We played the Chambermaids in our final match. (I was a spectator this week.) The match meant little to us, but the Chambermaids had a lot on the line. If they won, and Great Valley lost, they’d head to the Philly Districts in July. If both teams won, Great Valley would take the title.
The Chambermaids beat us 4-1. Our lone victory was first singles. Matt, who has spent most of the season playing 4.5 doubles, defeated Chris, who beat me in straights earlier this year. Later in the afternoon, Great Valley recorded its results on the USTA computer system: Victory.
Now, Great Valley motors east on the Schuykill to Levittown, where the squad will play a round-robin with three other Philly-area teams. The winner will represent Philly in the Middle States playoffs. The Middle States winner will do battle for the National title in Tucson this September.
I finished the season 3-4, with (I hope) a better sense of what I need to do to get the most from my game on the 4.0 circuit. Herewith, a few observations:
The attacking game is an opportunity. Although consistent baseliners post the best results, this approach doesn’t suit me psychologically. I seemed to be most in control of matches when I attacked and took the net. If I can be smarter about when to approach, the strategy could pay dividends. Very few people play this way. The novelty factor alone is good for a few points.
My serve is better, but not good enough. I developed more power on my first delivery and more kick on the second. In general, though, I still hit too many double-faults. A late-season effort to put more spin on both deliveries (think of swinging a hatchet) seemed to be promising.
My forehand remains a mystery. Sometimes I can’t hit this shot without thinking about every element of the stroke–the footwork, the contact point, the swingpath, the tightness of my grip. My cerebellum tries to process the hectoring from the cerebral cortex, and the stroke breaks down. A recent shift toward a more open stance seems to be forcing me lower to the ground, helping me generate more depth, pace, and spin. I’ll keep working on it. Pass the Valium.
The rest of the year
If I can muster the energy and enthusiasm, I’ll play a local 4.0 tournament at the end of July. Otherwise, I’ll spend the rest of the year practicing and spectating, the highlight being a few days at the U.S. Open in September.