I picked up the tennis racquet just last year, around this time last year to be exact. I came back after a 20 year layoff. I was poisoning myself with drugs, food, alcohol, and nicotine during those 20 years. Not to mention that I was hanging around the wrong crowd. Oakland California doesn't have a whole lot of positive activities for youngsters to do. One day, I thought to myself...I'm killing myself slowly. I wanted to do something more positive with my spare time and Tennis was the answer. I went to Big 5 and purchased a crappy Wilson racquet to start out. I went on Craigslist to look for people to hit with. I found a couple of willing souls. So there I was, traveling 10-20 minutes outside of hood playing tennis hoping not to be seen by my friends. Soon enough I was getting my groove back and improving my game and stamina. I slowly stopped associating myself with certain friends and fell in love with tennis all over again. I joined the USTA and self rated myself at 3.5. Then I joined a local league at the community college in Oakland. I played 4 matches for the men 3.5 team and won them with ease. I then got bumped by the computer to 4.0. Those 4 wins turned into 4 losses due to the 3 strikes rule. I was then recruited by another 4.0 team and won the last 2 matches for them. We went to the playoffs and that was when I was fed my first loss of the year.
My wife and I decided that it was time to get out of the hood and move to the suburbs. This happened to be the best thing that we've done for ourselves. Besides my damn allergies, I love it here! I replaced my old friends with new tennis buddies. This is where my tennis game has blossomed. There are so many nice courts close to where we live, it's never a challenge to find an open court. I stepped up my equipment and bought 1 Babalot APD. I was playing so much and popping strings so frequently, it forced me to buy another APD. I was becoming a tennis player all over again and loving it! I thought I'd give it a try and play some NTRP tournaments. Upon my search I found a tournament offering $4,000. My big head thought, hey I can do this! So I registered about a month and a half in advanced. My mother who lives in Virginia with her husband and my half brother(who is currently in Prison) and half sister came to visit me in the summer. So there we were...my Mom, my wife, and myself chiling out by the pool on a hot summer day. Suddenly, my mobile rings. "Michael? Where are you? You registered for the tennis Bay Counties $4000 Open tournament and you're late"! Oh crap! I convinced the referee not to default me and that I would be there in 20 minutes. He allowed for me to be late but informed me that I would be penalized 3 games. I rushed everybody to the courts. I met my opponent and apologized for my tardiness. I opened my tennis bag and..*&&%%#@$. The only sticks in there were my wife's(a purple Wilson Hammer), the Big 5 racquet and a broken Price CTS Approach that I used in High School. I totally forgot I was having my Babalots restrung. This was embarrassing! I pulled out the purple Hammer. lol We warmed up a little and then began our match. I hated the fact that I wasn't playing with my stick! Then...pop, I popped the strings. I then pulled out the Big 5 special(with the factory cheapo strings still), then while returning this kids first serve...POP. Damn, this leaves me with my broken High School racquet which still had the Prince topsin strings on them. Well, the racquet lasted the rest of the match and I got my ass handed to me with 2 bagels to go with it. Wow, what an experience that was! What the hell was I thinking? Entering an Open tournament totally un prepared and way over my head! ROFLMFAO
I then started to play a few NTRP 4.0 tournaments. I struggled and often loss in the first or second round. I think I got into the Quarters in one of them but loss badly. I got into the finals of a one day tournament but loss due to cramps. I was not in the right shape to be competing with these guys. I then began getting myself in better shape. This is when I found Tennisopolis!!! I found it on Craigslist when I was looking for people to hit with in my new area. From this great website, I've met some really good people and some great hitting partners! I began hitting consistently with the people I've met on here. Soon enough I was losing weight and getting in much better shape. I was preparing myself for the new tennis season coming up.
So here it is, the new 2011 tennis season is here. I'm in much better shape and ready to take on some more NTRP tournaments and play some USTA leagues. So far this year I've played in 9 NTRP tournaments. I've lost in the Quartes in 1, lost in the Semis in 2, lost in the Finals in 3, and have won the last 3! Talk about improvement in just a few months! :) http://www.ustanorcal.com/playermatches.asp?id=155509&a=T&l... In my league matches, I have 2 losses. Which to me are bogus. 1 loss was because I had a tournament the same day and play 3 long grueling matches before rushing over to play the league match. I was cramping and couldn't push off at all. So that loss was a fluke. Then the other match, I just played the worst game of my life and beat myself. Put me in front of him again, and I will slaughter him! I am on a 15 win winning streak!
If it wasn't for tennis and tennisopolis, my life would be headed down a totally different road. Thank you tennis and Tennisopolis!