Meet the Playtesters- Brittany Blalock

Hi!

Next up is one of our favorite  Tennis Warehouse playtesters, me! After playing tennis in college, I started working at Tennis Warehouse as the New Products Coordinator. You can find me in lighter weight racquet reviews and women’s shoe reviews. Check out my interview with myself below.

Click to View Video of Brittany

Racquet of Choice: Yonex VCORE 100 S

String of Choice: undecided

Shoe of Choice: Asics Gel Solution Speed/ New Balance 851

Apparel of Choice: It is hard to choose just one- some of my favorites are Nike, adidas, Lija and Roxy.

When/Why did you start playing tennis?

I started hitting a tennis ball attached to a string in my garage at just 2 years old. It might not have been pretty, but it was my start. I then started taking lessons at 8 years old and started playing competitively in tournaments at 10 years old. My whole family plays tennis, from my grandma to my aunt to my mom and dad, so I pretty much grew up in a tennis family.

What is your favorite shot to hit and why?

Easily my favorite shot to hit is my backhand down the line. When I first started playing tennis I actually struggled hitting backhands. When I was 12, I broke my finger on my left hand and could not hit backhands for a couple months. I then relearned how to hit the backhand.  Today, I love hitting all my backhand shots, but the back down the line is my most valuable and consistent weapon.

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

Here is my list in chronological order: Prince Thunderlite OS, Prince Triple Threat Hornet, Babolat Pure Drive Team, Prince Speedport Black, Prince EXO3 Black and finally Yonex V CORE 100 S.

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

Growing up I was on the shorter side so I was always watching Amanda Coetzer play. But then I hit high school and grew over 10 inches. My game style started to change from a more consistent defensive game to an aggressive baseline style. Today, I would compare my game to Maria Sharapova’s.

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

My favorite match was the men’s final at Wimbledon in 2009 between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick. I remember that it was the Fourth of July morning, and the weather was really bad. Some friends and I were gathered around the TV with the fireplace going while we were watching the match. The tennis in the fifth set was absolutely crazy, and I was cheering for Roddick at the top of my lungs. He was so close but then Federer finally took the match.

Do you have any superstitions before playing a match?

My one and only superstition before playing any sort of tennis is I have to wear two different colored socks.  They are the exact same sock but just different colors. I have done this for over five years.

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

This is a tough to only pick one match, but I will try. My most memorable match ever was in my senior year of college playing doubles with my friend Suzie. We were playing the No. 1 team in the NCAA from Stanford on their home courts. Before the match, the announcer was highlighting their long list of accomplishments and end with the fact that they had never lost at home. Well, Suzie and I went into the 8-game pro set with nothing to lose. We started playing the best we had ever played and next thing we knew we were up 7-1. The team started to play tougher and brought back the score to 7-4. We played a really tough game, going back and forth. At the last deuce I decided to do a crazy poach for our ad. Suzie finished the pro set with a huge second serve to the girl’s backhand. The match was videotaped so you can see after the last point that both my partner and I were stunned that we won and ended up kind of jumping into each other and giving a hug.

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

I was playing a conference match in my freshman year in college, and it was down to me and my partner, Diane, to win the doubles point. We were playing a long point, and it ended with our opponents hitting a lob over my partner’s head. I started sprinting toward the ball and realized while I was going to make it to the ball, I probably wasn’t going to be able to stop my momentum. I had a split second to decide to either hit the ball and run into a small fence or stop and miss the ball and fence. I looked at the fence and saw a mesh panel and thought it wouldn’t hurt too badly. So I went for the ball and went crashing head first into the fence. Well, the mesh part of the fence ended up being metal and I bounced back off the fence. Well, the good thing was we won the point and all my teammates could not stop laughing. I, on the other hand, just laid on the court in shock.  I ended up being just fine after a good chuckle, and we won the match.

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

Most of injuries have been pretty minor from a rolled ankle to some minor tears in my back and chest. I did have one injury where I tore all the muscles that connect my ribs to my sternum and dislocated a rib while lifting weights. That was definitely a crazy injury that lasted a couple months. For the most part, as much as I hated to do it, I took time off the injuries and made sure I iced and took ibuprofen.

What is your favorite part of being a TW playtester?

Growing up, I had no idea what tennis products were available except for the ones I used. Working at Tennis Warehouse has opened my eyes to everything that is available.  I now have the ability to grab any racquet and go out and play without any adjustment period.  I also was able to figure out the exact specs I like and can use that to my advantage when I play.

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

I would have to say Spencer. For some reason, I absolutely love the ball he hits. It just sits perfectly in my strike zone and I am able to attack all day.

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

I would have to say Chris. He has the absolute opposite game as me. Playing him takes a lot of patience.  Adjusting to his slice and dropshots definitely took some time to get used to.

What has been your favorite review and why?

My favorite review was the Yonex V CORE 100 S.  I may be biased, but I found my new racquet doing that review. It didn’t hurt that I was playing really well.

Do you have any nicknames from the TW playtest squad?

A couple nicknames- Beast, B Squared and Coach. Beast might not be the most flatterning nickname for a female but I will take it. B Squared came from one of my college teammates. And Coach comes from the lucky person whom I give lessons to.

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

Brittany, TW

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