Thursday, July 6, 2023

Fernando Ramos - Building Great Tennis Friendships through his league

We caught up with Fernando Ramos from the very active | Alameda / Berkeley / Oakland league. 

Who are your favorite rivals in the league? Why?

Having a group of rivals like Ryan Tom, Phil Miller, Baris Lostuvali, Clifford Hom, Scott Leong, Lloyd Ford, Albert Hong, and Udey Sohi has made improving my tennis skills enjoyable and fulfilling. After each match, we engage in post-game analysis to learn from each other. This post-match analysis allows me to reflect on my performance, identify areas for improvement, and exchange tips and strategies. This collaborative approach to tennis helps enhance your skills and fosters a sense of camaraderie and friendship among the players. Overall, their varying play styles, strengths, and techniques have challenged me to grow as a player, ultimately making tennis a more exciting and rewarding sport for me.

Which league are you a member of?

Tennis East Bay

How long have you participated in your league?

I started playing in this league in August 2021.

How did you first learn about it?

When I first started playing in the USTA (United States Tennis Association), I was initially drawn to the competitive nature of the league. However, I soon realized that the USTA mainly focused on doubles matches, with limited opportunities for singles play. As someone who enjoys the intensity and strategy of singles matches, I needed to find a league that catered more to my preferences. After researching, I stumbled upon the Tennis East Bay league that offered a wide range of singles matches. This league was the perfect fit for what I was looking for. Not only did they prioritize singles play, but they also provided a variety of competitive levels to cater to players of all skill levels.

How often do you play?

I play tennis daily, participating in approximately four weekly matches and practicing on non-match days.

What do you like most about the league?

The friendly community in the league is a standout aspect that enhances the overall experience. It's incredible how a common interest in the game brings people together, allowing for the formation of genuine friendships. The league provides a platform where players from all walks of life can connect and bond over their shared passion for the game. The diverse skill sets and unique playstyles within the league are other aspects that I find captivating. Every player has strengths and weaknesses, and facing off against opponents with different playstyles challenges me to adapt and improve my skills constantly. It's fascinating to see the creativity and ingenuity that players bring to the game as they develop their strategies and methods to outsmart their opponents. Challenging players with diverse skill sets test my abilities and constantly push me to learn and grow. It's exciting to step out of my comfort zone and face new playstyles that I may not have encountered before. This exposure to different approaches ultimately broadens my understanding of the game and empowers me to become a more versatile player.

Tell us about your most memorable match(es)

One of the most memorable matches in my tennis career was the Summer 2022 Season 3.5 Finals against Clifford Hom. Clifford was known for his exceptional slicing game and powerful serve, which made him a formidable opponent. As I prepared for this match, I was aware of the challenges I would face, but I was determined to claim the victory.

The match began with Clifford showcasing his impressive skills. His precise slices and well-placed serves put me on the back foot. I struggled to find a rhythm and counter his game. Despite my efforts, Clifford managed to edge out the first set, winning it 7-5. However, I refused to let this setback discourage me.

As the second set began, I reminded myself of the hard work and dedication I had put into my training. I knew I had prepared for this moment and began refocusing my energy. I started anticipating Clifford's shots better, allowing me to return his slices more accurately and deeply. Moreover, I consciously tried to return his serves aggressively, taking control of the points. These adjustments paid off, and I quickly gained momentum, winning the second set 6-1.

With the match now tied at one set apiece, the tension in the air was palpable. Clifford determined not to let the game slip away, continued to display his formidable skills. However, something changed within me during the crucial moments of the third set.

A surge of determination and confidence coursed through my veins. It was like a beast was awakened within me, fueling my every shot. I unleashed a level of gameplay that surprised even me. My returns became more precise, I served more powerfully, and my footwork more agile. Clifford struggled to keep up with the intensity I brought to the court.

As the match climaxed, I maintained my composure and executed my game plan flawlessly. With each point won, I could feel my self-belief growing stronger. The crowd's cheers fueled my motivation, and with unwavering focus, I managed to secure the third set and the match with a score of 6-3.

The victory against Clifford Hom in the Summer 2022 Season 3.5 Finals will forever hold a special place in my heart. It was a match that tested my skills, determination, and mental fortitude. The battle against a formidable opponent like Clifford pushed me to my limits and forced me to dig deep within myself to unleash my true potential. This memorable match propelled me to take on more emotional challenges in my tennis career. It served as a reminder of the rewards of hard work, preparation, and self-belief. The experience taught me the importance of staying focused, adapting to different playing styles, and never underestimating my abilities. 

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

Not Applicable.

How did you get started playing tennis?

I became interested in playing tennis in June 2021 due to the pandemic. Previously, I didn't take the sport seriously and only played casually. However, as a way to stay active during these times, tennis gradually grew on me and became a sport I truly enjoy.

Do you play to compete or for fun?

I participate in competitions to demonstrate my skills and improve my backhand and forehand strokes. There are various areas for improvement, but my main focus has always been playing tennis at a high level, which I find enjoyable.

What level of player are you? (NTRP rating)

Currently a 4.0 

What do you love about tennis?  

My favorite part of tennis is having great strategies/tactics and mental toughness. Tennis is not just about hitting the ball hard but also about outsmarting your opponent. Study different strategies and tactics, such as approaching the net, playing defensively, or hitting shots with extra spins. Knowing how to adapt your game plan based on your opponent's strengths and weaknesses will give you a competitive edge. Furthermore, tennis can be mentally challenging, especially in high-pressure situations. Developing mental toughness and focus can significantly impact your performance on the court. Practice techniques such as visualization, positive self-talk, and breathing exercises to stay calm and confident during matches.

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

I grew up in San Diego, CA, a city known for its beautiful beaches and vibrant culture. However, when I was 9, my family moved to Richmond, CA, a town with a rich history and diverse community. This move significantly changed me, allowing me to embrace my Mexican heritage even more.

Being from a Mexican background, I have always taken great pride in my culture. One of the ways I express this pride is through my love for Mexican food and music. I enjoy indulging in traditional dishes like tacos, enchiladas, and tamales, which remind me of home and family gatherings. Additionally, Mexican music, with its infectious rhythms and lively beats, always uplifts my spirit and makes me feel connected to my roots.

As the oldest of six siblings, I have always been placed in the role model position. This responsibility has taught me the importance of leading by example and guiding my younger siblings toward their goals. One way I have been able to influence them positively is through sports. While I have convinced two of my brothers to play tennis, I am still working on persuading my sisters to join in. Playing sports fosters discipline, teamwork, and resilience, and I hope to instill these values in my siblings as they grow.

Professionally, I am an Elementary Physical Education Teacher in Richmond, CA. Growing up, I was heavily influenced by the teachers in my community, who instilled in me the belief that I could be successful by giving back. This inspired me to pursue a career in education and make a difference in the lives of the youth in my community. As a physical education teacher, I strive to influence my students, helping them become extraordinary citizens positively. I emphasize sportsmanship, respect, positive self-thinking, and fundamentals. I am proud to see my students improving their fine motor and social skills while having a great time in my classroom.

Outside my teaching career, I am passionate about sports, particularly basketball and tennis. Basketball has been my primary sport for many years, and I have always loved playing it. However, I gravitated more toward tennis due to the pandemic and the temporary suspension of basketball activities. I have become enamored with the sport and now consider it my primary sport, although I'm still ready to admit it to my basketball friends. Tennis has given me a new challenge and a way to stay active and competitive. Practicing my strokes on the tennis court has become a regular part of my routine, allowing me to stay physically fit while honing my skills.


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