Meet the Playtesters- Granville Swope

Hi!

Next up is our most experienced Tennis Warehouse playtester, Granville! Gran is the Hard Goods Buyer at Tennis Warehouse. You can find him on racquet reviews and men’s shoe reviews. Check out his interview below.

Click to View Video of Granville

Racquet of Choice: Currently under review

String of Choice: Natural Gut

Shoe of Choice: Asics Gel Resolution 4

Apparel of Choice: Cotton

When/Why did you start playing tennis?

I started playing back in New Jersey as a kid hitting against a backboard at my swim club. I then joined the 12-year-old club team and started playing some matches.

Who inspires you to play tennis?

Watching any athlete in any sport inspires me. In tennis, going way back, Rod Laver, Björn Borg, John McEnroe, Boris Becker all the way up to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal would be on the short list.

What is your favorite shot to hit and why?

Serve for quick and easy points when effective. I can set up a winner volley or open up the court for a different attack.

What racquets have you used  (not tested) during your tennis career?

Wood: Spalding Davis Cup &  World Open, Dunlop Fort, Wilson Kramer

Fiberglass: Yamaha YFG-30 (Oreo)

Metal: Yonex Gold OPS

Graphite: Dunlop Black Max, Wilson Pro Staff 6.0 85 and Wilson 6.1 95 all iterations

If you could compare your game style to a pro’s (past or present), who would it be and why?

Probably John McEnroe as I enjoy singles and doubles as well as enjoy good hands at the net.

What has been your favorite match you have ever watched (live or on TV)?

My favorite matches are Björn Borg vs John McEnroe in the Wimbledon finals in 1980 and 1981, Roger Federer vs Andy Roddick – where Andy won more games in the match but  lost to Federer in 5 (16-14 in the fifth) and of course Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal in 2008 at Wimbledon in a  5-setter in near darkness.

What has been your most memorable tennis match (win or lose)?

My first national grass court tourney (Santa Barbara 30s singles). I was playing against a cheater (No. 7 seed). After taking so much of his BS, I got a linesman (Mr. Zinc, director of tennis at the club) who watched my match from that point forward. I was on the first court so plenty of people were gathering. I had won the first set and was struggling to hold at 3-3 in the second, despite more bad calls and gaming (like rewrapping his overgrip at 30-all to delay), I get to 40-30 and the guy rips a winner down the line – it was 12 inches inside the court. I dived for it, landing next to my chair – call it out and sit down. 4-3.  I looked at the umpire – (who was also tired of this guy cheating) confirms the ball landed out.

The dude goes ballistic! He refuses to change sides on the court so I go stand next to him at the baseline to receive his serve. I’m bouncing, stretching to keep warm right next to the guy. … Some hecklers from the stands start shouting at him. He then leaves the court to chase the heckler – never returned. I looked at the director, still sitting on the court… “Game, Set, Match!”

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened while you were playing tennis?

It was here at Tennis Warehouse, I was feeding Jason some tennis balls for a video shoot from the net.  Jason was to hit a serve then I would feed him the next balls and move him around the court that way.  His first serve is hit VERY solid and right at ME!  Pegs my inner thigh where it took 100% of the momentum, sticks there on my thigh for an extra moment and drops to my feet – as I drop to the court.  Fortunately – it missed more sensitive areas by about two inches. I had a round purple bruise on my inner thigh for six weeks. Jason still won’t come to the net when we play! (side note: Jason still feels really bad!)

Have you had any injuries? For how long?  How did you deal with them?

First injury was in Junior College in a team challenge match (against JT) where I went for a wide groundstroke and my back muscles seized and I blacked out. Woke up looking at my coach and JT  standing over me as I lay there.

Worst injury bar none was Plantar Fasciitis – limping for months, finally took about 11 months to heal.  Latest is tennis elbow, still recovering – rest, rest, rest…

What is your favorite part of being a TW playtester?

Not only seeing the latest and greatest product but playing with it all.  Also not a bad way to spend time …  playing tennis.

Who is your favorite TW playtester to hit/play with?

I enjoy hitting with them all. After so many years now they have all become very good players. Special shout out to Jason, Spencer and Tiffani for most improved.

Who is the TW playtester that gives you the most trouble?

None of them!

What has been your favorite review and why?

I always enjoy the heritage racquets, Wilson 6.0 and 6.1, Head Prestige, etc.

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Please check back next week when we highlight another playtester in our next installment of “Meet the Playtesters.”

Brittany, TW

Playing Tennis with Roxy

I have been a huge fan of bright, blocked colors this winter. And, yes, despite what I would consider a temperate winter here in lovely San Luis Obispo (compared to the cold/slushy/rainstorms that my friends and I always suffered in Oregon), winter’s a great excuse to wear some nice warmth-friendly gear on court. I always feel more comfortable in athletic gear, and I’ve really started to grow toward the bright colors that have a lot of personality to them.

Bold is the new muted. Simple is the new complicated. Long-sleeve is the new short sleeve. I decided. I also decided that one of the best things women need to be wearing right now is confidence, along with some sweet apparel. Combining confidence with athletic, bold colored, comfortable gear is Roxy. Growing up, Roxy had always been primarily a surfing brand for females, and until I started working here I’d never thought of it as tennis brand, but check you out, Roxy! Really stepping up the play. I suggest you go look at Roxy’s tanks, too, because I will definitely be sporting these on the court in the summer. My favorite Roxy offering for winter? The Women’s Spring Long Jump II Long Sleeve Top.

Roxy Women's Spring Long Jump II LS Top

Roxy Women's Spring Long Jump II LS Top

It’s a nice, shaped long sleeve that compliments the figure and fits well for playing in. It’s made of polyester and spandex so it’s stretchy, and has a pinhole mesh design so is nice and light, while still keeping you warm. Sometimes I just love a nice long sleeve that keeps my arms toasty, particularly when playing in drafty indoor courts or when it’s a bit chilly outside. You have a couple options with this: get the smaller size and wear it as alone for a training top (my preferred choice) or get a size up and wear it as a cover-up. Either way, it’s great to play in and fits well so there is no movement when you’re playing.

Roxy Women's Spring Long Jump II LS Top

Roxy Women's Spring Long Jump II LS Top

The Spring Long Jump II comes in one color. Bright pink. Perfect to pair with a black or white bottom, or another bright color to make your mark on the court or in the gym. Don’t get put off because the color is out there, because hey, if you’re going to train hard you may as well treat yourself to apparel that makes you feel good. Brighten up your mood with the Roxy Long Sleeve and take the positive emotions out onto the court.

It’s bright. It’s loud. It’s perfect to wear when someone asks if you’re free to hang out because you can say, “Sorry, I can’t. I’m off to play tennis.”

Yours,

Siobhan

Meet the Playtesters- Mike Marquez

Hola!

Our next featured Tennis Warehouse playtester is Mike Marquez. Mike can be seen on several shoe and racquet reviews. He is a Customer Service Supervisor at Tennis Warehouse. Check out his interview below.

Click to View Video of Mike

Racquet of Choice: Prince Triple Threat Warrior Midplus

String of Choice: So many good ones, can’t decide.

Shoe of Choice: Any of the Air Court Ballistecs from Nike

Apparel of Choice: Anything Nike but lately I’ve been wearing some TW apparel.

When/Why did you start playing tennis?

I started playing during the summer of 2007 because of my dad’s roommate back in Los Angeles. He would always try to get me to play, but I was never really interested until one day I decided, why not? Five years later, I love the sport and Tennis Warehouse allows me to keep playing, which is awesome.

Who inspires you to play tennis?

One person who has really inspired me over the years and taught me a lot was my college coach, Dave Dantzer. I was a hothead when I first started playing, and he showed me ways to prevent that. He made me a better person and player as well. He is also a BIG Lakers fan just like me.

What is your favorite shot to hit and why?

I don’t really have a favorite shot. My favorite thing to do is to get to every ball — even if I know the point will be over with the next shot. I was always taught to never give it up and make the other person hit the extra shot.

What racquets have you used  (not tested) during your tennis career?

My first racquet was a classic Big Fiver. I don’t really remember the exact model, but the brand was Prince. Second, I had two Head Liquidmetal Radicals that I used for quite sometime. Third, I decided to take three Head Microgel Extremes from a close friend of mine, Jose, which were really good racquets. Once I started working at Tennis Warehouse, I got into the Prince Triple Threat Warrior Midplus. However, now that I playtest I use so many different ones that I barely use mine.

If you could compare your game style to a pro’s (past or present), who would it be and why?

I honestly like to compare my game style to Gael Monfils. I love his style of play and his ability to get to pretty much any ball, and he has my same mentality about never giving up and making the other player hit the extra shot.


What has been your favorite match you have ever watched (live or on TV)?

My favorite match live was last year at the BNP Paribas Open tournament in Indian Wells, California. Djokovic and Federer battled it out and went three sets. Djokovic won 6-3, 3-6, 6-2. That was one of the first really close matches I had ever seen and, boy, was it pretty cool. The way they moved and hit the ball was amazing. I was in awe by everything they did. It was definitely my favorite match.

Do you have pre-match meals you like to eat before a tournament?

I usually eat a good breakfast that consists of eggs, toast, bacon and anything else I may be craving. Different but right before I play for some odd reason a Snickers bar always does the trick.

What has been your most memorable tennis match (win or lose)?

When I was playing for the junior college I had to play No. 1 singles and doubles, which was tough for me because I played some really good players. I believe it was my second or third match, and we played a scrimmage. It went three sets with a crazy tie-break in the third. Everyone  was watching and somehow I ended up winning in three. I was so happy when all my teammates hugged me as we were chanting loudly. Good times.

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened while you were playing tennis?

Here at Tennis Warehouse we do weekly lessons every Wednesday nights at the local high school. One Wednesday we were playing a game we like to call RYFO, aka Rip your Face Off. It is similar to the game Around the World, but the winning team gets to serve at the other team who are sitting like ducks on the baseline. I’m known for being Mr. Trash Talker to everyone, and without noticing I walked/ran backward into entire ball hopper full with balls and took it down. I just lay there laughing until I couldn’t breathe along with everyone else.

What is your favorite part of being a TW playtester?

I think the best part of being a playtester for me is the environment and people I get to talk to and the ability to hit with all the newest products. You can’t beat the fact also that it’s part of my job to play tennis and review all new products and get paid for it. Life is good.

Who is your favorite TW playtester to hit/play with?

By far I would have to say Mark “The Machine” Boone also known as “The Wall.” He gets every ball back, and he doesn’t just get it back, but he places it perfectly in my strike zone so I hit the same ball every time and he gets me to be the most consistent I can be. He’s also a good mentor. I’ve learned many things, and I am grateful for that. Thanks, Stud.

Who is the TW playtester that gives you the most trouble?

I would have to say Troy for this one. His wicked lefty spin is crazy at times and he is very competitive. He also gets to every ball and uses the most spin out of everyone I hit with.

Do you have any nicknames from the TW playtest squad?

The one and only nickname I have is Monchichi (if you don’t know what it is then look it up). I love my hair short, but for the month of November a bunch of us at Tennis Warehouse did not shave or cut our hair, which was a bad idea because my hair loves to grow out exactly like an afro. So, yeah, check it out and see.

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Please check back next week when we feature another playtester in another installment of “Meet the Playtesters.”

Ad out,

Brittany