Cyprus Tennis – A Lesson in how to get creamed by a 14 year old

Posted on November 11, 2010

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Cyprus Tennis – reviews Cyprus Masters tennis match – 8 November 2010 – Tennis in Cyprus

Well the day started well, with me practicing serving at targets at Aphrodite Hills in the bright sunshine.  I then left for Nicosia, convincing myself on the way that I had already won (the power of positive thinking) and that I  was ready (despite not having played for 2 weeks because my injured elbow and despite me still not feeling 100% happy with the way that I was playing).  I relaxed and made sure I got rid of any nerves and reviewed my gameplan. 

Cyprus Tennis aiming to hit the ball early

I arrived earlier at the National Tennis Centre and managed to find a court and someone to warm up with (thanks – Maria – a 12 year old who has coaching every day and plays very well).  I played quite well, although the court and balls were slightly different and I had a tendency to hit the balls a bit long.  By the end of it I felt ready for anything.  Well, almost.

My opponent arrived late, we had a quick warm up and I saw the quality of what I was to face – she plays for the National Team.  From the word go she had me pinned to the back of the court only able to defend.  There were no short balls to attack and my approach shots down the line were somewhat nullified by how the edges of the net were much higher than I was used to (yes, I should have been hitting with more margin for error in height). This meant not much net play.   Her serve was excellent, but I managed to return most of them, but not with my normal penetrating returns that are often unreturnable.  So that part of my game was neutralised.  My own serving was adequate, not my absolute fastest ones, but OK and I only served 1 or 2 double faults the whole match.  The problem was that my opponent was very used to playing mixed doubles against the top men in Cyprus so she could return my hard serves.  Another advantage was gone.  A good point was that she tried drop shots only twice as both times I got to unreachable balls and once did a brilliant drop shot in return to win the point so she gave up doing that.

Overall, I played OK, not brilliantly, but with no nerves, no problem with my elbow (the icing 3 times a day worked) and I maintained my calm throughout.  Unfortunately this didn’t unnerve my opponent which I thought it might.  She certainly displayed none of the qualities you usually see in the junior – very few mistakes, no overhitting of the ball and no tantrums.  Damn!  I can’t say that my injury really made any difference – even with me practicing more these last few weeks, the result would still have been the same.

I am a good player and have the ability to play much better to beat my opponents with ease, but at the end of the day it is a purely economic factor.  These guys have coaching every single day and I can afford an hours lesson once a month.  As long as that is the case, I will always be at a severe disadvantage.

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