Our next featured Tennis Warehouse playtester is Mike Marquez. Mike can be seen on several shoe and racquet reviews. He is a Customer Service Supervisor at Tennis Warehouse. Check out his interview below.
Racquet of Choice: Prince Triple Threat Warrior Midplus
String of Choice: So many good ones, can’t decide.
Shoe of Choice: Any of the Air Court Ballistecs from Nike
When/Why did you start playing tennis?
I started playing during the summer of 2007 because of my dad’s roommate back in Los Angeles. He would always try to get me to play, but I was never really interested until one day I decided, why not? Five years later, I love the sport and Tennis Warehouse allows me to keep playing, which is awesome.
Who inspires you to play tennis?
One person who has really inspired me over the years and taught me a lot was my college coach, Dave Dantzer. I was a hothead when I first started playing, and he showed me ways to prevent that. He made me a better person and player as well. He is also a BIG Lakers fan just like me.
What is your favorite shot to hit and why?
I don’t really have a favorite shot. My favorite thing to do is to get to every ball — even if I know the point will be over with the next shot. I was always taught to never give it up and make the other person hit the extra shot.
What racquets have you used (not tested) during your tennis career?
My first racquet was a classic Big Fiver. I don’t really remember the exact model, but the brand was Prince. Second, I had two Head Liquidmetal Radicals that I used for quite sometime. Third, I decided to take three Head Microgel Extremes from a close friend of mine, Jose, which were really good racquets. Once I started working at Tennis Warehouse, I got into the Prince Triple Threat Warrior Midplus. However, now that I playtest I use so many different ones that I barely use mine.
If you could compare your game style to a pro’s (past or present), who would it be and why?
I honestly like to compare my game style to Gael Monfils. I love his style of play and his ability to get to pretty much any ball, and he has my same mentality about never giving up and making the other player hit the extra shot.
What has been your favorite match you have ever watched (live or on TV)?
My favorite match live was last year at the BNP Paribas Open tournament in Indian Wells, California. Djokovic and Federer battled it out and went three sets. Djokovic won 6-3, 3-6, 6-2. That was one of the first really close matches I had ever seen and, boy, was it pretty cool. The way they moved and hit the ball was amazing. I was in awe by everything they did. It was definitely my favorite match.
Do you have pre-match meals you like to eat before a tournament?
I usually eat a good breakfast that consists of eggs, toast, bacon and anything else I may be craving. Different but right before I play for some odd reason a Snickers bar always does the trick.
What has been your most memorable tennis match (win or lose)?
When I was playing for the junior college I had to play No. 1 singles and doubles, which was tough for me because I played some really good players. I believe it was my second or third match, and we played a scrimmage. It went three sets with a crazy tie-break in the third. Everyone was watching and somehow I ended up winning in three. I was so happy when all my teammates hugged me as we were chanting loudly. Good times.
What is the funniest thing that has ever happened while you were playing tennis?
Here at Tennis Warehouse we do weekly lessons every Wednesday nights at the local high school. One Wednesday we were playing a game we like to call RYFO, aka Rip your Face Off. It is similar to the game Around the World, but the winning team gets to serve at the other team who are sitting like ducks on the baseline. I’m known for being Mr. Trash Talker to everyone, and without noticing I walked/ran backward into entire ball hopper full with balls and took it down. I just lay there laughing until I couldn’t breathe along with everyone else.
What is your favorite part of being a TW playtester?
I think the best part of being a playtester for me is the environment and people I get to talk to and the ability to hit with all the newest products. You can’t beat the fact also that it’s part of my job to play tennis and review all new products and get paid for it. Life is good.
Who is your favorite TW playtester to hit/play with?
By far I would have to say Mark “The Machine” Boone also known as “The Wall.” He gets every ball back, and he doesn’t just get it back, but he places it perfectly in my strike zone so I hit the same ball every time and he gets me to be the most consistent I can be. He’s also a good mentor. I’ve learned many things, and I am grateful for that. Thanks, Stud.
Who is the TW playtester that gives you the most trouble?
I would have to say Troy for this one. His wicked lefty spin is crazy at times and he is very competitive. He also gets to every ball and uses the most spin out of everyone I hit with.
Do you have any nicknames from the TW playtest squad?
The one and only nickname I have is Monchichi (if you don’t know what it is then look it up). I love my hair short, but for the month of November a bunch of us at Tennis Warehouse did not shave or cut our hair, which was a bad idea because my hair loves to grow out exactly like an afro. So, yeah, check it out and see.
Please check back next week when we feature another playtester in another installment of “Meet the Playtesters.”