For the tournament, I was using my Wilson Blade 98 18×20 with Luxilon ALU Power Spin strung at 53 lbs. The Blade provides me with a perfect blend of modern power and forgiveness with traditional precision and feel. ALU Spin gives me the ultimate in responsiveness for a polyester string with the sharp edges to bite the ball and boost my spin potential.
I was wearing Asics Gel Solution Speed 2 shoes because it’s my favorite match day shoe. They are super lightweight, fast-feeling and comfortable with plenty of support and stability. The slightly slicker outsole allows me to aggressively slide on hard courts easily.
As for strategy, I like to keep it simple. I just wanted to play solid and smart and find the cross-court patterns that suit me best as quickly as possible.
And what was my reward for that 15-14 victory over Sean? Waiting for me was Andy “The Bearded One” Gerst. Some would say this is a giant mismatch, and those people would be correct. I’m the Angola versus US basketball team, the hot dogs versus Kobayashi, the Cumberland College Bulldogs versus Georgia Tech Engineers, circa 1916 (look it up).
There was only one strategy going up against him: go. for. broke. And, don’t get mesmerized by his full and luscious beard. I wanted to hit as hard as I could with as many forehands as I could, every time. And if you interviewed my right shoulder after the match, he would’ve said I was successful in that area. I was fairly happy with my play during the match and thankful that Andy wasn’t in a spiteful mood that day. In the end, the better player and facial hair won.