Gotta Want It – Season 4

This season of Gotta Want It features Siobhan and I’s training and preparation for the mixed doubles in the Open division at the Santa Maria Open. With Chris as our coach and Brittany as a hitting partner, each episode features different drills and point play that helped sharpen our skills for the tournament.  The season finale shows actual match footage from the tournament with pre and post-match interviews.  Click on the images to view each episode.

Thanks for following us all season!  We had a great time filming and preparing, and we look forward to doing it again in the future!

Andy G.

 

Click to view Episode 1

 

Click to view Episode 2

 

Click to view Episode 3

Click to view our Off Court Training Episode

Click to view Episode 4

Click to view the final episode from the Santa Maria Open

 

Meet the Playtesters- Chris Edwards

Cheers!

Our next featured Tennis Warehouse Playtester is Chris. Chris has a record of over two hundred playtest reviews on racquets and shoes as well as his always informative weekly Vlogs. He is the Web Editor of Tennis Warehouse. Check out his interview below.

Click to view Video Footage of Chris

Racquet of Choice: Whatever I grab from the office
String of Choice: Kirschbaum Pro Line Evolution 17 and Volkl Cyclone 16
Shoe of Choice: Nike Zoom Breathe 2K11
Apparel of Choice: I’m a sucker for a stylish polo.

When/Why did you start playing tennis?

I played my first tournament when I was 15, made the semi-final and took my first lesson the week after. I played soccer mostly through high school.

Who inspires you to play tennis?

My dad. He used to play on the weekends and I started to tag along for a hit.

What is your favorite shot to hit and why?

My backhand slice is my favorite shot. The whys are many: It tends to go in more than my other shots, I like to hit drop shots with it, a lot of people don’t like to return slice and I’m equally comfortable going cross court or down the line.

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

I can’t list them all, but here’s my best shot at it. Slazenger Club (wood), Head Graphite Master, Browning Aluminum, Browning VTP (Variable Taper Profile and back to graphite), Dunlop Max 400i (injection molded wonder stick and more buttery than butter itself), Wilson Pro Staff 85 St. Vincent (gave them away to a mate’s younger brother, hindsight has made that an obvious and painful mistake), Head Prestige Pro, Head Prestige Classic 600, Donnay Pro One Mid, Donnay Pro One Oversize (got shipped the wrong headsize so just switched from the mid, ha ha), Head Twintube Radical Oversize (that wrong shipment got me on an oversize kick), Rossignol F250 (back to mids, what flex, what feel! I was in love there for awhile), Wilson Pro Staff 6.0 95, Head Prestige Classic 600 (again!), Yonex MP Tour 1 Mid, Yonex RDX 500 Mid, Babolat Pure Drive Roddick, Volkl Power Bridge 10 Mid and that brings me to now. I know I’m missing some in there.

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

Steffi Graf and it’s not just because we both have great legs! Steffi has a dynamite backhand slice and I can appreciate that.

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

It was really a day of watching tennis seeing the men’s quarters at Wimbledon in 1993 on Centre Court. I was sitting right behind the baseline with my very good friend and doubles partner, and we saw Sampras vs. Agassi with Pete winning in 5 sets. Next match was Becker vs. Stich with Boris winning in 5 sets. It was an exhausting day of watching epic tennis. Several hours were spent in the pub to help us recover from that one.

Do you have pre-match meals you like to eat before a tournament?

I do not have a go-to meal but have made some seriously bad food mistakes before playing. The worst was after a first round doubles win and I went to a diner with my partner. I had the world’s largest portion of biscuits and gravy, and he had an equally large portion of eggs benedict. The food was superb and we tucked in. Needless to say, we couldn’t move afterward and lost to a team we had a good chance of beating. I later found out one of our opponents had told my partner it was a great place to eat. Fill in your own conspiracy theory here.

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

It was in the Santa Maria Open in the 5.0 singles semi-final. I was down something like 6-2, 4-2 and thought, what the hell, I’m going out swinging. I hit three return winners to get my first break of the match. Held off several match points at 5-6 and forced a tiebreak. I saved a total of 8 match points in the second set, finally winning the breaker 16-14. I got a great start in the third set going up 3-0. At that point my opponent mentally folded and I closed out the set 6-0. The next day I received a walk over in the final. A bit of an anti-climactic end, but that semi was my best comeback win.

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

I was teaching tennis in England on one of the rare, rare occasions it actually gets foggy there. It was at night and the fog got so bad you couldn’t see the net from the baseline. There were three of us teaching and we sent all of the students home as the conditions were just unplayable. While picking up the loose tennis balls scattered around the courts, one of the other pros smacked a ball in my direction. Not knowing who had hit it at me, I fired off two shots guessing roughly where the other two pros were. That started a full on ball war and the three of us just started smacking balls into the fog trying to hit each other. I could hear the crack of a fiercely struck tennis ball and had know idea if it was heading my direction. We continued to try to take each other’s heads off for about 40 minutes, with two of us eventually pinning the third coach down inside the ball shed at the end of the three courts. Each time we got hit or heard another yell out in pain, it was hilarious. We could rarely see each other and used the sounds of each other’s laughter to zero in on our targets.

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

My worst injury came when my triceps tendon pulled a piece of the bone off my elbow – an overuse injury. I played lefty for about six-months while I rehabbed my right arm. I still have issues with it till this day and switch to a two-handed backhand when it starts to get sore. I go right back to hitting one-handed backhands once my arm feels better.

What is your favorite part of being a TW playtester?

We have the best jobs in the building, of that I have no doubt. We get to test products while they are still in development as well as test finished products before they hit the market. I’m pretty confident we have the world’s largest selection of racquets, shoes and string ready to hit at any given time — considering our stock, demo program and all of the racquets we have stockpiled in our private racquet room and strings in our string vault. There are times when we can barely walk across our office because of all of the products we are testing. I’m serious, hurdling boxes is an everyday occurrence for us. All in all, we work hard at what we do and we just have a great time doing it.

Who is your favorite TW playtester to hit/play with? How’s this for political correctness?

I like to hit with everyone as it gives me a chance to hit against many varied styles of play. I know, what a cop out!

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

Britt’s laser-like groundstrokes, Gran’s deft volleys, Mark’s ability to get everything back and Spennie’s continued improvement all push me to play well. It’s fun going in to a hit knowing I have to play well to come out ahead.

What has been your favorite review and why?

Not reviews per se, but being a part of the Gotta Want It series has been lots of fun. The fact that I’ve been able to run my mates into the ground all in the guise of getting them better has brought me hours of amusement.

Do you have any nicknames from the TW playtest squad?

Vlogman is the only one I’m aware of, but there are probably a few I’m not aware of. Ignorance is golden, so if you know of any, don’t tell me!

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

Ad out,

Brittany

My Quest For A New Racquet

Me Playtesting the Yonex VCORE 100 S

Throughout my tennis career, I never really paid much attention to which racquet I was using. I just would choose a racquet and take two weeks to adjust to it. My racquets in the past 10 years have been the Babolat Pure Drive, Prince O3 Speedport Black and lastly the Prince EXO3 Black.

Since being at Tennis Warehouse, I have playtested a wide variety of racquets and brands, and it has opened my eyes to all the possibilities. One of the benefits of being a playtester is having the opportunity to pick out the exact specs to fit my game. I have determined these specs to be  around 11-11.1 ounces in weight, around 5-6 points headlight, swingweight of approximately 310 and mid 60s in stiffness.  Over the past eight months, I have been searching for a racquet that met my criteria. Some racquets that had made my list included Wilson BLX Tour Ltd, Donnay X-Red 94, Yonex E-Zone 100 and Dunlop Biomimetic 200 Lite.

Then two months ago, I found it. And after hitting with it for 30 minutes, I knew it was meant to be. The Yonex V Core 100 S, is the racquet of choice for WTA pro Caroline Wozniacki and now it’s my choice, too.

Why did I fall in love with this racquet? For the most part, it is the perfect match to my game.  I am an aggressive baseliner, and the open string pattern supplies plenty of power along with just the right amount of spin. I love the feel of the large sweetspot, and I could swing through with ease. Even with all the power, the head light balance gives me the control and feel I felt was lacking in some past racquets.

To see my new racquet and me in action, check out our YouTube channel for Gotta Want It Season 3 where I am preparing to play in the BNP Paribas Pre-Qualifier.

Ad Out,
Brittany

Gotta Want It- Season 3

This season of Gotta Want It followed my last two weeks of training for the BNP Paribas Open Pre-Qualifier tournament.  With Chris as my coach and hitting partner, each episode in Season 3 focuses on different singles and  point play drills to help me prepare for the competition.  The last episode features my results in the tournament.  Click on the images to view the video.

Thanks for all your support!  I had a lot of fun and get ready for Season 4!

Ad Out,

Brittany

Click on Image to View Episode 1

Click on Image to View Episode 2

Click on Image to View Episode 3

Click on Image to View Episode 4

Click on Image to View Episode 5

From Spectator to Player

Stadium 1 at BNP Paribas Open - Indian Wells, CA

Stadium 1 at BNP Paribas Open - Indian Wells, CA

Most Palm Springs residents know in mid-March every year a “big tennis tournament” is held at the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens. Being a local and avid tennis player, that “big” tournament is an exciting two weeks of watching the top men’s and women’s tennis professionals compete at the BNP Paribas Open. In fact, some of my fondest tennis memories derive from the tournament. And this year is no exception as I have come full circle from spectator to media.

Back in 1999, the tournament was known as the Newsweek Champions Cup and was held at the Hyatt Grand Champions hotel. As an eight year old new to the competitive game of tennis, I was invited by a friend to watch the men’s final. To this day, I will always remember Mark Philippoussis defeating Carlos Moya in five sets. I was lucky enough to interview Philippoussis earlier this year for Tennis Warehouse and I was definitely still as star struck as I was that day.

Just a year later in 2000, the venue changed sites as well as sponsors and became the Pacific Life Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens. I too changed from spectator to ball kid. For two weeks, I spent all day on the tennis courts running around and chasing balls standing mere inches away from the players! I had so much fun and I think I might have had the best seat in the stadium to watch matches. Watching the pros play was inspirational and motivational for my young tennis career and I secretly hoped someday I might just be playing in the tournament as well.

Four short years, I had my chance when I was given a wild card into the qualifying rounds at the tournament. At just fifteen with no professional experience, I was overcome with nervousness but so thankful for the opportunity. A year later, I was granted another chance to compete and was able to calm my nerves and play some of my best tennis at the time regardless of the outcome.

And now in 2011, a full twelve years later I am still at this tournament participating in the pre-qualifier and working with Tennis Warehouse interviewing the pros. I had minor success at the tournament advancing to the round of 16s (You can watch my preparation and matches on Tennis Warehouse’s Gotta Want It Season 3 on YouTube.) A week later I began interviewing and was just a little intimidated at first. The ten seconds before my first interview was nerve wrecking but Sam Stosur ended up being really nice and I relaxed after (barely) spitting out the first question. Once I completed my first interview, I was hooked. I was really excited for my next interviews with Victoria Azarenka and Kim Clijsters. As each interview went by, I realized just how normal (yet amazing at tennis) these players were.

As each day passes at the tournament, I could not have asked for a better job or even dreamed this is where I would end up. I have grown up with this tournament and have seen so many different sides of the tournament. As I sit here in the media room looking down on stadium 1, I can’t help to think where will I end up next?

Ad Out,

Brittany

Gotta Want It – Season 2

Spencer and Chris paired up in the first season showing you some doubles drills. This season, Jason and I took a crack at singles. With Chris as our coach, we showcase a few singles drills in Season 2 of Gotta Want It. Click on the images to view the video.

Thanks for all the support! It was fun and we hope you look forward to Season 3!

Peace Sign,
Kana

Episode 1

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 3

Episode 4

Episode 4

Episode 5

Episode 5

Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire

The Good News:

After many months of being plagued with Plantar Fasciitis, I am no longer experiencing any discomfort in my heel. I am now able to move freely on the court without pain. The transition and healing was a very slow process, which coincides with others I’ve spoken with that have experienced the same affliction. I have to give a lot, if not all of the credit to the Superfeet insoles I regularly used. I wore them while playing tennis and basketball as well as in my everyday choices of casual footwear. Though there was an adjustment period of getting used to the feel of them (especially when playing sports), I got used to the supportive feel and didn’t notice any discomfort.

The Bad News:

My pain free play was short lived. As my body became healthier, I was able to play more tennis. What a great thing, right? The tennis began to take its toll on me with a little something called golfer’s elbow. What is golfer’s elbow, you ask? It’s tendonitis on the medial side of the elbow. (Tennis elbow is tendonitis on the lateral side). As I continued to play and train for an upcoming tournament while filming practice and drills from our Gotta Want It series, the pain was annoying, yet manageable. Resting my elbow would be the best remedy without a doubt. Being that we were nearing the tournament, I didn’t see that as the best option, only because I could get through hitting sessions and matches with minimal pain. It was after these sessions that I would experience extreme tenderness in my elbow. Along with icing, I also tried other things to help keep my elbow at minimum damage and pain. I used a compression sleeve by Skins, which aided in keeping my elbow warm with a compressed feel. Along with that, I used Kinesio Tape. These, mind you, are not remedies, but do help with support.

Now that we’ve finished the Gotta Want It series, I’m able to give proper rest to my elbow, and hope to be going full speed again before too long.

On a coincidental side note:

Another fellow TW player had experienced Plantar Fasciitis the same time I did. We both healed at about the same rate. This same person started suffering from Golfer’s Elbow about the same time I did as well. Coincidence? Is there a correlation between plantar faciitis and golfer’s elbow? I am forced to wonder.

Spencer, TW.