Do You Remember Algebra?

If a > b and b > c, then a > c.

Remember that nugget? That’s the transitive property of inequalities. (I’ll confess I had to look up the name of that one.)

It’s common sense, right? 10 is greater than 9, and 9 is greater than 8, so 10 must also be greater than 8.

It’s always and forever true in math. In tennis, not so much. Continue reading “Do You Remember Algebra?”

A Round Robin Kerfuffle

I had an interesting interaction at a round robin today. I’ll give you the general scenario followed by my perspective and that of my RR partner. Then you get to sound off in the comment section!

Here’s the scenario: This RR has a fairly wide range of abilities. I’m a 3.5 player, but there are some players, particularly among the men, who are way better than I am. The woman who organizes the RR does her best to pair partners and opponents to make for competitive rounds. Everyone gets a new partner and new opponents every 25 minutes or so.

In the third round, I was partnered with a player we’ll call Sidney. I recognized Sidney and may have played with him in the past, but we’re basically strangers. He’s far better than I am, as was the man playing across the net. The female opponent was also better than I am, but the men were the strongest.

So I was the weakest player on the court. But that’s all right. I come to this RR to get the experience of facing more challenging opponents than those I normally see.

When it was Sidney’s turn to serve, he tried to get me to stand closer to the net. I was inside the service line, but not as close as he’d like. I replied, “No, I’m good where I am.” He brought it up a couple of other times, but I declined to move. At one point, I tried to laugh off his suggestions by patting his arm and saying, “Okay, you play your side of the court and I’ll play mine.”

Another time, I believe he didn’t like where I hit the ball but I’m actually not sure what he was commenting on at that point. I was beginning to get a little irritated.

When the round (which we won 4-2) was over and we were waiting for our new court and partner assignments, he said to me, “Do you remember geometry?” I told him to drop it, that being corrected by my RR partner only makes me play worse, which doesn’t help either of us. At that point, we went to our separate courts. Continue reading “A Round Robin Kerfuffle”

March Challenge: A Focus on Strokes

I planned to write a glib monthly tennis challenge, but I can’t muster my usual enthusiasm for glibness. Luke Perry died this morning from a massive stroke. He was 52.

It’s always a bit unnerving to hear someone exactly your age has passed away. After five decades of living, I’m still secretly convinced of my own immortality. Like a child, I can’t conceive of a world without me in it.

But Luke Perry’s relative youth aside, stroke has a unique way of grabbing my attention. My father suffered a massive stroke in 2011. It happened right in front of me, over lunch at California Pizza. Continue reading “March Challenge: A Focus on Strokes”

The Underhand Serve: A Friday Poll

“Kyrgioser and kyrgioser!” cried Alice…

Another day, another Nick Kyrgios controversy. If he isn’t getting fined for lack of effort or for needling an opponent about his girlfriend’s sexual history, he’s hitting head-scratching and/or controversial shots.

In this case, the shot was a dinky underhand serve to Rafael Nadal, who famously stands practically in the bleachers when he receives. I watched the first set of this Mexican Open match and heard commentator Lindsay Davenport wonder why no one ever tries an underhand serve against Rafa. She then joked that if anyone would do it, Kyrgios would. Continue reading “The Underhand Serve: A Friday Poll”

Correcting the Call

It kills me to admit this, but…I’m not perfect.

Tennis offers me so many opportunities to be humbled by my fallibility. There are all those unforced errors. All the times I can’t remember the score.

And of course, there’s the line calls.

On the face of it, calling a ball in or out really shouldn’t be too hard. You look at the line. You see the ball bounce. A kindergartner ought to be able to get this right. Continue reading “Correcting the Call”

Eight Random Thoughts about Agassi’s “Open”

Many years ago on a bright, early fall afternoon, I was walking down a street in Manhattan. I can’t remember who was with me or where we were headed, but as we approached the steps leading down to a subway, a young man came up the stairs and emerged into the sunshine.

It was Andre Agassi, in full ragamuffin glory–his hair (or hairpiece, as we now know) blond and shaggy, his clothes so very late-’80s. His face lit up as his eyes met mine. He could see I recognized him, and he was expecting me to approach. Not only expecting it, but wanting it. At this moment in time, he was clearly savoring the perks of his new stardom, not hiding beneath a baseball cap and dark glasses. Continue reading “Eight Random Thoughts about Agassi’s “Open””

Loopy Tennis

True story (at least I think it’s true):

One of my tennis buds told me about a match she played many years ago. The night before, she’d been at a party and sampled a hash brownie. When the effects didn’t kick in right away, she decided to try a second, and then a third. Continue reading “Loopy Tennis”

An “Open” Snippet

Back in December, I said I was planning to read Andre Agassi’s memoir, Open, and asked if anyone wanted to read it with me. Well, I finally picked up the book–and I’d love to have someone to talk/post with about the book when I’m done.

Here are the memoir’s opening paragraphs, just to pique your interest:

I open my eyes and don’t know where I am or who I am. Not all that unusual–I’ve spent half my life not knowing. Still, this feels different. This confusion is more frightening. More total. Continue reading “An “Open” Snippet”

February Challenge: Planks

In tennis, your shots are only as strong as your core.

Okay, I just made that up. But it sounds true, doesn’t it? Your core is key for stability and transferring energy from the legs up through the torso. More importantly, without a solid core, we’re not going to look as good in our tennis outfits. Continue reading “February Challenge: Planks”

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