Yesterday I took “Tiger” to the courts to face our final MxD foe of the season. “Tiger” is the name I have given the racquet, because with the advantages it provides for me, using it is a lot like cheating. (Insert groan here!)
Anyway, this was the second match using the racquet and first time I have unveiled it away from the friendly confines of our home courts. I have to admit, I was absolutely NOT prepared for the reaction. As we warmed up my opponents were obviously distracted. There was a lot of chatter between them attempting to figure out if it was legal and if I was going to actually use it in the match. The chatter spread to their teammates on adjoining courts. They were calling everyone to look at it and asking all teammates and spectators if it was legal. (It is, by the way!)
By the time the match got underway, almost every eye in the facility was on me. I could hear the snickers and feel the pressure of being watched. As an introvert who is happy with methodically dismantling opponents in relative obscurity this was a new phenomena. My game is just solid, steady and attracts very little attention. If anything I am boring as I plod around the court retrieving balls patiently waiting for a high percentage shot at a winner or for my partner to end the point. Yesterday with the pressure of so many eyes upon me, I was actually a little nervous, a feeling I rarely experience.
After the first few games were complete, I could feel some of the attention and focus drift away, a welcome relief for me. Still, throughout the match I noticed several people watching who wouldn’t otherwise give my play a passing glance. This is something that users will need to be aware of and may have to get used to. The racquet is so unique and different, it creates commotion. Fortunately on this day, with the help of my dynamic partner, we improved my league match record using Tiger to 2 – 0 with a three set victory.
Since the weather did not allow practice, the performance was similar to the previous week. I did get caught with an incorrect grip a couple of times and did hit an underhanded service winner to end the second set after another marathon service game. Since this tactic annoyed the woman so much (I used it on her partner) I waited until an opportune time in the 3rd set and gave her one of her very own!
League tennis is over for us until men’s season begins in March. We will likely provide one or two more diary entries and then culminate with our review that will be posted under “The Natural” tab in this blog. Thanks for reading and be sure to check our previous entries on this racquet if you haven’t already caught them.