Friday Fashion Face-off: U.S. Open Best-Dressed Man Award

The U.S. Open is well under way, which can mean only one thing. It’s time to pick our best-dressed man of the slam!

I thought choosing the best dressed for Wimbledon would be hard, what with the color restriction and all. But I’m actually finding this slam a bit tougher. No one is truly standing out for me, but we’ll just have to muddle through with what we have. Continue reading “Friday Fashion Face-off: U.S. Open Best-Dressed Man Award”

A Poll on Losing

I’m guessing your poor eyeballs are still trying to recover from Monday’s long Arthur Ashe post. So I’m taking pity on you today with a super short post, along with a poll. (I love my polls!)

What do you think about losing? (Personally, I’m not a fan.) The pros have faced more losses than most of us, and many have strong opinions about it. Continue reading “A Poll on Losing”

Arthur Ashe: Days Of Grace

When I started this blog back in April, I planned out a schedule of posts. Looking ahead to the U.S. Open, I wondered what I might like to write about during that time. For no particular reason, Arthur Ashe popped into my head, and I penciled the idea into the schedule.

I didn’t learn until a couple of weeks ago that this year marks the 50th anniversary of Ashe’s first Grand Slam championship–at, of course, the U.S. Open. It’s also, sadly, the 25th anniversary of his death from AIDS. It’s strange how things sometimes work out like that. Continue reading “Arthur Ashe: Days Of Grace”

Friday Fashion Face-off: The Stadium Bleachers

What in the world has gotten into the French?

Two of the country’s top male players have dyed their hair, going from brown to quite blond. Sacre bleu! Or should I say, sacre jaune! Continue reading “Friday Fashion Face-off: The Stadium Bleachers”

Playing for Good: Forgirlsake Tennis Fundraiser

On September 22, Forgirlsake will hold its sixth annual Women’s Doubles Tennis Open fundraising event.

Founded in 2006, the nonprofit organization raises money to support girls’ education in underdeveloped countries such as India, Uganda, and Tanzania. The round robin-format fundraiser draws area tennis lovers for a morning of friendly competition, shopping, and doing good.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Stephanie Zelman, co-founder of Forgirlsake and the annual tennis event. Continue reading “Playing for Good: Forgirlsake Tennis Fundraiser”

Choosing Smarter Shots

Today’s my last post about consistency, at least for a while. As promised on Monday, I did a little poking around into the topic of shot selection. Poor shot selection is a major factor in a high unforced error count.

Here’s an elegant way I’ve seen shot selection explained: Assess what’s going on in the point–where you are, where your opponent is, and what options you have–and then choose the best of those options.

Here’s a simpler way to put it: Stop trying dumb shots. Continue reading “Choosing Smarter Shots”

Friday Fashion Face-off: Fun-Sized Edition

You know how the runt of the litter is usually the feisty one? Scrappiness grows out of necessity: Fight or starve.

Same principle applies in tennis. Some of the most dogged competitors on the pro tour are average-sized, or even petite. Too often, we treat shortness as some sort of handicap, when in fact it can be a source of strength. The current #1 on the women’s tour, Simona Halep, is the shortest of the top ten, at a compact but powerful 5 feet 6: Continue reading “Friday Fashion Face-off: Fun-Sized Edition”

The Long Gray Wall

When I was a young kid, my mother used to take me with her when she was meeting her friends for tennis. The park where she liked to play had a long gray concrete wall–really long, and really high. This was back when handball was a popular activity. In the evenings, you could usually find three or four handball games taking place simulaneously on each side of the wall.

But during the mornings, when my mom took me to the park, the wall stood empty. I’d bring along my little wooden racquet and hit against the wall while I waited for my mother to finish her game. I wasn’t very good so I ended up doing an awful lot of running as each inadvertently angled shot caromed off the wall. But I was young and energetic, and chasing down my ball to give it another whack with my racquet was all part of the fun.

Later, when I learned to control my shots a little more, I’d go to the wall on my own. I’d deliberately hit my groundstrokes inside-out, working forehands down the length of the wall and backhands on the way back. I could complete three “laps” of the wall before my lungs would give out. Continue reading “The Long Gray Wall”

Consistency (Yawn.)

During practice, our team coach Tom likes to call out pop quiz questions, especially when we’ve just screwed something up. By now, we’ve heard the questions so many times we could answer them in our sleep.

When one of us makes an unforced error, he calls out one of his particular favorites:

“What’s the biggest weapon in tennis?”

“Consistency!” we dutifully bleat. Baaa. Continue reading “Consistency (Yawn.)”

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