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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 01:07 AM   #1
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I am/was so crazy about tennis I.........

I am/was so crazy about tennis I.........

Any stories out there to share along this line?


When I first started the game I was so crazy about tennis I built my own grass court. I measured the sucker out, limed the lines, put up a net of plastic, and even tried to roll the grass. There were plenty of bad bounces (OK-it was probably mostly bad bounces) but me and my young friend didn't care. I must have spent more time shagging out balls then playing-one time I hit a ball into the farm next to us.

Before the court I drove my parents crazy hitting balls against the garage door. Gosh those balls left dirt marks everywhere. Little devil I got permission to build my court only after I promised NOT to hit against the house or garage anymore.
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 09:19 AM   #2
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Hi Rollo I can relate all too well! When I was about 16, before I started playing tennis on a real court at 17 I used to go across the road to where my friends lived and would just hit balls for hours on a wooden wall that was about 3 metres x 3 metres in size.

I just loved it and would pretend I was either Evonne Goolaong, Chris Evert or Ken Rosewall. They were my idols in the late 70s and at that stage I hadn't heard of Francoise Durr!

Of course I eventually started playing tennis for real and around 79 or 80 I had finally seen Francoise Durr on TV playing in some Aussie event. Of course I fell in love with the style immediately and had to dedicate a few years solid to learn how to hit THAT backhand. Suddenly my double handed homage to Evert was bland in comparison to the Durr poke. So after a few years I finally had enough strength to use it effectively to confound and irritate many rivals, although my double hander is still the main shot off that wing.

So how old were you when you first starting hitting against the garage wall? And do you still play? I still play competively in comps twice a week and then tournaments about every 2-3 months. Still love it as much as ever, although I do miss the old wooden rackets - these young guys just serve so hard with the new rackets.
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 09:28 AM   #3
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When I was growing up I used to love hitting against our garage wall for hours. It used to drive our neighbours mad. I used to draw up 28 player tournaments and play each match. However, each game played constituted a set. If a game was won to 15, it was either 6-1 or 6-2, if it was won to 30, it was 6-3 or 6-4. If it was to deuce it was 7-5 etc. I think if I hit the ball more than 20 times I won the point. Obviusly it was rigged. Hana would upset Martina in the semis, and Chris would win the whole thing, or Chris would beat Martina in the final.....................

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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 06:16 PM   #4
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LOL-so you played against yourself BCP? Me too! Except in my games Wade often managed to beat Evert-if Wade had an off day and lost 6-1 6-2 I told myself it must have been clay.

Tennisvideos- when did you first see Durr on the telly? I only got to see her in doubles, usually with Wade as her partner. Her personality just shines right through-all those little stomps of the foot and yelps-LOL. Francoise's angled volleys (what a lob too-wonderful disguise off both sides) perfectly complemented the raw power of a Wade or Stove.

How and when did you finally see her in person?
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 07:12 PM   #5
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Yep, count me in on the tennis insane list.

I've already mentioned in a few threads that I used to listen to World Team Tennis on the radio (for those of you who have not had the privilege to indulge in the thrill of tennis on the radio, here is what you have been missing: "Ms. King to serve......smack, smack, smack, smack......polite applause, polite applause.....15- love.....smack, smack, smack, smack.....)

Yet, that is not all.

When I was learning the game, I used to hit the freakin' ball on the roof of our garage, hitting it back up on the roof when it landed in the driveway. I used to set up goals of hitting 25 in a row with no errors (only one bounce allowed of course, or volleying it up on the roof), then 50, then 100. The ball goes in the water collection roof gutter? Lands on the lawn? Start all over....

Can't say it ended up helping my game much.
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 08:58 PM   #6
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I too invented matches and tournaments hitting the ball with a badminton racket against the wall on my parents small patio. Broke a few rackets that way, but the patio was so small I couldn't hit it very hard anyway. My parents made me quit because I killed all the grass just past the patio.

But my real addiction was a card game that I invented. I took a deck of cards and played matches between two players. If they were of equal level, I took two cards and whichever player had the higher card took the game and went through a whole match. If one player was a notch or two above the other, I dealt three cards and the first two went to the better player and the third to the weaker. I'd then do this until the better player got 2, 3 or 4 games and then I'd go back to two cards to finish the set. If it was Evert vs. Latham or the like I'd stay with three cards for the entire match. I'd scour World Tennis for players' names and then set up draws for tournaments and set up a ranking system. I sometimes went through 4-5 years and then I'd get bored and stop.

Sometimes, I'd pick a favorite player like Casals and play her matches for the season. Of course, this was the late seventies, but she'd have this remarkable late career revival and win a Slam or two.

My family thought all this was really strange, but I enjoyed it. To tell you the truth, every few years I'll get a deck of cards and play out a few tournaments just for kicks.
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 10:08 PM   #7
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Gosh, you all make me feel so much better. As a kid, I practically played out the tour for a few years against our garage. Like everyone else, it made my parents angry.

But from the 1982 US Clay Courts final with Ruzici over Sukova, I tracked the scores in the papers and imagined how the matches would have gone. If I saw the match on tv it was even easier. I even disputed line calls! It's a wonder no one tried to medicate me sooner!
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 10:33 PM   #8
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HanaFanGAGosh, you all make me feel so much better.....
My sentiments exactly! It's fun finally realizing I wasn't alone in being "out there" as a kid. Lord knows it sure felt like it at times. Your game sounds very creative Preacherfan. I used dice for mine, using a chessboard as the net and pushing around a piece as a ball.

Nelslus-did you get excited or exasperated listening.. When I had to listen to the Davenport-Sharapova Wimbledon semi on BBC last year I practically screamed at the computer because it was so tense.
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 11:34 PM   #9
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I would type up the top ten list of money earners year-to-date, paying particular attention to my faves, Goolagong, Barker, Austin and Greer Stevens. I would put them in boldface. I have no idea what I would do with that list. I would also type of head to heads and results of Avon/Slims tournaments... especially the ones where Evonne did well. I think I quit doing this in 1980, when I was 13.

My parents garage door was also my ever consistent 'opponent'. I was usually Evonne, Bjorn or Mandlikova. The garage door was Evert, Connors, McEnroe or one of my many other villians. I am actually visiting my parents this week in NoCal and when I pulled up to the house last week in my lovely Dodge Neon rental, I recalled how my little friend Jolene once told me that her father would watch me, from his kitchen window, hitting the ball over and over again against the garage and he would say, 'well, that little fairy is banging the ball against his garage door again.'

What a bitch! Haha.
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Old Jul 15th, 2005, 02:07 AM   #10
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Well Mark you can bet he was glad you banging YOUR garage door rather than HIS...forget what I was thinking there.

Joelene. The Dolly Parton song always springs to mind when I hear the name. Still keep in touch?

You are redeemed in my book (hating on Chris-better hope BCP or Daze don't read that) by being Bjorn in your games. I SO loved the Swede. I just wanted to cry the year Borg hurt his thumb at the US in 1978 and Jimmy whooped him. Too bad I'm more like Jimmy Connors on court-right down to being a lefty with a weak forehand but lots of fight.

BTW, what's everyone's game like? All I know is Alfajeffster likes to serve and volley.
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Old Jul 15th, 2005, 03:40 AM   #11
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Golly, geez, just reading all this, I feel so loved!! We need a group hug.

I started watching tennis in 1971, 1972, and in the fall of 1972 I actually started playing. I was 11. My sister was a freshman in college, and she had a tennis class for P.E. (you don't have to take P.E. anymore in college). She bought a wood racket. I started hitting against the living room wall (mind you, I lived in a five-room house). I would hit day and night. You can imagine it drove my parents crazy. Finally, I broke the living room window, and was banished outside. I started hitting against the outside wall of our block house. And then, like duh, I had a rare moment of amazing clarity. Right in front of my house was an old school building. My dad won it in an blind auction in 1954 by $1 over the next-highest bidder. It was a huge school, and had an auditorium that was big enough to house a basketball gym. I had already converted the auditorium into a gym, when I realized I could play tennis there, too. I learned to play on that wall. I played entire tournaments and tours, men's and women's events, doubles, mixed doubles, for several seasons. The best tournament was late in the year when I decided the time for Chris to retire had come. She had gone through the entire season unblemished and came into the Australian Open to conclude her career. She swept through the entire tournament without the loss of a game!! I used different types of balls to control surface -- dead balls for clay, slick balls for grass.

It was a great place to learn the game, and I developed surprisingly good strokes, with excellent technique, mostly teaching myself by copying my favorite players and reading magazines, etc.

Sad to say, my dad eventually had the building torn down, thinking he would renovate it into a house. After that, I went back to hitting against the side of the house, breaking a few more windows along the way. For several years, there was a patch of bare dirt, where I had worn away the grass on that side of the house.

Gosh, I feel so normal!
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Old Jul 15th, 2005, 03:49 AM   #12
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To continue, except for one time with my sister and brother-in-law, it was three years before I actually got on a real tennis court and played a set in the late summer of '75. I lost, but it was close and it was better than I imagined it would be. Still, it wasn't until the spring of '77 (end of my ninth grade year) before I began playing regularly on a court. By my junior year, I was number one on my team.

My game is built around strong groundstrokes (I loved Chris, Connors and Borg). My forehand is my best shot -- very flat, very hard, very penetrating, although my technique can break down just like Chris and Jimmy. My backhand is a one-hander, heavily sliced, but I can go over it or flatten it out for passing shots. It's not flashy but very dependable. My first serve can have some zip, but my second serve has always been a bit dodgy. I tend to drop my head, and the racket loses speed instead of accelerating through it.

My volley is suspect, as I'll go whole matches pinned to the baseline unless forced to the net. My foot speed is my best asset, although an extra 20 pounds these days isn't helping matters!

Tennisvideos, I can't believe you copied Durr's backhand. When I was playing my imaginary tournaments and Durr was on court, I tried to copy her shots. It would kill my index finger. She tended to lose early in my tournaments!

Wonderful thread, Rollo. Can't wait to hear how others play the game!
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Old Jul 15th, 2005, 05:09 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Mark38
My parents garage door was also my ever consistent 'opponent'. I was usually Evonne, Bjorn or Mandlikova. The garage door was Evert, Connors, McEnroe or one of my many other villians.
interesting...all the 'villains' were american, clearly independent of their style of game or court demeanor. the 'heroes' are all foreign but have the exact style & demeanor, in fact, of the hated...borg/evert, mandlikova/mac, connors/evonne (ok, that 3rd one is a stretch but they were both crowd entertainers)... ok, i wont ask any POLITICAL questions...but did you like YOUR parents? or wish you had OTHERS parents?

hmm....i never dated an american. maybe i share this complex somehow...

anyway, i used to listen to the wimbledon matches on the radio at camp in the late 70s, made tournaments from a tennis board game (i think by apba) and would roll the dice more aggressively for chris and she would put martina in a noose every time, even though Nav's card was 1 or 2 points better and supposedly dice are a game of chance. 20 minutes later, chris would stroll through a 6-2 6-2 beating of navy in the final. but i played the whole 120-player GS draws and all the slims tournaments. other favs like bassett & rinaldi would often upset less appreciated (foreign...thats for you, mark38) players.

i also (surprise) taped matches --as literally everyone in new york who had lessons was instructed to tape evert and watch her perfect textbook form--and i became #1 singles in varsity tennis, frustrating the 'better players' with my chrissie smarts, lobs, drops, and change of pace shots meant to DESTROY testosterone boy's power shots...oh how i loved dominating them. i think i ended every match with a two-fister down the line and the leap, circa 85 french, to really let them know...a queer had beaten them.

still....reading these statements....i was pretty tame. or maybe i just didnt have the right garage door.

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Old Jul 15th, 2005, 05:23 AM   #14
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My forehand is my best shot -- very flat, very hard, very penetrating, although my technique can break down just like Chris and Jimmy.
ex-CUSE me?! chris' technique N-E-V-E-R broke down. MARTINA'S technique broke down, HANA'S technique broke down, COURT'S technique broke down, SHRIVER'S technique broke down...Chris broke OTHERS down. Ya dig?! OK.




...chris' serve would shake a bit, and more rarely the forehand, but not until after she was an old lady, from 31-on. its not fair to define her games tendency's based on those final years.
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Old Jul 15th, 2005, 06:59 AM   #15
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I liked some Americans. Austin, Ashe, Shriver and my fave Capriati.

Evonne and Bjorn were instantly my favorite players when I was 8 or 9. I loved their style, their demeanor and atleticism. Chris and Jimmy were their chief rivals, so they went straight to the top of my villian list. McEnroe inherited the crown from Jimmy when he started challenging Bjorn. Of course, towards the twilight of their careers I ended up loving Chris, Jimmy and Mac nearly as much as Evonne and Bjorn (this also happened with my other huge villian, Steffi Graf). The only tennis player I ever cried over was Chris, when she beat Laura Golarsa for her last victory at Wimbledon in 1989. I realized I had grown up with this extraordinary woman, she had bascially been in my living room nearly every other weekend, battling other players for nearly two decades. When she retired, it was like losing a friend. Same with Steffi.
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