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Yup, it happened. We got 90 games in on Sunday. My legs still feel it, but I'm starting to recover rather painlessly, which is nice.

The score doesn't truly matter. I lost 77-13 this time. It's to be expected. A 4.0/4.5 player with insane touch and great angles will mop the court with me regularly(a low 3.5 learning how to construct a real game), but since I lost 78-9 last time, I gave up one less game and scored four more than last time, so I can put that in my accomplishment box for the day.

What does matter are the sheer amount of emotions you encounter in a crazy stunt like this. We played six hours, eighteen minutes, and twenty two seconds on the dot(five minutes less than last time, but we can attribute that to not taking a break for the last fifteen games), and I think I ran the gamut. Anger(losing the first 33 games of the match), utter rage(having 11 of those games with a 40 or advantage on my side and not finishing one of them), relief(finally winning my first game on a lob deep in a corner), determination(winning six out of my next seven service games), hope(starting to break some of his service games), deflation(he winning the next ten games), mixture of anger and exhaustion(Exhaustion affecting my concentration and losing two straight games at love), determination again(screaming at myself to wake up and keep going), relief again(winning the 10th game, beating my last marathon match record), pain(his ankle started to bother him, and my quads were on fire), ego(we're both running after drop shots even though we had no business doing that, and no energy to run after another shot if we got it), pure exhaustion(couldn't even get a first serve over if I tried, and neither could he...he just started tapping it over after that), elation(Won the 13th game, which meant he would win at least one less than last time, which was my goal), and pure joy(Match was over). Six hours later, we outlasted nine matches, three basketball games, and two soccer practices(we played at a local park in Atlanta), and even had a pair of 3.0s, if that, trying to stay with us for a while, and they couldn't. That's the fun of it...when you outlast everyone.

I talk trash to the guy, no question. I think he'd wonder if I was sick if I didn't. I tell him I'm going to triple bagel him every time out, and he won't even get a point off of me(Great thing is that three out of five sets is nothing to us anymore), but he and I know better. I know he'll eventually come out with a 2, 4, and 2 score on average, or a 3, 1, and 2 score. When Christoph's really on, I'll get the bakery of bagels. Hey, it comes with the learning process.

What did I get out of the match? First off, before exhaustion set in, my serve was really really on, which caused the utter rage when I couldn't win a game. I must've hit 8 out of every 10 first serves, and still couldn't dent the guy. It's a pain in the ass, but one good thing that comes out of those crazy matches is that you have a LONG LONG LONG way to go, so you just stay patient and wait out the bad times...use the anger to your motivation. Usually that calms me down when I finally get a couple games. Hearing scores like 41-4 would make others laugh, but I know that I have to keep chipping away at this guy, and any other better player, in order to get better.

Two more things that helped were that my lob game was on a roll, and I picked up something I never had before...a backhand slice. Since my flat backhands tend to go somewhere between gorgeously down the line, and somewhere outside of downtown Chicago, I decided to try slicing. It worked that day, that's for sure, and I now have a nice little weapon in my arsenal.

Chris, being the crazy competitor he is, thought he sucked. But his shot angles are sick, he moves like a 25 year old(he's 45), and he reads his opponents so well. I always tell him I cannot wait till he and I start having classic matches. The trash talk is simply for fun. The day I bagel him is the day he quits the game. It's not happening, and I don't expect it to whatsoever. When I do catch up to him, we'll be playing five setters with a tiebreak.

Far as our next marathon? We've already planned on a even hundred games. That'll be about 3-4 months away though, since we need to rest in between these suckers. We've already talked about doing a 150 game one for charity one day, but I'd like to do at least 100 and 120 first to build up to that. Charity would be great though...100 a game or something like that. Depends how much money we have at that time.

Eh, till then, back to the "boring" 2 out of 3 and 3 out of 5 set matches. I have tournaments to play now. See if I can steal one before I head off to L.A. for a week in March.

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Comment by Jake Christner on February 29, 2012 at 12:36pm

Oh boy yes, haha. About the only thing old school with my game, haha.

Comment by Tim Prapong on February 29, 2012 at 12:26pm

A page right outta the old school. lol

Comment by Jake Christner on February 29, 2012 at 12:24pm
Lobbing over that shoulder got me my first game.
Comment by Tim Prapong on February 29, 2012 at 12:21pm

I read Laver's autobiography where he completely advises to lob over the opponent's backhand shoulder and to do it regularly. Even the clip at 1969 Wimbledon against the tall and lanky Newcombe, Laver was lobbing alot. Never think it is less of it. It is a valid weapon, not just an old man's trick.

Comment by Joe B. (BP, CA) on February 29, 2012 at 9:28am

I agree with Tim, low slices are some of the most difficult shots to return.  For one, they tend to skid rather than bounce high (and skidding throws off timing), plus the opponent has to go after them rather than wait for them to come to him.  I know, I was playing one of my buddies who loves his slices.  Keep up the good work; you'll only improve from here.

Comment by Tim Prapong on February 29, 2012 at 1:37am

Wow! You guys actually did it! Well, keep going with that backhand slice. It's a real energy conserver and plus, if you can make it skid, it's a super weapon! The lob is another energy sapper for the other guy, so no discounting that. 

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