Mark vs. Brittany
I really enjoyed the format and my match against Brittany. For me, groundstroke games allow me to start points with a bit more confidence, as I have not been serving nearly as much lately, but I have been working on my groundstroke patterns. In terms of strategy, I lean my groundstrokes crosscourt (usually my forehand to the right-handers backhand), and approach down the middle if given a chance to move towards the net. I also try to tax the opponent aerobically a bit, by lengthening points, since I do not hit winners as often as I would like. To a degree, I had to anticipate diminishing returns, as I know that Brittany’s strike zone is from the floor, to her shoulder’s; off both wings too.
By the way I am writing this, most of you will probably guess that the match has already occurred, but I did try to deploy that strategy with Brittany. My repeated direction/ destination of most of my shots were to her backhand, which did not do much to soften her up, in boxing terms; actually it seemed to hone her shots a bit. After the 10th point, I did see her search for a couple extra air molecules once or twice in between points, but in the end Brittany delivered the goods with great down-the-line answers to most of my cross court questions.
What can I say about my choice of equipment, but that it all helped provide enough confidence to get within a couple of points with Brittany; am I patting myself on the back? Here is what I wore, swung, and ran around the court with:
- Racquet: Wilson Pro Staff 95S (modified to 11.8-ish, with a 320 swing weight)
- String: Prince Tour XC 15 gauge at 56 pounds of tension
- Shoe: Head Sprint Pro (USA colors)
- Shorts: Wilson Men’s Solana 10” Color Block short
- Top: Nike Spring USA Flag Shirt
- Socks: Nike Dri-Fit Cushion Crew
My current equipment of choice comes with a big announcement. For this first edition of Shotgun 15, I have officially switched and am using to the Yonex EZONE Ai 100. After a couple months of going back and forth between a couple racquets, last week I made my official decision to switch. I have always loved the feel of Yonex racquets and combined with extra stability and control, I felt really comfortable going for my shots. I strung up the racquet with my current favorite strings, Volkl Cyclone 16 for some extra spin. I normally use Wilson Pro Overgrips but have been trying out the Wilson Pro Overgrip Sensation in black which is a little bit thinner. For my shoes I was rocking the Lotto Raptor Ultra IV in the fun black/carrot colorway. This comfortable shoe is quick feeling on the court and has great traction. Also, the shoe comes with two lace colors and since I couldn’t pick which one I liked better I ended up used both (one for each shoe). For apparel, I was wearing a loose fitting Nike tank top and Nike team skort.
As far as strategy goes, my first opponent was Mark Boone who is known as the “human wall” at Tennis Warehouse and gets everything back. I knew I had to be patient but at the same time be aggressive when I had the chance to finish the point. At the start of the match, I was trying to execute my game plan but unfortunately was barely missing my put away balls. Because of that, I started playing a little more safe and defensive. I was still looking for the short ball (as you can see I played a lot inside the baseline) but wasn’t taking as many chances and was aiming for bigger targets. This created higher, loopier shots and long points. However, I started to be a little bit more aggressive at the end and I was able to pull out the game 15-13.
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