New TW Feature: Racquet Selector (Behind the Scenes)

Whether you’re looking for a new TV, computer, golf clubs or racquet, the problem is always the same: Which one do you buy?!

Well, with the launch of our new Racquet Selector, we hope we can help ease your tennis racquet shopping woes. “But you already have a Racquet Finder,” you might say. True, but that one was designed for the more, how you say, “enthusiastic” tennis player. How many players, especially beginners, know terms such as swingweight, frame stiffness, balance point or beam width? These phrases and words are probably foreign to most of the casual tennis community. Which is why you won’t find them anywhere in the new Racquet Selector.

Click to get started

We simplified this new Racquet Selector as much as we could.
- Are you a beginner, intermediate or advanced player?
- Do you want power, control or comfort?

That’s it!

After that, we’ll give you a list of racquets that we think would best fit your game and your needs. And from there, you can sort by brand and price.

You probably want to know how we came to recommend these racquets right? Let me give you a peek behind the curtain of how we decided on what racquets went where. There was a lot of thought that went into this. We didn’t just pull from specs off the RDC machine, but rather, it was a combination of 3 factors: static specs, TW University data and the TW Brain Trust.

The Brain Trust consists of a group of wise veteran employees at Tennis Warehouse who have hit with almost every racquet made in the past few years. We basically sat down and had a discussion about what racquets belonged in which category. It was a tedious process, but one that we felt was needed to make the new Racquet Selector as accurate as possible. After we picked the racquets, they were cross-checked with the TW University data as well as the static specs off the Babolat RDC machine. In the end, we came up with what we felt was an accurate and comprehensive list of racquets for each category.

Please give our new Racquet Selector a try. We welcome any and all constructive feedback. Our hope is that with this latest tool we will be able to help a broader range of tennis players find the right racquet. And if you really get into it, we always have our more in-depth Racquet Finder and, for hours of entertainment, TW University.

Jason, TW

Good Finish at Washington State!

Oregon countryside on the drive back home

August 14, 2011

My summer circuit through the Pacific Northwest has finally come to an end, and I’m happy to say that it ended on a high note. In arguably the most prestigious tournament in the circuit, I won four matches and reached the semifinals in the singles draw, before losing to eventual champion and long time friend Jason Jung. It was my goal to finish strong this summer after “burning out” at the end of last year’s circuit. I wanted to make sure my body and mind were strong leading in to the final tournament. I wanted to be the best prepared I could possibly be, and enjoy every moment of the waning summer circuit.

My Washington State Open began on Tuesday with a straight-set win over a local up-and-coming junior. Following my first round match, I learned that my second round would be a walkover over another local junior who had to leave our tournament for the US Junior Nationals in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The light first couple days of the tournament helped me stay strong and fit for a deep run through the draw, as I was able to stay rested while also having the opportunity to hit the practice courts and work on some important areas of my game. At this point I felt like the best-prepared player left in the draw, and liked my chances for a championship run.

In the round of 16 I faced the two-seed and good friend Angelo Niculescu, who had reached the final in Tacoma the previous week. Last summer I lost to Angelo twice, both times in finals and both contests went three sets. Naturally, I wanted my revenge!

I came out on fire, serving and returning big and playing aggressive off the baseline. The beginning of the first set was close, as we both had chances to break but couldn’t convert. Finally, at 3-2, I broke Angelo’s serve and used the momentum to take the first set 6-3. I broke early on in the second, and after that started to play some of the best tennis of my life. I was in The Zone! I could hit my serve wherever I wanted. No matter the ball Angelo hit, I felt like I could return it anywhere I wanted, with whatever spin and pace I desired. I was stepping into the court and taking control of every point. I rode this wave to take the second set and the match, 6-3 6-1.

After my big win in the round of 16, I faced the Southern California veteran Vahe Assadourian in the quarters. I played well there and took him down 6-4 6-4, setting up a semifinal battle with a very familiar foe, Jason Jung. Jason and I grew up together in the South Bay, taking lessons from the same coach since we were eight years old and practicing with each other multiple times a week growing up. He took his talents to the University of Michigan, where he played in the top 2 of their lineup and had a great career.

I was extremely excited to play Jason again, but quickly my excitement turned to bewilderment, as I turned into just another victim of Jason’s incredible play of the week. After the first round, Jason only lost 10 games in his next five matches in route to winning the title. It was an incredible display, as he completely dismantled anyone put in front of him. I was no different, and went down quickly 6-2 6-1. Congrats to Jason for a great week of tennis!

I learned this summer that the most important thing to focus on when you’re competing is your preparation. As the great Michael Jordan said, “Preparation doesn’t guarantee victory, but without it you have no chance.” The tournaments I did the best at this summer were the ones that I had the best preparation for. I was diligent with my icing, stretching, sleeping, and diet habits, all crucial to the maintenance of my body. When you prepare well, you feel confident when you step out on the court, knowing that you’ve given yourself the best chance at winning.

Now my life is at a crossroads, as I make a decision regarding my tennis career. I’m very fit, and feel like I’m playing the best tennis of my life. Over the last year, I’ve learned so much about what it takes to be successful at the professional level, having witnessed some of the best players in the world prepare week in and week out. However, a major concern for any “minor league” tennis player is his finances, and right now I’m struggling to figure out a way to fund another year on the circuit. In the coming weeks I’ll be making a decision whether to keep going, take a brief break and start up again later, or stop altogether. Stay tuned for updates and thanks for reading!

AG

Getting close to the end

Tacoma Lawn Club

August 1, 2011

Seattle, WA

I’ve finally reached the end of the road on this awesome summer journey. I arrived today in Seattle for the final tournament of the PNW Circuit, the 120th annual Washington State Open. This tournament arguably holds the most prestige on the circuit because it is so old and is played at the hallowed Seattle Tennis Club.

Located right on the banks of Lake Washington, the courts and incredible two-story clubhouse overlook the water and all the eastern suburbs of Seattle. To keep with the tradition of the club, the players are only allowed to wear all-white clothing, just like Wimbledon. Furthermore, the tournament is always held each year concurrently with a big festival on the lake called Seafair, where everyone who owns a boat is hanging out on the lake, with boat races going on and the Navy’s Blue Angels flying low overhead to entertain the crowds. You often have to stop play during the tournament because the planes are flying so low over the courts that you can actually read the numbers off the bottom of the plane. The ground shakes and the sound is deafening from their roaring engines above. These highly skilled pilots fly astonishing patterns so close to each other, climbing and diving and twisting and turning together in the sky over the lake for everyone to see. The incredible setting makes for a pretty awesome event for the circuit finale!

Last week I competed in another beautiful event, the 121st annual Pacific Northwest Championships at the Tacoma Lawn Tennis Club. Unfortunately, I couldn’t replicate my semifinal run of last summer, as I was ousted in the second round by eventual champion Damian Hume of Boise State, 6-2, 6-4. However, my partner Charlie Cutler and I did have some success in the men’s doubles draw, as we reached the semifinals before losing to the Israeli duo of Amir Hadad and Tal Eros. Eros is currently playing on the world tour and is ranked 755 in the world. His partner and coach Hadad has reached as high as No. 180 in the world in singles and No. 87 in doubles. Charlie and I had our chances in the second set, but were defeated 6-2, 6-4. We did, nonetheless, have a couple of good wins along the way, including a straight set victory in the quarterfinals over Angelo Niculescu and Chris Kearney, 6-4, 6-4.

Mixed doubles was also a highlight of the weekend, as I had the opportunity to play with my dear friend Suzie Matzenauer’s mother, Leona, who is an incredible player herself. She was one of the best juniors growing up in Eastern Europe, and was formerly the No. 1 woman in the US in the 35 and over age division. In addition, she has been a wonderful friend and mentor to me growing up, and it was a real treat to have the opportunity to play with her in their family’s hometown tournament. We got through our first match, but lost in the next round to eventual champions Clancy Shields and Lauren Megale, 8-1. I want to thank Leona, along with her husband, Ales, for putting me up in their home over the weekend, and for playing mixed with me! I had a great time!

I’m sad that this summer is coming to a close. It has been a great ride! The scenery of the Pacific Northwest summer couldn’t be more picturesque. The people along the way have been incredible. The hospitality and kindness that have been offered to me has been amazing. And the tennis has been good fun too! I’m not quite ready for it to end, so I’m going to fight hard in this last tournament to try and make it my summer circuit experience last for as long as I can! Stay tuned for updates from the final tournament of the PNW circuit, and thanks for reading!

AG

Lake Washington