My tennis mentor, Joe Marshall (who has written over 15 articles on this site about tennis strategy), emailed that he was having trouble finding a regular tennis game after he relocated to New York from his home in Connecticut. I missed his advice and unconventional game right away. Joe is a very strong ping pong player and brings that talent into tennis, with many slices and lobs. Here is his latest report.

We moved. I didn’t want to at first, but my wife insisted that life would be better if we were closer to the kids and the grand-daughter.

“But what about my tennis friends?” I wailed.

“They’ll be plenty of tennis up there,” she insisted. “And you can always come back to visit.”
Oh well……

I’ve played a few times, beating the opponents easily with my whacky game. But today I made a classic mistake. I played a guy I had beaten easily in the wind on clay. And today I took the first set on a hard court 6-1. Then I started taking it easy a little bit…..Not too different, just being a little less aggressive, and not moving in between shots……In no time he was up 2-0.

I said to myself “Better buckle down”…Close game….I lost it….3-0….I got to 3-1, but he won the next two game, and he EARNED them…..tremendous play….AND movement….he was figuring me out! Down 5-1, I took the next three games. But he hit the line on every serve in the next game and had me set point……he hit me a jamming serve, which I mishit….It bounced twice on the net and dropped over…..From there I won in a tiebreak…..playing one key point where I brought him in and lobbed him FOUR times, and he STILL won the point….but I think I got to his legs on that one, and it cost him the next couple of points…..I’m glad it didn’t get to go to a third set….he seemed a lot fitter than me.

Playing a lot less tennis, I have been surviving on ping pong. What a great game….The local University has a tremendous ping pong club that is open to the public…..ON a Thursday night at ten PM, it was forty college kids and 57-year-old yours truly hacking it out……I could beat most of the hackers, but some of the kids from the team are superb, playing in a style like the Olympic champs….a couple of young ladies from China were better than all but 2 or 3 of the boys.

Ping Pong is a lot better for my back and legs…..Singles tennis, especially, can really do a number on your body….stretching is essential.

My tennis friend said he would recommend me to a group of guys who play more at my level….But he warned me….”They are an insular group, and if you don’t do well the first time you play them, they won’t invite you back.”

Talk about pressure! Now I know how Andy Murray felt!

If I play poorly, I’m in tennis limbo at least until next spring when the local tournament roles around…….Wish me luck!