. The multiple mid year tourneys outside of the season ones are a great addition as well.
How did you get started playing tennis?
My family always had tennis rackets laying around but growing up my time was spent playing soccer, football, and baseball. I love baseball and as a kid, there was no chance I would miss out on baseball to try tennis considering they were the same season. Once I moved into Baltimore in 2015, my three roommates at the time all had rackets at the time and were better than me, which motivated me to get better myself. Fast forward 3 years and I was looking to boost my competition and here we are.
Do you play to compete, or for fun?
I love the sport and have a great time playing. I also really prioritize my health and I tell others that I want tennis to be my old man's game to keep me in shape. That being said, I’m a glutton for competition, so I gotta say I’m here to get some wins out there on the court!
What level player are you? (NTRP rating)
4.0, Elite & Advanced League
I love the simplicity of the game from the scoring system to the general idea that the player who makes fewer mistakes wins. I also love the mathematical approach to the game from knowing where the net is the lowest, hitting high percentage shots, and the importance of angles. Finally, I love the feeling after a long 3 set match, yeah I want to win everytime out there, but I know that I just gave it my all and my body may be hurting but it’s also doing wonders for my health.
Who are your favorite pro players? Why?
My favorite player of all time is Arthur Ashe. As a black tennis player, I don’t see too many players that look like me both in the league and on TV. Ashe was a trailblazer throughout his tennis career and after it ended. He’s a hero of mine that I look up to and learned so much about his life and struggles from reading his book Arthur Ashe: A Life. I highly recommend any tennis fan to give it a read. I also really love watching Rafa play and hope that we haven’t seen him at the French Open for the last time. I’ve got a soft spot for Nick Kyrgios, I really hope he can break through for one Slam during his career. Final shout out would be for Agassi, I read his autobiography Open, and what a journey he had. Watching highlights of him running around the court definitely inspires me to go all out on every point.