So I played in a tennis tournament recently. I’m not exactly sure what possessed me to signup for the event, but I think watching a local junior tennis tournament a few weeks ago as well as the French Open both contributed to the decision.
I have actually played tennis for most of my life. Since my mom played college tennis, it was not unusual to play a few times per week during my childhood. I took some lessons during my middle school years and then played some tournaments and team tennis later. I was never too serious about the game; it was always more of a recreational pursuit with friends and family instead of serious training and dedication. Since graduating high school, I mainly play with family during breaks and holidays; nothing too serious, just some fresh air and exercise.
To my surprise, there a quite a few tournaments in the local area. After renewing my USTA membership and registering for the local tournament, I had to select the NTRP draw I would enter. I was not too familiar with this ranking system used for recreational players, but after reading descriptions online, I imagined myself as somewhere between a 3.5 and 4.0 level. I decided on the 3.5 level as I was new to the whole tournament scene and was not sure what to expect.
As for the tournament itself, my first match was primetime Friday evening. Sure enough, I was placed on the court closest to the central patio location with multiple spectators in the area. I must have been pretty nervous because I started hitting really hard; in fact, I think my serves were probably faster than ever. However, with this increased pace came lots of unforced errors. But you know what they say; go down swinging. After a rocky start, I managed to start playing better and finished with a respectable score line, even if it was a loss.
Not to be discouraged, I returned the next day for a ninety degree match. I definitely played better this match as I had analyzed my previous play and realized some adjustments were required. I then played two more times before on the final day of the tournament.
By no means am I going to be joining the ATP tour anytime in the near future, but it was definitely refreshing to once again play some good tennis. I think I could probably play in the 4.0 level and be competitive.
It is unfortunate that tennis is not as popular as it once was; the local tennis courts around my place of residence have been transformed into a “bark park.” But in all honesty, they will probably be used more in this capacity. It seems like many other courts are crumbling, cracking, and neglected. It is not hard to see why as there are few top male U.S. tennis players, and if it wasn’t for Serena Williams, the U.S. professional tennis scene would be in dire straights altogether. But nonetheless, as long as there is junior tennis and weekend warriors, I think the game will march onward.