Next up on the list of our Tennis Warehouse Playtesters is Jose. He is a Customer Service Representative and a Master Racquet Technician. He playtests both racquets and shoes. Check out his interview below.
When/Why did you start playing tennis?
I started playing tennis in high school. The only reason I tried out for tennis is because I was short a PE unit to graduate during my sophomore year. I tried out for every sport and the only sport that took me in was tennis. Just like any other sport, I get really competitive and I was tired of being the rookie so I decided to work on my tennis. By the time I became decent, I managed to fall in love with the sport and continued to played throughout college at Allan Hancock Community College.
Who inspires you to play tennis?
Rafa! Just the heart that Rafa puts in the court makes me want to play more tennis. But overall, just watching professional tennis players and seeing what they do is impressive to me. I could go watch them play live and I find myself to be more interested in watching them practice than to see their actual match.
What is your favorite shot to hit and why?
SERVE! I love the serve because it gets me a lot of easy and free shots. It is the only shot that I could really take my time on with out feeling pressure from my opponent.
What racquets have you used (not tested) during your tennis career?
I started tennis with a inexpensive frame called the Prince TT Thunder. If I remember correctly it was an oversize frame that was head heavy and a real light static weight. I ended up throwing that frame away when the strings broke since back then I had no idea you could restring a racquet. By my junior year of high school, my coach hooked me up with two Head Intelligent Instincts that I used for the whole year. By my senior year, I needed to get something with more control and upgraded to the Head Prestige Mid and finished high school with that frame. My first year of college tennis, I played with the Wilson K Six tour 90 (Roger’s Frame). I figured since the great Roger was using that frame it would benefit me. I was wrong! That frame was demanding and I was shanking a lot of balls. My last year in college I went back to Head and customized two Head Extreme racquets to 12.3 ounce static weight and about a 330 swingweight. After college, one of my friends and former play-tester Danny Castro got me hooked to the Volkl Power Bridge 10s. But after a while, I ended up going back to 100 square inch headsize with my current frame the Prince EXO3 Tour 100 18×20.
If you could compare your game style to a pro’s (past or present), who would it be and why?
I would say Pete Sampras but without his accuracy or power. I am having a hard time breaking 110 mph on my first serve let alone 135mph. I like playing aggressive and putting away points early. Or just like Pete, I let my serve do a lot of my talking.
What has been your favorite match you have ever watched (live or on TV)?
Rafa Nadal vs Roger Federer in the 2008 Wimbledon Final where Nadal beat Roger 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(8), 9-7.
What has been your most memorable tennis match (win or lose)?
At the Avila Bay Club in the first round of a tournament. I had to play a close friend of mine, Rob Hansen. He had a higher ranking than me when we played college together but I wanted to earn his respect since I have never been able to beat him in a match. The final score was 6-4, 6-7, 6-4. It was really close match and I remember our match gave the tennis director a hard time because it was so long he got behind schedule. During the match, I was having a hard time talking to him during change overs. We were both in the zone and I knew I had an advantage since he had stopped playing for a while and his timing was not there. But at the end of the day, we still managed to grab a beer and make a memory.
What is the funniest thing that has ever happened while you were playing tennis?
First day of practice in high school during my senior year I decided to be cool and wear big studs earrings. During our practice we were practicing closing the net out from a volley position. One of my team members ended up hitting an overhead at me and knocked out my right earring out. I guess since it was so bright it gave him a target. Now I either take them off or wear small ones.
Have you had any injuries? For how long? How did you deal with them?
The worse injury was a left groin injury that I had pulled during practice in college. The Alan Hancock Community College staff did a great job on helping me heal but I did have to miss a couple of matches and was in about a month and a half of pain. But other than that, I have had no serious injuries.
What is your favorite part of being a TW playtester?
Being able to try new material before it hits the market.
Who is your favorite TW playtester to hit/play with?
Troy since we both understand our games. Plus I am trying to fix my weak areas and he does a great job on exposing them for me.
Who is the TW playtester that gives you the most trouble?
Mr. Troy Lara and Chris Edwards. They both like to move me around and for some reason my serve does not affect them at all.
What has been your favorite review and why?
Head Prestige Mid since I really hard a good comparison from the old models.
Please check back next week when we highlight our last playtester in the final installment of “Meet the Playtesters.”