I joined a local club to find some more challenging players. Then I played in two tournaments, which I haven’t done since I was 13. The doubles match left us 4th out of eight teams. Not too bad. But the singles match was quite funny: I was decimated, losing 2-6, 0-6. I was broken every time and only won two games, when my opponent double faulted once or twice each time. Although I was demo-ing a new racket that I’d been introduced to at Newport, I was totally pessimistic about winning the match, when I heard the other guy was a lot younger. Turned out he was 32.

After the slaughter was over, and I asked if he’d played competitively in college or high school, he revealed that he’d been a top squash player, never losing a game to his teammates during four years at prep school and placing fourth in the national juniors. Then playing at Harvard as high as #3 and ending up 15th in the country. NO WONDER HE WAS SO FAST AND ACCURATE AND POWERFUL.

His tennis shots were beautifully placed past me with enormous top spin. The balls wiggled like hula dancers in the air and then took huge bounces after they landed. He raced successfully to my drop shots and was just way too good for me. The next day he won the tournament, after a close match with the club champion.

I admit I was still discouraged from losing so badly. I have all the excuses I need and more, but I need to hit a harder, faster much more aggressive ball. I am determined to change what I am doing, so that I can execute what I know: watch the ball, follow through and fall on the ball.

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