The last 16 weeks has flown by. The year started at the Hopman Cup, then VIC/NSW Tour, then Busselton, then home to Albany, Esperance, then Perth and now home again.
It has been a long time since I played competitively, I think Esperance in March 2014. I am quite happy to say to people that after 40-60 hours a week of tennis I am not overly thrilled to play competitively, (or socially). Rest is an important part of any successful career and there are not many professionals in any industry that hang out at workplace in their limited time off.
April always marks the end of the season, the start of the winter soccer season and the start of the AFL. Both of which I am a massive fan of. After seeing that there weren’t massive entries for the Mens teams or Singles events, I threw my hat in the ring, so to speak. I had a few ranking points up my sleeve from previous AMT wins, so I figured I would be seeded and get an OK first round…wrong, I come up against my team mate Aaron who on any given day can hit 30 clean winners and make mince meat of anything short. I thought I had a bit more of a chance winning on a grass court, maybe a little court craft and speed around the net, could get me over the line. Aaron is very highly rated by players from all clubs in our area, is an up and coming talent, still not 20 and has impressive results at perth events and local events. Anyways to cut a long story short, I had a 6/4, 6/2 win, but those that follow my social media, every now and then I throw my opinions out there, world news, local news, or decisions I find quite baffling.
At 2/1 down in the second set, it rained. We started the match on very wet courts, (its April-there is dew) and it stopped after 2 minutes so we went back on court. We played a few points when a booming voice came at us, “get off the courts, you don’t have permission to play, get off now!” the tone we were talked to in drew a reply from a parent watching his daughter play “gee you don’t have to be so rude”, so here we are, two grown men, getting yelled at by an official. Anyway, I said sorry, and I copped “don’t bring that attitude Brad” or something to that effect. So naturally I let the official know : My name is not Brad, all I said was sorry, and that the attitude I was copping from her, in front of families was not acceptable and that the courts were as wet now after drizzle as they were with the morning dew. Anyways 30 minutes later we were allowed on court and we finished the match. Another rain delay shortly after, and this time an hours break. Any club/social program or coaching program would have been back on court in a flash……but we waited, and waited, and waited……and finally after a very long break, kids were allowed on court (and drew a loud “YAY” It’s interesting to note, that after another brief shower at 4.30 and closer to the referees knock off time, the kids were told to get straight back on court once it stopped. (A very different rule/interpretation from 6 hours earlier). For the record everyone went on court, had fun, played tennis and enjoyed been active and getting out there. Yes we all have a duty of care to every athlete on court, no I have never seen a 10 year old slip on a wet court and do an ACL, but slipping and sliding is a part of grass court tennis. After all, it’s country week, it’s laid back, and the courts being wet made no difference at all.
I enjoyed a few doubles matches as well. After a good lead in at Bridgetown, I played some mixed with my wifey in Bridgetown over Easter (we won our pool, made the semis), it’s fun, social, and a great crew from the club all stay together and have a ball. You don’t have to have the best facilities, but some people wouldn’t have a clue how good a club can be, as they’ve never stuck at one long enough, or haven’t (shopped around) but perhaps club rankings, enjoyment, etc is a blog for another day. I also played a few good doubles matches with Aaron, we didn’t win, but used the event as a good grass court lead in for Country Champs. Unfortunately the rain lead to a change of format, with the singles matches been taken out of the teams event, which really sucked for any teams of 3 and 4 players. I had planned to just play the doubles and Steve and Aaron the singles. Aaron and I didn’t get on court together but Steve and I (and Aaron and Steve) did, what a blast. It had been a few years since I had enjoyed tactical fun quality doubles. I think the last time was when Dave Bignell and I played and made the final in Kalgoorlie at their annual AMT. Anyways I (hopefully) think we proved as we head to our 40s, the serve and volley is still alive, the brain is slightly smarter, the touch and the reflexes are there…but I enjoyed the tennis.
Won or lose, it was good close, enjoyable tennis.
A special thanks to the Gero boys in Kretschy and Brad who we played in our last match. Brad had played his singles semi and then singles final before the match and was whacked, it was a fun and competitive doubles with just a break of serve the difference in each set. I think a few funny moments, tubes, tweeners and after a 210km bomb from kretschy was framed out of the court area “speed it up mate, my wifey serves faster than that!” this was one of the most enjoyable matches I have had in ages.
Again, I ENJOYED MYSELF playing tennis. It’s been a long time, I’ve seen juniors come and get good, and head off to uni/perth etc, not many stick around in Albany. I think I’ve been on top of my game here locally for a while (not arrogant, but please correct me if I am wrong), won a few club champs, and champ of champs, I can’t think of anyone with a winning record against me, but the weekends tennis, well I think it pushed me to maybe think about getting on court competitively next season, we will see how the Vets football/soccer season goes.
Even the wifey said to me, “it is so good to hear you talking about playing positively again” which I guess from someone who knows me the best is a good thing.
Check out the news sections to see the really good results of our ATA players at the WA COUNTRY CHAMPS