A day of learning

More training @ ATA in Irvine, CA

More training @ ATA in Irvine, CA

I had a great, relaxing day off and felt ready to compete after playing two matches to qualify on Tuesday. I got off to a strong start in my first round main draw match against Travis Rettenmaier, making him work for his opening service game. It turned out to be a very interesting first set. It was the type of tennis I play for. He was coming to the net at every opportunity with his great backhand slice approach, and I was doing the same. It was a little bit of old school tennis, the tennis I like to play. Chip and charge, serve and volley, every point seemed to be ending with one of us at the net, sometimes both of us. It was not the monotonous baseline grinding that you see everywhere in today’s game.

After a few games I felt like I was holding serve fairly easily and getting a lot of looks at his service games. Finally at 5-5 I put together a few penetrating returns and got the break to go up 6-5. We switched sides and with two big first serves I was up 30-0. The rest unfortunately is a bit of a blur…
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Sneak Peak – Signum Pro Firestorm

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The basic facts

  • Construction: Co-polyester monofilament with additives to boost comfort and power
  • Gauges: 16 (1.30mm) and 17 (1.25mm)
  • Color(s): Gold
  • Available in: sets and reels
  • Feel: firm with above average comfort for a poly-based string
  • Recommended to: intermediate and advanced players with long, fast strokes
  • Pros using this string: Mikhail Youzhny

How does it play?

This firm and durable co-poly is ideal for intermediate and advanced level players who like to swing big. Make no mistake though, this is not a dead poly made only for the biggest hitters. Indeed, what distinguishes this very playable control string is the high level of comfort and power. For this reason Firestorm fits perfectly inside the growing ranks of friendlier, more elastic co-polys like Dunlop Black Widow and Tourna Big Hitter Black 7. While this string is not likely to have enough pop or comfort for the player who prefers the ultra-soft feel of a multifilament or natural gut, it does provide big hitters with a cozy new option for adding some spark and spin to their game.

What our playtesters said

“You can really feel the ball jumping off the stringbed. I actually found I had to increase my tension a couple of pounds to harness a bit of the power and get the control that I needed.” 

“The ball sinks into the strings nicely, so when you do take a big rip at it, you are rewarded with good spin.”

“I found this string to be very comfortable for a co-poly. It felt like it was pocketing the ball exceptionally well.” 

“This turned out to be one of the longer playing co-polys I’ve tested. The longevity may be slightly to do with the higher reference tension I used, but comfort was never an issue for me over a four week test — very impressive for a poly.”

Check out our playtest video!

Qualifying at The Ojai

Arriving in town for "The Ojai", a historic tournament in its 113th year.

Arriving in town for “The Ojai”, a historic tournament in its 113th year.

Tuesday was a good day. My match was scheduled for 9:30am. I had a good warm up and my knees were feeling nice and loose. I started out strong getting through my first round of qualifying 6-0 6-0. I’ve been working on a slightly different service motion, something a little simpler and abbreviated to take pressure off my right knee, and it worked very well. It’s always tough going into a tournament or a match and testing out something new for the first time, but I was very happy with how it worked. It definitely felt much more efficient and controlled.

My second match was a few hours later. I got off to a bit of a slow start, fumbling around and mis-hitting in the afternoon shadows, but I managed to pull myself together, breaking serve consecutively and winning the first set 6-2. I played good solid tennis in the second set and closed out the set 6-1.

So, I achieved step one of qualifying for “The Ojai,” a tournament in its 113th year of competition.

Thursday morning I am set to play against the 5th seeded Travis Rettenmaier in the first round of the main draw. With a career high ranking of 257 in the world and 57 in doubles, it will be tough match. However, I know if I play my game and I execute my game plan correctly I can come out on top. I’ll be sure to let you all know how it goes.

Chat to you soon,