Keeping Up With the Playtesters

I always get a bit bummed the couple days after a Grand Slam ends. For two weeks straight I had hours on end of awesome tennis to watch (good thing Davis Cup is back in action this weekend), and now football is the only thing I see when I turn on the TV (which, isn’t a bad thing, go Niners, it just isn’t tennis!). Anyway, to recap our US Open picks, my picks were knocked out by the 4th or 5th day of the US Open, while Karly and Jason were the only two playtesters who called the US Open 2013 Champions — and Tiffani was oh, so close with her Gasquet pick! This week, since I don’t have any live tennis to watch today, I decided to bug my fellow playtesters and ask them,

“Who from the WTA or ATP would play doubles with? (We already answered the mixed doubles question, so stay within your gender on this one!)”

Check out their answers! Continue reading

The art of the tennis racquet smash

Tennis is such an emotional sport. More so than any other sport because you’re an island out there on the court. A one-man wolf pack if you will. One can go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows in a matter of minutes. It’s a roller coaster of emotions and you can sometimes only hang on for the ride. As such, anger and frustration is a natural part of the game. It doesn’t matter whether your Roger Federer or Joe Schmo, at some point we’ve all gotten pissed off on court.

And we all handle our frustrations differently. Some people internalize it. Others need to vocalize it. Regardless, there’s a breaking point in all of us. And when this pent up anger builds to this breaking point, it needs to be released. Where can it go? This isn’t basketball or football; you can’t yell at your teammates, and your coach isn’t standing on the sideline to be a human punching bag for you. This isn’t baseball where you can take your bat to an innocent Gatorade cooler. And this surely isn’t hockey where one can actually physically take their anger out on the opponent while the referees watch and the crowd cheers. Sure, one can yell at the commentators (who did deserve it) or scream at the umpire/line judge ala John McEnroe and Serena Williams, respectively. But where can one turn to really rage? I’m talking, let-the-world-know-I’m-pissed-off-and-I’m-turning-green rage. Yea, I’m talking Hulk rage.

Continue reading

Meet the Playtesters- Granville Swope

Hi!

Next up is our most experienced Tennis Warehouse playtester, Granville! Gran is the Hard Goods Buyer at Tennis Warehouse. You can find him on racquet reviews and men’s shoe reviews. Check out his interview below.

Click to View Video of Granville

Racquet of Choice: Currently under review

String of Choice: Natural Gut

Shoe of Choice: Asics Gel Resolution 4

Apparel of Choice: Cotton

When/Why did you start playing tennis?

I started playing back in New Jersey as a kid hitting against a backboard at my swim club. I then joined the 12-year-old club team and started playing some matches.

Who inspires you to play tennis?

Watching any athlete in any sport inspires me. In tennis, going way back, Rod Laver, Björn Borg, John McEnroe, Boris Becker all the way up to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal would be on the short list.

What is your favorite shot to hit and why?

Serve for quick and easy points when effective. I can set up a winner volley or open up the court for a different attack.

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

Wood: Spalding Davis Cup &  World Open, Dunlop Fort, Wilson Kramer

Fiberglass: Yamaha YFG-30 (Oreo)

Metal: Yonex Gold OPS

Graphite: Dunlop Black Max, Wilson Pro Staff 6.0 85 and Wilson 6.1 95 all iterations

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

Probably John McEnroe as I enjoy singles and doubles as well as enjoy good hands at the net.

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

My favorite matches are Björn Borg vs John McEnroe in the Wimbledon finals in 1980 and 1981, Roger Federer vs Andy Roddick – where Andy won more games in the match but  lost to Federer in 5 (16-14 in the fifth) and of course Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal in 2008 at Wimbledon in a  5-setter in near darkness.

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

My first national grass court tourney (Santa Barbara 30s singles). I was playing against a cheater (No. 7 seed). After taking so much of his BS, I got a linesman (Mr. Zinc, director of tennis at the club) who watched my match from that point forward. I was on the first court so plenty of people were gathering. I had won the first set and was struggling to hold at 3-3 in the second, despite more bad calls and gaming (like rewrapping his overgrip at 30-all to delay), I get to 40-30 and the guy rips a winner down the line – it was 12 inches inside the court. I dived for it, landing next to my chair – call it out and sit down. 4-3.  I looked at the umpire – (who was also tired of this guy cheating) confirms the ball landed out.

The dude goes ballistic! He refuses to change sides on the court so I go stand next to him at the baseline to receive his serve. I’m bouncing, stretching to keep warm right next to the guy. … Some hecklers from the stands start shouting at him. He then leaves the court to chase the heckler – never returned. I looked at the director, still sitting on the court… “Game, Set, Match!”

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

It was here at Tennis Warehouse, I was feeding Jason some tennis balls for a video shoot from the net.  Jason was to hit a serve then I would feed him the next balls and move him around the court that way.  His first serve is hit VERY solid and right at ME!  Pegs my inner thigh where it took 100% of the momentum, sticks there on my thigh for an extra moment and drops to my feet – as I drop to the court.  Fortunately – it missed more sensitive areas by about two inches. I had a round purple bruise on my inner thigh for six weeks. Jason still won’t come to the net when we play! (side note: Jason still feels really bad!)

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

First injury was in Junior College in a team challenge match (against JT) where I went for a wide groundstroke and my back muscles seized and I blacked out. Woke up looking at my coach and JT  standing over me as I lay there.

Worst injury bar none was Plantar Fasciitis – limping for months, finally took about 11 months to heal.  Latest is tennis elbow, still recovering – rest, rest, rest…

What is your favorite part of being a TW playtester?

Not only seeing the latest and greatest product but playing with it all.  Also not a bad way to spend time …  playing tennis.

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

I enjoy hitting with them all. After so many years now they have all become very good players. Special shout out to Jason, Spencer and Tiffani for most improved.

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

None of them!

What has been your favorite review and why?

I always enjoy the heritage racquets, Wilson 6.0 and 6.1, Head Prestige, etc.

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

Brittany, TW